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Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Making homemade seasonings at home is a cooking essential! Learn how to make your own Lemon Pepper Seasoning with just 3 basic ingredients and use it to add a zesty peppery flavor to chicken, fish, and vegetables!

Lemon pepper seasoning in a white bowl.
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A Dash of Flavor

Have you tried making your own seasoning blends at home? It’s so quick and easy and they taste so much better than the ones you find at the store because you leave out all of those unnecessary additives.

I always have a stash of my homemade seasonings in my pantry ready to go. Greek seasoning and Italian seasoning are just two of my regular go-to’s.

My homemade lemon pepper seasoning recipe has just 3 ingredients – dried lemon peel, cracked black pepper, and salt. You can add other spices if you like, and I give you some suggestions below. I like to keep this one simple.

I use this homemade lemon pepper blend on chicken and fish all the time! It goes really well with lemon pepper chicken wings, lemon-baked fish or baked lemon chicken, and my favorite, lemon chicken fettuccine!

It gives them a bright and zesty flavor without the acidic taste you can sometimes get from using lemon juice.

Jars of homemade seasonings also make great housewarming or holiday gift ideas for the foodies in your life! Just pour them into glass jars and include a recipe and they’ll love it!

Recipe Ingredients

You only need 3 ingredients to make this delicious citrus seasoning. Here’s the list:

Cutting a lemon with a knife.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Lemons: You’ll need 2 large lemons and give them a good wash before peeling. Use unwaxed lemons if you can find them. Zest the lemons for this recipe and keep the juice to use for something else. You’ll be using the zest to make dried lemon peel.
  • Cracked black pepper: We’ll be grinding the pepper down into smaller pieces.
  • Kosher salt – These large flakes of salt have less of a salty flavor than table salt. If you are going to substitute with table salt, you’ll want to use less. Generally, ¾ teaspoon of table salt replaces 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

Ideas for Customizing

I keep it simple with just lemon peel, pepper, and salt, but you can add other dried herbs and spices to make your own unique blend. Check out some suggestions for additions:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried dill
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried basil

Homemade Dried Lemon Peel

It can be difficult to find dried citrus peel in stores, and even when you do, it can be expensive! It’s so easy and much more cost effective to make your own at home. 

If you choose the quicker oven method to dry out your peel, you can do it on the same day as you’re planning to make your seasoning. The non-cooking method works just as well, but it does take a longer time.

  1. Remove peel: Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the yellow peel from the lemon. Make sure you are only taking the yellow part and not the white pith. The pith has a bitter taste so you’ll want to scrape away as much as you can from your pieces of peel.
  2. Oven method: Preheat your oven to 170F (or the lowest temperature) and lay the lemon strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 1 hour until dry.
  3. Non-cook method: Place the strips of lemon peel on a plate and leave in a warm sunny spot for 2 – 3 days until the peel is crisp and completely dry.
  4. Store: Once your peel is dried, store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it.

How to Make Homemade Lemon Pepper

You need about an hour to make this seasoning using the oven method, but the majority of the time is hands-off so it’s really a very easy recipe.

Showing how to make lemon pepper seasoning in a 4 step collage.
  1. Preheat. Set your oven at its lowest temperature and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Peel the lemon. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to remove the outer yellow layer of the lemon. You only want the yellow part here and not the white pith. Place the strips in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake. The strips will be completely dry in about 1 hour.
  4. Grind. Add the dried lemon peel and peppercorns to a spice grinder and grind until fine but pieces of the peppercorn are still visible. Stir in the salt and pour it into an airtight container to store.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure the lemon peel is completely dry before you store it. If it’s still moist, your seasoning can develop mold.
  • Store the seasoning in glass jars with tight lids or zip-top bags to keep it fresh.
  • You can easily double or triple the recipe if you’re making it for gifts.
  • Use the same method to make other citrus seasonings! Dry lime or orange zest to make your own seasoning blends.
Lemon pepper seasoning in a bowl.

Recipe FAQs

How much seasoning should I use?

You’ll find that using ½ teaspoon of homemade lemon pepper seasoning per 1 pound of chicken, fish, or veggies is a good ratio.

Do you use lemon pepper before or after cooking?

You can use it either before or after cooking!

What makes a good lemon pepper seasoning substitute?

If you’re in a hurry and have run out of your homemade blend, you can use straight lemon zest or lemon juice with a sprinkling of pepper and salt. Lemon thyme also makes a good substitute if you can get your hands on some.

What’s the difference between using lemon juice and lemon seasoning?

Both give your meats and veggies a delicious lemony flavor. Lemon seasoning isn’t as tart as lemon juice and the juice will add additional liquid to whatever it is you’re cooking, so keep that in mind if you’re switching one for the other.

How to Use Lemon Pepper Seasoning 

There are so many ways to use this seasoning. Here are some more ideas you might like:

How Long Does It Last?

The best way to store this homemade spice blend is in an airtight container, or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, in a cool dry place. The seasoning will lose its vibrant flavor over time, so try to use it within 6 months.

For longer storage, you can keep it in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 1 year.

Lemon pepper seasoning in a white bowl with a spoon.

Want more homemade seasoning recipes? Homemade taco seasoning and fajita seasonings are great to have on hand!

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Lemon pepper seasoning in a white bowl with a spoon.

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

5 from 3 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Making homemade seasonings at home is a cooking essential! Learn how to make your own Lemon Pepper Seasoning with just 3 basic ingredients and use it to add a zesty peppery flavor to chicken, fish, and vegetables!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6


  • Spice grinder


Lemon Pepper Seasoning

  • 2 large lemons , washed
  • 2 Tablespoons cracked black peppercorn
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt


  • Preheat the oven to 170°F, or the lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the outer yellow layer from the lemon, being careful not to remove too much white pith. Place the strips in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake 1 hour, or until the strips are completely dry.
  • Transfer lemon and peppercorns to a spice grinder. Grind until fine, but pieces of peppercorn are still visible. Stir in salt.


Storage: The seasoning will lose flavor over time, so try to use it within 6 months. Keep it in an airtight container during that time.
Freeze: Place in a zip-top bag in the freezer up to 1 year. 


Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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