I am a collector of herbs and spices. I like to have a little bit of everything just in case I need a little bit of anything. I have just about every herb and spice on hand that you could possibly want. (And a few extras: anyone need za’atar or nigella? Anyone?) One thing I hadn’t bought until recently, though, was lemon pepper seasoning.
I can’t really explain why I didn’t buy it. I love lemon and pepper together. My version of using lemon pepper usually involved squeezing and zesting a lemon and grinding a bunch of pepper on top.
Last week, a coupon and a sale conspired to convince me to buy my first ever little shaker jar of lemon pepper seasoning. I got it home, opened the safety seal, dipped my finger in and took a taste. Then I made a face and scraped at my tongue with my fingernails. EW. I mean really. The top note of this well respected manufacturer’s lemon pepper seasoning blend was citric acid followed by chemical followed by IDunnoWhat. Egads, that stuff was awful! If I thought really hard about it, I could kind of taste lemon in there somewhere, but I think that was the power of concentrating on the yellow that was provided by the yellow food dye. FOOD DYE. In seasoning. Sigh.
It’s often the little things -a pinch of this, a smidgen of that- that make the difference between a recipe that is good versus one that is great. I’ve seen quite a few recipes that call for lemon pepper seasoning and I’ve always done my lemon juice/zest/pepper hack, and it usually worked out just fine. After trying the stuff that flies off the market shelves, though, I was convinced that I could easily do much, much better at home.
And I did.
Here you have Foodie With Family’s Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning. All the GOOD stuff, and none of the crizzap. Sprinkle this over grilled fish, chicken or pork. Use in place of commercial lemon pepper seasoning in equal amounts called for in other recipes. Put a dash or two over buttered popcorn. Go nuts. Now that I have the homemade stuff, I’ll never be without it again.
Bonus: The homemade mix comes in significantly cheaper and worlds tastier than the commercial stuff. Give it a try… I know you won’t regret it!
And in case you’re wondering whatever became of the shaker top of lemon pepper seasoning I bought at the store, you’ll be glad to know it didn’t all go to waste. My kids peer pressured each other into trying it as a feat of strength, “Try THIS! It’s REALLY GROSS! Can you handle it?” What can I say? Homeschooled kids have weird peer pressure.
Homemade Lemon Pepper SeasoningRate Recipe
- 3 tablespoons lemon salt preferably, or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
- the zest of one lemon just the yellow part- avoid the bitter white pith
- a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of granulated onion
- a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- Stir together all of the ingredients and store in an airtight jar at room temperature. This can be refrigerated if desired. Because there are no funky preservatives or anti-caking chemicals added to the mixture, you may find it has a tendency to clump slightly. Just break it up with your fingers or a fork before using if this occurs.
- Replace using commercial lemon pepper seasoning by substituting an equal measure of homemade lemon pepper seasoning.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
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M. Davis says
I like it. Note: you could put rice it the container to help clumping.
I’m glad you like it, M.! Thanks for taking the time to let me know.
Erin M says
Where do you buy lemon salt? I am not familiar with this
What is lemon salt?
I was looking for “from scratch” recipes for lemon pepper seasoning. If you really want a “from scratch” recipe, slice fresh yellow onions with a mandolin, dehydrate, and make our own onion powder by running through a coffee grinder/spice grinder. Purchasing “granulated” spices from the store is never as good as homemade. Same with garlic, dehydrate and run through coffee grinder/spice grinder.
IF you’re a gardener, save seed from celery or lovage. Grow your own garlic (once you do, you’ll never need to buy it again.) If you grow fruit trees, use your own lemons. If you need to purchase, source ingredients that are organic. “The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) tested pesticide residues on a number of different spices; they found residues of several different types of pesticides in both black and white pepper samples.”
THEN you truly have a homemade, “made from scratch” version of the recipe.
Do you also grow, thresh, and grind your own wheat for bread? This is one of those situations where I find a law of diminishing returns for my effort and am perfectly happy to use a decent dehydrated granulated product. Feel free to go hard core, of course, but I’ll spend my extra several hours of time I saved (because I am not a gardener) reading an excellent book.
I was looking for a recipe for lemon Chile powder, the stuff that coats peanuts . I usually read the label but it went out with the trash. Do you have any idea for this mix. Eric
I love lemon pepper and used it on almost everything. I truly miss my spice!!! I have been taken off from many food items, including, but not limited to, all forms of sugar and sugar substitutes and black pepper. Do you have any substitute suggestions for your recipe for these two items? Thank you.
For sugar, I’d sub in stevia. It’s an all natural, plant-derived, zero carb sugar. As for pepper, that’s a little trickier. Is ALL pepper off the table or just black pepper? How about cayenne pepper which is a dried, ground chili pepper? Maybe some Sichuan/Szechuan peppercorn? Also known as prickly ash? It comes from a completely different plant than black peppercorns.
If you’re going to recommend Stevia, I think it’s essential to inform people that “stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar in its whole leaf form and almost 300 times sweeter once it has been refined”.
Interesting that you add sugar, onion and garlic, as they are NOT necessary, plus I use 1 salt to 2 of cracked pepper. I just use zest, salt and pepper and it is safe for all diet groups (including FODMAP).
Have you thought of using this in Mashed potatoes, or with butter and toss new potatoes in it (slurp drool) or in stirfry veges? I use more of this mix now than I do ordinary salt and pepper. It is wonderful on all fish, chicken. pork and also in salad dressings.
Strictly speaking, no spice or aromatic is absolutely necessary in any spice blend, but I gave the recipe as I prefer it. I always encourage people to play with recipes to suit themselves!
Will G says
I think I am spice crazy just like you and was actually contemplating selling my own spice mixes. (That’s another story).. In making my all purpose seasoning I decided to a lemon pepper element to my mix but wanted to break down the essential elements and only add what I needed. I came across this
Lemon Peel Granules here http://www.atlanticspice.com/store/FullView.asp?URLStr=224.. This company is where I buy my bulk spices. Their lemon pepper blend is salt-free and is also very good. The lemon peel combined with citric acid makes the perfect “sour lemon” taste and color without dyes as you mentioned. Just my two cents.
I tried your lemon-pepper recipe on grilled leg of lamb last Sunday. Seriously awesome!!! Thanks.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, (in my best Daffy Duck voice,) “You is a GENIus!” I adore lemon & pepper, but not the store bought lemon pepper. I look forward to making my own if for no other reason than I can add another spice to the cupboard, and it gives me an excuse to use another canning jar. Grateful me on all accounts!
P.S. I have za’tar, too. Excellent on fresh, buttered pita bread.
Deborah Jennings says
I love using Lemon Pepper, but having said that, I don’t want salt in my Lemon Pepper. I only buy the lemon pepper that has NO salt added. It is just lemon zest and black pepper coarsely ground. I think I may be able to make some of this. Thank you so much for the recipe, though. I am of the opinion, you can never have too many recipes.
Tina Smith says
I love LemonPepper! But I don’t buy the store mix for the EXACT same reason. I can’t wait to make this!
How long would this last out of the fridge? In the fridge?
Shirley Fai says
I am not really aware that this lemon pepper seasoning can be possible and you prove it here through your post…Thanks for the instructions…
Parnell B. Clark says
This is very interesting post Thanks for sharing this post. I love it.
YES, finally another person as spice-crazy as I am 🙂 Next time my hubby complains I buy too many spices, I will show him your page. No idea what Za/atar is though