No fuss, no stress, no little peppercorns rolling all over your kitchen.

By Hannah Walhout
Updated June 26, 2017

“There is no substitute for freshly ground pepper,” says Food & Wine Deputy Test Kitchen Editor Justin Chapple. But refilling a pepper grinder can sometimes feel like nailing jello to a wall. Peppercorns, like sprinkles or glitter, naturally tend to get everywhere whether you like it or not.

If, for the sake of convenience, you’ve opted for pre-ground pepper—grey, sneeze-inducing—you’re making a terrible mistake. And Justin has a Mad Genius that will make using fresh pepper and refilling your peppermill a total breeze. And he’s speaking from experience; as a pepper lover, he knows that peppercorns can be a pain in the ass: “one minute they’re on the counter, the next minute they’re on the floor...and two weeks later, you’re on your way to the fridge and you step on one. And that really hurts.”

His solution is simple: a large, resealable plastic bag. Not only is this a great way to keep your spices fresh in the pantry—it’s also a perfect way to corral the peppercorns when it’s time to get them into the grinder.

How to do it? Just put your peppermill into the bag and fill with your fingers. It’s unbelievably easy—any peppercorns that miss the opening will just fall back into the bag. When you’re done filling, pop the bag back into the pantry and get to grinding!

Looking for ways to use your peppermill? This spice is super versatile. Use it in sauces, like this Port and Black Pepper Gravy, or as the base flavor for savory dishes like a Black Pepper Chicken Curry. It’s great with salty snacks—think Black Pepper Jerky or Black Pepper Kettle Corn—and even in cocktails and beverages, like this Bitter Orange & Black Pepper Soda that uses black pepper-infused syrup.

For more kitchen hacks, check out the rest of Food & Wine’s Mad Genius Tips.