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How to Make Homemade Limoncello

Did you know you can make homemade limoncello? Making homemade limoncello is a relatively easy process and a great way to save money by making it yourself. I’m sharing this easy homemade Limoncello Recipe that’s great for making cocktails or for many dessert recipes.

The best vacation trip we have ever taken was to Italy. The food, the history, the wine, and the Limoncello did not disappoint!

We brought limoncello home with us when we visited Italy, but it’s long gone. I was recently exploring a dessert recipe called for limoncello and realized that it’s easy to make.

I explored several online recipes and used a combination of suggestions from each. Here is how I made my recipe and learned along the way.

Limoncello from Italy

What is Limoncello?

Limoncello is a delicious citrus liqueur that originated in Southern Italy.

I was surprised to find that Limoncello is just a combination of simple ingredients, including lemon zest, vodka, sugar, and water.

You only need a few simple tools and about a week to have your own homemade limoncello.

Lemon Zest is needed to make Limoncello Recipe

What is Limoncello used for?

In Italy, Limoncello may be served straight at the beginning of the meal or at the end of dinner to help with digestion.

Because of the high alcoholic content is usually served cold in a small cup or shot glass. However, it isn’t meant to be taken in one shot but instead sipped and savored.

In addition, Italians would never dilute the flavor with ice. Therefore, keeping in the freezer and enjoying ice cold is great.

It’s also great served over gelato or cheesecake. Many dessert recipes include limoncello as well.


You will also find many US cocktails, which include limoncello as an ingredient. You can see some of the recipes I found in this post.

Start with freshly wash organic lemons

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

When you read about the origins of limoncello, you will find that the lemons are picked directly from the trees in Carpi and are not allowed to touch the ground.

Oh well! The best I could do was purchase organic lemons from the grocery store. LOL

I’m sure that a lemon picked fresh from a tree in Italy would make perfect limoncello, but this version isn’t bad if I say so myself.

Limoncello Recipe – Lemon Zest

Begin by washing lemons thoroughly and allowing them to dry.

Then, remove the zest from 8-10 lemons with either a vegetable peeler or a lemon zester. I personally found a small handheld grater worked best to remove only the yellow zest and leave the white pith.

You don’t want to include the white pith part of the peel because it will cause the limoncello to be bitter.

Zest Lemons

Start Limoncello Recipe Infusion

Begin by sterilizing the container that you are placing the mixture into. I washed the container and then poured boiling water over it as well.

Use boiling water to sanitize your jars

Pour the lemon zest into a glass jar with a sealable lid and add the vodka.

Mix lemon zest with vodka

Place the sealed jar in a cool, dark place. Stir the contents daily and wait for 1 to 2 weeks before removing them. I placed mine in the pantry.

store infused vodka in cool dark spot for 1-2 weeks to make limoncello recipe
Yield: 32 oz.

How to Make Homemade Limoncello

How to Make Homemade Limoncello

Easy to make Homemade Limoncello recipe is great for a cocktail or to include in tasty recipes

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 days
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 7 days 40 minutes


  • 1 - 750 ml vodka 100 proof
  • 10- Lemon Zest
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water


  1. Remove the zest from 10 lemons with a vegetable peeler or lemon zester, being careful to remove only the thin yellow layer. Do not remove the white pith that lies underneath the yellow zest.
  2. Place zest in a jar with a sealable lid and add the 750 ml of vodka.
  3. Seal the jar and place it in a cool, dark spot.
  4. Infuse the vodka with the lemon zest for 1 - 2 weeks. The longer you allow the mixture to sit, the more flavorful the limoncello will be.
  5. Stir mixture daily.
  6. Strain the zest from the vodka using a fine lemon strainer or coffee filter.
  7. Make a simple syrup with 1 part water to 1 part sugar.
  8. Bring water to a boil and mix in sugar until dissolved.
  9. You can begin with 2 cups of each to add to your vodka-infused mixture. If this mixture is stronger than you like, you can continue to add the same ratio until you are pleased with the taste.
  10. The more simple syrup added, the less alcoholic your limoncello will be.
  11. Use a funnel to pour the limoncello into sealable bottles.
  12. Keep homemade limoncello in the freezer for best results.


I found that it was much easier to grate the lemon zest with a lemon zester. The vegetable peeler was harder to control and easier to cut into the white pith which will make the limoncello more bitter.

