How To Make Limoncello At Home

Learn how to make limoncello at home and you’ll never buy it in the stores again. Easy and tasty liqueur for all your refreshing cocktails. Have you ever tried a Limoncello Recipe? This recipe is absolutely delicious and a perfect way to satisfy a craving for a cool refreshing drink. 

Homemade limoncello recipe in a clear jar and liquor glasses

How To Make Limoncello

Homemade limoncello is a great project for the budding home chef.  If you’ve dabbled with things like craft brewing or even making your own homemade sangria, then this is a great recipe to add to your collection.  

Limoncello is an Italian liqueur that is often enjoyed before or after a meal. It’s served cold in little liqueur or shot glasses.

It tastes mostly sweet with a hint of citrus notes. Of course, the addition of vodka makes it even better. 

Making limoncello at home is super easy. Although it does require some fermentation time, which means this isn’t a recipe you can whip up overnight. 

In fact, homemade limoncello requires a significant amount of waiting for the infusion process to develop so plan several weeks or even months in advance if making this for an event. 

DIY limoncello recipe in glass jars

Do I Have to Use Fresh Lemons?

While many lemon flavored recipes don’t require fresh lemons, this is one that really does need the lemon. 

That said, you are only using the lemon peel, and not the juice of the lemon. 

I recommend once peeling the lemons and then juicing the lemons to use in drinks like peach lemonade or sparkling strawberry lemonade.  

Another way is to squeeze the lemon juice and freeze it for future recipes like this low carb chicken piccata recipe.

Use Organic Lemons

I highly suggest going the extra step and purchase wax free organic lemons for this recipe.

Since you are using the lemon rind a clean wax and pesticide free lemon will give you the best tasting limoncello.

However, if you are having a hard time finding wax-free lemons you can clean the lemons in hot water to remove the wax.

Health Origins shows us how to accomplish this in this video, how to remove wax from fruit.

Fresh lemon peels in a white bowl to make homemade limoncello

Step 1 Clean and Peel Lemon

First you want to take a vegetable brush and clean the lemons removing any dirt or stickers.

Take a vegetable peeler and remove the rind leaving as much pith as possible. You want just the yellow rind portion of the lemon.

Ingredients to make the best limoncello

Step 2 Place Vodka In A Jar With Lemon Peels

Now that the lemons are peeled add the vodka to a clean large jar (at least 2 quarts) with the lemon peels.

Adding lemon peel to a clear jar filled with vodka to make limoncello.

Step 3 Cover And Let Lemon Peels Infuse With The Vodka

Cover with a lid or saran wrap and store in a cool area in your house undisturbed. The longer the better.

You need at least 3-4 weeks for the lemons to infuse with the vodka.

Limoncello infused in a large mason jar

Step 4 Remove Lemon Peel From Vodka

Once you are satisfied with the infusion process now you want to remove the lemon peel from the vodka by pour mix into a clean container using a cheesecloth or sieve to catch the lemon peels.

Discard the lemon peels.

Homemade limoncello with cheesecloth catching the lemon peels to discard

Step 5 Make Simple Syrup

Now you want to add your preferred sweetener by making simple syrup with granulated sugar or a sugar replacement like monk fruit.

In a small saucepan add water and sweetener together. On medium heat stir until the sweetener has dissolved.

Cool before adding to limoncello mix.

Simple syrup in a sauce pan for limoncello recipe

Step 6 Add Prepared Limoncello to Jars

Now you are ready to enjoy your limoncello. Pour back into original liquor bottle or purchase smaller jars for gift giving. Enjoy!

Limoncello bottled and ready to be enjoyed

How Long Is Homemade Limoncello Good?

The great thing about this homemade lemon vodka drink is that it is actually good for up to two years. 

You don’t even have to keep it refrigerated! While I do prefer this chilled, it’s not necessary for the drink to be safe for drinking. 

Is Limoncello Keto Friendly?

Since this drink includes a simple syrup, it is not keto friendly as listed.  You can, however, substitute your favorite keto-friendly sugar substitute like monk fruit without any other adjustments.

Vodka is keto-friendly by itself, so you’ll be able to include this in your diet occasionally if you make it with a sugar-free syrup. 

This blueberry mojito is another option that is sugar-free and incredibly delicious and may also be keto-friendly if you are looking for more cocktails to add to your drink menu. 

What Type of Vodka Should I Use?

To get the best tasting limoncello you will want to use neutral grain alcohol.

Everclear is one brand that can be used for this recipe, but you will find that any vodka that is readily available is fine for this recipe.

Everclear has a higher alcohol content, 94.5% alcohol(191 proof), so if you want this to be super boozy, then you might consider using that brand.

