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Homemade Limoncello Liqueur in cork topped bottles

Homemade Limoncello Liqueur

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Homemade Limoncello Liqueur is a delightful Italian after dinner drink that is a breeze to make. Whip up a batch of this limoncello recipe for gifts!

Homemade Limoncello Liqueur in cork topped bottles

Homemade Limoncello Liqueur

My first sip of limoncello was during a gourmet dinner at the home of the principal of my boys’ parochial school. We were escorted by limo and wined and dined through the night.

When I thought the meal was over, a citrusy drink was poured into cordial glasses at each place setting. Thank goodness I had a full stomach as I sipped on the delicious, yet potent aperitif.

Homemade Limoncello Liqueur steeping in a large jar


An Easy Homemade Holiday Gift

Limoncello is a classic Italian after dinner drink. Made from lemon zest steeped in vodka, it’s very simple to put together. The latest batch I made was a holiday gift for the gals in my fabulous book club.

When sipping this lovely lemon liqueur after an Italian dinner out with some friends this summer, I promised to show them how to brew this elegant digestif. We all gathered with our lemons and vodka and started peeling. Taking the peels off of 8 lemons was definitely the hardest part of this recipe!


A shot glass filled with Homemade Limoncello Liqueur

How to Make This Limoncello Recipe

  • First, collect your supplies. 8 organic lemons are needed. Organic citrus minimizes the chance any chemicals like pesticides on the peel.
  • When you peel your lemons, try not to get any of the white pith. It can make your limoncello bitter. Valerie Bertinelli’s recipe does not call for peel, but the zest. I haven’t tested this, but with zesting, it’s easier to avoid the pith.
  • Purchase your vodka. Don’t buy cheap stuff. Your vodka doesn’t need to be top of the line,  but better quality will make smoother limoncello.
  • Allot at least 3 days to make this recipe. The mixture must steep a couple days for the lemon flavor to infuse. Waiting a week will infuse the most flavor.
  • After the lemon peel has steeped in the vodka, it’s time to add some sweetness.
  • A homemade simple syrup is added. Simple syrup is a basic recipe where sugar is cooked with an equal amount of water until it’s dissolved. It must be cooled completely before adding to the alcohol mixture.
  • Finally, the limoncello must be refrigerated overnight, then strained and placed in clean a clean container or containers to store. This homemade limoncello will keep up to 3 months in the freezer.

I sent my girlfriends home with their jars of peel and vodka to steep. It’s such an easy process and this limoncello recipe makes a perfect hostess or holiday gift. It  can be made early and stashed away till needed! I hope you’ll treat yourself to a batch of homemade limoncello liqueur!

friends in the kitchen tasting limoncello
A basket of Italian lemons

Use some of your homemade limoncello liqueur to make these Limoncello Cupcakes! Homemade Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream are also fun homemade holiday gifts.

Limoncello | An exquisite Italian lemon liqueur you can make at home

Homemade Limoncello Liqueur

How to make an Italian liqueur at home!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 1000 ml


  • 8 lemons
  • 750 cc vodka
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups boiling water


  1. Peel strips of zest from lemon taking care to remove only the yellow portion. Combine zest and vodka in an airtight container. Let stand at room temperature 2-7 days.
  2. Add sugar to boiling water and stir till sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Stir into vodka mixture. Refrigerate in an airtight container overnight.
  3. Pour liquid through a sieve and into airtight bottles. Discard zest.
  4. Can be kept in freezer up to 3 months.


Can be kept in freezer up to 3 months.
Total time doesn't account for resting or refrigerating times. Adapted from Martha Stewart.


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7 comments on “Homemade Limoncello Liqueur”

  1. I’ve never tried limoncello, but I want to try this! Just wondered – are all 8 lemons completely peeled & used? A little confused about how much zest is needed. Thank you!

  2. I learned how to make this from Alice Waters sister, Laura Maser. A very similar recipe, only she uses meyer lemons.

  3. Great job on the linky party last week! It was very hard to choose from everyone. Come by again and link up to this week’s theme: Chocolate! Hope to see you there.
    P.S. I’m going to have to make this at my next party!

  4. “This is fair bound blue ribbon winner.”

    From one of my limoncello makers!! 🙂

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