Is Pepper A Spice, Herb, Or Vegetable? [See The Answer]

Pepper is a naturally-occuring plant with over 50,000 species spread across the world. You’ll find it on chicken salad, wraps, and sandwiches and it is a go-to in many cuisines.

Want to know if pepper is a spice? You’re in the right place.

This guide explains the various state of pepper–fresh, dried, or ground and whether or not it’s a spice, herb or vegetable.

Read on to find out.

Is pepper a spice or seasoning?

Yes, it is a spice. Although pepper is not a seasoning, you can you it to season your beef, chicken or meals before, during or after cooking.

For instance, when you dry and grind your pepper, it becomes a spice that gives your meal its flavor. If you also want to use it in its fresh peppercorn state, it can be the perfect seasoning for your meals.

Is pepper a spice or fruit?

It’s both. It comes from the pepper plant, which is a member of the nightshade family. The plant produces berries that are dried and used as a spice.

Black pepper, white pepper, and green pepper are all made from the same plant, but they differ in taste and appearance because of how they are processed. 

Is pepper a herb?

No, but the pepper leaf is a herb. This is because a herb is a plant whose leaves are added while cooking or reserved for making medicine. Pepper is a perennial herb or shrub and you can cook with green pepper leaves.

SEE: These Peppers Are Good Alternatives for Green Chili

Is crushed red pepper a spice?

Yes, crushed red pepper is a spice. It is made from dried red chili peppers that have been crushed into small pieces. It has a fiery, pungent flavor that can add heat and zest to many different dishes.

Also, you’ll often find it in the spice aisle of most supermarkets. And it is a common spice in American-style dishes like pizza and buffalo chicken wings.

Is dried ground pepper a spice?

Yes, it is. You can use ground pepper in various dishes, such as soups, stews, sauces, and even desserts. It is also a popular ingredient in many spice blends, such as curry powder and chili powder.

In addition to being a spice, you can use ground pepper to season meat before cooking or add it to the cooking process itself.

Is lemon pepper a spice?

No, it’s not. Instead, it is a seasoning blend that contains salt, black pepper, and lemon zest or dried lemon powder.

Some brands may also contain onion, garlic, or other spices. You can use lemon pepper to flavor chicken, fish, and vegetables. You can also add it as a dry rub for grilling or roasting.

Is white pepper a spice?

Yes, white pepper is a spice. It comes from the dried berries of the pepper plant. The berries are harvested when they are ripe and then dried in the sun or an oven.

Next, the berries are cracked open, and the inner seed is removed and ground to powder. White pepper has a sharp, pungent flavor that is perfect for adding a little heat to dishes.

If you want to add a bit of spice to your cooking, the white pepper is a great choice. It is useful when making a curry or a cake.

SEE: Get a Chance to Win a $250 Gift Card at Sprouts Farmers Market

Is cayenne pepper a spice or herb?

Cayenne pepper is a spice. It comes from the dried, ground fruit of Capsicum annum, a type of chili pepper.

And it is a common spice in Latin American, Asian, and Indian cuisine. The pepper spice can add a spicy kick to dishes; it serves as a natural remedy for several ailments.

What foods require pepper spice?

Some foods that might require pepper spice are:

  • Steaks rubbed with spices
  • Pepper with roasted chicken
  • Simple sides like mashed potatoes or green beans with pepper spice.

If a recipe calls for it, then it’s likely that adding pepper will enhance the flavor of the dish. Otherwise, feel free to season to taste.

SEE: Peppercorn vs Pepper 

Types of pepper

Is pepper a spice

Peppers are either sweet or hot. Sweet peppers, like bell peppers, are enjoyed raw or cooked and have a no-heat flavor. Hot peppers, on the other hand, pack a serious punch of heat and are often used in spicy dishes.

Here’s a breakdown of some popular pepper varieties:

Black pepper

It is made from unripe green berries that are dried and ground into a powder. Black pepper spice has a sharp, biting flavor that can be used to add flavor to just about any dish. And it is the most common type of pepper.

Red pepper

Red pepper, also known as cayenne pepper, is made from dried red chili peppers, and it packs a lot of heat. People often use it in spicy dishes. And it can add plenty of color to a meal.

White pepper

White pepper is made from the ripened berries of the Piper nigrum plant. The berries are soaked in water until they soften, then the outer layer is removed to reveal the white seed inside.

It has a milder flavor than black pepper spice and is often used in light-colored dishes or as a garnish.

Green pepper

They are simply unripe red peppers. They have a sharp, grassy flavor and are often used in salads or as a garnish for meals.

Chili pepper

They are the most common type of hot pepper. The peppers come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, but all chili peppers have one thing in common: they pack a high amount of heat. 

Chili peppers are present in many different cuisines, but they are especially popular in Mexican and Indian cuisines.

Bell pepper

Bell peppers are a type of sweet pepper. They come in a variety of colors, including green, red, yellow, and orange. Bell peppers have a mild, sweet flavor and you can enjoy them raw or cooked.

They are sweet and crunchy, making them a great addition to salads and stir-fries.

Jalapeño pepper

Jalapeño peppers are a type of chili pepper. They are typically green when they are young but turn red as they mature. These peppers have moderate heat and are often used in Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

Serrano pepper

Serrano peppers are a type of chili pepper spice. They are similar in appearance to jalapeño peppers, but smaller and pack more heat. Serrano peppers are often present in salsas and other spicy dishes.

Habanero pepper

Habanero pepper is one of the hottest types of chili pepper spice. It’s 100 hotter than a jalapeno and is small, orange, and extremely spicy. They are often present in hot sauces or as a garnish for spicy dishes.

SEE: Types Of Pepper, Uses, And Spice

FAQs

Are pepper and salt a seasoning?

Salt is a seasoning, but pepper is a spice. Salt enhances the flavor of a dish, while pepper adds flavor to meals.

Is white pepper spicier than black pepper?

No, it’s not. Black pepper contains more spice and can pack lots of heat into your meals.

Is white pepper healthier than black?

Yes, it is. It contains a better amount of antioxidants, iron, fiber, and manganese.

How spicy is hot lemon pepper?

It has 30,000 Scoville units, which fall between the medium-hot peppers. Its sauce is native to Ecuador.

SEE: Lemon Pepper Substitutes

Conclusion

Yes, pepper is a spice. You can use it as a seasoning and its leaves are edible.

You can also use pepper leaves as a herb because it is rich in antioxidants and can prevent damage to cells. With a wide range of pepper spices available, you can easily choose the intensity of heat you want your dishes to have.

More so, sweet pepper gives a mild level of heat to your meals unlike hot pepper, so choose your pepper carefully.

Thank you for reading.

You don’t have to stop here, see other interesting guides on Cheffist.