Better Lemon Pepper BlendThe inspiration for this blend came from Penzys Spice’s Florida Pepper. I LOVED the course grain of the pepper and its intense lemoniness. They also use orange zest. Brilliant! In playing around to make my own blend, I quickly discovered how perfectly citric acid* can be used to bring the exact amount of lemon you desire to your spice. Next, the most important addition, was the choice of paprika to round out the blend with more depth. Lastly, we all know that garlic and lemon go really well, so I decided this would be a garlic lemon pepper blend.

I love the use of paprika in this mix. Paprika is a chili, but over time Spanish monks bred their particular chilies to contain more sweetness and less heat. This doesn’t mean that all paprikas are equal. Some paprika powders include the addition of spicier peppers. Explore different types of paprika to decide what works well for you. Some are labeled as Sweet, while others boast being either Spanish or Hungarian. I would even go so far as to say ground California or New Mexico chilies might work very well.

Serving Suggestions

  • Seasoning for any kind of meat:
    • Grilled Steak
    • Roasted Chicken
    • Seafood, Fish, Shrimp, and Scallops
    • Pulled Pork or Chicken Sandwiches
    • Pork, Chicken, or Seafood Street Tacos
    • Pork Roast (add just a pinch of cinnamon!)
  • Use to flavor white sauce for seafood
  • Sprinkle on pasta
  • Mix with equal parts mayo and sour cream for a vegetable dip
  • Great with steamed asparagus or green beans
  • Excellent on popcorn

Note that this recipe calls for 1 teaspoons of course ground black pepper. If you use fine ground it will require much less; probably only 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon. In addition, if you want more heat in your blend a simple dash of Cayenne or De Arbol will do the trick. My other word of advice would be to not overdo the citric acid. Lastly, adding fine grated lemon, lime, or even orange zest can really fill this blend out beautifully, but made simply as-is it is a really fine blend.

*Citric Acid can usually be found where ever bulk herbs are sold. It is a white powder, similar in texture to salt. It is what they use coat sour gummy candies, and is also the second ingredient to baking soda for making fizzy bath bombs. Good stuff, very useful, and certainly cheap enough to keep a baggy on-hand.

Better Lemon Pepper – Spice Blend

By: Semiserious Chefs
Makes: Roughly 3.5 Tablespoons


  • 4 t course ground black pepper (See notes above)
  • 4 t paprika (I used Hungarian)
  • 1 t garlic granules
  • 1/4 t citric acid
  • 1 t sea salt (not particularly fine grained)


  1. Crack black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, until just coarsely ground.
  2. Stir the black pepper, paprika, garlic, citric acid, and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. Use as you please!

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