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Replacement for Sichuan Pepper

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Sichuan peppers are the dried husks of the fruit of the Chinese prickly ash tree, not peppers. They’re well-known for their mentholated, somewhat numbing effect, yet they don’t really taste hot. They are commonly served with chili peppers in Sichuan cooking because to the numbing effect. With a thorough whiff, the exquisite citrus flavor of these little husks usually transforms into a mild piney smell. Even still, the heat of the chilies that usually accompany it in a meal may often overpower its subtle aroma.

When a recipe asks for one or two ingredients that you don’t have on hand, you have two choices: put the meal on wait until you can obtain them, or come up with a creative substitute. For instance, although no other ingredient can duplicate the piney, lemony taste of Sichuan peppers, only a few can have the radiating numbing effect that a combination of coriander seeds and black pepper can.

Having real Sichuan pepper on hand is, of course, the best bet. Nonetheless, we discovered in this article that grains of paradise, Tasmanian pepper, Tellicherry peppercorns, black pepper, and coriander may be used to mimic the taste of Sichuan peppers rather than the experience.

What is Sichuan Pepper?

Sichuan pepper is made from the husks of seeds from the prickly ash shrub Zanthoxylum, which belongs to the citrus family of plants. The pinkish-red husks around the seeds are used to make Sichuan peppercorn spice, with the actual seed removed. This peppercorn is available in both whole husk and ground form. It is a fundamental ingredient of the well-known Chinese Five-Spice powder, which is used in a variety of savory Sichuan dishes.

Sichuan peppercorns, Szechuan pepper, Huajiao in Chinese, and sansho in Japanese are all names for Sichuan pepper. The hot, spicy flavor of Sichuan pepper contrasts with sweetness and sourness. It smells quite similar to lavender. This peppercorn begins with a somewhat sour flavor, followed by a numbing heat and citrus notes. It causes a strange numbing sensation in the mouth due to its unique chemical composition. While Sichuan pepper is not as hot as black peppercorns, the tingling sensation it creates on the tongue enhances the taste of other ingredients in your dish.

Sichuan Pepper Uses in Recipes

Sichuan pepper is most often used in Chinese five-spice powder, which also includes fennel, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove. It may also be found in a variety of Sichuan dishes, including Dan-Dan noodles and Szechuan Chicken, as a fragrant, mouth-numbing spice. It goes well with steak.

Sichuan pepper is used in many delectable meat, poultry, and noodle cuisines. Ground, roasted Sichuan peppercorn is used to make infused Sichuan peppercorn oil. It’s also used with salt to make a tasty Sichuan pepper salt that works well with meat dishes.

Sichuan Pepper Substitutes

Your dish will be perfectly seasoned if you utilize the right Sichuan pepper substitutes. Sichuan pepper is used in a variety of Chinese and Asian recipes. Sadly, excellent Sichuan pepper substitutes are difficult to find, and many people advise against even attempting.

Sichuan pepper, on the other hand, is notoriously difficult to get and fairly expensive. Replace it with one of the Sichuan pepper alternatives mentioned below: Among of the best Sichuan peppercorn substitutes include grain of paradise, Tasmanian pepper, Tellicherry peppercorns, black pepper, and coriander. They won’t have the same taste profile as Sichuan peppercorns, but they’ll get close.

Tasmanian Pepper

The Tasmanian pepper is only found on Tasmania’s island and is mostly found in different parts of Australia. Tasmanian pepper is neither a member of the piper nigrum family, nor is it related to Szechuan pepper. The taste of this pungent pepper is similar to that of fennel and juniper. It has the same floral and woody notes as Sichuan peppercorns.

It, like the Sichuan pepper, is an excellent spice companion for meat preparations, imparting a floral, spicy flavor. Similarly to how Szechuan pepper is used in Sichuan cuisine, Tasmanian pepper is popular in emu burgers and other Australian bush specialties. At a final concentration of 1, Szechuan peppercorns may be substituted with Tasmanian peppercorns.

Black Pepper

While black pepper is not a good alternative for Sichuan pepper, it will work in certain dishes. Fresh black peppercorns, in particular, have a high aroma and taste intensity that is similar to Sichuan pepper’s fruity and earthy flavor. Some chefs propose blending fresh black peppercorns with coriander seeds to replicate the flavor of the Szechuan pepper.

Grains of Paradise


Grains of paradise, sometimes known as Alligator pepper, is a ginger spice from Africa. It is derived from trees that grow along the West African coast and is widely used in West African and North African cuisines. Grains of paradise have a flavor similar to black pepper and cardamom, with a touch of mild citrus, making them a good substitute for Sichuan peppercorns.

Add grains of paradise to any dish that calls for Sichuan pepper. Since grains of paradise aren’t as hot as Szechuan pepper, you’ll need to use more of it to get the same level of heat. When replacing grains of paradise for Szechuan pepper, use twice the amount specified in the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What distinguishes Sichuan pepper from black pepper?

Sichuan cuisine’s famous dishes would be completed without Sichuan pepper. The Sichuan pepper does not have as much chilli heat as black peppercorns on their own, but the tongue tickle complements the tastes.

Is there a difference between Sichuan and Szechuan?

Szechuan is more abundant on the east coast than Sichuan, whereas Sichuan is more numerous on the west.

Are red peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns the same thing?

Green Sichuan peppercorns are harvested from a specific kind of prickly-ash tree. Contrary to common belief, they do not turn red when ripe. They have a stronger citrus aroma and cause more acute tongue numbness, or ma, than their red counterparts.


The hot and strong flavor of Sichuan pepper tingles and numbs the palate. This peppercorn is used in many well-known Sichuan dishes. If you don’t have Szechuan pepper, Tasmanian pepper will suffice. Tellicherry pepper and Grains of Paradise are the best Sichuan pepper substitutes.

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