How to make a homemade lemon-pepper seasoning

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

Mince the zest and place it in a small bowl.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

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


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.

Things You'll 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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