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What Is The Difference Between White Pepper And Black Pepper

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Seeds of white pepper and black pepper on a white background

Photo: Sommai Larkjit/EyeEm/Getty Images

When you think of pepper, you probably think of the ground black specks that fill the shaker on your kitchen table. But did you know that pepper doesn’t just come in black? Confused, right?

White pepper actually comes from the same plant as black pepper, but the difference between them comes down to how they are harvested and processed. Learn the difference between black and white pepper. Plus, get tips on how to cook your favorite recipes using white pepper.


What is White Pepper?

White pepper, like black pepper, is made from the berries of the pepper plant, also known as capsicum Piper black. Unlike black pepper, however, white pepper comes from berries harvested when fully ripe. These berries are then soaked in water to ferment. Finally, the outer layer is removed leaving only the inner seed.

As the skin is removed, some of the flavor is taken out, including the piperine. As a result, white pepper tends to be milder than black pepper.

While black pepper is much more common in American kitchens, using white pepper in light-colored dishes for visual impact is a tradition that originated in French cuisine. It is also common in Chinese, Vietnamese and Swedish cuisine.


White pepper versus black pepper

The difference between black and white pepper comes down to how they are harvested and processed. We have already established that white peppercorns are berries that have been harvested at peak ripeness, soaked in water and then stripped of their outer layer.

Black peppercorns, on the other hand, are unripe berries of the pepper plant which are then dried, causing the skin to blacken. While black pepper gives off a spicier heat (due to piperine), the flavor of white pepper is described as more earthy and musty.


Health benefits of white pepper

Like black pepper, white pepper promotes intestinal health and speeds up digestion. White pepper is also very low in calories and can add significant flavor to a dish, while reducing the need for salt.

While white pepper contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C, calcium, iron and manganese), you probably won’t consume enough to see measurable benefits.


How to use white pepper

There are a number of reasons why you might choose to use white pepper instead of black pepper. If you want to get the flavor without the heat or color of black pepper, you’ll want to use white pepper.

For example, you might choose to use white pepper in creamy soups or soups to hide the appearance of peppercorns. Due to the widespread popularity of white pepper in Asian cooking (pepper originated in India, but Vietnam is the leading producer of pepper today), many will associate its flavor with that of Chinese soups, marinades, and even stir-fries. .

If you’re looking to substitute white pepper for black or vice versa, keep in mind how this could affect the flavor of your dish. White pepper is said to have a more complex flavor profile because it has been able to ripen longer and has been fermented.


How to store white pepper

Unfortunately, white pepper has a shorter shelf life than its black counterpart. However, peppercorns keep longer than ground pepper. We recommend that you keep it stored in an airtight container away from any light. Whole white peppercorns can last about three years, but ground white pepper will lose its potency after just three months.

Related:

  • Which shaker top is for salt and which is for pepper?
  • What is Himalayan Sea Salt?
  • What is Celery Salt?


When you think of pepper, you probably think of the ground black specks that fill the shaker on your kitchen table. But did you know that pepper doesn’t just come in black? Confused, right?

White pepper actually comes from the same plant as black pepper, but the difference between them comes down to how they are harvested and processed. Learn the difference between black and white pepper. Plus, get tips on how to cook your favorite recipes using white pepper.


What is White Pepper?

White pepper, like black pepper, is made from the berries of the pepper plant, also known as capsicum Piper black. Unlike black pepper, however, white pepper comes from berries harvested when fully ripe. These berries are then soaked in water to ferment. Finally, the outer layer is removed leaving only the inner seed.

As the skin is removed, some of the flavor is taken out, including the piperine. As a result, white pepper tends to be milder than black pepper.

While black pepper is much more common in American kitchens, using white pepper in light-colored dishes for visual impact is a tradition that originated in French cuisine. It is also common in Chinese, Vietnamese and Swedish cuisine.


White pepper versus black pepper

The difference between black and white pepper comes down to how they are harvested and processed. We have already established that white peppercorns are berries that have been harvested at peak ripeness, soaked in water and then stripped of their outer layer.

Black peppercorns, on the other hand, are unripe berries of the pepper plant which are then dried, causing the skin to blacken. While black pepper gives off a spicier heat (due to piperine), the flavor of white pepper is described as more earthy and musty.


Health benefits of white pepper

Like black pepper, white pepper promotes intestinal health and speeds up digestion. White pepper is also very low in calories and can add significant flavor to a dish, while reducing the need for salt.

While white pepper contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C, calcium, iron and manganese), you probably won’t consume enough to see measurable benefits.


How to use white pepper

There are a number of reasons why you might choose to use white pepper instead of black pepper. If you want to get the flavor without the heat or color of black pepper, you’ll want to use white pepper.

For example, you might choose to use white pepper in creamy soups or soups to hide the appearance of peppercorns. Due to the widespread popularity of white pepper in Asian cooking (pepper originated in India, but Vietnam is the leading producer of pepper today), many will associate its flavor with that of Chinese soups, marinades, and even stir-fries. .

If you’re looking to substitute white pepper for black or vice versa, keep in mind how this could affect the flavor of your dish. White pepper is said to have a more complex flavor profile because it has been able to ripen longer and has been fermented.


How to store white pepper

Unfortunately, white pepper has a shorter shelf life than its black counterpart. However, peppercorns keep longer than ground pepper. We recommend that you keep it stored in an airtight container away from any light. Whole white peppercorns can last about three years, but ground white pepper will lose its potency after just three months.

Related:

  • Which shaker top is for salt and which is for pepper?
  • What is Himalayan Sea Salt?
  • What is Celery Salt?


Video about What Is The Difference Between White Pepper And Black Pepper

What's the difference between Black and White Pepper? | Food Unwrapped

Kate heads to Vietnam to learn about how pepper is farmed and if there is a difference between black pepper and white.

Food Unwrapped Season 5 Episode 15

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Our team of intrepid presenters (Jimmy Doherty, Kate Quilton, Matt Tebbutt, Helen Lawal, Andi Oliver, Amanda Byram and Briony May Williams) travel the world uncovering unusual, intriguing and surprising secrets behind the food we eat.

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