6 Best Lemon Pepper Substitutes For You

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Today we are here to discuss the best lemon pepper substitutes. Lemon pepper is an extremely versatile ingredient used in the culinary world. Most chefs and home cooks swear by this ingredient because of the complexity of flavors it carries!

Lemon Pepper

However, lemon pepper can sometimes be very difficult to find outside of specialty grocery stores despite being a useful ingredient. You can easily use a substitute for the same in a situation like this! This article will help you find the best lemon pepper substitutes.

So you must be wondering, what are the best lemon pepper substitutes? The best lemon pepper substitutes are lemon thyme, lemon juice, lemon curry powder, lemon balm mixed with black pepper, and a homemade lemon pepper mix. 

However, before discussing the substitutes, let me tell you a little more about lemon pepper itself. It might be a new ingredient for some, and a little knowledge won’t hurt anyone! So, let us discover lemon pepper!

Quick Peek: Lemon Pepper

This section has all the information you need on lemon pepper. You will get to know what the ingredient is, its flavor, texture, uses, and nutritional information. 

What Is Lemon Pepper?

Lemon pepper, as the name suggests, is a mixture of lemon and pepper. The origin of this seasoning is unknown. However, it is very commonly used in various parts of the world. This seasoning is usually made with a combination of dried lemon zest, pepper, and salt. 

However, there are various recipes for lemon pepper that have the addition of onion powder or garlic powder. Although, most people prefer sticking to the basic mixture of roasted lemon zest and black peppercorns mixed together to make this wonderful seasoning. 

Describing Lemon Pepper: Flavor And Texture

As lemon pepper is a seasoning made with a combination of lemon zest and peppers, it is usually always available in a coarse powder form. It has a color palate that comes from both the main ingredients of this seasoning. 

So, you will see it has speckles of both yellow and black color. However, in variations where other spices are added to this mix, the color may vary slightly. Now when we talk about the flavor, the flavor profile of this seasoning is a combination of the best of two flavors. 

It combines tang from the lemon zest and a peppery and spicy kick from black peppercorns. This combination is the perfect balance of tangy and spicy flavor. In mixes with other spices added to them, you may find small traces of those in the flavor. 

Uses Of Lemon Pepper

As mentioned before, lemon pepper is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used to amp up the flavor of absolutely any food. It goes particularly well with seafood, especially shrimp. However, it can easily be used to season various other types of seafood too. 

Lemon pepper, moreover, goes well with various types of dark and light meats. It goes extremely well with chicken wings. In fact, lemon pepper chicken wings are extremely common in many parts of the world. 

Moreover, lemon pepper also goes well with various roasted vegetables and can be added to pasta. It can be used to season burgers instead of plain black pepper to add a citrusy taste to your burger. You can also use it to make marinades and use it in spice rubs. 

Lemon Pepper On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Lemon pepper, being a seasoning, is generally used in very small quantities in various recipes. Hence, it does not really impart any nutrients to food. It is low in calories and has no fats, carbohydrates, or cholesterol. 

However, lemon pepper is very high in sodium. So, it must be used carefully. Lemon pepper, however, has been linked to a lot of health benefits. Some of these health benefits include curing sore throats and blocked noses. 

Moreover, lemon pepper is also used as a home remedy for various health issues. Some other health benefits of lemon pepper include but are not limited to giving relief from joint pain, preventing fungal infections, and is also good for the skin. 

Why Use A Substitute For Lemon Pepper?

I am sure that this question must have come to your mind. Why use a substitute for such a versatile and tasty seasoning? While there are many reasons to use seasoning, there are certain reasons why you can consider using a substitute. 

First of all, lemon pepper is not too easily available. You might have to visit a coupleof grocery stores to be able to find this particular seasoning. But you don’t need to do that when you can easily use a substitute! 

Moreover, the added salt in lemon pepper might not be preferred by people who have blood pressure issues. In that case, a substitute with a lower sodium content can definitely come in handy. 

Lastly, in case you stock lemon pepper regularly but seem to be out of it, a substitute can still come in handy. Why waste your time and energy when you can easily use a substitute that might already be present in your pantry!  

I believe I have given you enough information on lemon pepper. Now, let me guide you with the best lemon pepper substitutes! You will find them all in the next section.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

6 Best Lemon Pepper Substitutes

This section has all the substitutes that you can use in place of lemon pepper. Moreover, there is also information on how you can use each substitute. So, let’s get started. 

1. Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme, as you may have already guessed, is a part of the thyme family. It carries citrus notes similar to lemon pepper, making a great lemon pepper substitute. 

The flavor of lemon thyme is not as intense as that of lemons when it comes to acidity. However, it has a great citrus note that usually works as a lemon pepper substitute in all recipes. 

However, an important thing to remember with lemon thyme is that it has no kick of spice. So, while using it as a lemon pepper substitute, it is usually recommended to add black pepper to the same to give it a kick of spice. Use this in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute. 

2. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice that is unsweetened again carries a citrus taste that is found in lemon pepper seasoning. Hence, you can use it as a lemon pepper substitute in certain recipes. 

