Ran out of lemon pepper seasoning and couldn’t go out to buy it? Don’t fret, as there are substitutes to lemon pepper seasoning that could be in your cupboard.
When considering lemon pepper substitutes, you have to look for a spice that contains a citrus note with a bit of heat from the pepper. You can go for something like citrus thyme or make your lemon pepper seasoning from scratch.
What is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?
Lemon pepper is a classic and versatile flavoring that’s made from crushed lemon zest, pepper, and salt. Many variations are available with added garlic, onions, cayenne peppers, and more.
While it can be used in all meats, it’s widely popular as a rub for chicken wings and seafood. It can be used in salad dressings, marinade, or sauce. It has a mildly tangy and peppery flavor with a citrusy aroma that can turn any type of meat into a delicious dish.
The 9 Best Lemon Pepper Seasoning Substitutes
Some certain spices and blends are close to the taste profile of lemon pepper that you can use as alternatives. Here, we listed the 9 best lemon pepper seasoning substitutes and how to use them.
- Lemon Thyme
- DIY Lemon Pepper Blend
- Shichimi Togarashi
- Lemon Curry Powder
- Lemon Juice & Black Peppercorn
- Lemon Extract & Black Peppercorn
- Lemongrass & Black Peppercorn
- Lemon Basil & Black Peppercorn
- Lemon Thyme With Minced Onion
1. Lemon Thyme
Lemon thyme or citrus thyme is not a seasoning mix but an herb. This is the top choice for lemon pepper substitute because it’s the closest in terms of citrus-like taste. It will also give the same citrusy aroma and herby flavor as lemon pepper.
However, it may not provide the same level of acidity as lemon pepper. Use lemon thyme the same as lemon pepper, but double the amount to get the right mix. To complete the lemon pepper taste, add crushed peppercorns.
2. DIY Lemon Pepper Blend
What better way to substitute lemon pepper seasoning than making your lemon pepper blend.
You can adjust the measurements of the ingredient according to your liking. To make your lemon pepper blend, you just need lemon zest, pepper, and salt.
Grate lemon zest and place them on a baking tray. Add coarsely crushed black peppercorns. Bake for 5 minutes or until the zest is dried. Add a little salt, and you’re done!
To enhance the flavor, you can add celery powder, garlic powder, or onion powder.
To use your DIY lemon blend, just use the same ratio that you usually use in lemon pepper seasoning.
3. Shichimi Togarashi
Shichimi Togarashi is next on the list, also known as the Japanese seven-spice blend.
This one can mimic lemon pepper’s citrusy and spicy taste profile because it contains chili flakes and roasted orange peel. It also has seaweed, sesame seeds, Szechuan peppers, ginger, and many others.
Shichimi togarashi can be a bit spicier than lemon pepper. You might need to tone it down if you’re sensitive to heat. However, many cooks usually use the same amount of shichimi togarashi as they would use lemon pepper.
4. Lemon Curry Powder
The lemon curry powder is an aromatic blend of spices with a hint of lemon and mild curry flavor.
While it has many variations, the basic ingredients of lemon curry powder are turmeric, coriander, ginger, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, and garlic.
It can give off the same peppery zest flavor as lemon pepper because it has lemon and black pepper. However, lemon curry has turmeric and can turn your food into a yellowish color.
To use lemon curry powder as a substitute, just use the equal amount of lemon pepper seasoning.
5. Lemon Juice & Black Peppercorn
Lemon juice can also be a great alternative to lemon pepper seasoning. While the lemon pepper uses the zest, lemon juice can still mimic the same citrus note of the seasoning.
If you have lemons lying around, you can simply squeeze lemon juice and add 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper. Season it with salt.
However, since this is liquid, unlike the lemon pepper seasoning, it can only be used on marinades or sauces and not as a dry rub. This alternative will help make your meats juicier and have the same citrusy taste as lemon pepper.
6. Lemon Extract & Black Peppercorn
If you have a lemon extract for baked goods or desserts, you can also use it for cooking.
Lemon extract is an excellent substitute for lemon pepper because it’s also made of lemon zest or lemon rinds. They are soaked in alcohol and are more concentrated.
Lemon extract is more potent than lemon juice, and you only need a small amount. Use ½ teaspoon of lemon extract and 1 tablespoon of black peppercorn to complete the taste.
7. Lemongrass & Black Peppercorn
Like lemon thyme, lemongrass is an herb that can be used to replace lemon pepper. It also has the same citrusy and lemon flavor but with a hint of mint.
Lemongrass is available as fresh, dried, or as a powder. To get the spicy flavor, you can add ground black peppercorns to lemongrass powder. To use, add the same quantity as you would for lemon pepper seasoning.
8. Lemon Basil & Black Peppercorn
Lemon basil is another herb that can mimic the lemon pepper’s tangy flavor. Lemon basil has notes of lemon and a hint of sweetness and anise.
When mixed with black peppercorns, it can provide a spicy taste and sweet lemon aroma. To use, mix lemon basil powder with crushed black peppercorn and use the same amount as you would use lemon pepper seasoning.
9. Lemon Thyme with Minced Onion
If you also ran out of pepper by chance, minced onion can be added to lemon thyme as a substitute for lemon pepper seasoning.
When you let minced onion rest for about 5 minutes, it can give the same heat and kick as peppercorns. You can use shallots or white onions.
Lemon Pepper Substitutes – In Short
There you have it! I hope this list is helpful as you look for the best lemon pepper substitutes.
When looking for lemon pepper substitutes, choose an ingredient with a lemon note and a kick of spice. Herbs like lemon thyme can mimic the perfect touch of lemon pepper’s tanginess. You can also get closer to the source, look for lemon zest or extract, and add pepper.
So, if you ran out of lemon pepper seasoning, there’s no need to worry. Maybe a peek into your spice rack, or your fridge can lead you to the next best alternative.