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Many classic recipes for chicken stock call for white peppercorns (which are just skinned black peppercorns).

I'm looking to trim my pantry list a bit and white peppercorns seem unnecessary, given that black will probably do the trick, and I always have those on hand.

Does anyone have first-hand experience with a stock made with white vs. black peppercorns?

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White peppercorns aren't "just skinned black peppercorns". The process is different, which results in a different flavour. –  Mien Feb 8 '12 at 0:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

White peppercorns are used purely for aesthetic reasons- just to avoid black specs in a pale dish.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, white peppercorns taste absolutely terrible. They have a sour, astringent, flavor not at all similar to black peppercorns.

I don't think black pepper looks objectionable so I always use it.

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You could probably get away without having white peppercorns. There is a slight difference in flavor, but the reasons for white over black pepper tend to be more aesthetic. Just use a little less in black pepper than what the recipe calls for in white. I doubt you'll notice any difference.

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