Homemade Limoncello

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. + standing


1-1/2 quarts

Updated: Jun. 28, 2023
This limoncello recipe makes a drink better than any store-bought version. It's perfect as an after-dinner treat on its own, or whipped up in a cocktail. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Homemade Limoncello Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 10 medium lemons
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) vodka
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel rind from lemons (save lemons for another use). With a sharp knife, scrape pith from peels and discard. Place lemon peels and vodka in a large glass or plastic container. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 weeks, stirring once a week.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Strain vodka mixture, discarding lemon peels. Return mixture to container; stir in sugar mixture. Pour into glass bottles; seal tightly. Let stand for 2 weeks. Serve chilled.
Limoncello Tips

Can you use other kinds of alcohol to make limoncello?

Make limoncello with your favorite vodka brand, or use 100-proof vodka or grain alcohol (like Everclear) if you prefer. The high alcohol content helps extract the flavors from the lemon peels, so the higher the proof, the better the lemon flavor. Don’t worry too much about the alcohol content; the infused alcohol is watered down, so it won’t be as strong as the original bottle.

What kind of lemons should you use to make limoncello?

Any type of lemon can be used to make limoncello. Organic or homegrown lemons are great because they’re free of pesticides and the waxy coating found on most grocery store lemons. For a fun twist on the classic limoncello, use Meyer lemons. They’re sweeter and less acidic compared to regular lemons, and they have the most incredible fragrant aroma.

How do you use limoncello?

Limoncello is delicious enough to be sipped straight or enjoyed on the rocks. We also love mixing limoncello into cocktails like a lemon drop martini or limoncello spritzer. It can also be used in baked goods and other culinary recipes, such as limoncello tiramisu and strawberry limoncello jam.

How long does limoncello last?

Homemade limoncello lasts about 3 months when stored in a sealed glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator. Some say that limoncello lasts longer than that, but we’ve found that the liqueur starts to deteriorate after a few months.

Lindsay Mattison, Taste of Home Contributing Writer

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 ounces: 87 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 9g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.