Limoncello is the grownup version of enjoying a refreshing glass of lemonade. Making your own homemade Limoncello saves you time and money. Use Limoncello to make some fun cocktails at home. 

Limoncello and Lemon


Limoncello is a sweet Italian liqueur flavored with lemon that you can make right at home. You only need 4 ingredients – lemons, sugar, water, and vodka, to make this refreshing homemade drink!

Making Limoncello can take anywhere from 24 hours to months to produce, depending on the flavor you want.

overhead angle limoncello with fresh lemons

Homemade Limoncello

What is Limoncello? 

Limoncello is an Italian lemon flavored liquor. The process to make Limoncello can take anywhere from 24 hours to months, depending on the quality and flavor you desire.

I generally get too anxious watching it sit on the counter for my steeping process to take more than a month, maybe a few days longer depending on my schedule.

limoncello in a glass jar

How to make Limoncello?

The key to an excellent limoncello is to use only the lemon rind and NOT the pith (white part). Those with a steady hand can use a paring knife, which is much faster.

However I find that using a vegetable peeler is safer for my fingers and my limoncello. It only takes off the very top of the rind, with no need to then carve off the pith.

fresh homemade limoncello

Next, you steep. Some individuals use grain alcohol, but I prefer vodka. I buy the cheapest I can find because after I flavor and mix it with sugar, the expensive stuff won’t taste the same anyhow.

You can use grain alcohol if you choose. The alcohol will gradually turn a light yellow color as it infuses.

Make sure you store it in an area with no direct sunlight and steady temperatures under 80 degrees. After the alcohol takes on the taste lemon (I usually allow for 2-3 weeks), you drain the zest and mix with homemade simple syrup.

Again, allowing the flavors to marry and mix for at least another week.

homemade limoncello with fresh lemons

Many cocktails can be made with limoncello, but I like mine to be freezing cold and straight up after a summer BBQ (truth be told, I drink it year round).

After peeling 16 something odd lemons- you’ll be left with quite few pieces of fruit. Make sure you plan your week to include many lemon recipes or juice them all and store in an airtight container in fridge.

I’ve included a recipe at the bottom of this post. Also make a Limoncello Shrimp Crostini with your finished product.

pouring limoncello into a glass

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homemade limoncello with fresh lemons

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

4.20 from 10 votes
A sweet Italian liquor flavored with lemon.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 30



  • Start by peeling all of your lemons with a vegetable peeler, avoiding the pith (white part.) Add to one of your large containers. Pour in 2 liters of alcohol, close tightly and set aside for 2-3 weeks. Store your second container until you reach the next step.
  • When you are ready to make and add simple syrup, drain alcohol through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, reserving liquid and discarding lemon zest. Divide mixture, ½ in one container and ½ in the other.
  • In a large pot (or two large pots,) combine water and sugar. Stir together over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a low boil and sugar has dissolved. Continue to simmer until mixture has reduced by a 1/4.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Be patient, as adding the mixture if it is too hot will burn off the alcohol, rending your limoncello useless.
  • Add sugar water equally to the two containers. Put the lid on tight and store for an additional 1-2 weeks.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was! 


Calories: 287 kcal, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Sodium: 7 mg, Potassium: 79 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 31 g, Vitamin A: 15 IU, Vitamin C: 30.5 mg, Calcium: 18 mg, Iron: 0.4 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 287
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: homemade limoncello, limoncello recipe
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Questions and Reviews

  1. We’ve made limoncello a few times. My husband even made bottles of it for his groomsmen when we were married. We love it!

  2. Oh, that would take some patience indeed. For me the 16 lemon part would be the worst! lol This sounds incredible though!

  3. The limoncello sounds interesting. However that walnut crusted chicken looks absolutely delicious. I would love some of that right now.