How to make homemade Limoncello

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Limoncello is one of the most common and popular “Ammazzacaffè” (literally, “coffee killer”) digestives in Italy and it is frequently prepared in many homes in Central-Southern Italy, where you can find a great number of lemon trees. This happens in Abruzzo as well, where among the other liqueurs, such as Ratafia, a great mix of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and dark cherries (fruits or leaves) or Genziana, derived from the roots of the shrub, Limoncello is very popular. It is an excellent digestive, thus usually consumed after meals, but it can also be used to wet or flavor desserts, fruit salads and gelato.

Today we discover together how to make homemade limoncello according to Mamma Anna Maria and Papà Angelo’s recipe, which comes from many years of experience and chats with friends and relatives at the market, at home or “in piazza” about the different methods, amounts of ingredients and tips. Before starting, we would like to share two “secrets“: make sure you get some good organic lemons and add some special ingredients, like passion and love.

  • 8 organic lemons
  • 1,5 lt water (6 cups)
  • 1 lt pure alcohol (4 cups)
  • 600 g sugar (21,2 ounces)



1. Wash the lemons well with a metallic sponge, dry them and peel them with a potato peeler or a knife (Papà Angelo’s favorite method). Remove only the yellow part and leave the white and spongy one on the lemon, as it could give the liqueur a bitter taste

2. Insert the lemon peel into a tightly sealed glass jar and infuse in pure alcohol for 10-12 days in a cool place away from light and stirring it once a day. Mamma Anna Maria and Papà Angelo, made a lot of Limoncello (32 lemons) so they used a big bowl:-)

3. After 10-12- days prepare the syrup. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely melted

4. Put it in a pitcher (mamma and papà used a very big plastic tray) and let it cool completely

5. Remove all the zest from the jar/bowl with pure alcohol and filter the liquid

6. Add the lemon/alcohol mix to the syrup and stir very well

7. Taste it to check if it is sweet or alcoholic enough according to your tastes and add a little bit more of melted sugar or pure alcohol

8. Bottle using a filter cloth to remove the last lemon’s peel pieces

7. Taste it to check if it is sweet or alcoholic enough according to your tastes and add a little bit more of melted sugar or pure alcohol

8. Bottle using a filter cloth to remove the last lemon’s peel pieces

9. Put in freezer, the presence of alcohol and sugar will prevent it from freezing

10. You can drink it immediately

Salute and, please, drink responsibly:-)

by Mamma Anna Maria, Papà Angelo, Fabrizio and their friends!

Watch the video of the live preparation!

Check out our website to discover our Cultural, Culinary  and Active Tours of Abruzzo. You’ll learn how to cook real traditional Italian plates in the friendly and relaxing Abruzzo.

5 thoughts on “How to make homemade Limoncello”

    1. I’ve been making my own since visiting Sicily a year ago. Love love love! I did learn a couple tricks from Papa. Thanks! Can’t wait to tour Abruzzo with Fabrizio! Ciao!

      1. Dear John,
        thank you for your sweet words.

        It will be a great pleasure to introduce you to our culture, food, landscapes, people and traditions.

        I will be happy to meet you here in Abruzzo for new adventures.

        Ciao for now


  1. Sandra A Manfredi

    I make cream limoncello, place in 4.25ou swing top jar, pop a pretty label on it, and give as Christmas gifts. Everyone loves it!

    1. Good morning Sandra,
      thank you for your beautiful words and for sharing them with us.

      It is a pleasure to know that you, too, make this liqueur with lemons.

      But it is even more so to find that it is enjoyed by all who taste it.

      After all, Abruzzo is a little bit in each one of us 🙂 .

      Ciao for now and see you soon in Abruzzo!


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