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How to Use Sichuan Peppercorns

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Sichuan peppercorns (also known as Szechuan peppercorns or Chinese peppercorns) are an aromatic spice from the Sichuan region of China.

Although they're called pepper, they have citrus notes and are not spicy or pungent like chili pepper and black peppercorns (although they do leave a tingly feeling in your mouth).

Just the husks of the Chinese peppercorns are used. The seeds inside are bitter, so just the husks are used for cooking.

Sichuan peppercorns are often toasted and crushed before culinary use. Sichuan pepper is often used in hot sauces, spice blends, soups, meat dishes, and baked goods. It pairs well with star anise and ginger.

sichuan peppercorns on a gold spoon and in a small white bowl

Recipes with Sichuan Peppercorn

Sichuan peppercorns can be used in a variety of ways. They're often used in Szechuan Chinese cooking, Nepalese cooking, and Tibetan cooking. Here are some of our favorite dishes with these delicious peppercorns.

Sichuan peppercorns vs. Szechuan peppercorns vs. Chinese peppercorns

What's the difference between Sichuan peppercorns, Szechuan peppercorns, and Chinese peppercorns? Szechuan cuisine is a type of cuisine from Sichuan province. As far as the peppercorns go, they're all names for the same thing.

Where to Buy Sichuan Peppercorns

Sichuan peppercorns are available in most Asian grocery stores and from several online vendors. When buying spices, it’s important to make sure you are buying from distributors that sell high-quality spices.

We get our Sichuan peppercorns from The Spice House.

Substitute for Sichuan Peppercorns

If you can't find Sichuan peppercorns, you make an equal parts blend of freshly ground black pepper, ground coriander, and lemon zest.

More Spices & Spice Guides

Love spices? Check out some of our other favorite spices and guides.