Limoncello in bottle with lemon and glasses in background


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(16 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Ready to drink in 2 weeks


Makes about 2 litres

Make up a batch of this boozy lemony drink - it's great as a homemade gift or poured over ice cream

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 5 unwaxed lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1l bottle vodka



    Originally associated with Russia, Slavonic, Baltic and Scandinavian countries, vodka has become…

  • 750g caster sugar
  • 700ml boiling water


  1. Pare the zest from all the lemons, taking care not to include any white pith. Put the zest in a large clean jar and pour over the vodka. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.

  2. Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vodka and peels and leave for a further week, shaking the jar regularly.

  3. Strain into decorative bottles, adding a few strips of lemon zest to each bottle.

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Nov, 2017
This was delicious, with a few tweaks made after reading some of the advice. I am a little greedy and made more with 1.5 litres of vodka and 7 lemons, 1050mls water and 900g of sugar. (less than recipe). I made a mistake and took the lemon zest out when i added the water. Despite this is was delicious and still sweet enough.
28th Mar, 2017
Delicious and very fresh tasting. I used Aldi's cheapest ~37.5% vodka and it was great! Trying it with limes next...
20th Aug, 2017
Don't try with limes - sounds like it should work but I tried and it tasted like cleaning fluid! Stick to the lemons or it does work with oranges.
11th Feb, 2016
My daughter made this for Christmas and we have just made another two batches. We used basic vodka from a discounter as it came out well in a recent vodka review. Easy to make and superior to most of the supermarket ones I've tried. It does not have the same chemically created yellowness as the bought stuff but that's got to be a good thing.
8th Dec, 2014
Very easy to make but very, very sweet. Would benefit from being served straight from the freezer as even from the fridge it was a bit sickly. It is quite syrupy and as someone said below, would perhaps be better in a dessert. Luckily Good Food has some recipes using limoncello!
20th Aug, 2017
Add the juice to the recipe as well. Takes off the sweetness nicely.
FoodFlav's picture
15th Aug, 2014
Made it for my Kids and they love it... Beautiful and so easy. Thanks :)
18th May, 2014
Made it as Christmas gifts and everyone was very impressed. It also tastes so much better than store-bought and it was very easy to make!
10th Dec, 2013
Incredibly easy and quick to make but far too sweet (even after spending a day in the freezer). It's more of a syrup than a drink so will try it in a dessert.
20th Nov, 2013
Made this for my Mum for Christmas last year and went down well with the whole family.


Jan Swietlik's picture
Jan Swietlik
28th Dec, 2019
I was given a bottle of home made Limoncello, in Italy, about two months ago. It is made to sell in a good, local restaurant. However, it would appear to be fermenting as the liquid has separated at the bottom of the bottle and I am sure the cork is moving up! Will this be ok to drink? I wish I could post a photo so you can see.
lulu_grimes's picture
30th Dec, 2019
Hello, that doesn't sound right but I'm afraid with seeing it in real life it's impossible to tell. The liquid may just be separating if it is home made and un-filtered.
Caroline Beare's picture
Caroline Beare
6th Oct, 2019
Hi, If want to make this for Christmas so am I okay to make it now? People keep saying it is really sweet so could I add the juice of the lemons as well to counteract the sweetness? Thanks for your advice. FYI I have also made sloe gin, raspberry vodka, toffee vodka (using worthers original toffees) and also plan to make damson brandy. All went down a treat as Christmas presents with a jar of chutney!
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Oct, 2019
Thanks for your questions. Limoncello does tend to be sweet but we'd suggest making as is to ensure the right balance. If you want to keep this until Christmas, sterilise the bottles before adding the limoncello and leave out the decorative peel.
1st Dec, 2014
Don't have a jar big enough, can I use a saucepan and just stir it daily?
goodfoodteam's picture
1st Dec, 2014
Hi sarahabe you could use anything large enough to hold the quantity as long as it has a lid or can be sealed tightly with cling film between stirring. Alternatively split the batch between multiple jars or bottles. Hope you enjoy it! 
26th Jun, 2014
Can I store limoncello bottled and sealed in dark cool cupboard and for how long ? I am hoping to give some away for Christmas. this is my first attempt !
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Jul, 2014
Yes you can. If you make sure you sterilise the bottles first, it will keep well for a long time, about 9-12 months.
20th Aug, 2017
I like to add the juice of the lemons to the syrup, before adding to the vodka mixture. It takes the edge off the sweetness and gives it a sharper lemon flavour. Nice served straight from the fridge.
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