Homemade Limoncello (easier than you think!)
Homemade Limoncello….how fabulous is that?
I had never made it but had wanted to try it for awhile.
I am always making something for gifting at Christmas. Usually it’s things you can use or decorate with.
This past year I gave everyone things they can eat and drink. :)
Homemade Limoncello, Margarita Lime Fudge, Peppermint Fudge, Peanut Butter Fudge and Chocolate Fudge.
Yum. The Margarita Lime Fudge was my favorite and I’ll be sharing the recipe here soon.
But first, let’s talk Limoncello.
Have you ever had it? I had never had it before I watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.
Remember? Her cute Italian boyfriend served it on the beach and told her it was made by his family.
I just love that movie!
Now you can make your very own too!
It’s actually incredibly easy to make.
First, be sure to use ORGANIC lemons. I try to buy organic anyway but you really need to for this recipe.
The alcohol will be sucking all of that wonderful flavor out of those rinds…and any pesticides that are there too.
Ick. So organic only.
Wash the lemons well.
Then get to peeling….
Try to very carefully peel only the rind….leave as much of the white behind as you can.
It is bitter and the bitterness will be transferred to your lovely Limoncello otherwise.
Gather them and put them into a glass jar that has a somewhat tight fitting lid.
Pour the bottle of Vodka over the top of the peels in the jar.
Try to use glass, like this juice jar. You don’t want any flavor seeping in from plastic, etc.
I placed plastic wrap over the lid with a rubber band to keep it well sealed.
As you can see, the liquid is quite clear.
But it won’t be for long! ;)
Now put it away in a dark cabinet and forget about it for a few weeks.
I only had 2 weeks until the holidays so that’s all the time I had to soak mine.
Anything from 2 – 4 weeks would be good I would think.
At 2 weeks I had a very lemony, very yellow liquid.
After the 2 (or 4) weeks, you will need to strain the liquid.
I used a coffee filter and a strainer.
On your stove, heat up 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar.
(you can use more or less depending on how sweet you would like the final product to be — so taste and add more, if needed)
Heat just enough to dissolve the sugar crystals. You want this mixture to be smooth and clear.
Once dissolved and cooled, mix together with the lemon/vodka mixture and pour into your bottles.
These are the bottles I used for my yummy homemade limocello…
Bormioli Rocco Swing Top Glass Bottle, 8.5 Ounce (Set of 4)
Then I created some cute labels on my computer.
When life gives you lemons….make Limoncello. Yep!
(I didn’t come up with that cute saying, by the way, it’s all over the web so I have no idea who did!)
These bottles were perfect. Highly recommend.
I did come across these much larger bottles on clearance at Kirkland’s a few weeks later.
And I snatched them up since I also plan on making some Limecello, Grapefruitcello and Orangecello. (I have no idea if that’s what they call it, but I’m making it ;) )
The Limoncello is great straight out of the freezer (it’s a sipper ;) ) or used as in mixer in drinks.
I’m looking forward to getting the others made and trying them!
I’ll be sure to share them here on the blog when I do.
This photo is from my other blog … Artsy Chicks Rule.
But the larger bottles I bought on clearance are the ones up top there.
So there it is…Homemade Limoncello.
Easy and fun….and very tasty too!
Hope you try it! It’s much easier than you think.
PIN this for later so you can make some too! :)
- 18 organic lemons
- 1 - 1.75 L Vodka 100 proof
- 3 cups of sugar
- 3 cups of water
Wash and dry the lemons.
Peel with a vegetable peeler (without the pith, rind only)
Place the peels in the bottom of a large glass jar or jug.
Pour the Vodka in over the peels.
Cover tightly and well.
Place in a dark cabinet for 2-4 weeks.
After 2-4 weeks remove from the cabinet and strain. (I used a coffee filter inside of a metal strainer, you can also use cheesecloth)
Heat the water and sugar on the stove top to dissolve the sugar crystals. Let cool.
Pour into the strained lemon vodka, mix well. (taste for sweetness now...if not sweet enough, repeat step 7 again with more sugar/water)
Pour into bottles and refrigerate (or preferably, place in freezer)
Add more or less sugar/water for desired sweetness.
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Lovvveee a good Limoncello, can’t wait to try making my own! I first tasted Limoncello when my sister went to Italy and brought back a few bottles for gifts. It was made on a family farm in Tuscany and it was just amazing.!! :)
I also love Under the Tuscan Sun, Tuscany is one of my dreamy places… I’m still dreaming I will move there someday :)
Oh me too Diana!!! Can’t believe I waited so long to try it though! ;) How lucky you had some straight from Italy!
And oh yes, it would be a dream to visit there! One day!!
