We all have a few essential spices in our cupboards that we turn to time and time again. Whether it’s a fridge full of fragrant fresh herbs or a pantry stocked with superfood spices, they help make predictable dinners totally craveable. Even inexpensive ingredients can taste like gastronomic art with the right seasoning. But there’s one spice we use all the time that doesn’t usually get the spotlight — black pepper. These 15 recipes change all that, showing that when you bring pepper to the forefront of your meals, it changes everything for the better (including dessert!).


1. Cheddar Scallion Black Pepper Biscuits: Just when you thought biscuits couldn’t get any better, someone added cheese. But that’s not all — these get even more flavor thanks to nearly a teaspoon of ground black pepper, along with some chopped scallions. (via Knead. Bake. Cook.)

2. Cacio e Pepe Mini Muffins: Cacio e pepe mini muffins are about to become your new obsession. (via SugarLoveSpices)


3. Crispy Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings: Balance the tart with the spicy in these lemon pepper chicken wings. They get crispy in the oven, so you don’t have to deal with the mess that comes from frying. (via A Sassy Spoon)

4. Vegan Black Pepper Parmesan Spaghetti: Indulge in your cravings while still abstaining from dairy with this savory pasta dish. You’ll be surprised at how much flavor a vegan dish can really have. (via This Savory Vegan)

5. Paprika and Peppercorn Shrimp With Sesame Sauce: Succulent shrimp cooks up in a flash, and is one of the best protein choices for making a quick weeknight meal that tastes luxurious. Add a drizzle of creamy sesame-soy sauce and a bed of greens to soak up all the flavor. (via The Village Cook)

6. Lemon Pepper Fish Tacos: These tacos taste surprisingly fresh and light. That’s thanks to lemon pepper-seasoned fish, crunchy collard green slaw, and a generous drizzle of tangy cilantro lime taco sauce. (via Margaritas on the Rocks)

7. Black Pepper and Parmesan Spaghetti With Roasted Tomatoes: Adding tomatoes and basil to your cacio e pepe brings it from late-night snack to dinner territory. It’s like mac and cheese for grown ups. (via Yay for Food)

8. Spicy Mushroom Black Pepper Stir Fry: Fennel, curry, and black pepper are just some of the spices that make this dish sing. Serve with plenty of warm naan and a garnish of cilantro. (via Cookilicious)

9. Crispy Black Pepper Tofu: This crispy vegan tofu dish is total comfort food. A fragrant brown sugar soy sauce coats each bite, and sautéed broccolini adds a necessary flash of green. (via Connoisseurus Veg)

10. Grilled, Pepper Crusted Rib Eye: When you crust steak with black pepper, the spices toast up beautifully as you cook your meat. The result is a flavorful entree that’s seared on the outside, but juicy and tender within. (via Urban Cookery)


11. Citrus Melon Caprese Salad: Peppery and sweet, this Caprese salad is a colorful take on the original. Purists may shake their head, but after a bite or two you’ll be sold. (via Aberdeen’s Kitchen)

12. Black Pepper Roasted Carrots: Simple carrots are transformed into an elegant vegetarian entree or scene-stealing side dish in this recipe. The combination of roasted root vegetable, creamy yogurt, and crunchy almonds is too much to resist. (via Nyssa’s Kitchen)


13. Sausage Pancakes With Black Pepper Syrup: Combine the savory with the sweet in this hearty take on pancakes, which are filled with crumbled sausage. Top with a fried egg and spiced syrup, and you’ve got the perfect brunch dish. (via The Pastiche)

14. Low-Fat Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Pops: Black pepper and balsamic vinegar enhance the sweet flavor of strawberries in these creamy yogurt popsicles. Eat one for dessert, or for breakfast on hot summer days. (via Life Love and Good Food)

15. Strawberry, Balsamic, and Black Pepper Jam Pavlovas: From the sweet strawberries to the tangy balsamic, the creamy yogurt topping to the crunchy meringues, it will keep your mouth guessing. (via Patisserie Makes Perfect)

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