Spice Story

The Subtle Complexity of Black Pepper

Spice Story: Black Pepper

Black pepper is an essential spice, beloved around the world, with a place of honor back of house and on the table. Among hot spices, black pepper delivers only a fraction of the heat you get from chili peppers. That subtle bite means it plays well with many other ingredients, enhancing, but rarely overpowering other flavors.

The main active ingredient in black peppercorns is piperine, which is the source of black pepper’s characteristic heat. Aside from heat, black pepper carries a complex flavor profile of piney, citrusy notes. By adding more black pepper to a dish, eventually the heat from the piperine becomes the main flavor. To amplify the complexity of black pepper and not only the piperine heat, use other spices and herbs that balance and complement black pepper’s inherent flavors. Rosemary adds notes of pine, cardamom and coriander add hints of citrus, juniper berries bring a woody characteristic, and anise seed adds subtle sweetness. The use of these spices and herbs in harmony with black pepper enhance and balance the deceptively simple aspects of the black pepper and leave you with more great black pepper flavor in the end.

Ground black pepper adds an earthy kick and sharp aroma when blended into soups and stews, sprinkled on omelets or rubbed on meat to season it before cooking. Black pepper is a must-have for bakers, too, and appears in recipes for biscuits, breads, cake and cookies. The aroma of this culinary must-have should set your nose tingling, and inspire new and previously unexplored uses for this “hidden in plain sight” flavor.

Which Black Pepper Granulation is Right For You?

Pure Ground: Imparts the greatest amount of flavor due to its fine, consistent granulation. Use in cooking when lower visibility is desired.

Shaker Grind: Medium Grind, excellent for tabletop application finishing a dish.

Table Grind: Slightly more coarse ground pepper, this larger tabletop grind is perfect for visual appeal.

Coarse Grind: Use in cooking when a bold, impressive presentation is desired. Great for salad dressings and added on proteins before broiling.

Cracked: Split peppercorns used as a garnish. Perfect to use when creating an exciting visual appeal in which pepper is a featured ingredient.

Whole: Whole berries, carefully selected for consistency in size and flavor. Perfect for fresh grind peppermills and also used in pickling mixes, marinades, infusions, soups, and sauces.

Spice Story

Did You Know?

Cinnamon:<br>Did You Know?
Cinnamon Leaf
Fun Fact 1

Fun Fact #1

Cinnamon starts as the bark of the cinnamon tree.
Fun Fact #2

Fun Fact #2

To reach its peak flavor a cinnamon tree needs to mature for up to 20 years.
Fun Fact #3

Fun Fact #3

Cinnamon’s intense flavor, color and aroma come from high levels of volatile oils.
Fun Fact #4

Fun Fact #4

The main flavor component is cinnamic aldehyde; which gives it its characteristic sweet, red-hot aroma and flavor.
Fun Fact #5

Fun Fact #5

Too much or too little moisture produces inferior cinnamon.


  1. We are the only global brand with a facility in Indonesia, ensuring the highest quality of cleaning, sorting and proper drying.
  2. McCormick has year-round “on the ground” resources conducting crop surveys, reporting in on weather and supporting farmers.
  3. We test bark samples from dozens of farmers to determine which has the purest aroma and flavor.
  4. Once sorted and bagged, McCormick cinnamon never again touches human hands.
McCormick Cinnamon is primarily sourced from Indonesia.read moreCinnamon:<br>Did You Know?Cinnamon:<br>Did You Know?


McCormick Cinnamon is primarily sourced from Indonesia. read more Cinnamon:<br>Did You Know?

Golden Turmeric Story

Cinnamon Story