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What Are the Best Tips for Cooking with Lemon Pepper?

Lemon pepper's zesty kick can elevate any dish, but balance is key. Start with a light sprinkle, letting the citrus and spice harmoniously enhance, not overpower, your meal. Pair it with chicken, fish, or vegetables for a tangy twist. Remember, freshness matters—opt for a high-quality blend or make your own. Ready to transform your cooking with this bold seasoning?
Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith

Lemon pepper may be included in a recipe during any stage of the cooking process, but tends to add flavor best when added to meats and vegetables prior to grilling or baking, and sprinkling over vegetables only after steaming. These cooking methods allow the spice to dry directly onto the foods without losing its flavor. Chefs can create their own blend of this type of pepper at home, using their favorite seasonings and spices as well.

Real lemon peel is added to freshly ground, coarse chunks of black pepper to create the signature flavor of lemon pepper. Additional ingredients used in this spice blend may include sugar, dried minced onion, and garlic powder. This type of seasoning mixture may be purchased at a local grocery store, or blended at home. When creating a savory lemon based spice, chefs should feel free to add those herbs, spices, and extracts which compliment their food and personal palette the best to create a truly one of a kind taste.

A lemon.
A lemon.

This seasoning may be added to any type of food to improve the flavor of an overall dish. It is both robust and unique, and typically does not require the use of many additional spices. Traditional cracked black pepper may be omitted and replaced in any recipe with lemon pepper to add notes of zest and citrus to the foods being prepared.

To obtain a maximum amount of flavor from the lemon pepper when using it over meat, the spice should be added to foods prior to cooking. Chicken and fish are popular choices among types of meat for use with this particular spice. The pepper should be sprinkled over the meats prior to grilling or baking, but does not require time to marinade. When using this type of pepper over a whole chicken, the spice may be sprinkled between the skin and the meat of the bird. Lemon slices may be secured over the top of the skin and inside the body cavity to bring out the rich citrus flavor.

Rub a whole chicken with lemon pepper and other spices before roasting it.
Rub a whole chicken with lemon pepper and other spices before roasting it.

Lemon pepper may be added to vegetables at any stage during the cooking process. The pepper can be added to vegetables that have been steamed, such as carrots, green beans, and corn, immediately prior to serving, and blends well when mixed with butter. Vegetables that are being cooked over an open grill, such as onions, potatoes, and squash, should generally be seasoned first using a type of dressing in which the pepper has been mixed with vegetable or olive oil. This mixture allows the seasoning to dry directly onto the vegetables and thereby transfer a majority of its flavor.

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Discussion Comments


Lemon pepper makes a great coating for a different kind of steak au poivre. It gives the meat a little zing that plain black pepper does not. Also, it's usually broken up a little, so it's easier to get the pepper to a nice cracked consistency than it is whole peppercorns.

The pan sauce is also really good and different when you use lemon pepper with this -- or any -- recipe -- and the results are generally really good. It's always good to try something different and lemon pepper has worked for just about every recipe as a substitute for regular black pepper. I wouldn't use it in chili or beef stew, but for everything else, it's good.


I love lemon pepper on nearly everything. It's great on meat or vegetables. I love to sprinkle it on roasted asparagus. It really makes all the flavors pop of whatever dish you add it to.

I think it's good on fish, too. I always sprinkle it on both sides of the fish filet before cooking, and then even after I take it from the oven. You have to season fish well or it's super bland, so I like to use seasoned salt and lemon pepper for a fish like tilapia, since it tends not to have a great deal of unique flavor by itself.

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    • A lemon.
      By: .AGA.
      A lemon.
    • Rub a whole chicken with lemon pepper and other spices before roasting it.
      By: Andrey Starostin
      Rub a whole chicken with lemon pepper and other spices before roasting it.