Lemon pepper is a bright and citrus-forward spice that I absolutely love making from scratch. Here's a list of the best substitutes for lemon pepper. Some options include using fresh lemon zest and black pepper, lime and black pepper, and many other options listed below!
Let's face it, there are many times when we run out of spices and seasonings at the most inconvenient times, and buying in bulk isn't always feasible.
Though I try to keep the spices I use the most in large mason jars to keep them fresh and use without the fear of them running out when I need them most, yet it still happens to the best of us.
When it's such a flavorful and bright spice like lemon pepper, it works perfectly with most meat and seafood recipes. Like these mouthwatering honey lemon pepper wings, or this quick and easy weeknight slow cooker lemon pepper chicken recipe.
Purchasing a large lemon pepper spice container is a great option if you use it often. If you don't, you're in luck, because there are plenty of great substitutes for lemon pepper listed below that are my go-to alternatives in times like this!
Take your pick based on your preference and what below option works best for your dish.
Table of Contents
9 BEST SUBSTITUTES FOR LEMON PEPPER
1. Fresh Lemon Zest and Black Pepper.
Nothing beats fresh lemon zest and black pepper when it comes to substitutes for lemon pepper seasoning. It comes as close as you can get to the actual flavor, but not everyone has fresh lemons on hand, or if you need another substitute option, look through the rest of the options.
When using fresh lemon zest, add as much as you need of the zest, then sprinkle in fresh cracked pepper. Mix to combine prior to adding to your dish.
2. Sumac and Black Pepper
Sumac is a popular spice used in the middle east, though gaining popularity around the world. It has a gorgeous purple color and a warm citrus flavor that's unbeatable! Making it my go-to spice when in need of a citrus flavor in my dishes.
Sumac pairs well with seafood, making it my go to sumac vinaigrette for oysters!
It's great in marinades, dressings, dips, and soups!
4. Lime and Black Pepper
This mixture creates the same flavor profile as in the lemon pepper seasoning, but without lemons. If you only have lime on hand, then you're in luck, because lime can be substituted just as easily. Use the zest or the juice of a lime, depending on your dish.
For a salad dressing, use fresh lime juice. For a marinade, you can use either fresh lime zest or the juice, depending on what you prefer. I would go for a little bit of both the zest and the juice of the lime in most marinades - but I love anything acidic!
5. Lemon Thyme
You can use lemon thyme and black pepper as another creative alternative for this zingy spice!
Lemon thyme is a natural herb that's a variation of thyme, with a citrus note. It's popular in most herb gardens and can be found fresh in some grocery stores.
It has an amazing fresh citrusy and herby scent and flavor, that's definitely worth a try!
Sprinkle it in salads, marinades, blend it in a dressing or sauce, the list goes on.
6. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a flavorful alternative and comes close to real spice mixture if you prefer to not use the zest. It's great for salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. Mix in a little black pepper for the authentic peppery kick that's traditional in lemon pepper spice.
Use half the amount of lemon juice and some zest for a stronger citrus flavor. The two combined are a powerhouse of flavor, in all the right ways!
7. Lemon Juice Powder
Lemon juice powder is a concentrated powder that's shelf stable and extremely versatile. Use it to replace lemon pepper spice, to add to your drinks, smoothies, dressings, marinades, the list goes on!
Keeping lemon powder on hand is more versatile than lemon pepper spice, being that you can add it to just about anything that you would like. Simply add to water and sugar for a lemonade, or sprinkle in a salad with fresh cracked black pepper to replace our beloved lemon pepper spice.
8. Dried Herbs
If you're really in a pinch and have no citrus flavored anything on hand, then pick other dried herbs to use depending on your recipe.
For instance, on chicken, I would go with Italian seasoning to create a good herby flavor substitute for lemon pepper.
Herb options are Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, or coriander. If you choose to go with herbs, mix in a little black pepper as well, for the peppery kick. I'm sure your dish will still come out great!
9. Lemon Curry Powder
Lemon curry powder is an absolute powerhouse spice! It has a warm citrus flavor, sweet pepper notes, along with containing turmeric, which is yellow in color with a mild flavor.
Use lemon curry powder on veggies, chicken, or seafood. It would be amazing on this air fryer shrimp recipe to give it a pop of color and the best added flavor!
This spice is best paired with more mild flavors, and a side that won't take away the spotlight. Such as rice, pasta, beans, quinoa, etc.
DISHES THAT PAIR WELL WITH LEMON PEPPER
Lemon and seafood just go together. A bright and fresh citrus note adds a punch of freshness to just about any seafood dish. From a seafood boil, to this Mediterranean baked fish with olives and artichokes, and more. Lemon pepper is an easy spice to add to your go-to seafood choice.
Whether you want a rub or a marinade this spice works great on chicken. One of my favorite chicken dishes while eating out is citrus-forward dish that is packed with freshness.
Like these healthy air fryer lemon pepper spiced chicken thighs!
Bland turkey no more! Same as chicken, lemon pepper can add a fresh and bright flavor to turkey. Add it when paired with a salad or roasted veggies to compliment the full meal very well.
Try sprinkling it on your roasted veggies with olive oil. That's all you would need to make the vegetables shine without adding too much extra flavor.
Go for veggies such as asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, or try this air fryer lemon pepper parsnip recipe!
Lemon Pepper is the perfect spice to add to your salad dressing for an added pop of peppery citrus flavor. It would be especially good in a vinaigrette or Italian dressing. Add to just about any salad, lettuce, spinach, arugula, or garden mix.
A vinaigrette isn't just for green salads, I love whipping them up to pair with oysters, fish, and shrimp!
Mix lemon pepper with yogurt or mayo to create a zingy dip for just about anything! Enjoy with meat or veggies like roasted brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower.
Raw veggies would make the perfect pairing with a citrus-forward dip, as well. Carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and celery are my go-to veggies for dipping and enjoying raw!
Lemon pepper seasoning is often used as a shelf-stable easy seasoning to immediately add a citrus flavor to meat, vegetables, and salads. It's a mixture made of lemon zest, black pepper, salt and other spices to complement those flavors. It truly adds a great deal of flavor with little to no effort.
There are many great substitutes for lemon pepper spice. Fresh lemon zest or lemon juice is most commonly used, with a sprinkle of black pepper. Other options are lime, lemon thyme or lemon curry for a warmer, deeper citrus note.
Lemon pepper spice is good on various meat, seafood, as well as vegetables. Try adding to a salad dressing for a peppery citrus flavor, or on your roasted veggies as a marinade or to dry rub and roast. Lemon pepper adds just enough seasoning, while making the food the star of the show.
Yes. You can absolutely use fresh lemon, either the zest or the juice, instead of the seasoning. Add a sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper for the proper kick to balance out the zingy lemon and create the proper flavor profile.
Since this flavorful spice is hard to beat, this list of alternatives is just as good if not better substitutes for lemon pepper spice. This zingy lemon and peppery flavor that many seek for it's versatility in many dishes is a spice masterpiece that you can replicate at home.
So, take your pick from the list above based on what you have on hand, and ensure it works well for your dish.
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