It’s easy to master how to make Limoncello. For a thoughtful food gift or cocktail party menu addition, this simple Limoncello recipe is the perfect Italian pick-me-up.

A glass bottle full of Limoncello.

Limoncello is a smooth and sweet Italian lemon liqueur that’s ubiquitous around the Amalfi coast in Southern Italy. Delightful sipped straight or mixed into cocktail recipes (more on that below), Limoncello is an ultra-easy DIY project.

Plan ahead and whip up a big batch of Limoncello to share as food gifts, or save it all for your home bar. I won’t tell!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient and equipment notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Limoncello Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for limoncello.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient and equipment notes

  • Lemons: Regular, sunshine-hued lemons are terrific for Limoncello. If you want to mix things up, Meyer lemons, limes, grapefruits, or essentially any citrus fruit can be ‘cello-ed.
  • Vodka: The neutral flavor of this spirit is ideal to allow the citrus flavors to shine. Choose any brand you enjoy drinking straight or mixing into cocktails.
  • Simple syrup: To make homemade simple syrup, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove the pan from heat and allow the syrup to cool.
  • Peeler: Employ a vegetable peeler to remove to yellow portion of the skin (the peel). Stop before you reach the white pith.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Peel lemons (reserve the fruit for another use or discard). In a 1-quart glass jar (or another non-reactive air-tight container), add lemon peels and vodka.
Peeling lemons for limoncello.
  1. Cover and store at room temperature away in a dark place until flavors meld, at least 4 days (the longer the peels seep in the vodka, the more lemon flavor it will have).
Someone pouring clear liquid into a jar with lemon segments.
  1. Strain mixture into a medium bowl and discard the peels.
Straining the peels out of limoncello.
  1. To the bowl with the vodka, add simple syrup and stir to combine. Chill Limoncello in airtight jar in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.
Adding vodka to limoncello.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: Similar to other spirits and liqueurs, a serving of Limoncello is 1 ounce. This recipes makes 24 servings.
  • Storage: Limoncello can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or freeze and store for up to a year.
  • Spiff up this sip: Limoncello is delicious to drink straight, poured into a glass from the bottle. It can also act as a stellar cocktail starter; combine with fresh berries, herbs, and vodka. Or mix it with tonic or Prosecco (or any sparkling wine) for an ultra-easy 2-ingredient cocktail.
  • Think outside of the glass: Limoncello is also dreamy in desserts like pound cake, cheesecake, or gelato, or try a splash to brighten up Powdered Sugar Icing to drizzle over Angel Food Cake, Lemon Yogurt Cake, or Lemon Blueberry Cake.
A glass bottle full of Limoncello.

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Limoncello in a bottle surrounded by lemons.

Limoncello

It's easy to master how to make Limoncello. For a thoughtful food gift or cocktail party menu addition, this simple Limoncello recipe is the perfect Italian pick-me-up.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Resting time 4 d
Total Time 4 d 5 mins
Servings 24 ounces
Course Drinks
Cuisine Italian
Calories 78

Ingredients 

  • 7 large lemons (see note 1)
  • 16 ounces vodka (2 cups, see note 2)
  • 8 ounces simple syrup (1 cup, see note 3)

Instructions 

  • Peel lemons (reserve the fruit for another use or discard). In a 1-quart glass jar (or another non-reactive air-tight container), add lemon peels and vodka.
  • Cover and store at room temperature away in a dark place until flavors meld, at least 4 days (the longer the peels seep in the vodka, the more lemon flavor it will have).
  • Strain mixture into a medium bowl and discard the peels. To the bowl with the vodka, add simple syrup and stir to combine. Chill limoncello in airtight jar in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

Notes

  1. Lemons: Regular, sunshine-hued lemons are terrific for Limoncello. If you want to mix things up, Meyer lemons, limes, grapefruits, or essentially any citrus fruit can be ‘cello-ed.
  2. Vodka: The neutral flavor of this spirit is ideal to allow the citrus flavors to shine. Choose any brand you enjoy drinking straight or mixing into cocktails.
  3. Simple syrup: To make homemade simple syrup, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove the pan from heat and allow the syrup to cool.
  4. Peeler: Employ a vegetable peeler to remove to yellow portion of the skin (the peel). Stop before you reach the white pith.
  5. Yield: Similar to other spirits and liqueurs, a serving of Limoncello is 1 ounce. This recipes makes 24 servings.
  6. Storage: Limoncello can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or freeze and store for up to a year.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ounceCalories: 78kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
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