Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

There are a ton of things that I eventually want to make; like my own ketchup from scratch, or sandwich bread and jam. Today it is lemon-pepper. I needed some for a recipe so I set out to make it myself.

How hard could it be? Have you ever made your own lemon pepper seasoning? Am I the only freak who would? Don’t answer that. Actually my mom is a weirdo just like me… she makes her own poultry seasoning… so there, I’m not alone.

Lemon pepper seasoning is like the all-purpose seasoning to fish and chicken, like Lawry’s is to beef and eggs and like chocolate is to pretzels.


Well it is painfully simple to make and in this recipe you won’t find any artificial modified-anything! Just yummy lemony-peppery-flavory. Sorry-y.

Start with a lot of lemons, pepper and salt! Now I know four are pictured but I added the zest of another lemon.
Now if you want more lemon than pepper reduce the amount of pepper or increase the lemon zest.

So I started out with 4 to see how much I would need…

Lemme just tell ya, you need a whole lotta lemon zest! So I added another lemon to the zest pile.


And add it to a bowl.

Add in the pepper.

I used a mixture of half black and half the “peppercorn medley” because not only does it have pink, green and white peppercorns, but it has coriander and allspice in it as well. I just tossed them in my spice grinder and gave’em a quick pulse.

Give it a good stir, mashing the lemon zest into the pepper.

There is no “exact amount” of lemon zest. I probably should have measured it all out for you. But it depends on the size of the lemons you are using. So I say between 5 and 7 lemons.

Pile it in the center of a parchment lined baking sheet.

Spread it out and bake at the lowest setting until the zest is completely dried. Mine took an hour… it may take longer depending on how much set you’re using.

I checked on it every now and again and give it a toss. Spread it back out and back into the oven it goes.

It smells pretty good right about now.

Once completely dried. Add to a spice grinder.

Place the lid on tight and blitz away.

Until it resembles lemon pepper or fine sand.

You can either add the salt now or not. Just keep in mind if you like to control your salt, you may want to skip this step.

Mix until combined. And there you have it! Homemade lemon-pepper seasoning!

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Homemade lemon pepper is easy and delicious.


  • 5+ large lemons
  • 1/3 cup {scant} of crushed pepper corns {black and/or medley}
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt


Zest all the lemons and mix with crushed peppercorns.

Spread out on parchment lined baking sheet and bake on lowest setting until the zest is completely dried.

Add the lemon-pepper to a spice grinder and grind until desired texture.

Mix with the kosher salt if desired and store in a airtight container for up to a few months.


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109 Responses to “Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning”

  1. #
    Nichole — November 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    That is so cool! I had not even thought of making my own. And yes it is universal. Thanks for the great post.

  2. #
    Pretend Chef — November 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    That is one spice combination I had not thought to make on my own. Looks so much tastier than store bought.

  3. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — November 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Pretend Chef~ It really is tasty. You could add some garilc powder or onion flakes for even MORE flavor too!!

  4. #
    Kay Heritage — November 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    How beautiful is THAT! Great looking recipe. And your photos are fantastic, Laurie! New lens/camera? Great job.

  5. #
    Andrea the Kitchen Witch — November 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I've been wanting to do lemon pepper for a while now. Now I have no excuses! Looks great, my husband will LOVE this!! Must get lemons post haste! LOL!!

  6. #
    GRAND MAMAA — November 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Wow…this really looks wonderful…I can almost smell the lemons…I can't wait until I get my spice grinder….BACK!!!!
    Thanks for the great idea!!!

  7. #
    GRAND MAMAA — November 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Oh, and I almost forgot…I don't think your mom is weird at all for making her own spice!

  8. #
    Amanda — November 24, 2010 at 1:56 am

    i am so freaking impressed right now. who would have thought to make your own lemon-pepper seasoning? genius!

  9. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — November 24, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Kay… same camera.. just getting better? Maybe? LOL

    Andrea… I've been wanting to do it for a while too. It was fun!

    Grand… only gourmet kitchens have spice grinders ;)LOL

    Amanda… Thanks! I had my fingers crossed that this would taste good, because it was so fun to make and photograph!

  10. #
    Turmericnspice — November 24, 2010 at 4:39 am

    super cool…am going to make my own. Am used to making my own seasoning for my Indian dishes, never thought of this…AWESOME!! thanks for the post.

  11. #
    The Humbled Homemaker — July 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I, too, am on a quest to make everything from scratch…but I'm just getting started! I will be following your blog for sure! My hubby LOVES lemon pepper–and most of it has MSG in it!

  12. #
    foodnoob — September 21, 2011 at 2:57 am

    A culinary noob, i am! Ive only been seriosly learning to cook for the last month. It looks good. I agree with making things from scratch. Id like to be able to make everything from scratch. Everyone likes to go out but how nice would it be to create your own meals fit for a restaurant? How long does it keep? There looks like alot.

  13. #
    Margaret Murphy Tripp — September 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I knew there would be another freak out there who would want to make home-made lemon pepper!!!! This is exactly what I was looking for, and I had an idea it would be that easy.
    I like your style, thanks!

  14. #
    DavetteB — November 10, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Good for you – the bottled spices have mostly salt in the lemon pepper.

    PS: homemade ketchup is so easy and delicious; the only hard part would be if you wanted to can it instead of making it as needed.

