Traditional Italian limoncello

    7 days 25 min

    Traditional Italian limoncello is typical of the Amalfi coast, a beautiful area around Naples. It's traditionally made with Sorrento lemons, which are large and flavorful and a really unique Italian product.

    5 people made this

    Makes: 3 one-litre bottles

    • 10 large lemons
    • 1L 95% alcohol (190 proof)
    • 800g caster sugar
    • 1.5L water

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:10min  ›  Extra time:7days resting  ›  Ready in:7days25min 

    1. Peel the lemons, making sure to get the outermost part of the skin and carefully avoiding the pith.
    2. Place the lemon zest in a glass bowl and submerge in the alcohol. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 7 days. The alcohol will turn a yellowish colour.
    3. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to the boil and stir just till the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool.
    4. Drain the alcohol and discard the lemon zest. Mix it to the syrup and stir well.
    5. Pour the limoncello into thick, freezer-safe glass bottles. Store in the freezer for at least 2 weeks before serving.


    As said, ideally you would use Sorrento PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) lemons. If you can't find them, make sure to select large, ripe, flavorful lemons, and all the better if unwaxed and organic.


    190 proof alcohol is sometimes available online or found in speciality shops, such as Polish or Eastern European shops. Note that this highly concentrated alcohol can be dangerous if consumed on its own, but here it is being diluted substantially and served in small portions.

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    I followed the recipe exactly. I used a gifted vodka that was very inexpensive. I filtered the vodka through my water pitcher filter 8x. The result was a lovely smooth sweet aperitif~  -  14 Oct 2018  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)