Best Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

5 from 9 votes
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The best lemon pepper seasoning recipe – use as a dry rub, add to marinades, or make into wing sauce for chicken. The easy and fast lemon pepper sauce recipe is the perfect new dressing to bring a citrus twist to any meal.

A small jar and a spoonful of homemade lemon pepper seasoning

A little bit tangy, a little bit sweet – lemon pepper seasoning is most commonly added to fish or meat dishes. It complements deliciously salty flavors and creates a lemon pepper dry rub. Though you can buy it at the store, there’s something super satisfying about making it at home. Plus, with just three ingredients – it’s so easy!

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What Is Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Lemon seasoning powder is a mixture of black peppercorns and lemon zest. They are then crushed and mixed to bring out the citrus flavor. The oils infuse with the pepper, creating unique lemon spices from the two flavors.

This homemade lemon pepper seasoning can also incorporate other flavors. Lemon and pepper are two very complimentary ingredients that support other spices like cayenne pepper, thyme, and oregano.

A spoonful of homemade lemon pepper seasoning

What Does Lemon Pepper Seasoning Taste Like

Lemon pepper powder has two distinct flavor profiles – bitter and citrus. Because of the fresh lemon zest, the citrus provides a tangy, sweet flavor while the black pepper has a bitter taste. Together, they balance each other out into a slightly sweet lemon zest seasoning that makes an excellent addition to pasta and fish.

What Is in Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Homemade lemon pepper only uses three ingredients:

  • Lemon zest: Zest this fresh from unwaxed lemons. If you have any frozen or completely dried lemon peel, you can mince it and use it.
  • Black pepper: You can get pre-cracked black peppercorns or you can do it yourself. If you prefer, you can use white or pink peppercorns.
  • Sea salt: If you prefer, you can use rock salt, Hawaiian red salt, or pink Himalayan salt. 
Ingredients for lemon pepper seasoning

What Flavor Compliments Lemon Pepper

For this lemon pepper seasoning recipe, there are lots of herbs and spices that elevate the taste. I like using basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, Italian seasoning, among other spice mixes. It also goes great with garlic powder and onion powder, especially as a marinade for lemon pepper chicken wings.

How to Make Lemon Pepper Seasoning

There are just a couple of simple steps to follow to prepare your own lemon pepper seasoning.

Prepare the Ingredients 

First, grate the lemon zest. For more top tips, you can follow my Expert Guide for getting the most zest out of your lemon.

Zested lemon

Mix the lemon zest with the black pepper in a small bowl or directly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Dry the Lemon Peper

Spread out the lemon zest and ground black pepper in a thin, even layer on a baking tray.

Dehydrate in the oven (or dehydrator) at 200ºF/95ºC for 15-20 minutes. It’s important to use the lowest setting of your oven. In this way, you don’t cook the seasoning but rather just dry it out.

Steps for drying pepper with lemon zest

Chef’s Tip: If you want to add even more citrus flavor to this lemon pepper recipe, dehydrate some more lemon zest separately. Then you can mix it in to adjust the flavor.

Add the sea salt and mix well. Optionally, you can grind the seasoning in a food mill or a spice grinder.

Steps for grinding lemon pepper seasoning

What Is the Best Way to Store Lemon Pepper Seasoning

For this lemon pepper sauce recipe, the best way to store it is in an airtight container, spice tin, or jar, placed in a cupboard or in the pantry. This way, the lemon pepper seasoning will keep for much longer.

How Long Does Lemon Pepper Seasoning last

When stored correctly, this lemon pepper seasoning recipe will keep for a few months. It won’t go bad, but it will start to lose flavor after three months or so.

A small bowl with homemade lemon pepper seasoning

What Is Lemon Pepper Seasoning Used for

There’s no limit to what is lemon pepper good on. I love adding it to everything from pasta to fish, chicken, etc. You can use it in:

A small jar with homemade lemon pepper spice mix

Easy Lemon Pepper Wing Sauce

How to upgrade the best lemon pepper seasoning recipe? Turn it into wing sauce!

All you need is three ingredients – your homemade lemon pepper (use a store-bought in a pinch), butter, and lemon juice.

Ingredients for lemon pepper wing sauce

How to Make Lemon Pepper Sauce

Melt the butter in a small pot slowly over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Then add the lemon zest seasoning. Stir or whisk for about 30 seconds to incorporate it into the melted butter.

Finally, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then enjoy it as a pasta sauce, a sauce for Chicken Wings, or poured over fish.

A small pot with lemon pepper wing sauce

FAQs

Does lemon pepper have salt?

Yes, but you can adjust the amount if preferred. 

Does lemon pepper go before or after cooking?

Both! You can add it before – especially if you’re using it as a seasoning for raw meat or fish. Or you can add it after if you’re using it in pasta or salad.

Should lemon pepper seasoning be refrigerated?

No, it can cause the seasoning to congeal. Keep it in a cupboard or the pantry.

Can I make lemon pepper seasoning without salt?

Yes, but it will change the taste. You can use sage over salt for a similar flavor profile. 

Is lemon pepper the same as lemon pepper seasoning?

Generally, yes, though lemon pepper can use exclusively lemon juice, rather than lemon zest.

Is lemon pepper a good substitute for salt?

Yes! It will bring plenty of flavor to bland dishes. And you can swap out the salt for other ingredients if you prefer.

More Seasoning Blends

If you try this lemon seasoning recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Best Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

5 from 9 votes
By: Samira
The best lemon pepper seasoning recipe – use as a dry rub, add to marinades, or make into wing sauce for chicken. The easy and fast lemon pepper sauce recipe is the perfect new dressing to bring a citrus twist to any meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 27 tsps

Ingredients 
 

To make lemon pepper seasoning

  • 0.7 oz lemon zest 1/2 cup, grated from 4-5 lemons
  • 0.35 oz black pepper 1.5 Tbsp
  • 0.53 oz sea salt 1.5 Tbsp

To make lemon pepper wing sauce

Instructions 

  • Grate the lemon zest. For more top tips, you can follow my Expert Guide for getting the most zest out of your lemon.
  • Mix the lemon zest with the black pepper in a small bowl or directly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Spread out the lemon zest and ground black pepper in a thin, even layer on a baking tray. Then dehydrate in the oven (or dehydrator) at 200ºF/95ºC for 15-20 minutes.
    Chef’s Tip: If you want to add even more citrus flavor to this lemon pepper recipe, dehydrate some more lemon zest separately that you can mix in to adjust the flavor.
  • Once dried, add the sea salt and mix well – you can do this directly into your spice jar, shaking the jar to mix
    Optionally, you can grind the seasoning in a food mill or a spice grinder.

Storage Instructions

  • The best way to store this seasoning is in an airtight container, spice tin, or jar, placed in a cupboard or in the pantry.
    When stored correctly, this lemon pepper seasoning recipe will keep for a few months. It won't go bad, but it will start to lose flavor after three months or so.

Notes

To upgrade this lemon pepper seasoning recipe, turn it into wing sauce.
Melt the butter in a small pot slowly over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Then add the lemon pepper seasoning. Stir or whisk for about 30 seconds to incorporate it into the melted butter. Finally, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, then enjoy!
 
Check the blog post for serving recommendations and answers to top FAQs!
Course: DIYs
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3 Months

Nutrition

Serving: 1tsp, Calories: 1kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.4g, Protein: 0.05g, Fat: 0.01g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.004g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g, Sodium: 216mg, Potassium: 6mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 0.03g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.04mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 9 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    5 stars
    The beauty here is if you only need a little, then only make a little.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      That’s right, Dave! 🙂