Best Black Peppercorns

updated May 3, 2019
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Pepper makes its way into just about every dish that passes through the kitchen so make sure you’re using good quality pepper. After all, the good stuff doesn’t cost more than lesser pepper.

You don’t use pre-ground black pepper, do you?

Ground black pepper really isn’t worth buying. “Once the hard, black shell of the pepper corn is cracked open, its aroma immediately stars to fade, and most of its flavor and scent disappear within a half hour,” explains the new November/December issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

Instead buy good quality peppercorns and grid them right when you need pepper. Here’s the top three black pepper brands recommended by the Cook’s Illustrated tasting panel:

Kalustyan’s Indian Tellicherry Black Peppercorns, $6.99 for a 2.5 ounce jar

Morton And Bassett Organic Whole Black Peppercorns, $5.39 for 2-ounce jar

Zingerman’s Tellicherry Peppercorns, $8 for a 2.53 ounce jar.

For those looking for super-special pepper, Cook’s Illustrated gives a shout-out to Parameswaran’s Special Wynad Estate Peppercorns. This higher-priced pepper is hand-picked from a single estate.

We were surprised that some of the tasters didn’t like the Penzey’s peppercorns we usually use at home. They complained that the Penzey’s peppercorns carried heat, but not much flavor. So now we’re wondering if we should change? What brand of peppercorns fill the pepper mill in your kitchen?

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