Homemade Limoncello


Ice-cold limoncello is a distinguished, refreshing drink and worth the extra time it takes to make.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
21 days
Total Time:
21 days 40 mins

Limoncello makes a great DIY holiday gift that everybody on your list will love — but you might want to keep the whole batch for yourself!

What Is Limoncello?

Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liqueur that originated in Southern Italy. It's particularly popular on the Amalfi Coast, where lemon trees are abundant. Limoncello is the second most popular liqueur in Italy (Campari takes the No. 1 spot) and is usually served after dinner as a digestivo.

limoncello in cordial glasses with cut lemon
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How to Make Limoncello

You'll find a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions in the recipe below, but let's go over the basics:

What's In Limoncello?

These are the ingredients you'll need to make this top-rated limoncello recipe:

· Lemons: This homemade limoncello recipe starts with 10 fresh lemons.
· Vodka: You don't have to use expensive vodka, but avoid using the super cheap stuff for the best results.
· Sugar: Three cups of white sugar ensures a perfectly sweet-tart drink.
· Water: You'll need four cups of water.

Making Homemade Limoncello

Here's a very brief overview of what you can expect when you make limoncello at home:

1. Zest the lemons and place zest in a bottle or container.
2. Pour vodka over the zest.
3. Cover loosely and let the mixture rest for a week.
4. Make a simple syrup.
5. Combine infused vodka and simple syrup.
6. Strain and let the limoncello age for at least two weeks.

Nicole's Best Limoncello Tips and Tricks

"This limoncello might require a bit of patience, but I promise you it's worth the wait," culinary producer Nicole McLaughlin (a.k.a. NicoleMcMom) says.

· Instead of adding an extra bottle into the mix, Nicole poured about a shot of vodka out of her Tito's bottle to make room for the lemon zest.
· "Limoncello makes a great addition to other cocktails," according to Nicole. We recommend trying our Limoncello Moscow Mule!
· If you're giving the limoncello as gifts, it might be easiest to let the liqueur age in a large glass jar before transferring to smaller decorative bottles.

close up view of Limoncello in closed jars
Christopher Martinez

How to Drink Limoncello

Serve the limoncello in chilled vodka glasses or shot glasses. Remember: Though it is extremely sweet and easy to drink, limoncello packs a strong punch — so make sure to drink responsibly!

How Long Does Homemade Limoncello Last?

Homemade limoncello doesn't last as long as its store-bought counterpart. Stored in an airtight container, it should last in the refrigerator for up to three months or in the freezer for up to one year.

Homemade Limoncello

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"Absolutely delightful," raves Alexis Konstantin La Joie. "I substituted Everclear for the base and infused it for 4 weeks. I infused it in my Alkemista bottle which made this all very neat and tidy."

"This is a very good recipe," according to Susan Swink. "It was fun making it. And I used the lemons for fresh lemonade for Mother's Day."

"The yellow color was just right," says betty smith. "I was proud to give as a Christmas gift to friends who were delighted and gave rave reviews for flavor."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • 10 lemons

  • 1 liter vodka

  • 3 cups white sugar

  • 4 cups water


  1. Zest lemons, and place zest into a large glass bottle or jar.

  2. Pour vodka into the bottle. Cover loosely and let infuse for 1 week at room temperature.

  3. After 1 week, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; do not stir. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow syrup to cool to room temperature.

  4. Stir vodka mixture into the syrup. Strain into glass bottles, then seal each bottle with a cork. Let age at room temperature for 2 weeks.

  5. Store bottled limoncello in the freezer until icy cold.

  6. Serve in chilled vodka glasses or shot glasses.

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