Homemade Limoncello

Make this classic Italian liqueur at home with our Homemade Limoncello recipe! Easy to do by infusing lemon peels in vodka.

A cordial glass full of yellow Homemade Limoncello surrounded by lemons.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

I fell in LOVE with limoncello (lemoncello) in Italy and found a way to make it at home!

It is a perfect beautiful yellow cordial to use for cocktails, sipping, and recipes.

Now this recipe is very easy but does take some time – at least a month to finish. It would be great to make as a homemade gift for Christmas, a holiday or birthday! We actually gave homemade limoncello out for our wedding!

But be careful – limoncello is STRONG!

What is Limoncello?

Limoncello is a lemon flavor Italian liqueur from the Southern coast of Italy.

It is traditionally served chilled and as an after dinner aperitif beverage.

Looking down on two small glasses of Homemade Limoncello with a filled bottle next to it, on a counter suurrounded by lemons.

Making Limoncello

You only need a few simple ingredients to make limoncello, but a lot of time.

A full recipe with quantities and details can be found at the bottom of this post.

First you need to peel lemons. Try to get as little of the white as possible.

The peels ready to go in a container.

Place the lemon peels in vodka and let them soak for at least one week.

You can use glass containers or any pitcher for this. I like to use large ones that can accommodate the sugar water later as well.

The peels in the liquor.
Peels part way through the soaking process, still yellow. They will lose more color as they soak.

At this time, you can make sugar water and add it to the vodka and lemon peels.

Let it sit an additional one week minimum.

At this point you can strain the limoncello and bottle it. I like to keep it in the freezer to keep it nice and cold for drinking!

I prefer to use swing top bottles for storing limoncello. You can also use mason jars. This will make approximately 1.5 liters or 4.5 cups.

A close view of Homemade Limoncello in a small glass on a counter.


You can make limoncello stronger by using a higher proof vodka or everclear, or reducing the amount of sugar water you add.

Final volume will vary based on the “angel’s share” of what might evaporate from the sugar water while it is steeping, based on container used.

How to Use Limoncello

Limoncello is a fantastic Italian liqueur that you can use in so many ways!

Keep it chilled in the freezer (it will stay in liquid state) and serve as a sipping cordial (or a shot, if you wish)

Use it in place of a cocktail where you would use vodka and the lemon flavor compliments it. Here are some of our favorites!

Strawberry Limoncello Spritz (coming soon!)

Amalfi Martini Limoncello


Is it better to use vodka or everclear for limoncello?

Everclear is stronger than vodka. Using everclear, vodka, or a combination is a matter of preference. I have made limoncello with half and half before but typically do all vodka as it is easier to get and cheaper.

How long will homemade limoncello last?

Homemade limoncello has a very long shelf life. It is best to try and drink it within two years for best flavor.

Why don’t you use lemon juice in limoncello?

Using lemon juice in limoncello will make the liquid cloudy and very sour. By only using the peels, we get the citrus flavor from the oils without all the acid.

Can you use cheap vodka for limoncello?

Yes! Any brand or type of vodka is fine to use when making limoncello.

Why is my homemade limoncello cloudy?

Cloudy limoncello can happen because of the peels.

A bottle of Homemade Limoncello laying down on a counter with two small full glasses and fresh citrus fruits.
Pin of a Homemade Limoncello cordial glass with title.

More Italian Cocktails

Italian Cocktails

A cordial glass full of yellow Homemade Limoncello surrounded by lemons.

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

This Homemade Limoncello Recipe is a delicious way to make the popular Italian liqueur at home! Filled with lemon citrus flavor in a sweet and strong cordial. Great for sipping or in an alcoholic cocktail for summer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 14 days
Total Time 14 days 30 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 cups (approximately 1.5 liters)


  • Peeler
  • Measuring Cups
  • Medium Pot
  • Container or Pitcher for steeping
  • Swing Top Bottles for storing


  • 8 large lemons, peels only
  • 750 ml vodka or everclear, or combination
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water


  • Wash and peel your lemons with a peeler. Try to get minimal white pith.
  • Place the peels in your pitcher or large jar.
  • Add the vodka to the pitcher.
  • Place the lid on the jar and let it sit for at least one week. Keep it out of direct sunlight.
  • Make the sugar water by combining the water and sugar in a medium pot over Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Let the sugar water cool to room temperature.
  • Add the sugar water to the pitcher with the lemon peels and vodka, and let sit at least another week. Keep out of the sunlight.
  • Strain the peels out of the limoncello and bottle in swing top bottles or jars. Limoncello can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer to keep it cool for drinking.


I like to use swing top bottles to store the limoncello.
For a strong batch, use 1 cup sugar and 1 1/3 cups water.
For a weak and sweet batch, use 2 cups sugar and 2.5 cups water.
The final volume will vary slightly with the “angel’s share” effect where some sugar liquid may evaporate as it sits based on container used.
Juice your lemons to use for other recipes, or freeze juice for the future!
This limoncello has a long shelf life but tastes best within two years.
You can steep either step as long as you wish, it will not affect the final product negatively if you go longer.
Keyword Citrus, Fruit, Large Batch, Vodka

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