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Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

I love spices. For someone with a small kitchen, an inordinately large portion of cabinet space is devoted to them. I get especially excited when I realize that I can make my own mixes from what I already have in my stash. Some of my favorites are Burger Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, and Onion Soup Mix. Now add to that, the classic Lemon Pepper combo. Just two ingredients (plus salt if you desire) dried in the oven, ground up, and stored in your cabinet. Why make it complicated?

And when your done, and you have half a dozen zested lemons sitting around – make lemonade! :)

Note: When you’re grocery shopping, one lemon equals approximately 2 Tablespoons of zest (16 Tablespoons = 1 cup).

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning


Kim @ onceamonthmeals.com


  • 0.75 cup lemon zest
  • 0.33 cup peppercorns (black or mixed colors)
  • 0.25 cup kosher salt (or to taste; I like to just add mine to each dish when I cook)


Zest lemons into a bowl. Place peppercorns in a food processor {or clean coffee grinder} and pulse just a few times until coarsely ground. Mash together peppercorns and lemon zest in bowl. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in oven on lowest setting. Bake for about 1 hour or until zest is dried. Place lemon pepper mixture back into food processor {or clean coffee grinder} and pulse until finely ground. Stir in salt.

Storage Directions:

Store seasoning in a cool dry place in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Servings: 1 cup (approximately)


**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann

8 Responses to “Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning”

  1. Sarah says:

    You can freeze the fresh lemon juice in ice cube tray. Each cube is about 2 tbsp., prepped and ready for when you need some!

  2. Natasha Sandoval says:

    What temp do you bake at?

    • Kelly says:

      However low your oven will go. Mine goes to 180, but some go to 200. Whatever your lowest setting is.

      • Roxy says:

        Oh wow! I should have read the comments but I guess I got distracted. My oven goes down to 100. Maybe a little too low? I baked for an hour and a half but I was working with a very small batch. I think it should have stayed in longer but I was out of time.

  3. Norma says:

    Could u use dry lemon zest so it would last longer or would that not break down enough when pulsing?

  4. Russell Clay says:

    I’ve found that different peppercorns have very distinct flavors, so I have experimented with several types, as well as adding, or not adding, other spices (using a very small amount just to make the flavor more complex).

    For example, good old Tellicherry peppercorns are great, quite “peppery” but not hot like a chili pepper. The Malabar peppercorn has a more complex flavor that I prefer for cooking, but it is easily lost if you add it too soon; it’s best as a final addition to a dish, just before serving.

    Using red, white, pink, green, or other “peppers” will of course give you different results. Some of these are not even real peppers! They may have a similar shape and flavor, but they’re not the same species of fruit as a Tellicherry or other true peppercorns.

    I like to add about a teaspoon of Coriander seed to 1 pound of Malabar pepper (I make large quantities of the mix and give them as gifts). You can also add other spices. I’ve found that anything that is round and hard (for example, a mustard seed) will add a subtle quality to the final flavor. So there are countless ways to customize your spice mix and make it truly your own creation!

    I buy dried lemon by the pound. This really reduces the issue of drying in the oven. The fact is, any time you heat a liquid, a lot of it evaporates — even if it is an oil — and is lost. This is true for lemons, so the drier you make the zest, the less lemon flavor you’ll have to permeate the pepper.

    I break open all my seeds and the dry zest in a small food processor. Then I heat the mix in a warm oven (200 degrees max) for about an hour. Then I immediately run the mix through the food processor again, this time adding kosher or sea salt. When you get the desired consistency, which I feel should be rather chunky, put the mix in an airtight spice jar and, like everybody says, use it within 6 months.

    This makes a great gift because anyone can use the Lemon Pepper on anything, and their food will taste better! Sandwiches, mashed potatoes, veg of any kind, meat (especially beef or pork), pasta sauce, eggs…the possibilities are endless. This mix can be made more or less lemony, more or less peppery, and can be plain or contain a small amount of other aromatic seeds. Just make sure everything is cracked and reduced to about the same size, or else the heavy bits will go to the bottom of the spice jar over time — not good.

    I hope these observations help. Good spice making!

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