Do you have to use vodka?
I guess not. You could probably do this with any type of alcohol you like, for example, rum. :)
I all my fruit liqueuers I always add a PECTIN [enyme] reducer like PECTOLASE. This is, to my mind, especially important with anything containing LEMON which is rich in pectin and causes much of the cloudiness associated with homemade liquers that include lemon or loime in the recipe. All it does is reduce pectins to sugars. Alcohol [ethanol] will extract PECTIN. I’ve never had to use finings in any cider or wine I’ve made if I add pectin enzyme in the first fermentation . It is also completely unnessessary to mince or blend blueberries. Freeze them first and the skins will split will when VODKA or any other spirit of choicer at room temperature is added. Two of the very best ‘liqueurs I’ve emade ar BLACKBERRY BRANDY and SLOE/BLUEBERRY GIN. I am also of the opinion that most ‘home’ liqueur recipes tend to over sugar. Once ‘in’ you cannot take it out so under sugar and adjust to taste on bottling
Does this have to be made with 100 proof vodka or is 40% ok?
Yes, it really should be made with the stronger alcohol but you can if that is all you can get. You should reduce the amount of water, if so. (you are lowering your proof by adding water anyway and starting with such a low proof vodka, it will be that much lower, make sense?) Hope that helps!
I loved that movie! Pinning this recipe Nancy – perfect for summer!
Oh wasn’t it the best Marie?! I would love to do go live like she did! (well, I’d take my husband along! ;) )
Thanks for sharing!! :)
Oh my sweet tart deliciousness! I can not wait to experiment wih citrus! This would make a nice Mother’s Day gift too!
OH it’s fabulous Kim! I haven’t had a chance to make the others yet but can’t wait to see how they turn out! Soon…they’ll be perfect for warm weather!
Thanks for stopping by!! :)
Are you still out there? I really want to make this for Christmas gifts, it sounds delicious! I hate the thought of all those peeled lemons going to waste though! Any suggestions on what to do with them?
Lots of lemonade?? ;) Freeze it! Or make homemade cleaner with it. And yes, still here but sadly not enough time to devote to the food blog these days. My other blog (artsychicksrule.com) has been taking all of my time but hopefully I can reconnect over here soon. I have quite a few new recipes I want to share. xo
I had homemade limoncello in Italy at my son’s inlaws. That is some powerful stuff and of course you only drink a teeny tiny bit. I love your cute bottles.
I’d love to sip some Limoncello ….while IN Italy! How fabulous!
And yes, it is strong so a little will do ya. :)
And thank you!
Ooh yum!! You’ll have some for me next time we get together, right? ;)
Oh yum is right! And I am almost out of the teeny, tiny little bottle I made for me! ;) I need to make more pronto so I’ll have some for you! lol
Lime, grapefruit, orange and lemon because you’re special. ;)
oh boy nancy, i will not only be fat but a drunken old woman too lol i have wanted to make this also thanks for sharing xx
Oh why not?!! Eat, drink and be merry, right?! :)
You are welcome…enjoy! It’s truly a snap to make! (it’s that waiting 2-4 weeks that’s the problem!)
Love, pinned, can’t wait to try this recipe!
Do you do anything special to freeze it? I guess the liquor won’t freeze anyway so the glass should be OK
can’t wait to make this!
No, not at all. I just put it right in the freezer, in these bottles. And you are right, the alcohol keeps it from freezing! :)
Hello-love this recipe and can’t wait to make it! Can you tell me where you got, and the size, of the labels? Thanks very much.
I actually created those labels on my computer (you can try doing something similar in Picmonkey). I am working on an ebook that will include many graphics I’ve created. I’m hoping to have it done soon.
I’ll be sure to post it over here when I get it done. (it’s mainly for things I’ve created over on my other blog http://www.artsychicksrule.com)
hi there, is there a way to make a smaller batch? Thanks
Oh of course! Just half the recipe (or quarter) depending on how much you want to make. For example, just use half the 1.75 liter bottle of vodka, 9 lemons, 1-1/2 cups sugar, etc.
Or 1/4 of the bottle of vodka (or a smaller bottle), 4 -5 lemons, etc.
Hope that helps! It’s pretty forgiving with the ingredients being so simplistic! :)
Just re read the recipe, noticed that adding the vodka to the lemons before it goes into the dark seems to be missing??
OOOPS!! Yep, thank you! I am editing now. :)
OH! and thank you so much for letting me know! :)
Have a great day! And I hope you enjoy the recipe!!
dear Nancy where do yuo found the label ? do you have to share any pdf?thanks for help
I don’t have them saved that way but am in the process of doing a (it will be very inexpensive) ebook with a bunch of the printables I’ve made for my other blog (www.artsychicksrule.com) so can rework it and add it to that!
