9 Best Substitute For Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Lemon Pepper Seasoning Substitute

Lemon Pepper Seasoning, a potent blend of zesty lemon and spicy black pepper, is a staple in many kitchens worldwide. Known for its tangy and fiery flavor profile, it’s versatile and can enhance a wide range of dishes, from marinades and dressings to grilled meats and roasted vegetables. However, what do you do when your spice rack runs dry of this dynamic ingredient? Or perhaps, you’re eager to discover flavors that mirror its characteristics but with a subtle twist?

This article focuses on the best alternatives for Lemon Pepper Seasoning, each meticulously chosen for their unique flavor profiles that pay homage to the tangy zestiness and peppery kick of the original. These substitutes are not only efficient but also open doors for culinary exploration and experimentation. So, whether you’re mid-recipe and realize you’re out of Lemon Pepper Seasoning or looking for a novel twist to your routine flavors, these substitutes provide viable and exciting options to elevate your cooking experiences.

What is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?

Lemon Pepper Seasoning is a flavorful blend of tart lemon zest and spicy black pepper, along with other ingredients like salt, onion, and sometimes herbs like rosemary and thyme. It’s popular in a wide range of dishes, from seafood and chicken to vegetables and salad dressings, adding a tangy and peppery punch. The sour, tangy brightness of the lemon balances the earthy, fiery heat of the black pepper, resulting in a multi-dimensional flavor that can elevate any dish.

Quick View of Substitutes For Lemon Pepper Seasoning

  • Homemade Lemon Pepper Blend
  • Citrus Herb Seasoning
  • Sumac
  • Zesty Lime Pepper
  • Ginger and White Pepper Blend
  • Dried Lemon Zest and Cracked Black Pepper
  • Lemon Thyme and Ground Pepper
  • Lemon Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Lemon and Cayenne Pepper

Best Substitives For Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Let’s explore each of these substitutes and see how they can bring similar zestiness and spiciness to your culinary delights as Lemon Pepper Seasoning.

Homemade Lemon Pepper Blend

A homemade blend of lemon zest and black pepper is the closest, most authentic substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. It’s simple to make, with the essential components being the zest of a lemon and freshly cracked black pepper.

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You can make this by grating the zest of a lemon, spreading it out on a baking sheet, and letting it dry out in a cool, dry place. Once dried, you can mix it with the cracked black pepper. The benefit of making this blend at home is that you can control the proportions of each ingredient. If you want it zestier, add more lemon. For a spicier kick, increase the pepper.

This homemade blend is the perfect backup for when you run out of Lemon Pepper Seasoning and can be used interchangeably in any recipe that calls for it. The taste will be strikingly similar, if not identical, keeping the flavor profile of your dish intact.

Citrus Herb Seasoning

The Citrus Herb Seasoning is a versatile and complex blend that can serve as a delightful substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Its composition typically includes a combination of dried lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, and other aromatic herbs.

This blend brings forward a unique combination of sour, herbal, and slightly peppery notes. It’s ideal for adding a citrusy punch to any dish without overwhelming it with too much spice. The herbaceous notes of rosemary and thyme add an extra layer of complexity to the flavor, making it a fantastic addition to chicken, seafood, or vegetable dishes.

Incorporating Citrus Herb Seasoning into your meals allows you to experiment with different flavor profiles while staying close to the original Lemon Pepper Seasoning’s essence. The best part is that its ingredients are readily available and easy to mix at home.


Sumac, a spice used extensively in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, offers a tangy, slightly sour flavor that can be a unique substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Sumac is made from the dried, ground berries of a specific type of sumac tree and has a vibrant red color.

While it lacks the peppery bite of the Lemon Pepper Seasoning, it brings a distinct, zesty tartness that can replicate the lemony aspect of the flavor. To introduce a bit of spiciness, consider blending it with freshly ground black pepper.

Sumac is great for sprinkling on grilled meats and vegetables, mixing into salad dressings, or using in marinades. It’s also an integral part of the Middle Eastern spice blend za’atar, giving you more avenues to experiment with its unique flavor.

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Zesty Lime Pepper

Zesty Lime Pepper can be an interesting substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning, offering a similar yet subtly different flavor profile. It’s a blend of lime zest and black pepper, which results in a spice mix that’s equally tangy but slightly sweeter.

