How To: Make Your Own Limoncello

Save your money and make this fabulous liqueur at home


In the fall of 2005, I spent an incredible ten days in Rome visiting my sister, who was studying abroad at the time. While I, at just the ripe age of 16, was most certainly an underage drinker in our country, in Italy I was just another legal drinker in a country full of fantastic things to indulge in. And so the story begins of how I discovered Limoncello. Ever since those days in Italy, I have been obsessed with this sweet and tangy liqueur.

After returning from my trip, I was afraid that I would not be able to find Limoncello stateside. Luckily for me, it is sold in many liquor stores. While I do enjoy the taste of these bottles for the most part, I find that many just are not the same as the glorious, sunshine liqueur I had overseas. In attempts to recapture those delicious memories, I decided to make my own at home.

Limoncello image via Shutterstock
Thankfully, making at-home Limoncello is incredibly simple. With a few basic ingredients and some patience, you can have quite a large batch of Limoncello to both impress party guests and enjoy for your personal drinking pleasure. I am a big fan of making things from scratch if I find that the store-bought version just isn’t up to par. Limoncello is no exception.

Below is my recipe for Limoncello for making at home. You will find that there are several fairly similar recipes on the web, but the differences tend to be in the length of time the lemon peels steep. After experimenting with a few different batches, I found that the bottle which steeped for one week came out the best. I also sampled from a few different recipes, but found that Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe was the best of the bunch.

A week seems like a long time to wait, but the (lemon) juice is worth the squeeze. Cheers, and enjoy your at-home concoction!

Have a Limoncello recipe to share? Let us know about it in the comments section below!


1 750 mL bottle Vodka (I recommend Punzoné, an Italian organic vodka)
12 lemons
3 ½ cups sugar
3 cups water

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off the lemons in strips. If there is any white pith left on the peel, use a sharp knife to scrape it off. Put the peels of the lemons in a large pitcher or container and pour in the bottle of vodka. Cover tightly with a cap or plastic wrap and let steep for one week.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into the vodka, re-cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a fine sieve and discard the peels. Pour into a glass bottle and refrigerate until cold.

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  • Snooth User: edcol1
    1160039 19

    I prefer to use a much higher proof alcohol. 150 proof Everclear or 192 proof neutral grain spirits. It extracts far more of the essential oils. I use half as much sugar. Letting the peels steep for 2 weeks also contributes to a higher extraction. When finished, I get a product about 32% alcohol, comparable with most limoncellos on the market. Much more lemon-y and not as sweet. You can do this with any citrus fruit. I make it with Blood Oranges, Grapefruit, and Limes.

    Nov 15, 2012 at 7:39 PM

  • Snooth User: Sara Kay
    Hand of Snooth
    1073521 1,420

    Sounds great! Thanks for the suggestion @edcol1

    Nov 16, 2012 at 4:29 PM

  • Snooth User: ustinbi
    852642 9

    I have a batch of tangelo zest soaking in 100 proof vodka right now. They'll steep for a minimum of one month. Then, I'll add another bottle of vodka and 5 cups simple syrup and let it steep for another month. Oh, and I added about 1/2 cup of the tangelo juice also. I've done it with our home-grown organic lemons, and it turned out the best limoncello I have EVER had.

    May 15, 2013 at 6:00 PM

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