8 Best Substitutes For Black Pepper

Pepper is an essential ingredient in the kitchen; while it adds some testiness to the dishes, you use them in, depending on how hot the pepper is, it would be some heat too!

Black pepper is one of the many peppers that are popular because of its sharp flavor and nutritious benefits.

Many households have this ingredient since it saves the day when it is time for some zest and tasty meal.

Now, what could go wrong is not having black pepper for your recipes. Are you curious to know about the substitutes for black pepper?

We will show you the best substitutes for black pepper so you can have that meal you crave without any hassle.

So, let us begin!


What is black pepper?

Scientifically called piper nigrum, black pepper is a flowering vine from the family of Piperaceae. Many people cultivate black pepper because of its fruits, which many people know as a peppercorn.

After picking the fruits, it is left to dry and then now used as spice or seasoning.

Black pepper is one of the earliest spices that are most sought-after. Black pepper is native to the Malabar Coast of India. However, it is now a popular spice in many households, restaurants, and well-known cuisines.

Black pepper is renowned for the essential benefit it offers-helps to improve digestion and fight free radicals. It is great for relieving cold and cough too!

Taste of black pepper 

Black pepper has a hot taste that makes it unsafe to consume without adding them in recipes. The sharp flavor enhances the taste of any meal and if you add them in large quantities, then you would end up with a spicy meal.

Uses of black pepper

Originally, people use black pepper mainly in recipes. However, many people use black pepper for different things.

Many people apply black pepper on the skin to get rid of nerve pain, itchy skin, and many others

Therefore, with all the benefits and uses, it might seem impossible to replace black pepper in many recipes.

Are there substitutes for black pepper? Of course, there are substitutes for black pepper and you will know them now! Read on to find out our best recommendations.

Read: 5 Best Yuzu Shichimi Togarashi Substitutes

Substitutes for black pepper

When it is time to replace spice or even anything, it is important to replace the intended ingredient with an ingredient that shares almost the same features as the other ingredients.

1. White pepper

white pepper

White pepper is one special ingredient that has similar features to black pepper. You can get white pepper from the berries of the pepper plant just like black pepper.

However, there is a slightly different, unlike black pepper; many people mostly pick white pepper when they are ripe. After which the berries are soaked in water so they would ferment.

More so, the color is just as the name says. So, if you need to hide the appearance of black pepper in your meal, then here is the best choice for you.

Although white pepper is not as hot as black pepper, it is fit enough to bring zest to your meal. Add more quantity to increase the hotness if you wish.

White is one excellent substitute for black pepper when it is time to replace black pepper in your dish.

2. Papaya seeds

papaya seeds

How about a clone for black pepper!

This is the best option if you are allergic to black pepper or any pepper. In many places, many people ignore papaya seeds. So you would always find out that people toss the seeds relish the fruit and still worry that pepper is many miles away from home.

Well, papaya seeds like the fruit are edible. However, the slight difference is that the seeds have a light sharp flavor that vanishes in bitterness as you chew them. Papaya seeds are nutritious too!

To use papaya seeds: dry the seeds and use them as a spice, just as you would use black pepper. Papaya seeds do not have a strong pungent taste like black pepper. So, you can always adjust the amount you add to reach your desired result.

3. Chili flakes

chili flakes

Red pepper flakes are a great condiment; it comprises of dried and crushed red chili peppers. The condiment has the base of cayenne pepper.

Red pepper flakes have this relatively strong pungent flavor that we deem fit as a great replacement for black pepper.

However, just as the name implies, chili flakes are not as powdery as chili powder, unlike powder that has little or no traces of flakes. Because of the flakes, you might end up having some parts in your meal spicier than the other parts in your recipes.

4. Green peppercorns

green peppercorns

Also, from the Piper nigrum vine, green peppercorns people pluck green peppercorns when they are not yet ripe. They are fresh fruit.

They are also an excellent substitute for black pepper. It is this peppery flavor and wonderful aroma.

So, if you do not mind the color, you can easily replace your black pepper with green pepper in a pinch.

Note: Green peppers have a short life span and might not last like black pepper. Ensure your store is in the refrigerator.

5. Pink peppercorn

pink peppercorn

Although pink peppers are more closely related to cashew than it is to the pepper family, they have some sharp flavor that spices up meals.

They are also great substitutes for black pepper. However, if you are allergic to tree nuts, then pink peppercorn might not stand well.

6. Chili powder

chili powder

Closely related to chili flakes is chili powder. it is crushed appropriately compared to chili flakes. Chili powder is one great seasoning that is mixed with other spices like cumin and onion powder.

Chili powder is great because, unlike chili flakes, chili powder, when you add it to your meal, will disperse.

7. Harissa


This is surely no other substitute. Harissa is a hot chili pepper paste; having red chilies as one of the main ingredients, then garlic, oil, and some acid vinegar or lemon.

So unlike other spices that do great without a mixture of other spices, Harissa needs these spics to add some sharp flavor to meals.

8. Cayenne pepper

cayenne pepper

If you want some hints of hotness or heat while relishing your meal then you now have cayenne pepper. This will serve well since most pepper has cayenne pepper as their base.

Having cayenne pepper is the perfect substitute for black pepper in your recipe.

Further Tips

To get the best out of these substitutes, you should know how sharp or hot the substitutes are. Adjust the amount as you make your meal until reach your desired goal.

Read: 7 Best Substitutes For Horseradish 


In this guide, we provided you with the 8 best substitutes for black pepper. Try to add the substitutes in moderation to get the best out of it.

Although these substitutes have at least one similar feature to black and red pepper, they have a distinct feature that makes them unique. More so, one may not work for you, however, another would certainly will.

We hope you make the right choice today!