Characteristics and Uses of White Peppercorns We are often puzzled when it comes to the difference between white and black peppercorns. What is the difference? Essentially they are the same peppercorn, but the difference comes in the ripening process. What eventually become the white peppercorns are those that are allowed to ripen on the vine for a longer period of time. The black outer shell is then removed, generally by a water process which employs either soaking the peppercorns in spring water or subjecting them to a constant flow of spring water. White peppercorns have a different taste profile than the black ones. White ones have more of a rich and winey flavor with a slight bit of heat. White peppercorns are frequently used in soups, on grilled meats or poultry. White peppercorns are the peppercorn of choice in cooking Southeast Asian as well Southern and Eastern Europe dishes.