18 Unique Peppercorn Types Explained

Peppercorns are one of the world's most beloved spices. They add flavor, aroma, and a dash of heat to dishes.

Peppercorn Types
A mixture of the most known peppercorns worldwide.

Though many are familiar with black, white, and green peppers, there are also many lesser-known types.

For instance, pink peppercorns are not actual peppers but the dried fruit of a South American tree. Sweet and fruity, they're often featured in desserts and cocktails.

On the other hand, peppers like the Sichuan peppercorn, which is widely used in Chinese cuisine - provide a numbing effect on the tongue and a unique citrusy taste.

Other peppers include the long pepper, popular in Indian cooking, and the Cubeb pepper, whose pungent flavor is popular in Indonesian and North African cuisines.

With so many distinct pepper types available, the potential for creating exciting dishes with delicious flavors is virtually limitless.

Types of True Peppercorns

True peppercorns come in several varieties:

  • Black peppercorn is made from dried unripe berries cooked and sun-dried.
  • White peppercorn is created using fully ripe berries that have been soaked and then washed to remove their outer skins.
  • Green peppercorns are harvested before fully ripening and preserved in brine, vinegar, or freeze-drying.
  • Pink peppercorns come from a different plant - the Peruvian pepper tree - with an indistinctly sweet and fruity taste.
True Peppercorns
True Peppercorns

Black peppercorn

Black peppers are a widely-used spice in the culinary world. These tiny black seeds grow on a flowering vine from South India and are harvested at various stages of ripeness; unripe green fruits for green peppers and fully ripened dark fruits for black peppers.

Ground into fine powder form, this pepper can be used to season various dishes, from savory to sweet.

With an intense aroma and slightly spicy warm taste, this pepper powder adds depth and flavor to meats, vegetables, and desserts - not to mention their medicinal benefits too!

As well as being popular culinary tools, black peppercorns possess medicinal properties like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.

Black peppercorns
Black peppercorn

White peppercorn

White peppercorns are a widely-used spice in various cuisines around the world.

Unlike black pepper, which retains its outer shell when dried, white peppers remove their outer layer before drying, giving off a milder and incensement flavor.

To add subtle depth, they're popularly used in French and Chinese cooking with lighter dishes such as fish, poultry, or vegetables.

Furthermore, some believe white peppers have health benefits like aiding digestion or reducing inflammation.

Easily purchased whole or ground airtight containers can keep them fresh for up to one year when stored correctly in an airtight container.

With such subtle taste and numerous culinary and medicinal applications, white pepper has become ubiquitous in kitchens worldwide.

White peppercorn
White peppercorn

Green peppercorn

Green peppercorn refers to the unripe fruits of the Piper nigrum plant and is widely used as a spice in various cuisines worldwide.

Unlike black and white peppercorns, green peppers have a milder and slightly fruitier flavor, making them popular additions to seafood, pork, poultry, and vegetable dishes.

They're often preserved in vinegar or brine to extend shelf life and add an enjoyable tang.

Furthermore, studies have suggested that these peppers contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which aid digestion and weight loss benefits - making them flavorful ingredients and beneficial additions too!

Green peppercorn
Green peppercorn

Pink peppercorn

Pink peppercorns are a beloved spice enjoyed by millions around the world.

Contrary to their name, pink peppercorns are untrue; they come from an entirely different plant family and are harvested from South American shrubs.

Their fruity and spicy flavor sets them apart from traditional black or white pepper, providing something unique in each bite.

In addition to their distinctive taste, many people appreciate pink peppers for their eye-catching color.

It adds an eye-catching pop of vibrancy when used sparingly alongside complementary flavors - This pepper type offers something unique when added to culinary creations!

When used responsibly with complementary flavors in moderation for maximum enjoyment, pink peppers can add an unexpected twist that many dishes require.

Pink peppercorns
Pink peppercorns

Types of Exotic Peppercorns

Pepper is a widely-used spice that adds an aromatic twist to dishes.

There are lots of exotic peppercorns, and they may not be widely popular, but they offer unique flavor profiles.

The exotic pepper types offer an array of flavors that can elevate any meal, making them great additions to any spice rack!

Exotic peppercorns
Exotic peppercorns

Cubeb peppercorn

Cubeb peppercorns are not your typical black pepper; they pose a refreshing flavor and aroma that's unmistakably theirs.

Native to Indonesia, these seeds have been used as a spice and medicine for centuries.

These small, round berries are slightly bigger than regular peppers and have a wrinkled appearance.

They possess an aromatic, slightly bitter taste with eucalyptus, menthol, and pine notes.

Cubeb pepper is widely used in Middle Eastern, North African, and Indonesian cuisine to add a fiery kick to dishes.

They're frequently included in marinades, rubs, and curries; they may even be employed medicinally to treat digestive issues and respiratory disorders and as an aphrodisiac.

This type of pepper makes an excellent addition to any spice collection for those looking to add unique flavor and boldness to their cooking.

