Limoncello Recipe


I’m not much of a cook – I leave that to the husband, who actually enjoys it (I don’t) – but there are a few things which I like to make. Ice cream is one of them, and I’ve got a batch of strawberry gelato waiting to go into the ice cream maker as we speak. There’s nothing quite like fresh berries being turned into ice cream the same day that they were picked! Another thing I enjoyed making the two times I’ve done it was limoncello, that heady and potent lemon-flavored liqueur popular throughout primarily southern Italy. It’s a fantastic summertime dessert drink and is exceptionally easy to make. I’ll include the recipe I’ve used at the bottom of this post – I got it from the woman I consider to be the mother of the Italian community in Portland, so I think it’s pretty authentic. The nice weather lately has got me thinking it’s time to make another batch.

The other thing that got me thinking about the goodness of lemons was this article about two different kinds of lemons – Amalfitano and Siciliano. The former is from the Amalfi Coast and the latter, not surprisingly, is from Sicily. I’m not sure I’d be able to tell a difference, but maybe if I spent enough time around them I would. At any rate, there’s a recipe for a lemon pasta on that page which I might have to convince the husband to try, if for no other reason than we’re going to have to figure out something to do with all the lemons we’ll have lying around if I make limoncello.

>> Be sure to check out this limoncello recipe in pictures, too!

>> And for more Italian recipes, look at these Italian classic dishes you can make at home!

Limoncello di Lucia




  • 750 ml bottle of grain alcohol
  • 7 or 8 large lemons (make sure they’re organic and not sprayed, you’re using the peel!)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar


  • Wash the lemons thoroughly – scrub them clean of all residue.
  • Using a peeler, take off the skins being careful not to get any of the white lemon “pith” onto your peelings or it will add bitterness to your limoncello.
  • Put the peels into a large, open-mouth jar with the alcohol and seal the lid tightly. Put the date on the bottle.
  • kiwi-italy

  • Put the jar in a cool, dry place for one week – once a day, shake the contents well to remix everything. You’ll notice the color of the liquid changing to yellow and the color of the lemon peels fading.
  • One week later, dissolve the sugar completely in water by heating it on the stove. Then cool the sugar-water mixture to room temperature.
  • Strain the lemon peels out of the alcohol and then mix the alcohol with the sugar-water. Usually the color of the alcohol changes from clear yellow to cloudy yellow when it’s combined with the sugar-water.
  • Pour the mixture into bottles which can be sealed tightly and store them in the freezer. If the limoncello is kept “frozen” until serving it becomes thick and syrupy.

These make great gifts; just get some small, pretty bottles and label them yourself and you’ve got a great taste of Italy to hand out to friends and family. And the homemade stuff is much better than anything you’d buy in a store. I’ve not tried this yet, but this same recipe can be used with any citrus fruit – orange, lime, grapefruit, etc.


7 thoughts on “Limoncello Recipe

  • Hope

    After watching the movie “Under the Tuscan sun” last night, i suddenly had an urge to try this limoncello drink,lol. Thanks for the recipe, i cant wait to try it out!

  • Mike H

    I’ve been to Italy and brought back limoncello, loved it so much I make my own now…I’m on my third batch. Did Lemons first….BIG HIT…the second with Oranges, turned out like Grand Marnier…now the third is with lemons and limes together…but my recipe is a little longer…it’s 40 days with the peels, then another 40 with the sugar and water…to find the recipe, type Slow Italyand you’ll find it…excellent drink…

  • Ben, LimoncelloQuest

    This is very interesting, does your Limoncello freeze solid in the freezer? My own standard recipe calls for twice the lemons and alcohol with roughly the same sugar and water. Seems like half the alcohol would cause it to freeze. I’ve used 100 proof vodka in the past and it barely stays liquid in the freezer. What proof is your grain alcohol?

  • Jessica Post author

    Nope, it doesn’t freeze at all. It just gets to a beautiful, syrupy consistency when kept in the freezer. I don’t know what proof the alcohol is, it’s the only thing behind the counter when you ask for “grain alcohol” at the liquor store.

  • Mark

    I’m a slow food guy and not in a rush……I looked at a bazillion recipes on the web and selected a hybrid of many. Here’s my take after making two batches that are sweet and smooth: Use a gallon glass jar with a tight top, start with 16-20 scrubbed lemons you peel (no pith), add 2 bottles of Ever Clear, let the mix sit in a cool dark place for 40 days (hint: the peels should be almost white by then). On day 41 add sugar water (boil 5 cups of water and add 4 1/2 cups of sugar) let cool, then add to the glass jar mix and let the recipe sit another 40 days. Then, filter (using a coffee filter) and pour into smaller bottles before putting in the freezer. This liqueur will NOT freeze but will be ready to drink or give to friends for special occasions. The longer you wait the smooooother the Limoncello! SALUTE! Marco

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