It only takes a few days for the majority of the lemon flavor to be infused in the vodka, therefore within the first week, you will have very tasty limoncello.

I waited 9 days before removing the zest from the infused vodka.

2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar were perfect for our mixture. If you prefer a sweeter limoncello add additional water and sugar mixture until you reach your desired taste.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 153Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 0gSugar 19gProtein 0g

Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I include basic calorie and nutrition information for recipes as a courtesy. However, due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using Calorie Counter App and information is entered as accurately as possible. We subtract all sugar alcohols from erythritol and xylitol from the final carb count because that is how THM calculates carbs.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

What to do with the lemons

Y’all know I’m a waste not kind of girl, and throwing away ten perfectly good lemons was not going to happen.

First, I made a pitcher of The Perfect Fresh Lemonade, which took 1 cup of fresh lemon juice. Although it was winter, the lemonade was very tasty.

Next, there was precisely 1/4 cup of lemon juice left over, and that’s how much I will need for a recipe I’m making next week. I placed it in the freezer until I was ready for the lemon juice.

Freeze the lemon juice for future recipes.

If you don’t have an immediate use for the lemon juice, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, you can transfer it to a freezer bag and use it as needed in recipes.

Be sure to check out this tasty dessert recipe with this homemade limoncello and the leftover lemon juice.

Nine Days Later

Okay, I didn’t make it for the whole two weeks. However, I’m thrilled with the recipe.

It was time to stain the infused vodka on day nine, eliminating any lemon zest from the liquid. I used a fine juice strainer, but a coffee filter will also work.

Place your stained liquid in a pitcher or container to add the simple syrup.

I’ve read several recipes, and the amount of water and sugar varies. I decided to start with the lowest amount to be cautious.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 2 cups of sugar until dissolved.

Add sugar to make simple syrup.

Mix the simple syrup with the infused vodka and taste to test.

I’m so glad I was cautious because my husband and I both felt the limoncello was perfect with this combination.

Time to Fill the Bottles

You will have approximately 32 to 40 ounces of Limoncello, and you will need bottles that have been sterilized and can be sealed.

Use a funnel to fill your bottles.

Keep homemade limoncello in the freezer for best results.

Pour Limoncello Recipe into decorative bottles using a funnel.


I chose to use a larger bottle to keep and a couple of small bottles to use as gifts.

Limoncello Recipe stored in decorative bottles and kept in freezer.

You can use creative ways to label your bottles. This is just a cute chalkboard tag.

You can see how to make the Boxwood and Lemon Topiaries here.

Label limoncello bottles for great gift ideas.

I hope you try this recipe. Here is the Frozen Limoncello Tart with Toasted Coconut Recipe using this homemade liqueur.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

pin it to remember it

Homemade Limoncello Recipe that budget-friendly and easy to make.

Mary from Life at Bella Terra

Sunday 21st of April 2024

Rachel, I made this with both regular lemons and Meyer lemons this week. Actually my husband and I will be adding the simple syrup today on two large containers that have been macerating for several weeks. Love this stuff!


Sunday 21st of April 2024

Mary, We have a batch brewing as we speak. LOL>.


Sunday 21st of August 2022

Left over lemons can be sliced or cut in wedges, frozen in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When frozen, simply convert to a ziploc bag & keep froze. Just plunk a slice or wedge into a glass of cold water or any other drink. You always have a lemon slice on hand!


Sunday 21st of August 2022

Shar, That's a great tip. I've been freezing the juice but haven't thought to actually freeze the slices. Thanks so much.


Monday 28th of February 2022

Rachel, I never had Limoncello until going to Tuscany. I brought two bottles home with me. It is so yummy. I cannot wait to try your recipe and make some. Saved your Pin!


Monday 28th of February 2022

Tammy, This recipe is so good. I hope you enjoy it.

Anne from Simply2Moms

Saturday 26th of February 2022

Oh my gosh. I’m absolutely making a batch of this this week! Who knew it was so simple to do?!


Sunday 27th of February 2022

It is so good! I don't know that anyone will get any of this first batch. It's going fast. LOL

11 Easy Italian Food and Beverage Ideas - Stacy Ling

Saturday 26th of February 2022

[…] I can’t wait to make her dessert because she made it with her homemade limoncello. […]

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