Cubeb peppercorns
Cubeb peppercorns

Long Peppercorn

Long peppers are a type of spice often used in culinary dishes. Unlike their more well-known counterparts, black and white pepper, long peppers possess a unique flavor and aroma.

Long peppercorns, members of the Piperaceae family, are small cylindrical-shaped berries that grow on a flowering vine in tropical Asia.

For centuries they have been used in culinary preparations around the world.

These peppers possess a tart, spicy taste less pungent than black pepper; they often feature cinnamon, nutmeg, and other warm spices in their blends.

They're popular in spice blends, marinade rubs for meats and seafood, and Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian curries, stews, and soups.

Long peppers have long been used for culinary purposes and are believed to have medicinal properties, including relieving digestive issues and treating respiratory illnesses.

As such, this peppercorn type offers a versatile and flavorful spice that can add depth and complexity to any dish.

Long peppercorns
Long peppercorns


Allspice is an invaluable spice in any spice collection. These black kernels boast a solid and aromatic taste that blends warm, sweet, spicy, and slightly bitter.

Originating in the Caribbean and South America, allspice peppercorns have become widely used in Jamaican cuisine to give jerk seasoning its unique taste; they are also common in Middle Eastern and North African dishes like meat dishes, stews, and soups.

Allspice can easily be ground for sweet and savory dishes, making them indispensable ingredients for home chefs looking to add complexity and depth of flavor to their dishes.


Types of Peppercorn Identified by the Region

Pepper is an ingredient used in many dishes around the world.

However, different regions have their distinctive types of peppers, each offering a unique flavor profile.

For example:

  • India's Malabar black peppercorn is the most sought-after variety, while
  • Malaysia favors Sarawak white peppercorns.
  • Vietnam's Phu Quoc black peppercorn is highly praised for its robust flavor.

Each peppercorn has distinct characteristics that can add depth and complexity to any dish they use.

As such, understanding the different varieties identified by region can help elevate your cooking skills to the next level, allowing you to explore new flavors from around the globe.

Malabar black peppercorns
Malabar black peppercorns

Tellicherry peppercorn

Tellicherry peppercorns are highly sought-after by culinary connoisseurs and professional chefs around the globe.

Grown on the Malabar Coast of Kerala, India, these giant black peppers are renowned for their bold yet complex flavor.

Tellicherry peppercorns have a delight spicy aroma and sharp, lingering taste - ideal for adding zest to savory and sweet dishes.

What truly sets this type of pepper apart is its special growing conditions.

Tellicherry peppercorns are handpicked at their peak of ripeness, dried naturally, and aged for several months to develop their flavor.

Unlike regular pepper, Tellicherry peppers possess an irresistibly fruity and floral note that sets them apart - making them a favorite among food connoisseurs everywhere.

Tellicherry peppercorns
Tellicherry peppercorns

Phu Quoc peppercorn

Phu Quoc peppercorns are a type of pepper grown on the island of Phu Quoc, located off the southern shoreline of Vietnam.

These seeds are highly sought-after for their unique flavor and aroma - said to be among the finest in the world.

This type of pepper is traditionally handpicked and sun-dried to bring out its distinct characteristics.

After being packaged and sold internationally, these peppers become prized commodities with customers around the globe.

Many chefs and food enthusiasts swear by Phu Quoc peppercorns, using them to add depth and complexity to dishes from soups to marinades and rubs.

Whether you are a professional chef or a home cook, adding Phu Quoc peppers to your spice collection is essential to take your cooking to the next level.

Phu Quoc peppercorns
Phu Quoc peppercorns

Grains of Paradise peppercorn

Grains of paradise peppercorn (Aframomum melegueta) is an African spice that has become increasingly popular in Western cuisines.

With a slightly bitter-spicy flavor with notes of citrus and peppery heat, these grains make an excellent addition to sweet or savory dishes; season meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, and soups with it for seasoning.

Furthermore, Grains of Paradise peppers have medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits, making them an invaluable addition to any kitchen!

Grains of paradise peppercorns
Grains of paradise peppercorns

Sichuan peppercorn

Sichuan peppercorns are a spice native to China's Sichuan region.

These spices are not peppercorns but rather the dried husks of seeds from a citrus tree species.

With their tiny red-brown husks, Sichuan pepper possesses an aromatic flavor described as citrusy, piney, and slightly numbing or tingling.

They are widely used in Chinese cuisine - particularly Sichuanese fare, where they're popularly featured in dishes like mapo tofu or kung pao chicken.

Sichuan pepper has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and digestive properties.

Recently, however, their unique flavor and numbing sensation have gained widespread acceptance in Western cuisine; you can now find them in many specialty food stores and restaurants alike.

Sichuan peppercorns
Sichuan peppercorns

Tasmanian Peppercorn

Tasmanian peppers are a highly sought-after culinary ingredient that adds an exciting depth of flavor and aroma.

Native to Tasmania, these peppercorns come from the Tasmanian Pepperberry tree and are known for their vibrant red color and bold, spicy taste - often used as an alternative to traditional black peppercorns due to their slightly sweeter and fruitier taste.

