Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 11 mins

These are my absolute favorite cookies. A friend in college had received a huge tin of homemade cookies from her mother and a version of these cookies were inside, along with many other types of cookies. I had never heard of black pepper cookies before and loved the unique flavor-sweet & buttery, with a slight kick from the pepper. I searched for years to find the recipe and finally found it in a Watkins spices cookbook several years ago. I make these every year for the holidays and everyone always wants to know the secret of my "vanilla flecked" butter cookies. Update: Eggs sizes seem to be shrinking, so depending upon the size of the eggs in your area, you may need to use an XL egg rather than a large. Regarding the pepper: fresh ground will produce huge grains of pepper and make things far too peppery and savory tasting. Please use finely ground pre-ground black pepper in this recipe, carefully measured using a measuring spoon and leveled off.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Mix all ingredients (except for the extra sugar for dipping the glass) together well using a heavy duty mixer.
  2. Roll into 1/2 inch size balls-you will need three large ungreased cookie sheets, 16 balls per sheet.
  3. Use the flat base of a drinking glass that has been dipped into sugar to flatten each dough ball on the cookie sheets.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 F (or 180 C) oven for 8-11 minutes or until lighly browned on the edges- do not overbake.
  5. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Most Helpful

These are quite good. They taste is pretty subtle, just a little bit of a kick every now and then. The vanilla in them is to die for. It made so many that I adapted a few batches- added some mini choc. chips to some and cinnamon to others. Both are good. The cinnamon is great- makes it a really flavourful spicy cookie and seems to go well with the pepper. These are going in all my xmas gift tins!

Len23 December 12, 2003

Love. Them. These cookies are wonderful and intriguing. I like making people guess what the secret ingredient is. I've made them twice now, and the second time I changed three things. I didn't flatten them, i rolled them in sugar, and I ground some fresh pepper on top of a few of the hot ones. I whole-heartedly recommend all of these things (only the extra pepper if you like the kick). When you don't flatten them they come out a little more fluffy but they still flatten nicely - I prefer that to how they are when you flatten them. Thanks Heather!

Georgiapea September 03, 2009

I made these on a snowy Saturday, and boy, did the house smell like the holidays. I really like these a lot - delicious, almost like a snickerdoodle. The pepper gives these cookies quite a unique taste. I made these exactly as directed. I ended up with slightly over 5 dozen (I may have been making the cookie balls a bit on the small side). On one of my cookie sheets, I had trouble getting the cookies off, so for the next batch, I sprayed it lightly with PAM - no problem. I wasn't sure how much to smoosh the cookie balls, so I'm not sure if my cookies are too thin, but I didn't have any problems getting them off the baking sheets (see above exception). They're wonderful with tea - thin and crispy. I wish I'd thought to dip the glass in green and red colored sugar - that would be pretty for the holidays. Simple, but delicious cookie with a complex taste - thanks for sharing this one, HeatherFeather!

Lizzie-Babette December 07, 2003

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