16 Zesty Lemon Pepper Substitutes to Add Flavor to Your Food

Lemon pepper’s citrusy and peppery zing can liven up any meal. It’s a zesty flavor that will quickly liven up salads, pasta, soups, meats, and casseroles.

Lemon pepper is an all-purpose and versatile spice that should be in every cook’s spice cabinet. While lemon adds zest and a nice flowery flavor, combining it with other herbs and spices such as garlic or cayenne pepper may transform it into another savory flavour.

What if you run out of lemon pepper and need to serve your renowned lemon pepper chicken to your dinner guests right away? With this minor bug, there’s no necessity to update your menu. You may certainly continue with the 16 additional lemon pepper options we’ve listed:

  1. Lemon thyme
  2. Minced onion and lemon thyme
  3. Shichimi Togarashi
  4. Lemon juice
  5. Mixed spice curry powder
  6. Lemon zest
  7. Lemon extract
  8. Lemongrass
  9. Lemon balm

These lemon pepper substitutes should be in your kitchen, garden, or spice rack. Another advantage of these options is that they are devoid of preservatives and chemicals and are easily accessible.

Let’s have a look at the 16 greatest lemon pepper substitutes:

16 Best Substitute For Lemon Pepper

Lemon thyme


Lemon thyme is the most effective replacement for lemon pepper. Lemon thyme has the citrus and flowery tones of lemon but without the acidity. Because it adds a subtle lemon taste, double the lemon thyme in your meal to attain the necessary zing.

Lemon thyme is a member of the mint family, yet its taste is reminiscent of fragrant and lemony thyme. Lemon thyme pairs nicely with this unusual mix when used to season savory foods. Ground pepper is used to generate the lemon pepper flavor characteristic.

Minced onions and lemon thyme

This following option is a variation on the first. While we’ve proven that lemon thyme (with pepper) is a straight substitute for lemon pepper, it’s time to shake things up and be a little more creative.

Minced onions go well with lemon thyme because the latter adds a citrus taste without the sourness of lemons. When combined with lemon thyme, minced onions precisely resemble the spicy taste of pepper.

Because all onions may provide that peppery flavor, you can use any color onion or shallots for this substitution.

Shichimi Togarashi


Shichimi Togarashi is a Japanese seven-spice blend that includes orange peel, crushed red chili pepper, black sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ground ginger, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, and nori.

Because of its spicy composition, it is another excellent option for lemon pepper. Orange peel and chili pepper provide a zesty and spicy taste that may be used to spice up any dish.

Shichimi Togarashi, as a seven-spice blend, is ideal for use as a rub, marinade, or seasoning. This blend is really tasty, and you can expect to receive that pure umami from it.

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Did you know Shichimi Togarashi is also a popular ramen condiment? That’s how adaptable it is.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice shouldnt be hard to source since you can get this from fresh lemons, bottled juice, or their combination. When you combine the juice with black pepper, you get a liquid lemon pepper that you can use as a marinade or as a basis for a saucy meal.

Lemon juice is an excellent substitution for lemon pepper in liquid recipes such as sauces, dressings, and marinades. If you’re seeking for a sour tone to complement your cuisine, lemon juice might assist.

Mixed Spice Curry Powder


Lemon curry powder is on the list because curry powder includes a lot of pepper, which adds much-needed spiciness.

The combination also has a lemony and somewhat sweet taste that may add zest to meats, sauces, stews, soups, and vegetables.

There are several curry mixes available, so you may select one that matches your chosen taste or spice. One thing to keep in mind is that mixed spice curry powder includes turmeric, so your foods may turn yellow if you use it.

Lemon zest

Lemon zest is the grated component of the lemon’s outer skin. The lemon taste of lemon zest is very concentrated, so don’t squander it. Did you know that this section of the lemon is used in essential oils?

The zest of a lemon may be scraped or grated. You may also purchase a specialist grater to get finely and uniformly shredded lemon zest. When combined with ground pepper, this is ready to season your beef, chicken, and pasta recipes. You can also use this to add a citrus-pepper zing to salads and veggies.