This blend works well in recipes that call for Lemon Pepper Seasoning, especially if you’re looking for a slightly different citrus note. It pairs exceptionally well with grilled seafood and chicken, and can also add a zesty kick to your salads and dressings.

Zesty Lime Pepper is an excellent way to inject some innovative, refreshing citrusy flavor into your dishes, broadening your culinary horizons beyond lemon.

Ginger and White Pepper Blend

The blend of dried ginger and white pepper can offer a unique twist as a substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Ginger brings a zesty, slightly sweet flavor, while white pepper offers a milder heat than black pepper.

This combination may not provide the exact citrus note of Lemon Pepper Seasoning, but it introduces a warm, spicy, and subtly sweet flavor profile. It’s particularly good in stir-fries, roasted vegetables, or marinades for meat and fish.

The ginger and white pepper blend is an unconventional yet surprisingly pleasing substitute that can create a distinctive taste experience in your dishes.

Dried Lemon Zest and Cracked Black Pepper

Dried lemon zest and cracked black pepper make a straightforward and effective substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. As the primary components of the Lemon Pepper Seasoning, they can recreate its authentic taste to a great extent.

Making this blend at home is easy. Just grate the zest from a lemon and leave it to dry out, then mix it with cracked black pepper. The balance between the tangy lemon and spicy pepper can be adjusted to your preference, giving you complete control over the flavor.

Whether you use it in rubs, marinades, or sprinkled over finished dishes, this blend ensures a flavor profile that stays true to the original Lemon Pepper Seasoning.

Lemon Thyme and Ground Pepper

Lemon thyme and ground pepper offer a herbaceous twist on Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Lemon thyme has a citrusy aroma and flavor, which, combined with the heat of the pepper, mimics the zesty and spicy notes of Lemon Pepper Seasoning.

Lemon thyme, either fresh or dried, can be found in many grocery stores. If you have a green thumb, you might even consider growing it at home for an always-fresh supply. This blend is excellent in marinades, dressings, or as a seasoning for meat and vegetables.

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With the additional herbal notes, Lemon Thyme and Ground Pepper offer an exciting alternative to Lemon Pepper Seasoning, bringing more depth and complexity to your dishes.

Lemon Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Lemon Salt, made by infusing sea salt with lemon zest, combined with freshly ground pepper, can be an effective substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. While it has a similar citrus-pepper balance, the salt content is higher, so you’ll want to adjust your recipe accordingly.

This blend is fantastic in seafood dishes, on grilled vegetables, or even as a rimming salt for cocktails. The Lemon Salt gives a pronounced tanginess, and the pepper brings the much-needed heat.

Lemon Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, while slightly saltier, present a quick and easy alternative to Lemon Pepper Seasoning without compromising the tangy and spicy flavor balance.

Lemon and Cayenne Pepper

A blend of fresh lemon zest or juice and cayenne pepper can be a fiery substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning. The lemon brings the citrusy tang, while cayenne pepper, being hotter than black pepper, adds a potent kick.

This combination is great for anyone looking to up the heat level in their dishes. It works well in marinades, spice rubs, or sprinkled over grilled meats and vegetables.

The Lemon and Cayenne Pepper blend can be a daring substitute for Lemon Pepper Seasoning, introducing an exciting and spicier flavor profile to your culinary creations.

Substitutes for Lemon Pepper Seasoning: Nutritional Profile

SubstituteGlutenCaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Homemade Lemon Pepper Blend0200.
Citrus Herb Seasoning0150.
Zesty Lime Pepper0200.
Ginger and White Pepper Blend0180.
Dried Lemon Zest and Cracked Black Pepper0200.
Lemon Thyme and Ground Pepper0160.
Lemon Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper0200.
Lemon and Cayenne Pepper0200.

(Approximate values for ¼ cup serving. Actual nutritional content may vary depending on specific brand or homemade recipe)

Final Thoughts

Experimentation and adaptation are key in the world of cooking, and finding the right spice substitute can be a fun and rewarding experience. While Lemon Pepper Seasoning has a unique flavor, the substitutes listed here can provide a similar taste profile, or even open up new flavor avenues. Whether you’re missing Lemon Pepper Seasoning in your pantry, or you’re just keen to try something new, these alternatives have got you covered. So go ahead, add some zest to your cooking with these Lemon Pepper Seasoning substitutes. Happy cooking!

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