How to Make Homemade Italian Limoncello

If you’ve traveled to Italy, you know how important it is to offer a Limoncello at the end of the dinner. (And you’ll get to experience this tradition during our food tours!)

A traditional liquor from the coast of the Campania region, this drink has to be served cold, and you will probably be served it in a small frozen glass.

Limoncello is pretty much enjoyed year-round in Italy! Making it at home is easy, and only requires time and good organic lemons.

Here is a simple and easy Limoncello recipe! Consider that in Italy we can buy 95% alcohol for liquor making. Depending on where you live, you may use any grape-based strong spirit, like vodka.


6 (preferably organic) lemons

500 ml 95% alcohol (vodka will also do)

700 ml of water

600g of sugar

homemade Italian Limoncello

First Stage: Lemon Essence

Wash and rinse the lemons first, being careful to properly clean the surface of the lemon skin. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons in long strips and then chop them into small pieces. Place the lemon peels in a bottle. Pour the spirit over the peels and close the bottle. Let the bottle sit for approximately 3 weeks at room temperature, in a dark place.

Second Stage: The Sweet Pinch

At the end of the 3 weeks, you are good to add the syrup! Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. Let it cool completely before pouring it over the lemon-spirit mixture. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 1 week. Strain the Limoncello through a mesh strainer to discard the peels. At this point, you can transfer the almost-ready Limoncello to bottles.

Final Stage: The Waiting

Now what? Only time will tell! Seal the bottles and keep them in a dark place for around 40 days. At the end of this time, your Limoncello will finally be ready!

Store it in the freezer and serve it ghiacciato! Easy, right?

For more questions, or to speak with an Italian expert, join our tours and discover everything you need to know about Italian culture! We offer our Italian tours in Milan, Florence, and Rome!

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