What’s A Good Long Pepper Substitute?

Long pepper, native to India, may have been the first pepper ever to show up in Europe. While it fell out of favor a few centuries ago, it has made a resurgence in the modern era. It offers a deep and complex flavor that makes it as versatile as regular black pepper. The problem is that it is not especially easy to find. If you need of this spice and have none at hand, try one of the long pepper substitutes below.

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03/25/2024 05:57 am GMT

Table of Contents

Your best bet: Tellicherry peppercorns

Tellicherry peppercorns are the largest, ripest, and most flavorful of the peppercorns from Malabar. They are considered to be the best peppercorns and are used in dishes where the peppercorn flavor is supposed to be at the forefront of the overall flavor profile. Tellicherry peppercorns are in high demand because of their intense, deep flavor profile. The pine and citrus notes that come from tellicherry pepper make it a great substitute for long pepper in terms of flavor.

Long pepper has a similar sweetness and has floral notes along with sweet spice notes. These two peppers also have a similar bite that comes from the piperine each contains. Though, tellicherry peppercorns do not have the same appearance as long peppers when they are whole. They are round, while long peppers have an elongated conical shape. However, both spices are usually added to food in powdered form, and there is, of course, little difference between the peppers once they are ground.

Use ground tellicherry peppercorns as a 1:1 substitute for ground long pepper.

A decent second choice: Grains of paradise

The grains of paradise spice is also known as alligator pepper. In addition to several similarities to long pepper, grains of paradise are notable for having a similar history in Europe. Both spices originated from other parts of the world, became immensely popular in Europe, and were then replaced by black pepper and chili pepper.

They work as substitutes for each other because of the similar flavor profiles. Like long pepper, the spice known as grains of paradise is fragrant and packs a complex heat. The flavor and aroma notes and floral, nutty with a strong citrus presence. In other words, it’s exactly the qualities that you would want from long pepper.

Use grains of paradise as a 1:1 substitute for long pepper.

In a pinch: White peppercorns

White peppercorns are the same fruit (called a drupe) from the same plant as black peppercorns. The difference in appearance and taste has to do with how they are processed and the point at which they are harvested. White peppercorns have their outer skin removed during processing, which leaves the inner lighter-colored seed. The skin is what turns black when the peppers are dried, giving black pepper their color.

White peppercorns are harvested later than black peppercorns, which means that they are riper and have a similar flavor complexity to that of long pepper. They have a similar earthy savoriness. Removal of the outer skin causes some of the peppercorn’s piperine to be lost, which mean that white pepper is not as hot as black pepper, nor as pungent. This relative mildness is another way that it is similar to long pepper.

Ground white pepper does not resemble ground long pepper, but this is not likely to be a problem in most applications.

Use white pepper as a 1:1 substitute for long pepper.

Other alternatives

One of the reasons that long pepper fell out of favor in Europe was the arrival of hot peppers from the New World. A chili like cayenne pepper can provide more heat than long pepper and work in most recipes that include long pepper as an ingredient.