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Types of Pepper

Updated on June 3, 2010
Green pepper (top), cayenne pepper, and white pepper (lower right)
Green pepper (top), cayenne pepper, and white pepper (lower right)

Pepper is a common spice, but not many people are familiar with the many varieties of pepper. This is a guide to show the pepper types that are commonly used. The "true peppers," black, white, and green pepper, are from the same plant, but I am including other spices that are used as and often considered to be pepper.

Black peppercorns
Black peppercorns

Black Pepper

From small packets handed out with fast food to large pepper grinders at the finest restaurants, black pepper is everywhere. The black peppercorns are used whole, cracked, or ground to varying degrees of fineness. Ground pepper is most commonly used in recipes. Cracked pepper is most often used on salads or to season meat. Whole peppercorns are not used very often except in pickling recipes.

Ground black pepper
Ground black pepper
White peppercorns
White peppercorns

White Pepper

White pepper is derived from peppercorns that have been soaked and stripped of their outer layer. Because white pepper and black pepper often come from the same peppercorns, the taste is similar. White pepper may be used for aesthetic purposes when someone does not what black specks of pepper on a particular food such as a white sauce. Ground white pepper typically is available in small containers.

Green peppercorns
Green peppercorns

Green Pepper

Green peppercorns are peppercorns that have been harvested from the Piperaceae vine (pepper plant) before they are ripe. The taste of green pepper is described as being milder than black pepper. Some people think green pepper tastes slightly like cloves. Green pepper can be used instead of black pepper for a slightly different flavor.

Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Unlike the other common types of pepper, cayenne pepper comes from the capsicum pepper. Cayenne pepper, also called red pepper, is hot like the chili peppers from which it is derived. When cooking with cayenne pepper, small amounts should be added at a time as too much will make the dish hotter and spicier than what might be wanted.

Pink peppercorns
Pink peppercorns

Pink Peppercorns

Like the cayenne pepper, pink pepper does not come from the Piperaceae vine. Pink peppercorns are the dried berries of a Brazilian rose called the Baies rose. Pink pepper is more common in French and Thai cuisine than American. The importation of pink peppercorns was once blocked by the FDA due to the risk of allergic reactions. People who choose to use pink peppercorns should do so in moderation.

Sichuan pepper
Sichuan pepper

Sichuan Pepper

Also not a true pepper, Sichuan (Szechwan) pepper comes from the outer shell of a small Asian fruit. This spice is said to have a lemony taste and cause a tingling or numbing sensation of the mouth. Like the pink peppercorns, Sichuan pepper has a history of being banned by the FDA, however the ban was because the Sichuan pepper was contaminated with a citrus canker virus.


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    • CheapInMadrid profile image

      CheapInMadrid 7 years ago from Madrid,Spain

      I like the focus.Definitely stands out!

    • Sheila Wilson profile image

      Sheila Wilson 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you, everyone! I appreciate your feedback.

    • abidareacode profile image

      abidareacode 7 years ago from Areacode , Kerala, India

      It was a nice presentation.Thanks for these varieties introduction.I am from the land of spices especially pepper, but was not familiar most of this.Thanks again.

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Congratulations. Truly informative & excellent pics.

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 7 years ago from USA

      Really nice hub and Congrats on the win!

    • nadp profile image

      nadp 7 years ago from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

      Great hub - I'm going to bookmark it and refer to it for cooking.

    • Vibhavari profile image

      Vibhavari 7 years ago from India


      Very informative hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • sylvia13 profile image

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 7 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      What an informative hub and very well done too! Congratulations!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      indeed hot pepper !

    • Sheila Wilson profile image

      Sheila Wilson 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you! And Pearldiver, you're hilarious!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Wow, I'm familiar with peppercorns, however did not know that they came in the colors of green and pink. Nice hub, congrats on your win! :)

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Nice Hub that had me sneezing throughout - marked this as useful because with the right balance of salt, I could use it on a tomato sandwhich easily. So there is a winning hub... Good enough to eat! Well done. Thanks for sharing.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      Good stuff, direct, informative and useful! Visually it is perfect. Congrats on the win. Look forward to further reads.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Great job, Sheila - congrats on the win!

    • Sheila Wilson profile image

      Sheila Wilson 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you very much, liswilliams and Michael. I'm absolutely a fan of pepper. It was a pleasure to write.

    • Michael Jay profile image

      Michael Jay 7 years ago

      Great hub, Sheila! Congratulations. Good information with great pictures. --Michael Jay

    • liswilliams profile image

      liswilliams 7 years ago from South Africa

      Terrific Hub, Informative, to the point, like your pictures, well done on the win!