homemade limoncello

LAST UPDATE: Time to strain your limoncello and pour it into a decanter with a good seal. I keep mine in the freezer to keep it ice cold and syrupy. Enjoy!

UPDATE: It’s time to add the simple syrup…

homemade limoncello / bitebymichelle.com

Limoncello, the lemon flavoured liqueur of Sorrento, is hands down my favourite liqueur. Served ice-cold and straight up, there’s nothing better to sip after dinner. There was a time, not that long ago, when I couldn’t buy this lemony elixir in my home town. Now, it’s readily available but I prefer home-brewed! It’s simple to make. As long as you have some good vodka, a clean pickle jar and a cool dark spot for it to rest, you’ll be sipping ice cold lemoncello over the holdays!

homemade limoncello

There’s lots of discussion about what type of lemons produce the best limoncello. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a dozen of those great big, gnarly, thick skinned lemons that look more like grapefruit, from the south of Italy, use what you can. Meyer lemons, organic or the waxy variety all work. However, the technique varies with the variety you use. I used regular old waxy lemons from the super market. To remove the wax, I placed the lemons in a hot water bath several times to melt the wax off. Worked like a charm! The most important thing is to have as little pith [ the white stuff under the lemon peel ] as possible. Too much will make your limoncello bitter – drinkable but bitter. You can use a zester, vegetable peeler or an intensely sharp knife. I used a knife because I found it more efficient.

Like my fruitcake, limoncello needs time to rest. Given that this week is my official ‘getting ready for my girls to come home for Christmas’ kick-off, I made a batch. In case you want to make some with me, I’m sharing this post in three parts. In two weeks time, I’ll update this post with photos of the next steps. Stay tuned…


1 – 750 ml vodka
10 lemons
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ cups water


  • Place the lemons in a large bowl covered with hot tap water.
  • Allow the lemons to sit for 5 minutes then drain water from the bowl.
  • Repeat process 3 times to remove any pesticides or wax then pat the lemons dry.
  • Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler – make sure there is no white pith on the peel.
  • Place vodka and zest strips in a large mason jar, cover and allow to sit in a cool dark place for 14 days.

  • After the rest period, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Allow to boil gently for 5 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

homemade limoncello

  • Add sugar/water syrup to the vodka solution and allow to stand for 10 days.
  • Strain through a layer of cheesecloth, squeezing firmly. Discard lemon zest.
  • Strain again through a second layer of cheesecloth.

homemade limoncello / bitebymichelle.com

  • Pour into bottles and seal well.

homemade limoncello / bitebymichelle.com

  • Allow to stand 1 week in freezer before serving.
  • Serve very cold.

THE LOVE: It’s really important that you have as little pith [the white stuff under the lemon skin] as possible.

print recipe

Thanks for reading.