A simple triple distilled vodka, 40% alcohol (80 proof) is plenty strong for this recipe.

I don’t recommend using any type of flavored vodkas (not even lemon) because of the artificial flavor it will add.

The brand you pick doesn’t need to be expensive, just one you have tried before to be on the safe side.

How To Get Bright Yellow Limoncello?

If you want your limoncello be be extra bright, then feel free to add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring when you bottle the prepared limoncello.

You may notice that when purchasing ready made limoncello the ingredient list will sometimes include Yellow 5, which is an artificial food coloring.

Manufactures often add food coloring to appeal to the buyer and to get the product in the stores quicker.

Personally, one reason I learn to make limoncello myself is to keep the ingredient list simple. I love the natural coloring he limoncello gets from infusing the lemon peels just as they are.

All ingredients in mason jar making limoncello.

How To Drink Limoncello

My preference is to refrigerate or keep a bottle of the limoncello in the freezer (the vodka won’t freeze). Serve in small shot glasses and enjoy as an aperitif before a meal or as an digestif after a meal. 

In the summer, I like to keep this on hand and enjoy with sparkling water like a fresh glass of lemonade to have a glass along with our grilled burgers or rib eye steaks

Another tasty way to use limoncello is to make spiked lemonade! Nice and refreshing.

Of course, the best way to use it is in my Limoncello Spritzer recipe. So bright and delicious! And don’t forget to try this Limoncello Martini too!

Limoncello spritz cocktail in a clear glass with fresh berries

More Cocktails To Try

If you are looking for other cocktails to serve, you will love this watermelon margarita recipe and great strawberry mojito recipe.  Both are deliciously fruity and perfect for a cool refreshing cocktail. 

Be sure to keep a few bottles of this homemade limoncello on hand so you always have it as an option for a yummy beverage.

Once you learn how to make limoncello be sure to keep this in mind when you want to give a thoughtful gift to friends and family. Everyone loves homemade boozy treats!

Homemade limoncello recipe in a clear jar and liquor glasses
5 from 5 votes

How To Make Limoncello

Make your own limoncello and enjoy the traditional Italian way with a sip before or after a meal. Limoncello also can be used to make a variety of cocktails.
Prep Time15 minutes
Active Time10 minutes
Additional Time28 days
Total Time28 days 25 minutes
Course: Beverage – Cocktail
Keyword: aperitif, cocktail, How to make limoncello, Italian, lemon, liqueur
Yield: 3 cups
Author: Sandra Shaffer


  • Citrus Peeler
  • Large 2 quart jar with lid
  • Cheese cloth
  • Clean jars with lids for storing


  • 10 clean organic lemons
  • 1 – 750 ml vodka

Homemade Simple Syrup

  • 3 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar see notes for sugar free option


  • Clean lemons with a vegetable brush. Dry with a clean kitchen towel. Peel the rind off of each lemon. Remove as much white pith as possible.
    Ingredients to make the best limoncello
  • Place lemon peels in a large Jar. Add vodka and cover. Place in a cool area where it can remain undisturbed for a minimum of 4 weeks. The longer you let it sit the more intense the lemon flavor will have to develop.
    Limoncello infused in a large mason jar
  • Place cheese cloth or strainer over a wide mouthed clean jar. Pour vodka lemon peel mix into the jar. Discard the lemon peels.
    Homemade limoncello with cheesecloth catching the lemon peels to discard
  • In a medium size saucepan add 3 1/2 cups of water and 2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (monk fruit for sugar free version). Heat over medium and stir until the sweetener has dissolved. Cool.
    Simple syrup in a sauce pan for limoncello recipe
  • Step 5 Add the simple syrup to prepared limoncello. Stir and pour into jars. Enjoy
    Homemade limoncello bottled and ready to be enjoyed with a shot glass on the side filled to the rim.


For a sugar free limoncello replace the granulated sugar for the simple syrup for a sugar free alternative sweetener like monk fruit or erythritol.
The recipe has been doubled in the photos shown.


Homemade limoncello is easy to make. All you need is patience to let the lemon peel infuse its citrus flavor. Enjoy as it is or mix into cocktails.
Hugs Sandra Signature

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  1. This looks so delicious! Being diabetic I’m going to use monk fruit. Should the amount of monk fruit be equal to the sugar or less? Thank you! New subscriber today!

  2. I’ve actually never heard of this until now. It sounds amazing though. I’m going to have to try it. It’s nice to see it looks pretty simple to make too.

  3. Wow I can’t believe how delicious and easy this was to make. The perfect summer drink for grown ups!