This Homemade Limoncello recipe is a classic and popular Italian lemon liqueur. Made with just 4 ingredients and making your own is so much more rewarding than buying. It’s not just for drinking, you can use it in recipes too. Delicious in baked goods and marinades.

Pouring limoncello into a glass

Citrus-infused spirits are delicious served on their own (like this), mixed into cocktails or used in baking.

The first time I had this delicious lemon liqueur was quite a few years ago in Bologna Italy.  Our trip to the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy and also Lake Como.

As famous as the region is for their car makers, they are just as well known for some of the best Italian culinary offerings of the region like prosciutto de Parma, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar of Modena. Just based on this you can imagine what kind of trip we had.

A large bottle filled with limoncello with a custom label that reads Limoncello by Culinary Ginger

So since this amazing trip, I’ve been meaning to make my own homemade Limoncello. This is not only a delicious after dinner drink (digesif). I use it in recipes like Limoncello Pound Cake, cookies and tarts as well as delicious mixed in cocktails.

A beautiful crystal glass filled with limoncello

Limoncello is the perfect use of leftover lemon peel

If you find yourself making a recipe that uses a lot of freshly squeezed lemon juice (like my Earl Grey Lemonade) peel the lemons first and make your own DIY limoncello!

A bottle of limoncello with glasses, lemons and red flowers

Limoncello is traditionally made with Everclear which is 95% proof grain alcohol and is available in many liquor store.  If you can’t find Everclear, you can use unflavored vodka.

A large drink dispenser with lemon rinds and alcohol to make limoncello

Fresh lemons (preferable organic since you are using the rind) are peeled making sure only the zest is peeled and no white part, added to a large glass container with an opening large enough to remove the peelings when done, then Everclear is added and allowed to sit covered for 7 days.

Don’t waste the lemons. Juice them and make one of these delicious recipes:

Leftover lemon recipes:

After 1 week, the peels are strained out and a simple syrup of sugar and water is mixed in. This is when it develops its gorgeous lemon color. After the final storage overnight, I like to keep it in the refrigerator because Limoncello is best served cold.

Does homemade Limoncello have to be refrigerated?

No, it does not, it will last for up to 2 years at room temperature. I like to drink it cold, so I refrigerate it 1 hour before drinking and sometimes keep it in the freezer.

Yield: 16 servings

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello

Fresh lemon zest and sugar is added to grain alcohol and infused for a delicious homemade liqueur.

Prep Time 7 days
Total Time 7 days


  • 750ml 95% 151 bottle Everclear grain alcohol (or unflavored vodka)
  • 7 organic lemons * see note
  • 2 cups (450 ml) filtered water
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar


  1. Wash the lemons in warm water and scrub to remove any wax.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the lemons (see note). Yellow flesh only no white part. Add the lemon peel to a large container, pour in the alcohol, cover with plastic wrap. Leave for 7 days at room temperature.
  3. Add the sugar and water to a pan over medium high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Strain the peel from the alcohol, discard the peels. Add the cooled sugar syrup to the alcohol. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate.


* I like to use organic when I'm using the peel of any fruit or vegetable

* Squeeze the lemons and reserve the juice for lemonade or cooking.

Recipe yields about 6 cups/1.5 liters

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

3 ounces

Amount Per Serving Calories 136Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 3mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 1gSugar 32gProtein 1g