Skip to Content

All About the Lemon Drop Pepper

You may be surprised to learn that the Lemon Drop pepper isn’t used in your favorite traditional Lemon Pepper Fish or Chicken recipes, but this lemon-tasting pepper has many other uses. For instance, you can use it to create a whole new flavorful seasoning.

Read on to learn more about using and growing the Lemon Drop pepper.

Looking to buy Lemon Pepper seeds? Check availability.

A plate of Lemon Drop peppers.

History of the Lemon Drop Pepper

The Lemon Drop pepper is native to South America and is most prevalent in Peru. It’s the most famous pepper of the Capsicum vacuum variety. Peruvians commonly enjoy this pepper as a seasoning.

How it received its name isn’t too surprising since it’s yellow like a lemon and has a citrusy taste.

The pepper has been known worldwide since the 1990s and is sometimes labeled by its Peruvian name Ají limón.


Closeup of a single Lemon Drop pepper on a plant.


Some describe its citrusy flavor as lemony. The pepper is hot but not overbearing, coming in at 15,000-30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Many say the heat vanishes quickly, and the citrus lemon flavor takes over.

Some pepper seeds online boast reaching up to 50,000 SHU, though.


The Lemon Drop Pepper is shaped like a tear-drop, hence its name. It’s bright yellow and sometimes develops a purple-ish blush.

Plants grow two feet high, with the peppers about two to three inches long.

The fruit also contains very few seeds.

Eating the Lemon Drop Pepper

Sliced yellow peppers.

The Lemon Drop Pepper has many uses. Eat them raw for a snack, or try them in sauces, salsas, soups, curries, and stir-fries.

These peppers pair well with garlic and vinegar.

Lemon Drop Pepper Seasoning

You can also make your own lemon drop pepper seasoning. A little goes a long way here! Mince your peppers as fine as possible, or grind them into powder with a spice grinder.


Dry your Lemon Drop peppers for a yummy snack or a dried seasoning. They may lose their citrus flavor when dried with traditional methods.

One tip to keep the tasty citrus flavor in your dried Lemon Drop peppers is to make them into a sauce first, then dehydrate the sauce into powder. You can find three Lemon Drop sauce recipes in the recipes section below.

To dehydrate sauce, spread it on dehydrator trays with parchment paper. Dry at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to ten hours until crisp.

Break down the sauce bark into chunks, then use a coffee grinder or food processor to form a powder.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark location like a pantry. You can rehydrate the sauce with two-three parts water and one part tomato sauce. Dehydrated tomato sauce is excellent to bring along on backpacking trips.


Bowl of salsa.


Vitamin A and C

Vitamin A is essential to vision, development, and immunity. Vitamin C is vital to your body’s healing process. Consuming plenty of vitamins A and C is necessary for combatting symptoms of illnesses like the common cold.

Potassium, Magnesium, and Iron

When you think of potassium, you probably think of bananas, but peppers also contain potassium. The top role of potassium is to help our cells maintain normal fluid. Potassium also helps muscles contract and helps blood pressure normalize.

Magnesium plays a critical role in muscle, nerve, and energy functions. You want to keep your magnesium levels up to prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Iron is a common deficiency in vegetarians because it’s commonly found in meat. Your body needs iron to support healthy red blood cells, which give you energy.


Capsaicin is that burning sensation you experience when you eat a hot pepper. It has many potential benefits, such as boosting your metabolism and thus aiding in weight loss. Capsaicin is also known for reducing inflammation and is recommended for those who suffer from inflammatory diseases like psoriasis or fibromyalgia.

How to Grow the Lemon Drop Pepper at Home

Closeup of immature Lemon Drop pepper fruit on a plant.

Start seeds 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost in containers that can hold six inches of soil. Plant the seeds one-fourth of an inch deep.

We’ve got several tips on how to grow peppers. When starting your seeds, finding the best seedling soil is essential. Also, a heat mat can help warm soil and increase germination speed.

The first few weeks will determine if a seed will make it. Seedling soil is lightweight and perfect for new seedlings. Place your seedlings in a sunny spot and water them every day. They should be in an area with at least six hours of sun daily.

After the peppers start to grow, thin them and space them a few inches apart. Pot up seedlings in a larger container with potting soil or transplant them outside after the threat of frost has passed.

Their permanent home should be sunny with eight to ten hours of sun.

Lemon Drop Peppers are hardy and resistant to most diseases.


A Lemon Drop pepper plant with yellow and green fruit.

You’ll be able to harvest in 70 to 80 days. Wait until the peppers turn from green to bright yellow to harvest.

Harvest your Lemon Drop Peppers using clippers, which will help avoid damage to the plant caused by pulling.

Unlike many other pepper plants, Lemon Drop peppers can be kept as perennials. Your Lemon Drop pepper will return yearly if kept in a pot or container that can be brought indoors or to a heated greenhouse.

Where to Buy

Amazon has dried Lemon Drop pods available. If you’re looking for fresh peppers, they’re commonly found at local farmers’ markets when they’re in season. You may even be able to find them at your local grocery stores.

Person sowing pepper seeds.

Of course, the best way to ensure you enjoy Lemon Drop peppers is to grow your own! If you’re up for that, seeds are available on Amazon.

Wrapping Up the Lemon Drop Pepper

Three Lemon Drop peppers.

This yummy lemony pepper is waiting for you to try it. You’ll surely enjoy seasoning your dishes with the Lemon Drop Pepper, which will likely become one of your new favorite seasonings.

Looking to learn more about peppers? Check out our Pepper Plant page for other varieties.