The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Substitutes for Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Best Lemon Pepper Spice Substitutes

Lemon Pepper Seasoning is a versatile spice blend that combines the citrus notes of lemon with the heat of black pepper. It adds a refreshing and flavorful twist to a variety of dishes. However, there may be times when you run out of Lemon Pepper Seasoning and need a suitable substitute. In this article, we will explore the best alternatives to lemon pepper and discuss their flavor profiles and uses.

1. Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is an underrated herb that offers delicate and citrusy flavors. A member of the thyme family, it adds a pleasant lemony flavor to dishes. While it lacks the acidity of lemon, it makes up for it with its floral and citrus notes. Lemon thyme works well as a substitute for lemon pepper, especially in savory dishes. It can also be used as a substitute for lemon zest, adding a unique twist to homemade spice blends.

2. Minced Onion and Lemon Thyme

For a creative twist on lemon pepper seasoning, combine finely chopped onion with lemon thyme. Minced onions, when finely chopped and allowed to rest, develop a slightly peppery and spicy flavor similar to black pepper. Lemon thyme, with its lemony and floral notes, complements the flavors of the onion, resulting in a seasoning blend similar to lemon pepper. This combination works well in a variety of dishes and can be used as a substitute for the original seasoning.

3. Lemon Juice

If you’re looking for a substitute for liquid recipes that call for lemon pepper seasoning, lemon juice is an excellent option. Simply combine fresh or bottled lemon juice with black pepper to create a base for sauces, marinades or salad dressings. It’s important to note, however, that lemon juice is not suitable for dry rubs because its consistency is different from that of the seasoning blend.

4. Shichimi Togarashi

Shichimi Togarashi is a Japanese seasoning blend consisting of seven different spices, including coarsely ground red chili pepper, roasted orange peel, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger, nori (seaweed), and poppy seeds. The inclusion of roasted orange peel gives Shichimi Togarashi a citrusy flavor profile, making it a viable substitute for lemon pepper seasoning. This spice blend adds complex flavors and works well as a seasoning for a variety of dishes, including rubs and general seasoning.

5. Lemon Curry Powder

Lemon zest and powdered lemon juice are common ingredients in many curry spice blends. These blends focus on a range of flavors, including lemon. Look for specific curry blends that highlight lemon flavors or include lemon-flavored leaves, such as lemon verbena. These blends can be used to add a subtle lemony and peppery flavor to your dishes. Keep in mind that curry powder may change the color of your food due to the presence of turmeric.

DIY Lemon Pepper Blend

If you prefer a homemade alternative to store-bought lemon pepper seasoning, you can easily create your own blend. Start with a lemon element, such as freshly zested lemon zest or dried lemon peel, zest, or flakes. Combine this with freshly ground black pepper or other types of pepper, such as pink peppercorns or a peppercorn blend. Add salt, onion flakes, and garlic flakes for additional flavor complexity. The beauty of making your own blend is that you can customize the flavors to your liking and experiment with different variations.


If you find yourself without lemon pepper seasoning, there are several excellent alternatives to consider. Lemon thyme, minced onion and lemon thyme, lemon juice, shichimi togarashi, and lemon curry powder all offer unique flavor profiles that can enhance your dishes. Whether you prefer a herbaceous twist, a citrusy kick, or a complex blend of spices, these substitutions offer a range of options. Experiment with these substitutes to discover new and exciting flavors in your cooking.


What can I use as a substitute for lemon pepper seasoning?

There are several alternatives you can use to replace lemon pepper flavoring, such as lemon thyme, minced onion and lemon thyme, lemon juice, shichimi togarashi, and lemon curry powder.

Can I use lemon juice instead of lemon pepper?

Yes, you can use lemon juice as a substitute for liquid recipes that call for lemon pepper seasoning. However, keep in mind that the consistency and flavor may differ from the original spice blend.

Is there a homemade option for Lemon Pepper Spice?

Absolutely! You can easily make your own Lemon Pepper Blend at home by combining lemon zest or dried lemon peel with freshly ground black pepper. You can also customize the blend by adding salt, onion flakes, and garlic flakes to enhance the flavor.

What dishes can I use Lemon Pepper Substitute in?

Lemon pepper substitutes can be used in a variety of dishes, including chicken and pork recipes, pasta dishes, sauces, salads, and marinades. The specific substitute you choose will depend on the flavors you are trying to achieve.

Are there alternatives to dry rubs?

While lemon juice is not a good choice for dry rubs, you can try minced onion and lemon thyme as a creative alternative. The finely chopped onions develop a slightly peppery flavor when left to rest, which, combined with the citrusy notes of lemon thyme, can create a seasoning blend similar to lemon pepper.

Can I customize the flavors of homemade substitutes?

Yes, the beauty of making your own substitutes is that you can customize the flavors to your liking. Feel free to experiment with different ratios of lemon zest, black pepper, and other ingredients to create a unique blend that suits your taste preferences.