Meyer lemon liqueur (homemade limoncello)

Meyer lemon liqueur | Homemade limoncello

Homemade liqueurs: throwback to a bygone era

There’s something old-fashioned about sipping a glass of liqueur after a meal – especially when the liqueur happens to be homemade!

For centuries, liqueurs were made to preserve, let’s say, a harvest of plump raspberries, green walnuts or sunny lemons. But it’s a craft that has been almost completely forgotten by the modern cook.

As old-fashioned as it might be, it’s incredibly rewarding to make your own liqueurs. Although you will need a little patience for them to infuse, liqueurs are astonishingly easy to prepare.

Meyer lemons make this the tastiest limoncello ever!

Meyer lemons are one of my most treasured fruits, and I’ll admit that I can never get enough of them. So when the season starts winding down, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and preserve a taste of the harvest. It’s time to make limoncello!

This recipe calls for Meyer lemons, but, of course, you can substitute regular lemons in their place. And if you want to capture the fruits’ liveliness, make sure to get the freshest lemons you can lay your hands on.

While this homemade liqueur is perfect on its own (well chilled!), you’ll also want to try this limoncello Bellini … it is most sippable. Happy liqueur making!

Meyer lemon peels

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Meyer lemon liqueur (homemade limoncello)

makes 3 cups (24 oz) ( 710ml)
active time: 20 min

  1. 3 large Meyer lemons (12 oz) (340 g)
  2. 2 cups (16 oz) (470 ml) 80-proof vodka (40% ABV)
  3. 1 cup white sugar
  4. 1/2 cup spring water
  5. 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice – strained

  1. Step 1: Peel the lemons with a vegetable hand-peeler, being careful to strip only the zest and as little of the white pith as possible. Place the lemon zest in a large clean glass jar. Pour the vodka over the zest. Seal the jar, shake well and store at room temperature in a dark cupboard for 45 to 60 days, shaking the jar once a week. When the lemon peels look very pale, almost white, you’re ready to proceed with the recipe.
  2. Step 2: To make the syrup – Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup has slightly thickened. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Step 3: Open the jar containing the lemon zest and vodka and pour the syrup into it. Seal, shake well and store at room temperature in a dark cupboard for one more week.
  4. Step 4: Strain the liqueur through a fine cheesecloth (or coffee filter) and pour into a clean glass bottle. Store the liqueur in the freezer. Serve very chilled.
  5. Cook’s note: It’s most unusual for me to use regular (bleached) sugar in any of my recipes. But the organic sugar that I favor turns into a brownish syrup that makes the liqueur slightly brown too – not as appealing to the eye as one might want, especially when serving the liqueur to guests. Hence the use of regular sugar in this recipe.

Meyer lemon liqueur (homemade limoncello)

alcoholic drinks, liqueurs, lemons, vodka

32 Comments

  1. Lillian Sire

    Hi,
    It seams from the video you put more water (recipe has 1/2 cup).
    Please confirm!
    Thank you.

  2. Joan Garzarelli

    Can you double this recipe and obtain the same taste? I’d like to make it as gifts. Thanks

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Absolutely! You can multiply this recipe as many times as you like. Have fun making your Limoncello!

      • Can you put the juice of the lemons into the zest and vodka?

        • vivianebf

          Hello Donna, As per the recipe, you’ll add some lemon juice to the Limoncello after the zest has infused in the vodka… not before. Cheers!

  3. Hi there,we dont drink alcohol, so would you know if we can make Limoncello without the booze or do you know of an alternative please

  4. Désolée de partir à côté du sujet de votre vidéo, mais… j’adore votre accent! C’est un plaisir de vous écouter! 🙂
    I feel tempted to try your recipe with our Brazilian “limão cravo” lemons. They have a bright orange skin, so at the very least the colour would be interesting, hehe.

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Thank you, Beatrice! And my apologies for this late reply… This Limoncello would be beautiful with your lemons, as they sound very aromatic. I hope you gave it a try. Let me know how it turned out. Cheers!

  5. Eric Dolman

    Thank you for the recipe! I will certainly make it very soon. My wife and I make liquors from raspberries, sour cherries, elderberries, peaches and others but I’ve always, for unknown reasons, been intimidated by Limoncello. No longer 🙂

    Thank you again, Viviane.

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Hello Eric, Thnak you so much for your comment. You’ll absolutely love making limoncello! I cannot wait for you to try it… Let me know how your batch turns out. Cheers!

    • Hello Viviane,
      Thanks for answering! 🙂 I confess I was a bit shocked by vodka prices 😀 and am probably not going to try to make the Limoncello right now, but when I do so, I’ll definitely give you a feedback on it.
      Congratulations on your Airbnb page, Villa Ciel does sound heavenly.

  6. Could the juice be frozen until ready to make the syrup? I am using the meyer lemons from my own plant and the next time I have a batch will be in another year. Would hate to waste the juice.

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Yes, you could definitely freeze your lemon juice, although it will loose a bit of its flavor. Do you harvest your lemons all at once? I have a Meyer lemon tree too and the lemons stay on the tree for several months – always a better option. Plus there are many recipes you can do with fresh lemon juice…

  7. The recipe uses the lemon skins in step one, and the juice in step two, 2 months later. Does it work to make the syrup the same time as step one and keep it in the fridge until ready to combine with the lemon peel-vodka mix? Or just save the juice in the fridge until then? Or does the recipe require two sets of lemons, one to use for the peels and then more lemons for the juice later?

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Hello Herbert, You will want to have fresh lemons (2 months after making the base with the peels) to make the syrup (so two sets of lemons). I do not recommend making the syrup ahead of time and keeping it refrigerated (Remember that we do not have any preservative in this recipe). But even more importantly from a flavor point of view, you’ll want to add the freshest lemon juice to your vodka base. It will give you a more flavorful, brighter tasting Limoncello. Have fun making your batch!

  8. could this perhaps be adapted to produce an orange liqueur?

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  10. Making these right now!!! these looks so amazing. thanks for the recipe.

  11. Limoncello, now I am craving a glass. and a homemade one at that. I make tinctures, very similar process to infuse. I will have to make liqueur soon. Wonder how it would be with limes?

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Hi Evelyne, I have tried to make “lime-cello”, but the zest is way too bitter – not quite as delicious as what fragrant lemons can deliver. Cheers!

  12. I’ve made limoncello but never with Meyer lemons. Your version sounds marvelous!!!

  13. Is there anything that you can’t make, Viviane? This sounds like the best ever limoncello!

  14. This is so awesome!! Bookmarked! I love using limoncello in baking.

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