Difference between White and Black Pepper

White and black peppers are fruits of the same pepper plant. Both white and black peppers are used for seasoning or spices to add flavor to a meal. Knowing the difference between these two types of pepper is a great way to improve the preparation of dishes that have them in their recipes, as well adding some extra flavor to your usual meals.


White pepper vs Black pepper
Bangka White Pepper

White pepper is a pungent condiment processed from the fruits of the pepper plant after the black husks have been removed, leaving the white seed. White pepper is much hotter than black pepper though it has fewer flavor varieties.

Black Pepper
Black Pepper Grains

Black pepper is made from the berries of a pepper plant which have been picked when almost ripe. They are then dried in the sun before processing. The fruits are usually green or red during picking; after drying, they turn black and hence the name black pepper.

Comparison Chart

White pepper Black  pepper
White in color Black in color
Tastes hotter than black pepper Tastes less hot than white pepper
Less complex with fewer flavors More complex with more flavors
Made from the internal white seed of a pepper plant berry Made from dried whole pepper plant berries

White pepper vs Black pepper

What is the difference between white and black pepper? We can differentiate between them by their colors, their hotness in taste, their uses and flavors.

  • White pepper is white in color as the name suggests. The white color is the result of removing the black outer skin from the fruit, leaving the white inner part of the seed. After harvesting, the skin can be removed before or after drying to obtain the white pepper. The fruits are red when ripe and green when mature and ready for harvest. Whenever  the fruits are harvested, they always turn black after being dried. Black pepper, on the other hand, is the dried pepper fruit.
  • White pepper is much hotter than black pepper since the skin has been removed, and it is the most preferred. Black pepper is not as hot as white pepper, hence more of it is often needed to spice up a meal.
  • White pepper has fewer flavors and loses its freshness faster than black pepper. White pepper is used in light-colored dishes for aesthetic purposes. The flavor and scent from black pepper stays for a long time without going stale. Black pepper has more variety of flavors than white pepper.


Here is a short video that shows the difference between white and black pepper: