Lemon pepper is a super versatile seasoning that is usually used on poultry, fish, seafood, pasta, and vegetables. The two key ingredients used for the preparation of this seasoning include granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns.
This combination is mashed together then baked and dried to create a seasoning you can use in different recipes. Other ingredients such as salt, garlic, onion, sugar, citric acid, cayenne pepper, lemon flavor, and other spices are also used in smaller amounts.
Lemon pepper seasoning has a strong citrus flavor from the lemon zest. And a spicy-bitter flavor from the black peppercorns.
You can use it in many different recipes to give them a light and slightly spicy flavor. However, if you have run out of lemon pepper or you can’t find it in the store you can use other ingredients instead. The substitutes for lemon pepper seasoning will provide a similar flavor to your dish.
You can use lemon thyme and black peppercorns, shichimi togarashi, lemon curry powder, lemon extract, and black peppercorns, lemon balm and black peppercorns, or some of the following combinations and save your recipe!
Let’s learn more about each lemon pepper substitute.
Best Lemon Pepper Substitutes
The best lemon pepper substitute is homemade lemon pepper. That way, you can easily adjust the flavor to your taste. However, you can also use some of the following herbs as a substitute for lemon pepper and improve the flavor of your recipes.
1. Lemon, thyme, and black peppercorns
Lemon thyme is an herb with herbal and lemon flavors. Therefore, it is a good substitute for the lemon zest used in lemon pepper seasoning.
It pairs well with savory dishes like roasted or braised meats, fish, and vegetables. But it is also used in soups, stews, sauces, dressings, and marinades.
Mix the same amounts of dry lemon thyme and freshly cracked/ground black peppercorns (if you prefer a finer texture) and use the mixture in your recipes as a substitute for lemon pepper seasoning.
2. Shichimi togarashi
Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice mix made with seven spices-black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ground ginger, dried orange peel, poppy seeds, sansho peppers, red chili peppers, and seaweed (optional).
It is usually used in soups, salad dressings, grilled meats, noodles, rice, fish, marinades, and rubs. Shichimi togarashi has a floral, sweet, slightly spicy, umami flavor with hints of citrus.
You can use this spice mix as a substitute for lemon pepper seasoning in your recipes and enjoy different flavors.
3. Lemon curry powder
Lemon curry powder is another spice mixture with a sweet slightly spicy citrusy flavor. Therefore, it is a good substitute for lemon pepper.
You can use it for seasoning meats, veggies, seafood, sauces, salad dressings, soups, stews, etc. as a substitute for lemon pepper. But note that it will change the color of your recipes because it contains turmeric.
4. Lemon extract and black peppercorns
Lemon extract is made with lemon zest or lemon rinds soaked in alcohol. It has a strong lemon flavor and is usually used in many different recipes like cakes, bread, sauces, baked goods, and marinades.
If you have lemon extract and black peppercorns you can make a mixture and use it as a substitute for lemon pepper. Use ½ teaspoon of lemon extract and 1 tablespoon of fresh ground peppercorns and mix.
You can also add ½ teaspoon of garlic or onion powder depending on which one you like and adjust the amount of the other ingredients to your taste.
5. Lemon balm and black peppercorns
Lemon balm is an aromatic herb with a citrusy-minty flavor used in both sweet and savory dishes. Fresh lemon balm leaves in salads, sauces, soups, marinades, stews, fish, jams, fruit salads, fruit drinks, poultry, and pork.
Mix some lemon balm leaves with black peppercorns, then use the mix as a substitute for lemon pepper in your dishes.
6. Lemongrass and black peppercorns
Lemongrass is an herb that you can find fresh, dried, or as a powder.
It is used in cooking to provide a lemon flavor with hints of ginger in various meat dishes, soups, marinades, rubs, stews, stir-fries, seafood, poultry, vegetables, hot and cold drinks, etc.
You can use it in powder form or dried as a substitute for lemon pepper. Just add freshly ground peppercorns mix and use in your dishes to add a citrusy-slightly spicy flavor.
7. Lemon verbena and black peppercorns
Lemon verbena has a light and slightly sweet herbal flavor with hints of lemon. You can use it in many salad dressings, soups, poultry, jams, desserts, marinades, fish, and roasts.
If you have lemon verbena at home, you can mix it with some black peppercorns and use it as a substitute for lemon pepper to get a nice slightly spicy lemony flavor.
8. Lemon, mint, and black peppercorns
Lemon mint is a type of mint with a refreshing lemon-mint flavor. You can use it both fresh and dried in meat dishes, seafood, chicken, sauces, cakes, pies, teas, liqueurs, and salads.
Just mix lemon mint and black peppercorns and add them to your dish as a substitute for lemon pepper. Your recipes will get a slightly spicy lemon-mint flavor similar to the lemon pepper flavor.
9. Lemon, basil, and black peppercorns
Lemon basil is used to give a mild lemon flavor to grilled fish, poultry, seafood, veggies, sauces, soups, stews, stir-fries, and curries.
You can use black peppercorns mixed with lemon basil as a substitute for lemon pepper in your favorite dishes.
10. Homemade lemon pepper
The best substitute for lemon pepper is homemade lemon pepper. Don’t fret! All you need are the following few ingredients and a spice grinder.
- 1 cup of black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup dried lemon zest
- ¼ cup dried thyme
Coarsely grind the ingredients in a spice grinder and voila! You have lemon pepper seasoning!
What can I use if I don’t have lemon pepper?
If you don’t have lemon pepper you can use lemon thyme and black peppercorns, shichimi togarashi, lemon curry powder, lemon extract, and black peppercorns, lemon balm, and black peppercorns, or some of the substitutes mentioned in this article.
What is similar to lemon pepper?
Lemon thyme has a similar flavor to lemon pepper. Therefore, you can use it as a substitute in your dishes to give them a fresh lemon flavor. You can also use coarsely ground peppercorns to add some spicy flavor to your recipes.
What is lemon pepper seasoning made of?
Lemon pepper seasoning consists of two main ingredients including cracked black peppercorns and granulated lemon zest.
However, you can also add some other ingredients like salt, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, cayenne pepper, and other spices..
Can I substitute lemon pepper for lemon zest?
You can substitute lemon pepper for lemon zest because granulated lemon zest is one of the ingredients in lemon pepper seasoning.
Therefore, if your recipe calls for lemon zest but you only have lemon pepper you can substitute it for lemon zest but only in savory recipes because it also contains black peppercorns and salt.
How to make lemon pepper?
Making lemon pepper is easy and you can make it in no time with just a few ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- ¼ cup dried lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon salt (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and grind them coarsely in a spice grinder or blender. Store the lemon pepper seasoning in an airtight container. If you want to reduce your salt intake in your diet don’t add salt to the mixture.
How to make lemon pepper seasoning with lemon juice?
If you don’t have lemon zest you can use lemon juice to make lemon pepper seasoning.
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients and use them as a substitute for lemon pepper seasoning.
You can also adjust the amount of the ingredients to your taste and add other spices like garlic or onion powder if you like their flavor.
Lemon pepper made with lemon juice works well in marinades, sauces, soups, and other recipes where the lemon flavor will make them taste even better.
You can use some of these substitutes if you don’t have lemon pepper to make your dishes taste better. Just have in mind that some of them will not give you the same flavor as lemon pepper.
However, they will still provide a citrusy and spicy flavor to your dish. You can also make a lemon pepper seasoning at home and adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your taste.
How do you make lemon pepper seasoning at home? What ingredients do you use? Share your recipes in the comment section down below!