Their versatility allows for use in many dishes, from grilled meats to salads to sauces; plus, they contain antioxidants used in traditional medicine as anti-inflammatory properties.

Overall, Tasmanian peppers make great additions to any kitchen pantry!

Tasmanian peppercorns
Tasmanian peppercorns

Poivre de Penja peppercorn

Poivre de Penja peppers are renowned for their distinct flavor profile and come from Cameroon's lush forests of the Penja valley.

Chefs and food connoisseurs worldwide appreciate its balanced combination of heat and fruity acidity.

It can be used in savory and sweet dishes, providing flavor and complexity to everything from steak and fish to chocolate desserts.

What sets Poivre de Penja peppercorns apart from other pepper varieties is its cultivation - grown in rich volcanic soil and hand harvested, producing a pepper with an exquisite flavor that balances boldness and subtlety.

Professional and home chefs alike will love adding this ingredient to their repertoire; whether they specialize in creating unique recipes or love experimenting with flavors, Poivre de Penja pepper is sure to please any palate!

Poivre de Penja peppercorns
Poivre de Penja peppercorns

Lampong peppercorn

Lampong peppercorns are black pepper native to Indonesia's island of Sumatra, known for their bold and complex flavor that includes intense heat tempered by lighter floral notes.

These peppers are commonly used in Indonesian and other Southeast Asian cuisines for their ability to impart strong yet subtle flavors to dishes.

Lampong peppercorns are valued for their culinary applications and potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Although these pepper can be costly and hard to locate outside their native region, chefs and food enthusiasts continue to embrace them as an exciting ingredient.

Lampong peppercorns
Lampong peppercorns

Muntok peppercorn

Muntok peppercorns, commonly called white pepper, are an internationally sought-after spice from Indonesia.

Cultivated and harvested by hand before sun-dried and aged for up to two years, Muntok peppers have a unique mild yet slightly earthy flavor, making them popular in Asian and Western cuisines.

Creamy sauces, mashed potatoes, or soups can add subtle yet complex notes while aiding digestion.

These peppers may have health benefits like reducing inflammation or aiding digestion - making Muntok peppercorns a staple ingredient in kitchens worldwide!

Muntok peppercorns
Muntok peppercorns

Wynad Peppercorn

Wynad Peppercorns are highly valued for their exquisite flavor and aroma in the culinary world.

Due to its high altitude and humid climate, these peppers thrive in the Wynad region of Kerala, India.

Wynad peppers have a distinct malty flavor with just enough sweetness and an inconspicuous aroma that sets them apart from regular black pepper.

Highly fragrant and spicy yet not overwhelming, this spice has become widely used in Indian dishes due to its subtle yet potent aroma.

These peppers are grown without harmful chemicals, making them natural and healthy.

Due to their distinctive flavor and health benefits, they're often used in natural medicine for their antibacterial properties.

Furthermore, Wynad peppers contain plenty of antioxidants and aid digestion - making them a delicious and beneficial addition to any dish - whether prepared by an expert chef or at home.

Overall, Wynad peppers make for delicious dining, whether you're a professional chef or a home cook!

Wynad Peppercorns
Wynad Peppercorns

Sarawak peppercorn

Sarawak peppercorns are highly sought-after members of the spice family, boasting a delicate and potent flavor profile.

This spice is grown only on Borneo Island in the Sarawak region of Malaysia, renowned for its rich earthy aroma and mild heat.

As a result, culinary enthusiasts worldwide are enthusiastic about using spices in dishes ranging from Indian curries and Thai cuisine to French delicacies.

These peppers are renowned for their superior quality and flavor, attributed to the region's fertile soil, warm climate, and ideal growing conditions.

In addition, these peppers are renowned for their consistently delicious flavor profile, making them a must-have ingredient in professional chefs' and home cooks' kitchens.

Whether used as an ingredient in cooking or as a finishing touch to dishes, Sarawak peppers make an impressive addition to any pantry.

Sarawak peppercorn
Sarawak peppercorn

Malabar Peppercorn

Malabar peppercorns are one of the world's most beloved spices, hailing from India's Malabar Coast, and have been used in cuisines for over 4,000 years. Their flavor profile is robust and smooth, with just a hint of sweetness.

Malabar peppers come in various varieties, including black, white, and green, offering distinct aromas and tastes.

These peppers are used as a spice and possess numerous health benefits due to their high antioxidant content.

These peppers are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals to support your immune system, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation.

Professional chefs and home cooks alike will find Malabar pepper an invaluable addition to their spice repertoire.

Malabar peppercorn
Malabar peppercorn


Pepper offers many of flavors to dishes.

For example, each has its distinct profile, from bold and smoky Tellicherry pepper to sweet and floral Sarawak peppers.

Experiment with different types of pepper to find which ones best suit your palate; they can be used whole, ground, or cracked, depending on their form.

It is essential to store the peppers correctly for optimal freshness and flavor preservation.

With unique peppers added to your spice collection, you can elevate dishes while creating new flavor combinations that will wow your palate!

Unlimited Recipes
Unlimited Recipes

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