8 Best Szechuan Peppercorn Substitutes For You

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Are you someone who loves a kick of extra spiciness in your food? If you are, you should know that Szechuan peppercorn is for you. But you must know how to recreate Szechuan peppercorn’s taste. In today’s article, we will discuss the best Szechuan peppercorn substitutes.


Szechuan peppercorn is also known as Sichuan pepper, a common ingredient in Chinese cuisines. Many Chinese cuisines demand this spice; however, we might not have it all the time. In such a situation, look for Szechuan peppercorn substitutes.

I can’t think of any good substitute, well I’ve found some for you. Tellicherry peppercorn, black peppercorn, Tasmania peppercorn, juniper, sumac, and coriander are some of the best Szechuan peppercorn substitutes.

Even though Szechuan is a word we regularly use, Szechuan peppercorn might be new to some of my readers. Therefore before moving deep into its substitutes, let’s read about the Szechuan peppercorn itself. 

Quick Peek: Szechuan Peppercorn


Szechuan peppercorn is neither related to a peppercorn nor is it related to bell pepper; then what exactly is it? This section has everything you need to know about Szechuan peppercorn.

What Are Szechuan Peppercorns?

Szechuan peppercorn is produced from the husk of a seed belonging to the prickly ash shrub. It is red and used as a whole and in powdered form. It is one of the spices used in Chinese “five spices” powder.

This peppercorn is native to China and Taiwan. Therefore it is also called Sichuan peppercorn. There are two types of Szechuan peppercorn -red and green.

Often green Szechuan peppercorn is confused as a young version of the red Szechuan peppercorn. However, these two are two varieties and hold slightly different taste profiles.

Describing Szechuan Peppercorns: Flavor And Texture

Szechuan peppercorn has a citrusy aroma with a pine undertone. Szechuan peppercorn induces a tingling numbness in the mouth. This, in a way, spices up the flavor of the dish we are eating.  

Szechuan peppercorn is the husk of a berry. It doesn’t contain any heat of its own. However, they are often combined with chili, and the tingling effect of Szechuan peppercorn elevates the spice of the dish.

People often complain and compare Szechuan peppercorn powder to that sand. This happens because they grind the husk and berry of the plant together.

Even though Szechuan peppercorn has pepper in its name, it’s not related to peppercorn in any way. Therefore care should be taken to remove the husk from the berry before grinding it to get the perfect flavor.

Uses Of Szechuan Peppercorn 

As we can conclude from its name, Sichuan pepper is an important ingredient in most Chinese cuisine. When combined with chili, it produces a numbing effect called “Mala.”

Szechuan peppercorns are a common ingredient in tofus and noodles. They can either be used in whole or as a powder. It is often roasted to mute the numbing effect and increase its aroma when powdered.

Szechuan Peppercorn On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Szechuan peppercorns are extremely healthy and rich in nutrients. It has been in medicinal use for a very long time. In the earlier days, it was used to cure toothaches as it will numb the place where pain occurs.

Other than this, Szechuan peppercorns have many other health benefits. Szechuan peppercorns contain many important minerals and vitamins like potassium, iron, copper, and zinc.

It is also said to improve immunity as well as relieve pain. Since Szechuan peppercorns contain a good amount of iron, it helps in hemoglobin production and fights anemia.

Enriched with the presence of phosphorus and manganese, Szechuan peppercorns help in building a good tooth as well as bone health. Szechuan peppercorns are also great for gaining appetite.

Why Use A Substitute For Szechuan peppercorns?

After reading about the benefits of Szechuan peppercorns, you’re probably wondering why you should use a substitute. I have a few reasons why you should use a substitute for this useful component.

The first and most important consideration is its accessibility. Even though it’s a fantastic component, you might not be able to get it in your local supermarkets. However, if your dish calls for it, you can just substitute Szechuan peppercorns!

Szechuan peppercorns are also hot and numbing in flavor. Even if most people enjoy it, some people cannot cope. You can use a less spicy replacement if you are one of these people.

Finally, why go to the store when you already have an alternative in your pantry? You may save a lot of time, effort, and money by using an excellent Szechuan peppercorns substitute.

I think I’ve convinced you to try Szechuan peppercorns as an alternative. Let’s get to the substance of this article: the best Szechuan peppercorn substitutes!

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

8 Best Szechuan Peppercorns Substitutes

This section has all the substitutes you can use in place of Szechuan peppercorn. Moreover, there is also information on how you can use each substitute. So, let’s get started. 

1. Tasmanian Pepper 


Tasmania pepper is a berry that is usually grown in Australia. It has a spicy flavor with a sweet undertone and can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

Tasmanian pepper is black and has a flavor similar to juniper berries. It can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute in soups, stews, and curries.

Tasmanian pepper imparts a spicy, fruity flavor to the dish when used as a substitute. However, it can not replace the tingling feel of Szechuan peppercorn. It can be used in the standard 1:1 ratio.

