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When to Add Pepper in Your Cooking

29th Apr 2024

There’s a reason why salt and pepper are absent from very few pantries and spice racks around the world – when it comes to seasoning our meals, salt and pepper are often the first port of call. It’s ironic then, how much misconception there is around how to apply these ingredients properly.

Whether it’s seasoning a steak, adding some brash woody flavour to a pasta or making a salt and pepper squid, it’s difficult to know exactly when you’re supposed to add pepper to the dish. Somewhere at the start of cooking? Halfway through preparation? Right at the end when the dish is served and ready to eat?

Here is a helpful guide for when to add pepper in your cooking, depending on what you’re cooking.

When to add pepper while cooking a steak

There’s an element of personal preference to this, but the first myth to debunk is that rubbing coarse or ground pepper into your steak before searing it automatically means you’re going to burn the pepper and spoil your steak with a bitter taste.

While it’s certainly possible to burn the pepper on your steak, by this point you’ve probably burnt the actual steak as well. When searing, there should be enough moisture on the steak to prevent the pepper from burning, unless the heat source is excessively hot or you leave the steak on there for too long.

However, when it comes to the flavour, adding black pepper to your steak after cooking will deliver a punchier taste that leaves you with those tingling spice sensations in your mouth after each bite, as opposed to just tasting the pepper aromas by seasoning it before searing.

When to add pepper while preparing soup

Soup is an easy one because it’s very easy to sample the flavour as you go. It’s recommended that you add pepper to the soup during cooking, and keep trying a spoonful of the soup after stirring the pepper in until you’re satisfied with the balance. Of course, it’s better to underdo it, as pepper can still be added once it’s served and ready to eat.

When to add pepper to scrambled eggs

Many people season their eggs with salt and pepper while they are still raw, but the problem with this is that it gives the salt too much time to break down the eggs, and they end up being a watery mess. By sitting tight on the salt and pepper until the eggs are cooked and scrambled, you’ll enjoy a much more flavourful meal.

Don’t be afraid to trial and error

As you’ve no doubt realised by now, asking the question of when to add pepper to your cooking is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. It depends on the meal that you’re cooking, the type of pepper that you’re using, and your own personal taste preferences as well.

The trick is to understand how black pepper modifies the flavours of different foods, and then you’ll be in a better position to know at what time you should add pepper to your dish.

You’ll often find useful advice online if you Google when to add pepper to the specific meal that you’re cooking, but failing that, you can also try adding pepper at different stages throughout the cooking process and take note of which timing produced the best result for next time.

Shop online at The Salt Box

The Salt Box is your ideal destination for premium quality 100% natural salt and pepper ingredients from around the world, delivered to your door anywhere in Australia. Explore our fantastic range of flavourful Australian Black Cracked Pepper, Mountain Pepperleaf, Szechuan Pepper, White Pepper and other tasty varieties.