Sous Vide Limoncello

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Longing for the sweet, refreshing flavour of limoncello? This easy DIY limoncello recipe has your back! Use sous vide to make it faster, or if you’ve got the patience, make it the old school way!

A few months ago, I made some Instant Pot Lemonade. It was so good.

Like, lick the liner of the Instant Pot good.

Someone asked me on Facebook if it would make a good base for a homemade hard lemonade. We immediately became best friends and frolicked through the summer together sippin’, and gigglin’.

Just kidding.

But it did get me thinking about a hard lemonade, that was EXTRA hard.

This recipe is dedicated to doing things the hard way.

The ingredients for homemade limoncello; 4 lemons, a bottle of everclear and a peeler.

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Homemade Limoncello Tips and tricks

THIS limoncello recipe uses lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. I wanted to mimic the flavour profile I achieved with the Instant Pot Lemonade, and we did it!

Limoncello Ingredients:

  • lemons
  • sugar
  • high proof grain alcohol
  • water

the Lemons

I’m not an organic elitist. I live in rural Canada, that shit is TOO expensive to buy on the regs. That said, IF you can use organic lemons in this recipe, I really recommend you do. There aren’t many, so it shouldn’t increase the cost in a major way, but it may make a better end product.

Because we are using the peel itself, make sure to scrub the lemons well with soap, hot water and a bristle brush, to remove any debris, wax, and pesticides etc sprayed on the lemons.

Use a sharp peeler and carefully peel only the yellow flesh from the lemon, avoiding scraping any of the white pith. If you happen to get a little rammy with the peel, you can always use a sharp knife to scrape the pith off of the backside of the lemon peel.

Once the lemons are peeled, halve them and juice them into a large measuring cup. We’ll be using the juice as well!

The Sugar

Nothing fancy here, folks. Use white granulated sugar – it’s got sweetness, but won’t compromise the lemon flavour. Plus, it dissolves clear. That will give you a more translucent limoncello.

The Water

Try to use filtered or distilled water if at all possible. Sometimes tap water can have minerals that will interact with your alcohol changing the flavours!

The Alcohol

Many online recipes call for 80 proof vodka. A few of them call for higher proof. Use the highest proof alcohol you can find. Here, in Alberta, I was able to find 95% ABV Everclear quite easily at the local liquor store.

The reason for using such strong alcohol is that a higher alcohol content will pull the essential oils out of the lemon peel better than lower alcohol content. The peel is where most of the flavour is!

Pouring Everclear into a measuring cup.

Sous Vide. I LOVE my Instant Pot AccuSlim circulator but you can use an Instant Pot with the sous vide function!

Citrus Juicer. This will help extract all the lemony goodness! I use my citrus juicer a lot more often than I thought I would.

Stock Pot. Or a deep dutch oven. A fermenting crock, or even the liner of your Instant Pot. Just need something deep, with straight-sided edges to mount your sous vide circulator.

Using a juicer to squeeze the juice out of a lemon.

How To Make Limoncello

The traditional method of making limoncello involves steeping the lemon peels in alcohol for weeks, and straining, before adding cooled simple syrup to the mix. I’ve altered the recipe so that all the ingredients are added at the beginning.

I’ve also added fresh lemon juice instead of straight water. These changes make the recipe easier, and a little more lemonade-y.

Here are the steps:

  1. Peel the lemons
  2. Juice the lemons
  3. Add sugar to lemon juice, stir till dissolved
  4. Add Everclear
  5. Divide the lemon peels into your sous vide containers
  6. Add alcohol mixture to each container
  7. Sous vide at 135f for 3 hours
  8. Strain
  9. Store in freezer
Pouring sugar into a measuring cup for limoncello.

Don’t Have a Sous Vide? No Problem!

This recipe is not prohibitive! The reason I’m using sous vide is that sous vide takes this weeks-long process into an hours-long process.

If you don’t have a sous vide, follow all the steps until you have to add the jars to the sous vide bath. At that point, you can place your jars into a cool, dark cupboard for 3-4 weeks. After 4 weeks, strain it, and store in the freezer!

Pouring homemade limoncello into mason jars with lemon peels.

How to Serve Limoncello

Limoncello is often served as a digestif, an after-meal treat. It should be served chilled, and in a chilled glass, neat.

Although limoncello is often served in a shot glass or a small ceramic glass, it is meant to be sipped and savoured.

More great sous vide recipes

Using an Instant Pot With Sous Vide Function?

Follow all the same directions, then place your jar(s) on the trivet inside your Instant Pot. This keeps them off the hot base and allows water to circulate more freely around the jars during the infusion process.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Hand holding a jar of limoncello

Sous Vide Limoncello

Allyson Letal
Longing for the sweet, refreshing flavour of limoncello? This easy DIY limoncello recipe has your back! Use sous vide to make it faster, or if you've got the patience, make it the old school way!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Italian
Servings 16
Calories 149 kcal


  • 4 lemons preferably organic
  • 2 cups 95% ABV or 190 proof grain alcohol
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • Filtered water- to make 2 cups room temperature


  • Wash the 4 lemons well in hot soapy water with a bristle brush to remove wax and farming residue.
  • Using a sharp peeler, peel the lemons. Trying to get ONLY the bright yellow rind, and avoiding the white pith – set aside.
  • Cut the lemons in half, and using a juicer, extract the juice into a large capacity measuring cup.
  • Top off the lemon juice with filtered water to the 2 cup mark.
  • Stir 1 ½ cups white sugar into the lemon juice and water using a whisk. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add 2 cups 95% ABV or 190 proof grain alcohol, and whisk well.
  • Divide the lemon peels evenly into your containers – I had 3.
  • Carefully pour the water, lemon juice, sugar, and alcohol mixture into each jar – leaving 1" headspace.
  • Place lids and rings on jars, and tighten finger-tight. Air needs to be able to pass out of the seal during the heating process, so not too tight.
  • Place into your sous vide bath. If using the Instant Pot with Sous Vide Function, place the jars on the trivet. {if using the traditional method, see notes below}
  • Turn on sous vide to 135f.
  • Heat at 135f for 3 hours.
  • After cooking sous vide, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before straining with a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Store in the fridge or freezer – this limoncello won’t freeze because of the alcohol content.
  • Serve well chilled, in a chilled shot glass.


If using an Instant Pot With Sous Vide Function

Follow steps 1-9. Then place your jar(s) on the trivet inside your Instant Pot. This keeps them off the hot base and allows water to circulate more freely around the jars during the infusion process.

If using a traditional brewing method;

Follow steps 1-9. Then place your jar(s) in a cool, dark cupboard for 3-4 weeks, giving it a good shake weekly. After the steeping time, strain out the lemon pulp, seeds, and zest. Store in the freezer.


Serving: 11/4 cupCalories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.003gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 38mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 6IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.2mg
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  1. IN one place this says to sous vide for 2 hours, another it says 3 hours. which one should i do?

  2. thank you so much for the quick answer. my sous vide is currently set for 3 hours and it will remain there! 2 hours and 8 minutes to go!