How to make a homemade lemon-pepper seasoning

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How to make a homemade lemon-pepper seasoning
Lemon-pepper seasoning is popular in Chinese cooking. (sitriel/iStock/Getty Images)

Commercial lemon-pepper seasoning, available in the spice section of most supermarkets, is enormously popular as a seasoning for chicken and other foods. If you want a bolder and fresher flavour than the shop-bought variety can offer, make your own zingy lemon-pepper seasoning at home.

Things you need

  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) whole black peppercorns
  • Fresh chilli peppers
  • Baking trays
  • Coffee grinders
  • Chopping boards
  • Wooden spoons
  • Zesters
  • Baking sheets

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  1. 1

    Remove the zest from the lemon carefully, using a zesting tool or a vegetable peeler. Remove only the yellow zest and none of the white pith.

  2. 2

    Mince the zest and place it in a small bowl.

  3. 3

    Place the peppercorns on a cutting board and crack them by pressing on them with the clean bottom of a heavy pot, or whirl very briefly in a spice grinder -- you want them in large pieces.

  4. 4

    Add the cracked pepper to the zest. Finely chop a single fresh chilli, if you like the extra heat, and add it to the zest.

  5. 5

    Use a wooden spoon or other sturdy tool to mash the cracked pepper and zest together. This helps release the citrus oils in the zest and combine them with the pepper.

  6. 6

    Spread the zest and pepper on a small baking tray or piece of foil and place in the oven. If it's a gas oven, leave it in the oven overnight and the pilot light will dry the mixture out. If it's an electric oven, set it to 95 degrees C (200F).

  7. 7

    Pulverise the mixture the next day in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. You can also mince it by hand with a knife.

  8. 8

    Sprinkle the seasoning on chicken, fish and other foods before cooking.

Tips and warnings

  • The ratio of lemon zest to pepper should be about one-to-one but exact measurements aren't necessary.
  • Try sprinkling this mixture on fish fillets before cooking, then sprinkle on some fresh lemon juice after cooking to boost the flavour.
  • If you have a mortar and pestle, use that to crack the pepper coarsely.

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