5 Best Lemon Pepper Substitutes

Need a last-minute lemon pepper seasoning cooking substitute? These five best alternatives will get you out of trouble.

best lemon pepper seasoning substitutes

Lemon pepper is a unique seasoning that infuses dishes with herbal flavors and a kick from peppercorns and citrus. You can buy it at some supermarkets or make your own version at home by zesting lemons and roasting it with peppercorns.

It is unknown who invented lemon pepper seasoning and where. It is found in many cuisines, from India to the United States. Lemon pepper is most commonly used to season shrimp and other seafood dishes, but you can also use it for meat (including chicken wings), pasta, and other dishes. The combination of crushed lemon zest and roasted peppercorns tastes good in many dishes.

Unfortunately, lemon pepper can be hard to find outside of specialty grocery stores, which is why you sometimes need a substitute. Regular pepper won’t work as a substitute because it is missing that hint of citrus, but here are some alternatives.

The Short Answer

Any spice that contains a strong note of citrus, such as Japanese 7 spice, can work as a lemon pepper substitute. However, the best spice blend that mimics lemon pepper is a mixture of lemon, thyme, and onion. Finely mince onion with dried thyme and lemon zest and use that as your seasoning for a blend of citrus and punch.

Lemon Pepper Hot Wings

Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is a common herb for anyone who likes to have a citrus-like taste in their food. The great thing is that it is available throughout the year.

The plant looks like English thyme; however, the two differ in taste and aroma. Lemon thyme contains limonene and thymol, which is where it gets its citrus-like flavor. It’s a member of the mint family, and it’s also quite aromatic.

It makes a good substitute for lemon pepper seasoning because it has a similar citrus flavor. However, it will not have the same level of acidity as lemon zest has. It is best used in savory dishes because it still has thyme notes. Add the thyme to your recipe and taste as you go along. This way, you don’t add more than you need.

Lemon Juice

The juice of a lemon can be used in place of lemon pepper seasoning. It makes a good substitute because it has the same citrus taste. Lemon juice works well as a substitute when you are using it as a marinade. The juice helps lubricate things while still staying true to the flavor the lemon pepper seasoning delivers so well.

The downside with this substitute is that it can only be used in liquid recipes. If you have no room for the liquid, then this will not work well. However, you can use it as a base for a sauce.

Shichimi Togarashi

This is a spice blend mixture from Japan, also known as nana-iro tōgarashi. It’s a blend of about seven spices that can be used as a rub. It includes ground ginger, chilies, nori, and other spices like poppy seeds, ground sanshō (Japanese pepper), roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, nori (seaweed), and poppy seeds.

The kick you get from the chilies makes it an excellent substitute for lemon pepper seasoning. It can also be used as a dry rub. The variety of spices gives a complex flavor to the recipe you use it for, which is something lemon pepper seasoning does well.

Shichimi togarashi is often used to enhance the flavor in noodles, seafood, grilled meat, and soups. You can use equal amounts of Shichimi Togarashi, as you would lemon pepper.

Lemon Curry Powder

Curry powder is a blend of different spices made to add flavor and heat to a dish. Most blends will include a version of black pepper. It makes a great substitute for lemon pepper seasoning because it has lemon and pepper notes. Also, since it is in powder form, it works great as a dry rub. However, you will need to add a few more ingredients to make it a marinade.

Just remember that lemon curry powder has turmeric in it, so it has a bright yellow color that can change your dish’s color. Keep this in mind if the color change is a big deal for you. You may use equal amounts of lemon pepper seasoning and lemon curry powder when you want to make the substitution.

DIY Lemon Pepper Blend

Lemon pepper blend can be bought in a store, but you can also make your own. The advantage of doing this is you know what’s going into the blend, and you can adjust and customize it to your specifications. As a result, it’s bursting with flavor and fragrance.

To make your lemon pepper seasoning at home, you will need a couple of essential ingredients such as lemon zest, salt, and black pepper. Freshly zested lemon and freshly cracked black pepper work better.

This substitute works well for lemon pepper seasoning because it is tailor-made to your specifications. If you prefer to have more lemon in your recipe than pepper, you can increase the amount. Since the DIY blend is so similar, you can use equal amounts. A 1:1 ratio should work.

FAQ

Does lemon pepper taste like lemon?

Yes, because of the lemon zest in it.

Is lemon pepper spicy

Lemon pepper seasoning has black pepper in it, which makes it spicy.

Does lemon pepper seasoning go bad?

It doesn’t have an expiration date. So, at worst, it might lose some of its potency.