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 seasoning is what it sounds like. It’s seasoning with lemon and pepper. What makes it so potent and flavorful is the use of the zest, and enhanced by salt and pepper. It’s made using the granulated zest of lemons, blended with spices and cracked black pepper. The lemon zest gives a robust citrus flavor, while the black pepper provides a kick that’s hard to ignore. The taste can be described as intense and sharp. 

However, there are different seasoning manufacturers, and as such, they will vary in how they taste. You can also choose to make your own at home and put your twist on it. Some of the variations of spice mixes have garlic flakes or onion flakes to help enhance the flavors. 

It’s an effortless spice blend that you can make at home. And to do this, you will need 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, one tablespoon of sea salt, and 2-3 tablespoons of black pepper. Freshly zested lemon works best, just like freshly ground pepper will have more punch than fine pepper. This is just one of the many recipes that you could use. 

It pairs well with pork, fish, and chicken, and it can be kept with other spices in a pantry. The citrus flavor works well with white meat. You can also use it to season steaks and even salad. Anything that will need a bit of zing and kick. You may also use it as a marinade.

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 about it is that it is available throughout the year. It’s not seasonal. The plant looks like English thyme. However, the two differ in taste as well as in the 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 and notes. 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 such as poppy seeds, ground sanshō (Japanese pepper), roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, nori (seaweed), and poppy seeds.

The kick that you get from the chilies makes it an excellent substitute for lemon pepper seasoning. It is a perfect substitute because it can be used as a dry rub. The variety of spices gives a complex flavor to the recipe that you will use it for. This is something that lemon pepper 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 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, and as such, 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 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 that you know what’s going into the blend, and you can also tweak it 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 and freshly cracked works better. 

This substitute works well for lemon pepper because it is making but 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.


Does lemon pepper taste like lemon?

Yes, it does because of the lemon zest in it. 

Is lemon pepper spicy

Lemon pepper seasoning has black pepper in it, and this will make it spicy.

Does lemon pepper seasoning go bad?

It doesn’t have an expiry date. So, what may happen is that it may lose some of its potency.