Top tip: When grating or peeling lemon skin, avoid include the white piece (the pith) beneath the yellow skin since it has a little bitter flavor.

Lemon extract


Lemon extract, which may be natural or manufactured, is a fantastic alternative for lemon pepper when combined with black pepper.

Lemon peels are steeped in alcohol to create a lemon extract, which has a rich lemon taste without the sour element. Lemon essence is often used in baking, which accounts for the sweet and strong lemon flavor of lemon muffins!

Lemon essence should be used carefully in cooking (don’t use the whole bottle, no matter how little it is). This is ideal for marinades that emphasize the lemon taste, such as your renowned lemon chicken.


Lemongrass is a Southeast Asian plant that is frequently linked with Thai cuisine. Citronella is another name for it. Does that name sound familiar? Citronella is a well-known insect repellant and aromatherapy essential oil.

Lemongrass does not taste (or smell) like lemon. It has a distinct taste with undertones of citrus, mint, and ginger, which makes it popular in teas and Southeast Asian cuisine.

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Lemongrass may be purchased fresh, powdered, or dried. If you want to use this as an alternative for lemon pepper, combine dried or powdered lemongrass with ground pepper. This combination will provide a fiery citrus taste to your foods with a unique twist.

Lemon balm


Lemon balm is not an ointment, but rather a lemon-scented plant from the mint family, therefore its citrus-mint taste is natural.

Because of their taste, fresh lemon balm leaves offer several health advantages and uses. The leaves may be used to make teas and jams, as well as to treat a variety of diseases.

When crushed and blended with black peppercorns, lemon balm leaves may be a tasty lemon pepper alternative in sauces, meat and chicken dishes, marinades, soups, and stews.

Lemon Verbena

When compared to the other plants on this list, lemon verbena has the least citrus flavor. Lemon verbena capitalizes on its herbal, mild, and somewhat sweet flavor with a little citrus note.

Lemon verbena’s mild lemon taste makes it a fragrant component for marinades, curries, sweets, and teas.

Another good (and aromatic) option for lemon pepper is crushed lemon verbena leaves with peppercorns. The somewhat lemony, peppery, and herbaceous taste complements seafood, meats, salads, and soups.

Quick Tip

You can also grow lemon verbena at home.

Lemon basil

Lemon basil is a lifesaver for those making foods that would benefit from the leaves’ sweet anise taste. The result is a deliciously lemony taste with a hint of herbal sweetness. Please keep in mind that lemon basil does not taste like typical basil, so don’t expect your meals to taste like pesto!

Lemon basil with peppercorns has a light lemon taste that would be an excellent substitution for lemon pepper. You can use this on chicken or grilled fish, as well as sauces, soups, and stews to get that distinct citrus sweetness from the lemon basil.

Lemon mint

Another plant in the mint family is lemon mint (Monarda citriodora). It is also known as Lemon bee balm, so don’t mix it with lemon balm now that you know. Lemon mint’s purple blossoms are another feature that distinguishes it from lemon balm.

As the name implies, lemon mint has a pleasant lemon and mint taste. Given its fresh citrus combination, it is most often used in teas, martinis, and mint jelly. Combine crushed lemon mint leaves with powdered peppercorns for a lemon pepper alternative.

This zesty lemon with a touch of mint will make an excellent flavor for sauces, meat dishes, and curries.

Lemon peel


Lemon peel and lemon zest both refer to the lemon’s outer skin. They are sometimes used interchangeably, but for this list, lets note their differences.

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Lemon peel is made from the lemon’s outer skin, which may also contain the white pith. Lemon zest, on the other hand, is scraped off the skin’s surface, where the lemon taste is concentrated.

Lemon peel, when used in place of lemon pepper, provides a concentrated lemon flavor with a minor bitter accompaniment (if the white pith is included), but this should not be a problem since the addition of peppercorns will balance the spice level.

