White pepper is useful to give a peppery bite to your recipes without the black flecks. Obviously, it’s odd to add black or colored peppercorns to white sauces or potato dishes. It’s an excellent pepper to season light-colored dishes like soups, cream sauces, seafood, pasta, and potatoes. The mild heat and musty, earthy flavor of white peppercorns are more appealing to some than the harsh heat and strong pungent aroma of black peppercorns.
In a pinch, it becomes necessary to find a suitable alternative for white pepper. This article explores the best white pepper substitutes that you can use.
White Pepper Substitutes
You may be trying a recipe that calls for white peppercorns but you don’t’ have them. Still, you can save the recipe by using a white pepper substitute. Of course, the alternative ingredients may slightly alter the original appearance and flavor of the recipe.
Here are some of the best replacements for white pepper:
Fully ripe and dried peppercorns with the outer layer of skin are called black pepper. Incidentally, black pepper contains more piperine; thus it has more aroma and pungency than white pepper. They both have the same peppery flavor through their heat levels vary.
The black color of this pepper will stand out in a pale dish but won’t alter the appearance of dishes in a darker shade.
The heat and pungency of black pepper are far superior to their white counterpart. Thus, use only ½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper for every one teaspoon of white pepper.
In short, the best substitute for white pepper is black pepper, knowing that the black pecks will show up in your dishes.
Green peppercorns are the unripe corns from the Piper nigrum plant. Mostly, this pepper is used for making pickles; also sold as dried green pepper. They are less pungent and hot than white peppercorns but have a similar peppery flavor
In an emergency, you may use the pickled or dried green peppercorns in place of white pepper.
While using green peppercorns to substitute for white peppercorns, use them in slightly more quantities to achieve the same level of pungency and heat. For every one teaspoon of ground white pepper, use 1 ½ teaspoon of ground green pepper.
A pink peppercorn is a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian pepper tree. Though they look quite similar to the Piper nigrum berries they are not related. Mostly, the pink peppercorn is blended with black or white pepper.
Pink peppercorn has a flavor and heat somewhat identical to the true peppercorns. In addition, this pepper is loved for its sweet, resinous taste and aroma.
Its mild peppery taste and pale color make it a good white pepper substitute, especially in paler dishes.
Use pink peppercorns in a 1:1 ratio to replace the white peppercorns.
The mild spiciness and pale color of dry, ground ginger make it a manageable alternative to white pepper. Of course, it neither has the strong flavor of fresh ginger nor the exact heat and pungency of peppercorns. Still, it should work well in many recipes that call for white peppercorns, especially the Chinese and Thai dishes.
Just like the white pepper, the pale color of ground ginger is imperceptible in any recipe. You can easily use ground ginger in place of white pepper in soups and creamy sauces.
To your advantage, ground ginger is easily available in any good grocery store near you.
Ground mustard is made by grinding mustard seeds and then sifting the seed coat out to leave a fine powder behind. It has a mild heat and pale yellow color somewhat similar to white pepper.
The light yellow color of the ground mustard is almost invisible in pale dishes that call for white pepper. Besides, it is a useful ingredient that works as a great natural emulsifier; good to use in sauces and soups.
Too much mustard may overpower other flavors of your dish, thus use it in half the amount of white pepper required for your recipe. Even some of the ground mustard substitutes will be worth considering.
Can I use regular pepper instead of white pepper?
Yes. They both can be used interchangeably. However, regular black peppers are spicier and they show up black specks in your dishes, especially in light or creamy dishes. Always start off with black peppers in just half the measure of white peppers originally needed in your recipe.
What is the substitution of 1 teaspoon white pepper?
1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns is equal to 1 ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper. Use half a teaspoon of ground black pepper for 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper. You may increase or reduce the ratio of substitution according to the level of heat and flavors you desire.
Why use white pepper instead of black?
Black peppers aren’t suitable for mild dishes and also they produce visible black specks light and creamy dishes like potatoes, sauces, creamy soups, and others. Also, white peppers have a musty earthy flavor and a gentle heat fitting for mild dishes.
Does white pepper work with turmeric?
The curcumin compound in turmeric is proved to be a potent anti-inflammatory and immunity booster. Recent studies suggest that curcumin is best absorbed by the body when it’s combined with the piperine compound from the pepper. Thus white pepper could work with turmeric but a higher amount of piperine is found in black pepper than in white pepper.
What does white pepper taste like?
They are milder than black peppers but have a more musty and earthy flavor. Often, you can sense mild citrusy notes in white pepper that is acquired through the fermentation process of making them. They have a mildly pungent aroma and heat but only about half the heat and aroma of black pepper.
What is the difference between black and white pepper?
The most difference between the black and white peppers is their color. The black peppercorns have dried outer skin that encloses the seeds; this outer layer turns black when dried. White peppers are made by removing the outer layer of the peppercorns through the fermentation process; so they retain the original white color of the skin. White pepper is milder than its black counterpart and has a more explicit musty, earthy, and citrusy flavor. On the other hand, black pepper has almost double the heat of white pepper and a strong pungent aroma, also a slight bitterness.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a white pepper substitute then there are a few good alternatives to save your recipe. Obviously, black peppers are the best replacement you can think of. Others are green peppercorns, pink peppercorns, ground mustard, and ground ginger.
While using a substitute, consider the taste profile of your dishes; add replacement ingredients in small quantities to avoid a strong peppery taste.
For further reading, find all the important facts on Piper Cubeba which can also be used in place of white pepper.