Sansho Pepper


Despite its name sansho pepper is not actually a pepper. I guess you might call it a spice with some peculiar traits. It’s earthy and tangy with a bit of lemon. When put directly on your tongue, you’ll notice a sort of tingling sensation.

Sansho pepper is usually sold ground, but you can also buy the berries and grind it yourself. It’s typically used on grilled foods like yakitori (chicken) or eel.

The sansho or prickly ash tree also yields the fragrant kinome leaves -  which are often used as a garnish.

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21 Responses to Sansho Pepper

  1. Mark Beveridge says:

    Where can I buy the whole sansho pepper berries? All I’ve been able to find is ground.

  2. bsmith says:

    Sansho pepper is similar to Szechuan pepper. Try asking for whole Szechuan Peppercorns at a Chinese or Asian grocery store.

    Penzeys Spices seems to carry these as well , here is the link:

    You can also buy a 12 gram bottle of S&B sansho pepper from Amazon for about $5 bucks.

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  5. reiko adams says:

    I just came back from the parson who has a quite large Sansho tree which really amazed me. She also has a lots of Myoga and an Ume tree which produces very large Ume. I guess her soil must be well fit for those.

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  8. Talbot says:

    I’ve been frustrated in my efforts to find the whole peppercorns as well. I just picked up my first jar of the ground version though, and it’s very flavorful and has the same tingling effect. It’s just a bit inconvenient for certain purposes. in the US) sells them in whole form if you want to send away for them, but I’m not about to hassle with that.

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  14. Kouj says:

    How stable is this pepper? I have a very tight jar of this given to me some years ago. The powdered product looks uniform and runs freely.

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  16. benjamin says:

    Like most spices, the flavors tend to get flatter as time goes and if it’s older than a year it’s probably best to buy something fresher.

  17. Toby H says:

    I thought Sansho pepper and Szechuan pepper although similar is slight difference. Szechuan pepper is red color whereas Sansho pepper is green peppercorns. Taste probably very similar but souschef sells them as different varieties.

  18. KAREN MANASCO says:

    As of this posting, 11-14-2013, the whole Sansho pepper is back in stock at Spice House.

  19. Robin S says:

    I would not touch these peppers ever again! After tasting about 1/2 of
    a peppercorn size of this, my throat closed up, could not breathe, had
    immediate severe allergic reaction. Thought I was going to die for about
    a minute! Beware of this pepper !!!!

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