Lemon peel has a strong flavor profile and would be an ideal substitute for recipes and sauces that call for a dominating citrus flavor.

Other citrus zest

While lemon (and lemon pepper) is a fan favorite for adding a citrus touch to dishes, let us not forget that there are other citrus fruits easily accessible on the market.

You may also use limes or oranges instead of lemons since they have the similar skin texture for grating.

If you substitute another citrus zest for lemon pepper in your recipe, keep in mind that the taste profile and color may alter significantly, particularly if you use a considerable quantity.

If you run out of lemon pepper, other citrus zests with pepper are an interesting culinary option.

Dried herbs

Dried herbs are a last-resort option for lemon pepper. While a herb or two cannot completely replicate the taste profile of lemon pepper, they may provide much-needed zest and spiciness to your recipes.

Consider using any (or all) of the following herbs to add a lemon pepper touch to your dishes: cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, thyme, basil, or oregano. Dried herbs include no artificial chemicals and have a shelf life of 1 to 3 years.

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning


If you haven’t already guessed, lemon pepper is simple to create from home. Another advantage of making your own lemon pepper is that you can make it low-sodium (unlike some store-bought varieties, which mention salt as the first ingredient) and adjust your mix to your taste.

What You Need

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon zest or peel
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ground pepper (if you dont have black pepper, you can ground whole peppercorns)
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt.

The combination is ready to use once they have been crushed together. To make it last longer, you can bake the lemon zest and pepper for 3 to 5 minutes to dry up the lemon zest. After that, add the salt and keep in your spice rack.

For a more appetizing blend, you can add other herbs and spiceslike garlic powder, onion powder, and dried thyme leavesto the simple lemon pepper recipe and store in an airtight jar. This powerhouse spice would be an excellent addition to your homemade recipes.


What spice enhances lemon flavor?

Spices. Anise, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, oregano, and poppy seeds are among the ingredients.

How do I substitute lemon zest?

Replace with Lemon Zest
12 teaspoon lemon essence for every teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of lemon.
Another citrus zest, such as lime or orange zest.

Can I use lemon zest instead of lemon pepper?

Zest of Lemon

Citrus fruit zest may be used in place of lemon pepper spice to provide a comparable taste without the addition of salt or sugar. This alternative works best when used with other herbs and spices such as oregano, basil, or garlic powder.

What is the difference between lemon pepper and lemon zest?

Lemon Zest is made from finely scraped lemon peel… Lemon pepper seasoning (also known as lemon pepper zest) is a seasoning created from granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns.

What can I use instead of lemon pepper?

Lemon thyme, often known as citrus thyme, is a near alternative for lemon pepper. Any recipe will benefit from the herb’s fresh but rich taste. Use twice as much lemon thyme as your recipe calls for. To enhance the lemon pepper taste, combine lemon thyme with black pepper.

What seasonings are like lemon pepper?

Simple Lemon Pepper Seasoning Substitutes
Lemon Thyme.
Lemon Curry Powder.
Roasted Orange Peel.
Togarashi Shichimi.
Black pepper and lemon juice.

Can I substitute vanilla extract for lemon zest?

Other Extracts as a Substitute for Lemon Extract

If you wish to keep with citrus tastes, orange extract is a wonderful substitute, but vanilla or almond extract will also work (as long as the flavors match your cuisine).

Can you buy just lemon zest?

Dried lemon zest is available at your local food shop. It’s marketed with other spices, dry herbs, and seasonings.

What is a substitute for a tablespoon of lemon zest?

Juice of lemon

Lemon juice may also be used in place of lemon zest. While it may not provide the same texture as zest, it will provide the required taste to your dish. Substitution amount: For every tablespoon of lemon zest, use a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Does lemon pepper taste like lemon?

The scent of lemon pepper spice is robust, with zesty flowery, citrus, and woody undertones. The mixture has a sharp lemony flavor mixed with underlying umami nuances and a peppery bite that balances the bitter and sour notes of the lemon zest.

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