Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning is a pantry staple that has so many uses. And making it yourself, you know exactly what is in the mix!
Perfect for perking up family meals, try this seasoning on seafood like tilapia or shrimp, add a burst of flavor to your chicken, turkey, pork, or beef dishes. Or sprinkle this over your favorite potato, pasta, or rice dishes.
Use the lemon pepper seasoning as a basis for an easy salad dressing or a simple marinade. The classic combo of lemon and pepper is the perfect blend of fresh, zesty with a bit of heat and a lot of flavor.
What is in lemon pepper seasoning?
Lemon Pepper Seasoning is just that. Lemon and Pepper mix that you use to flavour so many different dishes. There are plenty of ready made brands out there.
Look at the ingredients of some of the major brands of lemon pepper seasoning. You will find they do have pepper and lemon (in some form) but also have anticaking agents, colorings, and stabilizers to make them free-flowing.
I don't know about you, but I am not sure I want to be eating Calcium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, FD&C Yellow no. 5 lake (also known as tartrazine), Soy Lecithin, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, or Maltodextrin.
Especially when Lemon Pepper Seasoning is easy to make at home! With just five ingredients, you can make your own homemade seasoning that tastes amazing.
How to make lemon pepper seasoning
You will need:
- Dried Lemon zest (which you can buy or easily make - see below)
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
These get mixed in a jar, and the seasoning is ready to use. It will store for up to 6 months in a cool dark place. (It will keep longer than that, but I find the flavor isn't as strong after that time)
Where can I find dried lemon zest?
You can buy dried lemon zest in some larger grocery stores or online. But it is straightforward to make your own.
I like to think of it as a free ingredient. For example, after juicing a lemon, we throw away the skin. So zesting our lemon before we juice it turns our rubbish into something we can use! (Make sure you zest the lemon before you juice it, as it is tough to zest a juiced lemon)
Whenever I have a lemon for a recipe, I will zest it and dry the zest. Either on some paper towel near the window or in the oven. Both methods are detailed in this post - How to Dry Lemon Peel.
How to use lemon pepper seasoning
Shake it onto your favorite protein - Add ½ teaspoon per portion of protein to your favorite food before or during cooking.
We like to add it to:
- chicken wings
- chicken breasts
- chicken thighs
- pork chops
- pork tenderloin
- strip steak
- salmon fillets
- raw shrimp
Mix it with softened butter - Add ¼-½ teaspoon per tablespoon of butter and mix well. Use this as a compound butter to put on top of cooked chicken, beef, or fish.
Sprinkle it into your slaw for a zesty finish - we add 1 ½ teaspoons to 1 cup of mayonnaise and mix this with one bag of coleslaw mix.
Make an easy lemon pepper salad dressing - combine ½ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey, and 2 teaspoons of lemon pepper seasoning. Mix well and add to salads. (store in the refrigerator)
Add it to rice - for every cup of rice, add 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning to the cooking water.
Sprinkle it over cooked veg to add a zesty flavor! - We like to sprinkle this over cooked veg. Our favs with lemon pepper are carrots, asparagus, peas, and corn. For veg for 4 people, we use 1 teaspoon of seasoning and then add a little butter.
Add it to creamy sauces as a topping for fresh pasta - when doing this, use the lemon pepper seasoning in place of salt in your sauce.
Make a marinade - for 4 people, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and marinate your protein for at least 30 minutes.
Add it to eggs - when making an egg salad, try seasoning with this lemon pepper instead of just salt. Just replace the salt in the recipe with the seasoning blend.
Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning
- ½ cup dried lemon peel - see note 1
- ¼ cup cracked black pepper - see note 2
- 2 tablespoons salt - see note 3
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional) - see note 4
- Mix the dried lemon peel, black pepper, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Store the prepared lemon pepper seasoning in an airtight container.
- You can buy dried lemon peel online or make your own with this easy recipe for drying lemon peel.
- If you want to make your lemon pepper mix more lemony and less peppery, you can half the black pepper.
- You can leave the salt out of this mix and then season any dish separately with salt.
- The sugar is optional; I leave it out, but adding it makes the blend taste more like storebought seasonings.