Homemade Limoncello Recipe


Learn how to make limoncello, a crisp citrus after-dinner drink, with mixology master Joe Campanale’s recipe.

Makes 3 cups

If you can find them, use Meyer Lemons for this recipe. They’re smaller and more sour than a regular lemon and will impart a lighter, more floral flavor to your Limoncello. Don’t worry, though, if they’re not available a regular lemon will also make a delicious Limoncello.

To prepare simple syrup, mix together equal amounts of sugar and water and bring to a boil just until the liquid bubbles and the sugar has dissolved. Cool the mixture and store, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

5 to 6 medium lemons
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 cups vodka, whichever brand you prefer
1 to 1-1/2 cups simple syrup

Place the lemons in a large mixing bowl or two-handled pot and cover with water (about 2 quarts). Stir in the white vinegar and soak at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Remove the lemons from the water solution and wipe dry. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zest off from the outside of each piece of fruit and transfer to a 1 quart resealable container (you should have about 2 cups of lemon peels). Note: when taking the zest off the fruit, be careful to only get the colorful yellow skin. The white layer beneath that – known as the pith – is bitter and will impart an off flavor into your limoncello.

Pour the vodka over the lemon peels, seal the container tightly, and give it a shake. Place the container in the refrigerator and let it marinate, shaking once a week, for 1 month. After 1 month, check the color of the vodka; it should be a pale yellow color. If it’s not, or to get a more potent lemon flavor, continue marinating the mixture in the refrigerator, checking on it once a week, for up to 1 month more.

Carefully strain the infused vodka into a resealable container, discarding the lemon peels. Stir in the simple syrup, starting with 1 cup and adding more a splash at a time, until the limoncello is as sweet as you’d like. The limoncello can now be served or sealed and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Here, Joe shows you how to mix up this classic Italian liqueur:


In association with Rachael Ray at www.rachaelray.com