White pepper is processed from the same pepper berry (Piper nigrum) as black and green pepper. The pepper berry is allowed to ripen completely, the skin removed then allowed to dry. Although this pepper is less pungent than black it is hotter and has a distinctive flavor that quickly becomes overpowering if too much is used. We use white pepper in our recipe for Carrot Leek Soup and the flavor of the pepper is noticeably different than black pepper.
You can purchase whole white peppercorns or ground white pepper. The latter can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores. We've found very good prices for whole white peppercorns in Asian markets.
Use white pepper in light color sauces or dishes where you don't want the flecks of pepper to show. We like to use white pepper in cheese fondue recipes and light color cream soups.
If you don't have white pepper you can substitute equal amounts of: