Drink Recipes

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

There is nothing quite like sipping a small, ice-cold glass of homemade limoncello after a delicious dinner on a summer evening. Friends of ours initiated us into this custom, and I have to say, it’s my new favorite summer tradition.


I love drinking a digestif in lieu of dessert — it satisfies your sweet tooth without adding too many additional calories, and it actually aids in digestion, which practically makes it a health food. Don’t you like how I think?

Limoncello is a lemon liqueur made with lemon zest, sugar and vodka. Because I’m too lazy to figure out how to make it myself, I asked my friend for his recipe. He did me one step better and took these pictures too.

All you need is a 750 ml bottle of vodka or grain alcohol, 6 lemons, and a cup of sugar for simple syrup. Using a vegetable peeler, you peel the lemons.

lemon peel

Place the lemon zest along with a bottle of vodka in a glass jar.

lemon peel

Then you wait. For two weeks. I KNOW! That’s the hardest part.

After two weeks or so, once the lemon peels lose their color, it’s ready to mix with the simple syrup. Store it in the freezer and serve in port glasses for a delicious and refreshing after-dinner treat!

Homemade Limoncello Recipe: How to Make Limoncello

Here’s a printable recipe for your convenience.

Homemade Limoncello Recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Jo-Lynne Shane
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 750 ml bottle vodka or grain alcohol
  • 6 lemons
  • Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Wash the lemons and remove the zest with peeler, avoiding the white part. (Give the zested lemons to the kids for lemonade!)
  2. Place the zest and vodka in a glass jar. Close the jar and let it sit for 1-2 weeks; shake daily. When the peels lose color, it’s ready. Longer is better.
  3. Strain the liquid; squeeze lemon peels to get all the liquid out.
  4. Make simple syrup by combining 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves; cool to room temperature.
  5. Add the syrup to the limoncello base. A little warm syrup makes a nice cloudy limoncello.
  6. Using a funnel; pour the liqueur into sealable clean bottles. Store in the freezer in warmer zone, like on the door. It can slush up a bit; that’s okay. Longer aging means more intense flavors.
  7. Drink straight or in cocktails; i.e. with tonic.
Join the Conversation

15 thoughts on “Homemade Limoncello Recipe

  1. I’m going to have to make that. I already love vodka with lemon aid and lemon drop martinis. I had limoncello in Italy and thought it was a little too sweet so maybe I’ll try it with a bit less simple syrup.

  2. THank you, Jo-Lynne. This is a winner! Enjoyed spritzers on the deck with a girlfriend last night, and they were declared deliciously dangerous.

  3. Any idea what the final yield is ounce wise? I am making for a shower favor and trying to figure out how many times to multiply the recipe.

    1. On the counter- I have been making limoncello for years. If your house is warm- like in the 80’s- wait until it cooler. I feel the transition from lemon zest oils to infusing into alcohol, is slower and less vigorous in a 40 degree refrigerator. I use lemon zest only and try to avoid pith. The pith- even a little- cuts down on the real mouth grabbing lemon taste. Just my opinion. I usually make 2 gallons at a time- 1 gal alcohol (4 parts Everclear to 1 part good quality vodka (I would avoid colored or flavored vodkas), 2-3 weeks of infusion, strain and another week and strain again and add not quite a gallon of simple syrup. Cover with a towel and let it rest for for a week. Lemon selection: gently use your thumb nail to gently break the peel near the non stem end. Smell it- should be lemony. Then, rub it- should be slightly oily.

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