Our Ultimate Guide to Coarse Pepper

coarse pepper
Coarse pepper from dried peppercorns has a rough, toothy texture. It usually features crushed light-colored peppercorn cores contrasted with ground black skins. You can use coarse pepper to flavor salads, fish, vegetables, cottage cheese, and red meats.

What is coarse pepper?

Coarse pepper
Coarse pepper

Coarse pepper is a versatile spice obtained when the dried berries (drupes) or peppercorns of pepper (Piper nigrum) plants are broken down.

Coarse pepper is also loosely called coarse grind black pepper, black pepper coarse grind, or coarsely ground black pepper.

AppearanceHas a rough, toothy texture
Flavor profileHas a warm, earthy, piney, floral, woodsy flavor with hints of orange-citrus. It’s tangy and has bitter, mild heat


Coarse pepper has a rough, toothy texture. It’s usually 12-14 mesh, but some brands have it available in 20 mesh.

The mesh indicates how finely or coarsely the dried berries or peppercorns are broken down. A higher mesh number indicates smaller particles.

Black pepper is the most common coarse pepper. It has light-colored cores that contrast with the black skin of the dried peppercorns.

Flavor profile

Coarse pepper has a warm, earthy, piney, floral, woodsy flavor with hints of orange-citrus. It’s tangy and has bitter, mild heat. The flavor varies slightly depending on the type of coarse pepper.

What are the different types of coarse pepper?

Coarse pepper is available in three different types, depending on the harvesting stage of the peppercorns. It can be black, white, or green.

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AppearanceBlack coarse pepper is made from peppercorns or drupes harvested while still green just before they ripen. The skin turns black during drying, hence the black color.White coarse pepper comes from fully ripened peppercorns, and skins are removed before drying, hence the white color.Green coarse pepper is from unripe peppercorns that are specially treated to retain their green color.
FlavorBlack coarse pepper has an earthy, woody, piney, floral flavor with hints of citrus. It has the strongest flavor among the three types.White coarse pepper has a grassy, musty, woodsy, piney, and winey flavor.Green coarse pepper has a mild peppery flavor and is fruitier than black and white pepper.

cracked pepper vs. coarse pepper: comparison

Cracked pepper
Cracked pepper

Both cracked pepper and coarse pepper come from peppercorns. Cracked pepper is also loosely called cracked black pepper or black cracked pepper. The two differ in texture and flavor.

Cracked pepperCoarse pepper
AppearanceCracked pepper has a rating of 8-10 across most brandsCoarse pepper has a mesh rating of 12-14
FlavorShares flavor profile with coarse pepper, releases bursts of flavor with each particle that comes into contact with food or saliva.coarse pepper’s taste is distributed more evenly because the particles are smaller.
ApplicationsIdeal for flavoring pasta, salads, soups, marinades, salsas, and raw meat plastered with oil before grilling.Flavors salads, poultry, red meats, veggies, fish, and cottage cheese

The higher mesh number of coarse pepper indicates its particles are finer, while cracked pepper has a lower mesh number indicating more texture.

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Coarse pepper also works excellently as a table seasoning in the same way as table grind pepper, which is finer and easier to use in ordinary table shakers.

What is the best brand of coarse pepper?

The best brand of coarse pepper is McCormick coarse ground black pepper.

You can find McCormick culinary coarse grind black pepper on Amazon and supermarkets. It has great customer reviews and people love its consistency in flavor and texture.

Can you make coarse ground black pepper at home?

You can make coarse ground black pepper at home from whole black pepper. Use a pepper grinder set to the coarse mode to grind the peppercorns to a rough, toothy texture.

Alternatively, pour the whole black peppercorns into a natural paper coffee filter and gently grind them to the desired texture using a heavy cup.

Alex Maina

Since discovering how well spices transform a dish from bland to enjoyable in seconds, Alex became sold on using spices to better three of his major passions—gardening, cooking, and writing. When he is not tending to his spice crops, you'll find him trying a new recipe, writing for the Spice Gourmand, or serving a second helping of his spicy food!

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