If I get it done before, I can try to let you know and send your way! :)
This looks like a fun drink! So you made this with just the rind of the lemons? What did you do with all the leftover lemons?
It really is! :) Yep, the rinds…and I made lemonade with the rest!
Thanks for sharing this, I currently having some rinds soaking in my closet right now ha! I’m making this for Christmas but I’m looking to save some time (and mess). Would it be possible to use some store bought pre-made simple syrup to sweeten the vodka up instead of making the sugar water mixture? Any thoughts would be great, thanks again!
I’m so sorry I’m late in answering. I missed your question somehow! I would think it would be fine to use the pre-made as long as it didn’t have a bunch of other ingredients in it. (although I can’t say definitively since I’ve not done it that way)
The home made one is pretty easy to make though! ;)
love this recipe! thank you! however, i’m on week 2 right now and my vodka hasn’t changed color at all. is this normal? I need it for xmas this weekend! ah, help!
Hi Courtney! I’m guessing it must have to do with the type of lemons you used. Possibly they don’t have as much color in the rind? Also, it could be the alcohol if a lower proof was used. I am so sorry I’m not more help. Those are the only reasons I can think of as to why it wouldn’t have changed to some sort of a yellow-ish color, even pale yellow. I would guess, hope, that it would change color the longer you leave it. You could always try to add a few more lemon peels from some darker colored lemons for the remaining week or 2. :) Good luck!!
thank you so much for the reply! I used 100 proof, so it maybe has to do with the lemon coloring. hopefully it all works out. thanks again for the recipe, i’m excited to try it out!
Does the quality of the vodka matter? I have some stuff from Costco (not Kirkland) that’s really terrible and I’d like to use it up?
Yes, it really does! In my opinion, anyway. It will affect the overall quality of the end product. But, it you don’t mind, it might not be a bad idea to make a not so great vodka better! ;)
Good advice and points covered on organic lemons. I let mine set for 4 weeks. I tried doing it with everclear and regular lemons last year- definitely had a slight odd flavor to it. Thanks for the recipe.
I’m so glad you liked the recipe Mary! :) Thanks for letting me know also! xo
Do you have to store this in the freezer?
Hi Liza! No, you don’t but I like to! :)
Can you please share what kind of Vodka you used?
I first had Limoncello when I went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I’ve bought a few bottles here in the states and they all vary in taste. This is a great way to try to replicate what I had there.
Thank you so much for sharing!
I don’t remember now but it was a high alcohol percentage. (100 proof) Just try to find a good quality one and you should be fine! :)
How long can you store it? I was wanting to make now and give out over the summer. Thanks!
Hmm, that is a good question! ;) We don’t keep it around long enough! lol I would think it would be like any other liquor though. You can always refrigerate or keep in the freezer too. (this is what I do anyway, I like it cold)
I have made the Limoncello, limoncello with a twist, Narancello and Narancello with a twist
Have a nice day Maria
Oh nice!! I still want to make that too. :) xo
I’m looking forward to making this recipe. I have never heard of Limecello. My plan is to make a batch tomorrow. Thanks a bunch! I like everything I’m hearing about it. Yum!
Well take good care,
Hi Toni! I hope you enjoy it!! It’s a favorite of ours! :) xo
I’ve made a similar Limoncello recipe in the past with Everclear, came out nice but can be strong if you don’t use enough simple syrup. Since I like oranges more than lemons, I made my own (thought original – HA!) Orangcello and liked that eve more :) And always keep all of it in the freezer ready to share with family and friends. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Oh that’s great!! I still haven’t made it with oranges or limes (which I really want to do) yet. I need to get on that. Thanks for the reminder! :) xo
Love lemon cello on vanilla ice cream in the summer yummmm
Oh yay, that sounds wonderful! :)
I have a question….I’m using 8 oz bottles similar to yours. I love the labels. Can you tell me which labels you used so that I can buy the correct size to reproduce on my computer? Thanks.
Hi Joan, I am just seeing this message, sorry! I don’t remember which ones I used unfortunately though.
Hi I was wondering if I had to use 45% proof, you said to reduce water. How much should I use and would I still add 3 cups of sugar if I used less water? Thank you in advance.
I am so looking forward to trying this recipe. Love me some lemoncello. However I cannot find organic lemons anywhere. What do you recommend?
Try soaking them in a vegetable/fruit wash. (can be found on Amazon)
Does the limoncello have to be put in the fridge or freezer? I made some to give out but I don’t have a lot of space in the fridge
Hello! No, it doesn’t really because of the high alcohol content but it’s best served cold.