Best Italian Limoncello Recipe

Print Friendly


Alcohol    Alcoholic Beverages    Italian    Lemons    Limoncello   


Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Share on Google+29Pin on Pinterest188Share on StumbleUpon62Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Yummly2

If you have ever been to Italy, you will instantly know about Italian Limoncello.  

Lemons are one of the most important staples in the food of Sorrento, Italy.  They have long been a staple in the region along the Italian Amalfi Coast in Capri and Sorrento.  Because of this, the city’s most famous product is their famous Italian Limoncello.  Families in Italy have passed down recipes for generations, as every Italian family has their own Limoncello recipe.  In fact, this lemon drink is now considered the national drink of Italy and can be found in stores and restaurants all over Italy.

This lemon drink is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after-dinner drink.  It is always served well chilled in the summer months.  Store your bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve.  The ingredients are simple and few, and making a batch does not require much work, as it needs to steep for (80) eighty days.


Italian Limoncello Recipe - How To Make Limoncello

Check out more delicious Limoncello recipes:

Italian Limoncello Recipe

Fulvia’s Italian Limoncello



Italian Limoncello Recipe – How To Make Perfect Limoncello:

This is my (Linda Stradley) personal recipe for Italian Limoncello that my husband and I make every year.

Best Italian Limoncello Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0

Yield: Serves many


Using 100-proof Vodka:
15 lemons*
2 (750 ml) bottles 100-proof vodka
Simple Syrup Recipe (see recipe below)

Simple Syrup Recipe:

4 cups sugar
5 cups water (filtered tap water or distilled water)

* When choosing lemons you want to use organic if possible.  They won't have wax and pesticides on the peel.  Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest.  The lemons must be yellow and not tinted with green.



Step One:

Basket of fresh lemons

    Lemon Zest

Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.

Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel.  Use only the outer part of the rind.  The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello.  Check out my web page on How to Zest Lemons.


Step Two:

In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar with lid), add vodka.

Add the lemon zest as it is zested.

Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place.  The longer the mixture rests, the better the end taste will be.

There is no need to stir - all you have to do is wait.  As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.


Step Three:

Make a Basic Simple Syrup using the 4 cups sugar and 5 cups water:

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; bring to a gentle boil and let boil, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture.

Add cooled sugar mixture to the Limoncello mixture (from Step One).  Cover jar and allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.


Step Four:

After the rest period, strain the Limoncello; discarding the lemon zest.  NOTE: Coffee filters or cheesecloth work great for straining the mixture.  Moisten the filters before beginning the straining process.  Pour strained Limoncello in bottle/bottles (of your choice) and seal tightly.


Storing Limoncello:

Keep your bottle/bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve.  Serve ice cold from the freezer.

Ways to serve other than just drinking (drinking is my favorite way):

Refreshing and light, it is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drinks. It is an incomparable digestive, and with tonic water it is a sweet, tasty refreshment.  Itis also great with champagne or mixed with juice as a cocktail.  t even does well simply drizzled on ice cream, fruit salads, or fresh strawberries.

Comments from Readers:

Thank you this recipe.  Just bottled my first batch last night.  It was delicious.  We let the second soak time go 60 days.  This photo shows the result. – Dave Oldaker (9/13/15)

Aged Lemoncello
I just wanted to thank you for posting your Limoncello recipe.  I am a novice wine maker and I have been known to distill certain fruit mixtures to make my own brandy.  The Limoncello turned out so refreshing!   I will be making this recipe to prepare for summer after dinner drinks every year.  Again, Thank You! –  Dennis Jordan (2/3/15)


Just to let you know that your Limoncello recipe is excellent and certainly appreciate the time you took to post this amazing Recipe.  Thank you  Candance Brooks (2/1/15)


Comments and Reviews

24 Responses to “Best Italian Limoncello Recipe”

  1. Maria Serena de Gouveia

    Am totally hooked on this Limoncello and nothing beats making it yourself, proud to serve up a genuine Italian Limoncello

  2. Michele Russomanno

    I put 150 grain alcohol 90 proof can I use this? Or do I have to go buy vodka?

    • Linda Stradley

      You can use the 150-grain alcohol. Your end result could be very strong and you might need to dilute it. Let me know how you Limoncello turns out.

  3. Ursula S Domingues

    Do you have a recipe for crema lemoncello

  4. Deb Behrend

    I have an abundance of key lime juice which has been frozen so as not to waste the key limes. Alas I have no zest. Would you know of a recipe that would use juice instead of zest? Thanks

    • Linda Stradley

      I’m sorry, but you just can not make true Italian Limoncello without the zest of fresh lemons.

  5. Peggy Roloff

    Our lemon tree has a bumper crop of meyer lemons. They are thinner skinned than others we’ve received over the years. I want to make lemoncello however is there a way to cut the sugar or use a substitute?
    Thank you for your helpfulness.

    • Linda Stradley

      You can cut the sugar down, if you desire. I do not think I would use a sugar substitute.

  6. Jackie

    Love this recipe

  7. Christy

    Hi! I want to make this for an event but only have 49 days. Is that sufficient or am I setting myself up for a ‘ not so great’ lemoncello?

  8. Dean Christ

    Why do commercial lemoncellos appear translucent/opaque/cloudy but no fines are floating and mine is transparent?

    • Linda Stradley

      Definitions: Something that is transparent lets all light through without distorting the image. It is as if the transparent object were not even there, visually speaking. Something that is translucent lets some but not all light through. Something that is opaque lets no light through.

      Because the limoncello is strained before bottling, this creates a transparent limoncello.

  9. Gene Mamath

    I make large quantities of lemoncello. (four bottles of Everclear 150 proof) I use 25 meyer lemons per bottle.
    I use a micro-plane to zest the lemons and let the mixture sit for at least 40 days. I begin the simple syrup mixture at a ratio of 1 cup sugar to 1 1/4 cups water per bottle of Everclear and alter to taste. After another 40 days I strain and bottle the lemoncello. The finished product is worth the wait.

  10. Cindy Blanchette

    A friend highly recommend this recipe. We have hundreds of lemons on our backyard lemon tree. Another friend and I are going to make this for her summer wedding. My question is: after it rests for all of that time does it have to go in the freezer or can I put it in the freezer as we need it. Storage in the freezer is a problem.

    • Linda Stradley

      For drinking you want to store either in the refrigerator or freezer. Because of the amount of liquor in the limoncello, it should not spoil if stored at room temperature.

  11. Koula

    If I’m trying to make 2 litres of limoncello how much water & sugar will I need… Please thanks in advance… Regards koula

  12. Dee

    This sounds so good….but I need a non alcoholic version. Is there any such thing that would be yummy and not be zesty lemonade? Thanks!

  13. Bam

    I have the mixture with the simple sugar steeping now…LimoncelloQuest and a good friend that tracks his batches gave me the inpsiration and “ideal” blend of liquor/lemon/sugar. I sure hope so, the wait is driving me crazy.

    I strained before adding the simple sugar per the other recipe. I figured straining the sugar would be sort of a sticky mess. I hope this wasn’t a horrible mistake. Fingers crossed.

    • Ceecee

      I just bottled my batch and strained it at the end. It was not sticky or a problem to do. I am curious how yours turned out straining it first since mine had the additional 40 days of steeping.


Leave a Reply