We wouldn’t have so many different names, types of cuisines, and this much enjoyment when eating food without seasoning and sauces. Essential seasonings for almost every meal are pepper and salt. Black pepper is a ubiquitous presence in kitchens, on tables and counters, and in restaurants.
People love that earthy flavor with a touch of spice. Black pepper isn’t as simple as those little round peppercorns – there are actually different types, with Tellicherry peppercorns being one of the best! All authentic black peppercorns are harvested from piper nigrum, a plant native to India.
Who knew that those little black specks have such a rich history? We are glad that pepper became heavily traded centuries ago and integrated its way into our daily recipes of today. Let’s take a look at all the different types of pepper and the best ones to use in your next dish.
View The Best Black Pepper Below
1. The Spice Lab Tellicherry Whole Black Peppercorns
They are referred to as “black gold” because they Tellicherry Pepperforns are known the be the highest-grade premium choice of pepper. These blackpepper corns are all-natural, kosher, gluten-free, and non-GMO – safe for anyone with any dietary habits to enjoy. They are left on the vine for longer, giving them a chance to grow larger. They are then harvested for consumers to savor that rich taste accented with citrus and floral notes. They work well with most dishes, specializing in bringing out the flavors of beef and pork roasts.
+ Premium quality
+ Works well with most dishes
+ Amazing taste
Why We Like It – Tellicherry peppercorns come from careful harvesting and enhance the aroma and flavor of every dish.
2. McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
These black peppercorns are already ground up and ready to use. McCormick has been in the business for over 125 years and knows what we love on our food. The rich flavors and aroma that permeate our kitchens are extracted from a variety of their products, especially their ground black pepper. McCormick ground dark peppers are hand-harvested to preserve the flavor and non-GMO.
+ Trusted brand
+ Hand-harvested for extra flavor
+ Rich aroma and flavor
Why We Like It – McCormick knows seasoning having been in the game for over 125 years, and their regular black pepper has always enhanced every dish it is added to.
3. Watkins Pure Ground Black Pepper
This gourmet black pepper was ground from premium black peppercorns with Watkins’ selective grinding process that not only preserves the flavor but is revolutionary to change the taste of each dish. These best peppercorns were crafted in the states in an all-natural process that makes this black pepper non-GMO and gluten-free. The pure ground black pepper is an essential staple in your kitchen and on your dinner table.
+ In operation since the late 1800s
+ Non-GMO and gluten-free
+ Made from premium black peppercorns
Why We Like It – All-natural, non-GMO and gluten-free, this is among the healthiest of options for regular black pepper.
4. Happy Belly Tellicherry Black Pepper
If you prefer to do your own grinding or sizzle and roast with whole Tellicherry peppercorns, you can grab 16 ounces of good and trusted seasoning from Happy Belly. Each peppercorn is large with mouth-watering flavor that is great for any cuisine. The packaged Tellicherry peppercorn can be added to any grinder for that freshly ground taste. Tellicherry pepper is known to be the best and usually the most expensive. However, Happy Belly offers them at an affordable price without compromising the quality.
+ Larger peppercorns
+ Aromatic flavor
+ Affordable price
+ High quality
Why We Like It – As said, Tellicherry peppercorns are known to be pricey, but Happy Belly makes sure that pepper lovers can all enjoy the taste at an affordable price.
5. Soeos Organic Black Peppercorns
Tellicherry peppercorns and regular pepper vary in flavor and aroma. However, not everyone wants an overpowering seasoning, and regular black pepper is enough. These black peppercorns have a robust flavor that is obvious yet subtle, with hints of fruity fragrance.
These fresh peppercorns are fresh and packed n a resealable bags and are easy for you to refill into a grinder. The product offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. That is how confident the manufacture is in the quality of their black pepper.
+ Unique flavor
+ 100% satisfaction guarantee
+ Packed in resealable bags
Why We Like It – Only the best peppercorns can be found in each package backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
6. Viva Doria Whole Black Pepper
Harvested from Malabar peppercorns from India, you can expect to be met with outstanding flavor that elevates the taste of your meat. Each whole black peppercorn can add a good amount of spice to each dish without overpowering the natural taste. Malabar peppercorns and regular black peppercorns do not vary too much other than the slightly more aromatic flavors. Each package of Doria Whole black pepper is packed in the USA.
+ Good quality
+ Delicious flavors
+ Accentuates every dish
Why We Like It – Hand-harvested in India to preserve the taste, each bag is then carefully packed in the USA.
7. Castle Foods WHOLE BLACK PEPPERCORN
Another Tellicherry pepper option, Castle Foods, works with the best local farmers to make sure you only get the best non-GMO products. What really earned them bonus points is their sustainable production and operation. They make sure that their various peppercorn products do not come at the detriment of the environment. Whether they are used whole, crushed or ground, the Tellicherry peppercorns offered by Castle Foods will add a unique flavor that dances across your tongue.
+ Sustainable operation and production
+ Can be crushed or ground
+ Sourced from the top spice farms
Why We Like It – We love how Castle Foods not only prides itself on delivering great taste but also takes care of the environment.
8. Blue Lily Organics Tellicherry Black Peppercorns
Originating from the Malabar Coast, this black pepper is procured from the top of the line. The balanced flavors are sweet and fruity with a bit of spice – its own natural and distinct flavor. The black pepper gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and USDA certified to be organic. Black pepper is known to have a myriad of health benefits, including antibacterial properties and digestion support. Now you can treat your palate and stay healthy.
+ Health benefits
+ Straight from the Malabar Coast
+ Unique and distinct flavor
+ Pure and organic
Why We Like It – It’s an organic choice that has USDA certification, plus it doesn’t contain any artificial and unhealthy ingredients.
