Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning is so easy to make, and you are going to love it! It's so good on chicken, seafood, veggies and more.

Close up of crispy chicken thigh with lemon pepper seasoning.

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning Recipe

You — yes, you! — have got to stop buying seasonings at the store.

For one, well, did you know that contents of your spice rack can go bad? They have expiration dates galore!

Plus, homemade seasonings and marinades are so much more flavorful. Jarred spices can lose their color and flavor over time, even if they aren't yet expired.

Don't believe me? Try this homemade lemon pepper seasoning, and I know I will convert you!

Why you'll love it

This recipe is so tasty and easy! I think you'll fall in love with it.

  • Homemade Lemon Pepper only has three ingredients.
  • You can keep it on hand for future recipes.
  • It tastes great on seafood, chicken and veggies.
Lemons next to striped linen napkin.

Ingredients

You only need three ingredients to make an impeccable lemon pepper seasoning. Here's what to grab at the store:

  • fresh lemons, for zesting
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • black pepper (ideally ground from fresh peppercorns)

Salt and pepper

I like to use these salt and pepper grinders to get the freshest tasting salt and pepper. Freshly cracked black pepper is my favorite — so flavorful!

Use either sea salt or kosher salt for this recipe, not table salt.

You can use store-bought black pepper if you need to!

Lemon zest

You can use any kind of lemon in this recipe. Meyer lemons are a little sweeter, but they will work really well. I am lucky enough to have a lemon tree in my yard, but when I don't have any fresh ones I buy medium lemons at the store.

For lemon zest, you will need a lemon zester or microplane. If you don't have a zester, I recommend one! They are great for zesting citrus, grating garlic and shaving cubes of parmesan cheese.

If you don't have a quality zester, you can carefully peel the lemons and finely dice them. Be careful not to get any of the white pith underneath the lemon rind — that will give your lemon zest a bitter taste.

When you're done zesting, be sure to use the juice to make something yummy like Strawberry Lemonade or Mini Lemon Cheesecakes!

How to make lemon pepper seasoning

First, zest your lemons. You will need about 3 lemons' worth of zest to make ½ cup of seasoning, but if you don't need as much you can just use one or two.

The recipe calls for equal parts of lemon zest, salt and pepper, so for every lemon you use, add 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper.

Then, in a small bowl or jar, combine lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. You can store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months to use as a rub on chicken or seafood.

Close up of crispy chicken thigh with lemon pepper seasoning plated with broccoli and potatoes.

Substitutes

No lemons? You can use other types of citrus like limes, grapefruits or oranges.

If using lemons just isn't an option, you might consider a marinade for seasoning your chicken instead.

We love this Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade and this Grilled Shrimp Marinade, which you can use on other types of seafood too.

Uses for lemon pepper seasoning

I absolutely love these lemon pepper chicken thighs — we easily make them about once a month! You can grill chicken thighs or pan sear them. Eat it on its own, put it on a salad or throw it into a lemon chicken soup.

And of course, lemon pepper is also a very popular seasoning for chicken wings! (If you make those, you're going to need some amazing homemade ranch dressing to go with it!)

Lemon pepper is also fantastic on seafood. Try it on grilled shrimp skewers, tilapia or salmon.

It doesn't stop at chicken and fish. You could also use it on pork chops or to make beef jerky!

Also, there's nothing wrong with sprinkling it over veggies like zucchini, cauliflower or green beans. The lemon zest really helps to brighten all of the flavors.

And just for fun, you could add it to the rim of a margarita for a zesty-salty-spicy situation! Follow these instructions for rimming a glass.

Close up of crispy chicken thigh with lemon pepper seasoning plated with broccoli and potatoes.

More marinades and seasonings

More homemade basics

Close up of crispy chicken thigh with lemon pepper seasoning.

Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning is so easy to make, and you'll want to put it on everything from now on!
5 from 48 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 ½ cup
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest about 3 lemons' worth
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or jar, combine lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  • Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • Use as a rub on chicken or seafood.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 4760mg | Fiber: 2g

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