You will definitely have to combine the lemon juice with some black peppercorns or pepper powder as it otherwise will not have the kick of spice that you are looking for that you get from lemon pepper seasoning. 

Moreover, lemon juice will particularly work well only in recipes such as marinades and salads. Try combining half the quantity of pepper as compared to lemon juice and use this mix as a lemon pepper substitute in a 1:1 ratio. 

3. Lemon Curry Powder

Curry powder is generally a blend of various spices. Lemon curry powder has lemon zest or juice added to it, giving it an acidic flavor. Hence, it can be used as a lemon pepper substitute in certain recipes. 

However, with lemon curry powder, you will definitely have to be extra careful while picking it up at the grocery store. This is because curry powder comes in various blends. So, make sure you read the ingredients in the mix and pick one that has extra added lemon. 

Moreover, being a blend of various spices, lemon curry powder does have strong flavors of various other spices, which can overpower your dish. So, it’s best to use half the quantity as compared to the amount of lemon pepper in a recipe. 

4. Shichimi Togarashi

Shichimi togarashi is a spice blend from Japan that consists of 7 different spices. One of the flavor notes in this spice blend is citrus. It also has a kick of spice to it, making it a good lemon pepper substitute. 

This spice blend usually includes red chili pepper, ground sanshō (Japanese pepper), roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger, nori (seaweed), and poppy seeds.

Orange peel and red chili peppers give it a flavor profile that is similar to that of lemon pepper. It adds a ton of flavor to any dish while focusing on peppery and citrus notes. This spice mix will work well in meat rubs and marinades especially. 

5. Lemon Balm 

Lemon balm is an aromatic herb with citrus and a minty flavor. As it provides citrus notes that are similar to that of lemon pepper seasoning, it can be used as a substitute for the same in various recipes. 

Lemon balm again does not carry the flavor of pepper or any spice to it. Hence, you will have to use added peppercorns or black pepper powder to get a peppery flavor and kick of spice. 

Similarly, like lemon balm, there are a few more variations of herbs that you can use in the same way by combining them with black pepper. Some of these herbs are lemongrass, lemon basil, and lemon verbena. 

6. Homemade Lemon Pepper Mix

Homemade lemon pepper mix works as the best substitute for store-bought lemon pepper mix. It is easy to make and works extremely well in all recipes as a lemon pepper substitute. 

Making lemon pepper mix at home is, in fact, extremely easy and is very fragrant. It gives the best flavor profile when used as a lemon pepper substitute. Moreover, it is also not very time-consuming. 

The two main ingredients that you need to make this homemade lemon pepper mix are a citrus base and a pepper base. You can use equal quantities of lemon zest combined with black pepper flakes or powder, with some added salt. 

The best part about this homemade mix is that you can customize the flavors as per your liking. You can add small quantities of onion or garlic powder. Moreover, you can use a different citrus base or pepper if you would like to. 

Short Recap For Best Lemon Pepper Substitutes

I am sure that by now, you must have gone through all the best lemon pepper substitutes. However, are you by any chance still confused about which one would work best in your recipe? In that case, there is no need to worry!

I have broken it down into three categories to make it easier for you to pick your substitute. Have a look!

Most Suitable: The most suitable lemon pepper substitute is lemon thyme. 

Easily Available: Lemon juice is the most easily available lemon pepper substitute. 

Best Flavor Profile: Homemade lemon pepper mix will give the best flavor profile when used as a lemon pepper substitute. 

Final Word

As we have come to the end of this article, I hope it has helped you find the best lemon pepper substitute. Lemon pepper seasoning is definitely a little difficult to find, despite being used in various parts of the world. 

However, the flavor combination it provides definitely adds a lot of zing to any recipe. Saying that, quite a lot of the substitute options given are very easily available and can be customized a little bit per your flavor preference. 

But, the best substitute for store-bought lemon pepper mix is definitely homemade lemon pepper mix. With homemade lemon pepper mix, you can play with the flavors the way you would wish. 

You can create a unique tasting seasoning that I am sure will add a lot to your recipes. So, definitely do give it a try and add it to various recipes, and I am sure you will end up cooking something wonderful!

How To Substitute The Above Mentioned Ingredients For Lemon Pepper

Lemon Pepper

How To Substitute The Above Mentioned Ingredients For Lemon Pepper

Here is how you can substitute the above mentioned ingredients for lemon pepper
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  • Lemon Thyme
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Curry Powder
  • Shichimi Togarashi
  • Lemon Balm
  • Homemade Lemon Pepper Mix


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is lemon pepper good for?

Lemon pepper works as a great seasoning for various meats and vegetables, especially seafood and chicken.

What is lemon pepper seasoning made of?

Lemon pepper seasoning is made of dried lemon zest, black pepper and salt with added garlic and onion powder in small quantities.

Why is lemon pepper so salty?

Lemon pepper, being a seasoning, contains a high amount of added salt. Hence, it can be salty to taste.

Can I use lemon pepper in place of lemon zest?

Yes, lemon pepper can be used in place of lemon zest, however, only as a garnish as it has the added flavor of spice from the pepper.

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