Authentic Limoncello Recipe

The perfect homemade limoncello recipe made with Everclear, organic lemons, and simple syrup.

Authentic Limoncello Recipe

What is Limoncello?

Limoncello is a strong, sweet, and very lemony dessert liqueur or digestif. It could be an acquired taste for many, but for me, it was love at first sip. I was even more pumped to find out just how easy it is to make your own homemade limoncello.

This limoncello recipe all started in Positano, Italy. We ended up bringing home a few bottles of locally made Positano limoncello. The bottle included their own limoncello recipe, however, I did make a few tweaks after my initial trial run.

I prefer limoncello a little on the stronger side—so I used less sugar than the original recipe. Other than that, it’s the perfect balance of flavor, strength, and consistency.

How To Make Limoncello

Homemade limoncello is made with 4 simple ingredients. Everclear, organic lemon peels, sugar, and water. Steep lemon peels in Everclear for 7 days. On the 8th day, strain Everclear and add simple sugar. Chill and serve. Boom that was easy.

Peeling the Lemons

This is the most critical aspect. You want the thinnest lemon peel you can possibly get. Use a potato peeler to carefully remove the rinds from the lemons, leaving as much of the pith on the lemon as possible (the white part). Too much pith and the limoncello will be bitter.

More importantly, always use organic lemons because they’re free of pesticides. Since they’re soaking in alcohol for an extended period of time, you run the risk of it ending up in your limoncello.

Use Everclear, Not Vodka

Everclear is a grain alcohol that tastes similar to vodka, however, it’s much more potent than vodka. Everclear is bottled at 120, 151, 189, and 190 proof. I used 151, which seemed to be a good balance without being too potent. Don’t go any lower than 151 if you can avoid it.

Using Everclear is so important because you will end up diluting the limoncello with sugar and water, bringing it back down to a more manageable proof. This allows it to remain strong like a naturally flavored spirit and also keeps it freezable. If you use vodka, your limoncello may be too diluted and may freeze in the freezer.

How to Drink Limoncello

Limoncello is usually sipped after dinner as a digestif in a very small glass or tall shot glass. It’s served in 1-2 ounce portions and is best served very cold. It also goes really well in a limoncello martini.

Finally, when life gives you lemons, make limoncello…

Lemon peels soaking in Everclear
Authentic Limoncello Recipe
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Authentic Limoncello Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Cook Time: 8 days
  • Total Time: 8 days
  • Yield: 2.5 liters 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: Italian


The perfect homemade limoncello recipe made with Everclear, organic lemons, and simple syrup.


  • 10 medium or large organic lemons (this is important—no pesticides)
  • 1 liter Everclear alcohol* (151 proof)

Simple syrup

  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 5 1/2 cups granulated sugar


  1. Using a potato peeler, remove the rinds from the lemons, leaving all or as much of the pith on the lemon as possible (the white part). Too much pith and limoncello will be bitter.
  2. Place the lemon peels in a covered glass container with the Everclear and let sit for 7 days.
  3. On the 8th day, strain the lemon peels from the Everclear and discard.
  4. To make the simple syrup (sugar and water), add the water and sugar to a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temp and add to the Everclear. You can serve immediately or place in the freezer to chill.


I store my limoncello in the freezer so it’s always very chilled. Because I use Everclear (151 proof), it will not freeze. Do not substitute for vodka or it will become too weak and diluted when adding the water and sugar.

Keywords: how to make limoncello, limoncello recipe