What is the difference between the use off white pepper opposed to black? And when is it necessary to use either one?

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8 Comments

Uncle J. November 5, 2014
There's the old Cajun cooking saying "Black pepper is for the taste, white for the heat, and red for the bite." It takes all three to make a proper cajun dish. ;^)
 
QueenSashy November 5, 2014
When white pepper is fresh and of good quality, there is a wonderful floral, almost perfumy note to it, and I like to use it in dishes where I want to highlight these qualities.
 
Lindsay-Jean H. November 5, 2014
You might also want to check out our All About Pepper article: https://food52.com/blog/3625-all-about-pepper
 
boulangere November 4, 2014
I was surprised several years ago to learn that white pepper and black pepper have the same point of origin: the black peppercorn. Look at ground black pepper; you'll see flecks of white in it. White pepper is simply much more finely ground, hence its being perceived as being of a more intense, louder flavor than ground black pepper. When to use it? I use it in mashed potatoes, and in any dairy-based sauces.
 
Maedl November 5, 2014
White pepper is made from the black peppercorn, but the black, outer layer is removed--you can buy whole white peppercorns. The black layer also contains additional flavors, so the white peppercorn is a bit more "monochromatic" tastewise.
 
ChezHenry November 4, 2014
The color of your food or sauce. The tenets of classic French cooking focus on the color of the sauce as well as the taste profiles halfpint so nicely summarized. Specks of black pepper in your bechamel is a no-no, in a hollandase, etc. Bring out the white pepper.
 

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HalfPint November 4, 2014
It has been described that the distinction between white and black pepper is earthiness. White pepper is often more earthy (more robust) than black pepper.

When to use one rather than the other? It will depend on personal preference. You tend to see white pepper in Asian dishes (e.g. Chinese, Indian, Thai). I don't think they are interchangeable. They have different flavor profiles, so it will depend on which you prefer. Personally, I find the flavor and aroma of white pepper to be stronger than black pepper, often 'hotter'. If you choose to white pepper, start with a small amount. It can quickly overwhelm other flavors in a dish.
 
bigpan November 4, 2014
To me, black is more "peppery" whereas white is a bit mild. Mind you it also might be the source country of each and age.
Specifically I use white pepper in white sauces so it does not look like mouse droppings in the sauce.
 
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