9. Melina’s Peppercorns
Here we have a peppercorn mix option for those who enjoy a congregation of different flavors. Inside, you can spot white, black, green, and pink peppercorns that can fit into any grinder. This rainbow pepper blend is highly aromatic and a tad spicier than other mixes but still milder than premium Tellicherry pepper.
+ A rainbow of distinct flavors
+ Can be refilled into a grinder
+ Very aromatic
+ More spice
Why We Like It – Sometimes our palate likes to be treated to more than just a regular black pepper taste, and this is a great way to stimulate those tastebuds.
10. McCormick Culinary Coarse Grind Black Pepper
For those looking for a more earthy and woody flavor, McCormick dazzles us again with a course ground black pepper option. The black pepper is kosher without MSG and sourced from the top spice farms in over 40 countries. McCormick also follows the philosophy of sustainable operation. They aim to reduce their water usage, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and more.
+ Kosher with no MSG
+ Rich and woody flavor
+ Sourced from the premium spice farms
+ Sustainable operation
Why We Like It – McCormick’s is a ubiquitous brand seen in grocery stores, supermarkets, high-end restaurants, and diners. Their “green” production practices do not hinder the quality of their products.
Black Peppers Buyer’s Guide
Peppercorns come in many colors and sizes, but is there really a “top” one? They all come from piper nigrum, a plant (or vine to be exact) that originates from India. Some black pepper products are higher priced than others while some come in boatloads at half the price. Is there a reason for this, and how is quality measured when it comes to something so minuscule?
We all know that the food we eat can provide us with nutrition our bodies require and a slew of health benefits (if we pick the right ones). However, no one really gives spices and seasoning a second thought. It’s almost a novel idea to most that seasoning, such as black pepper, can also offer health benefits. As mentioned, black pepper has antibacterial properties as well as antioxidants that boost your immune system.
When spicy, the black pepper can also increase your metabolism, which can help with weight loss. Not only that, but minerals such as copper, calcium, and iron can also be found in the makeup of these peppercorns as well as vitamins.
Those with digestive issues would also benefit from the addition of black peppercorns in their diet. Now that you know these little flecks are more than just an afterthought to your favorite dish, it’s time to get out your grinder and fill it up to the top.
Black or Rainbow?
Do you want straight black or various peppercorns? Pepper comes in a variety of other colors, including reddish pink, white, green, and more. Black and white peppers are the most common, and they come from berries that are mostly to completely ripe. There isn’t really much of a difference to them other than the white one means the outer shell hasn’t been removed. A white peppercorn with its shell still intact is what we know as black peppercorns.
Something as small and seemingly insignificant, like the outer shell of these small granules, can affect the taste. This is why, for the people who aren’t pepper aficionados, black and white pepper taste different.
Green peppers are harvested when the berries are not ripe and therefore have a less potent taste and have less heat. Green peppers also don’t preserve that well even in its dried form, so it’s better to purchase them in smaller quantities. Green peppers are more often used in Thai and French food.
The red-colored peppers should be called different names, so they don’t get confused with “red chili peppers,” which are sometimes just referred to as red peppers. You might have noticed that all of these colorful granules basically originate from the same plant and are only the berries at different stages. The red ones remind us of holly berries but smaller, are less commonly seen than the other colors.
The red color signifies the berries are completely ripe. You might wonder what the difference is between the red and dark pepper because we mentioned that they are from ripe berries as well. The difference is the darker noir version is basically the red berries, but then they have dehydrated and dried. The pink peppers you see sometimes are from a completely different plant.
When you purchase rainbow pepper that contains all the colors, you will have a nice assorted blend of all the berries at different life stages, giving you a delicate balance of all flavors.
What are Tellicherry peppercorns, you ask? It’s understandable for beginners not to understand just what they are. They are a pepper named after a town on the Malabar Coast of India. They are the gold standard of pepper (like a Ferraris and Rolls Royces in the car world) and are the preferred options for professional chefs and Michelin restaurants.
They also come from the same plant as the regular colored peppers we just mentioned, with the difference being they were left alone to ripen for longer. This gives them the chance to grow to their full capacity. An excellent way to identify a Tellicherry pepper (aside from reading the label) is to look at its size. As mentioned, they larger than regular peppercorns. So 4.25 mm and larger peppercorn sizes are called Tellicherry peppercorns.
Even though the peppercorns are not something you will ingest in significant quantities (also though it does add up over time), you need to be sure that what you are consuming is safe. That was our number one priority when distinguishing the good from the bad when we compiled our list. Aside from the aroma, you only want top-quality ingredients. Peppercorns, regardless of the color, should be non-GMO, natural, organic, and maybe even kosher.
It could be hard to find one that is all of these, but if you purchase high-quality peppercorns, the aroma alone will be superior. This will help you be 100% sure you are getting a good product.
It doesn’t just stop here, varieties of peppers originate from different regions around the globe. Indian peppercorns are thought to be top-notch. Brazilian ones are great, and Vietnamese ones are considered to be good too. It really is hard to define the greatest one, but it can be fun to do a taste test with all different kinds of peppercorns just to find the one you like.
Did You Know?
Did you know that peppercorns (mostly the darkest version) are the most traded spice in the world? Ever since 100 A.D., dark peppercorns (grounded, crushed, or whole) have become an indispensable part of our diet.
Dark pepper can not only transform a dish, but it can also be part of a home remedy to alleviate cold symptoms. Crushed pepper mixed in with a teaspoon of honey can soothe sore throats and suppress that itch in your throat when you feel like coughing. There is also word going around that pepper is a functional additive for your next load of laundry!