2. Grain Of Paradise

Grain of Paradise

Grain of paradise is an extremely aromatic herb with a mixed smell of cardamom, ginger, and citrus. It is mildly spicy, carries a little heat, and can be used as a  Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

The grain of paradise works really well in most of the savory dishes. It blends well with other spices and enhances the taste of the dish. Moreover, its heat lingers in one mouth for some time, similar to Szechuan peppercorn. When used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute, you can follow the standard 1:1 ratio.

3. Tellicherry Peppercorn

Tellicherry pepper

Tellicherry peppercorns are larger and have a great aroma than the normal black pepper. It has a mild heat and hence can be used as a  Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

Tellicherry peppercorns have a mild aroma and spicy-sweet fruity flavor. It has a citrusy orangy note and makes it perfect for salads, stews, or as a meat rub. But it won’t have the lingering heat similar to Szechuan peppercorn.

However, when used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute, you can replace one teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorn with one teaspoon of tellicherry peppercorn.

4. Coriander Seeds

Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds have an extremely fresh mouthfeel to them. When it comes to flavor, it has a mild spiciness to it with a touch of citrus flavor. Hence coriander seeds can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

Even though coriander seeds have a different flavor, when used in dishes with other spices, it reminds us of the Szechuan peppercorn flavor. Therefore it can be a good Szechuan peppercorn in stews and curries.

5. Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Lemon pepper seasoning

Lemon pepper seasoning comprises lemon zest, salt, and pepper. It has a mild spicy flavor with a hint of tanginess. Its taste lingers in our mouth just like  Szechuan peppercorn and hence can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

Lemon pepper can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute in stews and meat rubs. However, it might have an underlying bitter taste which could hamper the overall taste of your dish.

Therefore when using as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute, start using a small amount and then adjust the amount according to your taste preference.

6. Sansho Powder

Sansho powder

Sansho powder has a spicy flavor with a hint of tanginess. It leaves a similar numbing sensation and can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

It is a spice widely used in Japan and Japanese cuisines. It is light brown and can be used in sauces, stews, and marinades. When used as a  Szechuan peppercorn substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.

7. Szechuan Pepper Oil

Szechuan pepper oil

 Szechuan pepper oil is infused with Szechuan peppercorn and has a similar spicy, citrusy flavor. Hence this is one of the best Szechuan peppercorn substitutes you can use.

Szechuan pepper oil creates a similar mala or numbness in the mouth and can be used in all dishes which demand Szechuan peppercorn. However, the oil has a high concentration of Szechuan peppercorn. Therefore when used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute, start by using only a small amount.

8. Japanese Seven Spice Seasoning

Japanese seven spice blend

  Japanese seven-spice seasoning comprises chili, sesame, orange zest, Szechuan peppercorn, and many other spices. It has a spicy flavor with a bit of citrusy flavor and can be used as a Szechuan peppercorn substitute.

In Japan, it is commonly known as Shichimi togarashi and is widely used in different Japanese cuisines as a garnish and primary ingredient. When used as a Szechuan peppercorn, it imparts an amazing flavor to the dish.

A Short Recap For Best Szechuan Peppercorn Substitutes

That was an extensive read on Szechuan peppercorn and their substitutes. The following points will make things easy for you to remember about butter and its substitutes:

Best Szechuan peppercorn Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor and Texture-

  1. Szechuan pepper oil

Best Szechuan peppercorn Substitutes That Are Easily Available-

  1. Lemon Zest
  2. Sansho Powder

Szechuan Peppercorn Substitutes Should Be Least Considered-

  1. Coriander seeds

How To Substitute Szechuan Peppercorn In Recipes


Szechuan Peppercorn Substitutes

Szechuan peppercorn is also known as Sichuan pepper. Many Chinese cuisines demands this spice. However, if you don't have any with you, try some good substitutes
5 from 2 votes


  • Tasmanian Pepper
  • Grain of Paradise
  • Tellicherry Peppercorn
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Sansho Powder
  • Szechuan Pepper Oil
  • Japanese Seven Spice Seasoning


  • Read about all the substitutes mentioned above.
  • Choose the substitutes that suits the best.
  • Replace fresh ginger with this substitute in the recipe and make sure you use the substitute in required amount.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Thoughts

As we are at the end of the article, I hope you have found the perfect Szechuan peppercorn substitute for your dish. However, I must say that none of this could bring the exact Szechuan peppercorn flavor.

But that shouldn’t be a reason to stop you from making your favorite dish. These are some of our inputs; if you find any better Szechuan peppercorn substitute, do let us know in the comment section.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Sichuan pepper and black pepper?

Szechuan peppercorns are obtained from the husk of the prickly ash plant whereas black pepper is taken from the vine of the black pepper plant. Moreover, their taste also varies.

What does Szechuan pepper taste like?

Szechuan pepper has a mild spicy taste with a hint of lemony flavor. It also leaves a tingly numbness on the tongue.

Is Sichuan pepper the same as normal pepper?

No, Szechuan pepper is a husk of berry and is entirely different from peppercorns.

What spice makes your tongue numb?

Szechuan peppercorn makes your tongue feel numb and this phenomenon is called mala.

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