  15. #
    Anonymous — January 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I have been making my own lemon pepper seasoning for years. I wait until lemons go on sale. (Yesterday, they were 4 for $1.00 so got 16.). I zest while watching TV. My ratio is about 4 parts lemon zest to 1 part pepper. I also throw in small amounts of savoury, thyme & rosemary – about 1/2 -3/4 tsp each, and about 1 TBSP garlic granules and 1 TBSP dehydrated onion. I never add salt. That is

  16. #
    Anonymous — February 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks for the great instructions! I was wondering how long I can store the mix for. Thanks!

  17. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 8, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I would say if it was stored in an air-tight container that it should last for 3-4 months 🙂

  18. #
    Brenda — June 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I was just getting ready to order lemon pepper and decided to Google first to see if I could make my own and voila, here you are!

    Lemon pepper is great with fish & chicken, but it’s absolutely fantastic with slowly cooked frozen green beans, butter and a little bit of dried basil.

  19. #
    Jessica — September 29, 2012 at 4:05 am

    You could also use limes in place of lemons for lime pepper. Also id love to hear your moms recipe for poultry seasoning since I go thru it like water when I make my home made dog treats and id love to make them as all natural as I can. Thanks much

  20. #
    troy — February 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    this looks like a good recipe EXCEPT for putting it in the oven. you should never heat spices prior to using them at the time of cooking. when heated you will loose all the essential oils and it will end up tasting like the stuff bought at the store. if you want it to taste better just let the zest dry out at room temp. i would suggest after mixing keep it stored in a tightly sealed glass jar int the dark away from heat and only grind it as you need it. kept this way it will keep for several years.

  21. #
    troy — February 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    it should read : you should never heat spices prior to using them only at the time of cooking

  22. #
    Ethel — April 21, 2013 at 5:59 am

    Ahaa, its pleasant conversation regarding this piece of writing here
    at this blog, I have read all that, so at this
    time me also commenting here.

  23. #
    Jackie — July 25, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Can you tell me the approximate yield for this recipe?

    • simplyscratch replied: — July 26th, 2013 @ 9:33 am

      Sorry I don’t have exact measurements… but I used an round tin to store mine in. 🙂

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  26. #
    Jennifer — April 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Talk about universal- I’m a vegetarian and consider lemon pepper an all-purpose seasoning. Sprinkle on steamed or sauteed green veggies for instance. Or stirred into soup cream for on mashed potatoes. All sorts of veggie wraps that need just a little something extra.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — April 21st, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

      YES! I agree… lemon pepper seasoning is so good on so many things… but I HAVE to try it in mashed potatoes! YUM!

  27. #
    Carolann — July 28, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Hi, I enjoyed reading this blog and no, you and your Mom are not freaks for wanting to make your own seasoning blends. I do too! I just wanted to pass this on to you so you don’t feel like you have to re-invent the wheel developing recipes for your mixes and spice blends. There are a couple of books out there with great recipes. I particularly like the series “Make a MIx” by the “Mix Ladies” (Eliason, Harward and Westover).

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 30th, 2014 @ 9:11 am

      Thanks Carolann! That’s awesome to know… I’ll definitely check out those books!

  28. #
    Meg — January 30, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Well considering that I searched and am reading your recipe, you obviously aren’t alone 😉

  29. #
    Jacqueline — February 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Don’t bake it in the oven! The heat kills all the enzymes & other important nutrients. Use a food dehydrator instead. Set the temp at 110 or less – the lemon zest will still be raw and full of healthful enzymes & nutrients.

  30. #
    Danielle — May 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I think I would dry my lemon zest separately instead of with the pepper, that way the pepper keeps more of its flavor.

  31. #
    Scott — August 16, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I didn’t have quite enough lemons on hand, but I had a few limes. So my version is going to be about 70/30 Lemon/Lime. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!!

  32. #
    Scott — August 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Oh, and by the way, when you say “lowest setting possible”, what do you really mean by that? The reason I ask, is it kind of depends on the oven brand? I am staring mine at 200F. Hope that’s not too hot. I will adjust if so.

  33. #
    Terry — September 24, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just zest and dry the lemon zest by itself first, and then mix it together? Or does the lemon zest soak into the pepper?

  34. #
    Wanda Hill — September 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Love lemon and pepper wings, so I am making your homemade recipe to have plenty on hand…Thanks for the directions and pictures…Great stuff!!

  35. #
    Kate — April 13, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    I was so excited to try this and it came out soooo bitter. What am I doing wrong?

  36. #
    Melton — November 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Thats the perfect season for me thank you..

  37. #
    Kelly — April 30, 2017 at 11:30 am

    WOW this is TOTALLY AMAZING!!! I’m getting ready to make it right now!!! Thanx for sharing I absolutely love it!!!❤️

  38. #
    Helene — May 15, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Can the lemon pepper be made, not baked, then kept in the freezer longer?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — May 18th, 2017 @ 2:08 pm

      Since I haven’t tested it, I’m not confident giving you a definite answer. Sorry, Helene!

  39. #
    SadieMarquis — June 22, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    WICKED.. Putting together some weekly specials for work. Will be bringing this idea to the Chef TODAY!

  40. #
    Robert F. Woods — September 13, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Why bake the pepper?

  41. #
    C — January 4, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Store-bought lemon pepper has too much salt, so it’s smart to make your own seasonings. I also make my own taco seasoning, and pizza sauce. Thanks for the recipe!

  42. #
    Linda McTaggart — March 24, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I’m definitely going to make lemon pepper, thank you.


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