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Turn those big, seasonal Italian lemons into limoncello.
Turn those big, seasonal Italian lemons into limoncello.TODAY
Prep Time:
20 mins
1 (94-ounce) batch or bottle

Chef notes

I love produce that comes straight from Italy and always get super excited when the first batch of Sorrento lemons are piled by the entrance of my favorite Italian market. While you can use them in all the ways you'd normally use lemons, they are known for making the best limoncello. In this three-ingredient liqueur that takes two weeks to brew, time does most of the work. But the reward for your patience is liquid gold!

Technique tip: Remove as much pith as possible to avoid bitterness.

Swap option: If you don't have Sorrento lemons, you can use regular ones (see ingredients for amount).


  • 8 Sorrento lemons (or 12 standard lemons)
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle 195 proof grain alcohol
  • 2⅔ cups granulated sugar



Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the lemons, avoiding as much of the bitter pith as possible.


Using a paring knife, carefully remove any excess white pith.


Place the peels in a large jar (at least 56 ounces) and add the grain alcohol.


Cover and steep the peels and liquor in a cool, dark location until the lemon peels are very pale yellow, for about 1 to 2 weeks. Strain the liquid and discard the peels.


In a medium saucepan, warm the filtered water and the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely.


Add the simple syrup, plus an additional 4 cups of filtered water to the lemon liquor and stir to combine.


Portion the limoncello into bottles and allow to “cure” in the freezer for at least 1 week before serving. Limoncello can stay in the freezer for up to one year.