How to Make Limoncello

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic

Learn how to make delicious homemade limoncello with just a few ingredients.

Flavored with the citrus tang of lemon skins, limoncello is a delicious liqueur, best served after a wonderful dinner.

You may not have ever considered making your own liqueur before - but there's no big mystery to making limoncello.

In fact, this homemade liqueur is easy to prepare, it saves money... and the BEST thing is that you can adjust the ingredients to achieve the exact flavor you prefer!

Limoncello Photo

The cool thing about this limoncello recipe is that it's so versatile - so if lemons aren't your thing, you can swap them for another citrus fruit that you prefer! Limes work well and so do oranges - or you can use a combination of fruits!

The perfect lemons for making limoncello

We strongly recommend using organic lemons when making this delicious citrussy liqueur.

Preparation involves thoroughly infusing the oil from the lemon skin, which imparts flavor and color. Unfortunately, though, non-organic lemons tend to carry quite a high level of pesticides on their skin. In most recipes, lemon skin is discarded, so this isn't an important issue.

But limoncello is all about the skins - and only organic lemons are guaranteed to be pesticide-free.

Limoncello Picture

Preparing the lemons

To make limoncello you need the lemon zest, but none of the white pith from the peel, which can make the liqueur taste bitter. The easiest option is to peel the lemons (or whichever citrus fruit you decide to use) with a vegetable peeler.

Check the back of each strip as you peel it. If there is no white pith, then it's ready to use. If pith is visible, gently remove it with a very sharp knife.

Limoncello Image

How long does it take to make limoncello?

The good news is that if you decide one morning that you'd like to try your hand at preparing limoncello, you can be happily enjoying the finished product that same afternoon!

Limoncello Pic

Ideally, though, it's best to start making it a few days before you plant to consume it. The extra time will allow the color and flavor to develop much more. For the best results, try waiting for a week before straining it. Your taste buds will thank you!

Don't forget to try this Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur too!


How to Make Limoncello

1 Servings


  • 4 large Lemons, organic (if using smaller citrus fruits, increase the quantity)
  • 3 cups Vodka, or use another strong alcohol with little flavor
  • 2 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups Water


  1. Pour your alcohol of choice into a large, clean jar.
  2. Thoroughly wash the lemons (or citrus fruits of your choice) and remove the zest, carefully scraping away any white pith.
  3. Place the pieces of lemon zest into the alcohol, then seal the jar. 
  4. Allow the mixture to rest in a cool, dark place for several hours (at an absolute minimum) but preferably for a few days and ideally up to a week.
  5. When you are ready to bottle your limoncello, prepare the sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water together in a saucepan, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted. Allow to cool.
  6. Line a funnel with a coffee filter and strain the alcohol into bottles, leaving space for the sugar syrup.
  7. Add a little sugar syrup. mix, then taste. Keep adding the syrup - a little at a time - until you reach the level of sweetness you prefer.
Recipe Yields:
30 to 35 shots
Author: The Editors at Food Fanatic
Recipe Yields: 30 to 35 shots

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 shot
Servings Per Recipe 1

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 291

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
  Saturated Fat 0g
Sodium 8mg
Total Carbohydrate 28g
  Dietary Fiber 8g
  Sugars 8g
Protein 0g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
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