A perfect Italian limoncello recipe! Learn how to make easy limoncello at home for cocktails, gifts, and dessert. 
A glass bottle filled with homemade limoncello.
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit the Italian island of Capri, or any of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, you know about Limoncello. Carts lining pizzas and streets are filled with dangling bottles of the sweet syrupy lemon liquor. I had my first taste of Limoncello in Sorrento and have had a love for it ever since.
Limoncello is a lovely Italian after dinner drink for dinner parties, and makes a great homemade DIY gift. Let’s check out how to make your own batch of homemade limoncello! Like the BEST MARGARITA MIX RECIPE, it’s made in advance. 

What is Limoncello? 

Traditional Limoncello is made from the thick skinned Italian lemons that grow so well along the Western coast. I actually noticed lemons growing beautifully in Northern Italy when we were in Garda. Limoncello is a digestivo, or an after-dinner drink and it would be perfect after an authentic Italian pizza party. Grab my favorite pizza dough and sauce recipes and call up your friends. It’s like a classic Italian Aperol Spritz, but meant for the end of the meal.  For a non-alcoholic, but equally simple Italian dessert, try an Affogato

A bowl filled with homegrown California lemons.  
We get great lemons in California too, and our backyard has several very happy lemon trees. Most often I make lemonade or lemon infused detox water with our homegrown lemons, but sometimes, for a special occasion, I’ll make a batch of homemade limoncello. 

How to Make Limoncello at Home

This limoncello recipe is incredibly easy and requires just a few ingredients: organic lemons, vodka, and sugar. It’s not the healthiest beverage around, but I’m okay with a treat once in awhile. 

How to Use Limoncello

  • Limoncello Spritzer Cocktail. I enjoyed a wonderful Limoncello Lemon Drop our last date night out. 
  • Limoncello Cupcakes, anyone? Check out these from browneyedbaker.com.
  • Also try limoncello drizzled over vanilla gelato or pound cake for a quick and delicious grown-up dessert.  

I used Giada‘s recipe. It’s a fine recipe, but only calls for a few days of brewing, if that’s the right word for it. Good limoncello really needs at least a month for the lemon peel to sit in the alcohol and then another week for the lemon infused vodka to rest with the simple syrup.  Please Please Please use organic lemons since you’re using the skin. Do you really want pesticide filled limoncello? 

I found this book while perusing the Nordstrom website the other day. Would love this on my coffee table.
An easy limoncello recipe. Bottle of limoncello.
Yield: 1 bottle


Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 4 days
Total Time 4 days 15 minutes

How to make Italian limoncello at home with fresh lemon peels and vodka! This limoncello recipe is perfect for making cocktails or as a homemade gift.



  • 10 medium organic lemons
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for lemonade). Using a paring knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels, as this part is quite bitter and we don't want it in the limoncello.
  2. Place the lemon peels and vodka into a large bowl or bottle. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap.
  3. Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes, to make a simple syrup. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup into the vodka mixture.
  4. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer and discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
  5. Serve limoncello very chilled in small 1-ounce sized glasses.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.