Substitution For White Pepper

Most people use white pepper to spice up various dishes, including cream past, white soups, and dips. 

It is a preferred condiment because it doesn’t alter the color of the dish you are making.

White pepper is an excellent addition to dishes, but what if you run out yet are using a recipe that calls for it? You don’t have to rush to the store to get some because you can use a substitute in its place.


The ideal substitutes for white pepper are; black pepper, white peppercorns, pink pepper, green pepper, turmeric powder, ground ginger, cayenne powder, paprika, flavored pepper mix, ground mustard, ground cumin, and homemade spice mix.

This article discusses the substitutes named above in detail, but first, let us look at what white pepper is.

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What is White Pepper?

Manufacturers derive white pepper from pepper berries. The pepper berries also make green and black pepper, but in this case, they let them ripen entirely before removing the skin and drying them.


Afterward, they soak the berries in water for ten days or until they ferment. Consequently, the volatile oils and hot piperine compounds are removed. This step is what differentiates white pepper from black and green pepper.

Currently, there are two white pepper varieties available in the market; white peppercorns and ground white pepper.

If you want to get the best experience, your best bet would be to grind the peppercorns at home. Ground white pepper is readily available in most grocery stores.

Ground white pepper loses its potency over time, so you mustn’t store it for an extended time. The same applies to whole peppercorns.

White Pepper Substitutes

White pepper has a unique, earthy flavor that gives dishes a grassy flavor. Below are a few alternatives you can use in its place.

Black pepper


You can use black pepper in recipes that require you to use white pepper. Its aroma and spice are similar to that of white pepper. Its flavor is also similar, but it has slightly more heat.

Most people prefer white pepper because it keeps the dish clean, especially cream-based dishes.

Black pepper tends to leave black spots on the dish, but it makes for an ideal substitute if you don’t mind them.

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White peppercorns


If your dish calls for ground white pepper, but you only have white peppercorns on hand, you can use them instead.

All you need to do is grind the peppercorns into powder before using them in your dish.

White peppercorns have a more robust flavor than ground white pepper, so you should use them sparingly to avoid overpowering your dish.

Use half the amount that your recipe requires for the best flavor.

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Pink pepper


Pink pepper is an ideal white pepper substitute. Although its color is brighter than white pepper, it blends well with most dishes, and the chances are you won’t notice the color difference.

Pink pepper offers a similar heat, aroma, and flavor, making it one of the best white pepper substitutes.

The only downside is that pink pepper may not be readily available in some areas.

Green pepper

You can use green peppers in recipes that call for white pepper. I highly recommend using dried green pepper in this instance.

Pound them to form a powder before adding to your dish. It will give you an aroma and flavor similar to white powder.

Chop the fresh pepper into thin cubes if you don’t have dried green pepper. You can use this substitute in stews and stir fry dishes.

Turmeric powder


Turmeric powder works well in dishes that need white pepper. Additionally, it has numerous health benefits.

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that benefit your overall well-being.

The flavor of turmeric flavor is slightly different than white pepper. Therefore, it would be best to ensure it complements other ingredients in the dish before using it as an alternative.

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Ground ginger


Ground ginger is another ideal alternative for white pepper. Its appearance is similar to white pepper so that it won’t alter the color of your dish. You can comfortably use it in light and creamy sauces.

Ground ginger adds some heat and aroma to your dish. Its flavor is also not too overpowering.

However, be sure it complements your other ingredients before adding them to your dish.

It would also be best to add a little at a time until you reach your desired flavor.

Cayenne powder


You can use cayenne powder in recipes that call for white pepper. The cayenne powder has more heat than black pepper, so this substitute may not be ideal for you if you don’t like heat.

Cayenne powder is versatile and goes well with most dishes. I highly recommend using this substitute in stir fry dishes and stews.

Cayenne is readily available. You can buy it in any grocery store near you.


Paprika is an excellent white pepper substitute. It gives your dish a bit of a kick, and its spiciness isn’t overwhelming.

If you want a mildly hot substitute, you can use paprika. Both the dried and powdered versions work well in most dishes.

Note that paprika may give your dish a red hue, so if you don’t want the color of your dish to change, opt for another substitute.

Flavored pepper mix


If you find white pepper too bland, you can opt for flavored pepper mix. Several options are available, including; Cajun mix, lemon pepper, and old bay seasoning.

The flavored pepper mix you choose significantly depends on your preference. However, it would be best to ensure it complements other ingredients in your dish.

Ground mustard

Ground mustard has a mild, spicy flavor similar to white pepper. It gives dishes a mild, hot taste.

Ground mustard is also yellow. Therefore, it is ideal for light and white-colored sauces. Its aroma also adds freshness to dishes.

Use a pinch of ground mustard in recipes that call for white pepper. You can adjust the amount depending on your preference.

Ground cumin 


You can use ground cumin instead of white pepper in your recipes. It has a mild flavor and is also quite aromatic.

A little ground cumin goes a long way, so use half a teaspoon for every teaspoon of white powder the recipe requires.

Homemade spice mix 

You can make a homemade spice mix to replace white pepper if you have some seasonings on hand.

I make my homemade spice mix by mixing the following ingredients;

  • Black pepper.
  • Onion powder.
  • Cayenne pepper.
  • Garlic powder.
  • Parsley.

You can add other seasonings depending on your preference. Remember to test the spice mix before adding it to your dish. This way, you can confirm whether the flavor profile is ideal for your dish.

White pepper vs. Black pepper


Generally, white pepper and black pepper are different. The modes of harvesting and manufacturing process are different, resulting in different flavors.

White pepper has a mild, earthy flavor, while black pepper has a strong flavor and heat.

White pepper is also pricier than black pepper because its manufacturing process is longer. It also undergoes a unique method to achieve its distinctive earthy flavor.


White pepper is a fantastic ingredient, so you will likely run out of it rather quickly. Luckily, there are several substitutes you can use in its place.

The alternatives discussed above may not give you the exact results that white pepper does, but they come pretty close. My personal favorites are black pepper, pink pepper, and green pepper.

Let me know which substitutes work for you in the comments below.

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