Recipe: Enjoy Citrus Season With This Tasty Limoncello

This refreshing limoncello recipe makes a delightful Italian sipping liqueur from the skins of organic lemons, which are at best now during citrus season.

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Nelli Kovalchuk/Adone Stock

My great grandparents were born in Sicily. Sadly, I never got to meet any of my Italian grandparents before they passed away. I cling to the Italian side of my heritage, and I am eager to learn as much as I can about my ancestors. I love Italian food and try to make authentic meals for special occasions. Last fall, I visited my Italian Grand Uncle for the first time, and he showed me videos and pictures and told me so many wonderful stories of my Sicilian family. It was a trip I won’t soon forget. 

This limoncello recipe is an authentic Italian liqueur that is best made when lemons are at their peak. I make a batch every winter and sparingly share it with friends and family; we savor the heck out of it!  

The process of making this recipe from start to finish takes a few weeks, but it is worth the wait – trust me. I can’t even imagine what limoncello made with fresh lemons in Sicily tastes like (but hope to someday find out)!  


Yield: About 3 quarts finished limoncello 


  • Skin of 9 organic lemons (just the yellow, no white pith) 
  • 4 cups of Everclear (or so) 

(3 weeks later)

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  • 4 cups white granulated sugar 
  • 4 cups of water 

Read more: Preserve lemons during citrus season with this simple technique.


Wash lemons and remove the skin. Allow the lemons to dry. Don’t include any soft or damaged parts of the skin. 

Using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove the yellow peel from the lemon, not the white, bitter pith.  

In a clean quart jar, add the lemon peels and cover until the jar is filled with Everclear. Add the clean canning jar lid and tightly screw on the ring.  

Allow the lemons and Everclear to steep for three weeks. Keep at room temperature, out of direct sunlight or cover with a dishtowel.  

After at least three weeks, you’ll make a simple syrup with the sugar and water. In a large sauce pan, bring the water and sugar to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. 

Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the lemon-peel-infused Everclear into the syrup. If you want an even cleaner strain, you can line the fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth or a coffee filter before pouring into the simple syrup. Stir well. 

Transfer the limoncello into clean jars and screw on the lids tightly. 

Store in the freezer for best longevity.  

Enjoy as a sipping liqueur, as this has a very high alcohol content. 

Godere! (“Enjoy” in Italian)

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