Our Signature Limoncello Recipe

The smell of grated lemon evokes a swirl of memories for me (right up there with garlic, basil, and rosemary). One such fond memory is of coming home to find my fabulous and creative sister-in-law (also incredibly patient evidently, given she is married to one of my brothers), diligently grating lemon after lemon – 150, to be exact!

My brother, following our Italian family tradition, blended the lemon zest with alcohol, then set it aside to rest for 40 days, as we eagerly awaited the outcome. Embracing our family’s ethos of not wasting anything, they used the leftover lemons to create Marmellata di Limone, a tangy base for our Italian Margaritas and Lemon Curd.

A particularly memorable moment was when my daughter surprised me with a lemon tree for Mother’s Day last year. Now thriving indoors at Chez Dobbs, this tree has become a key contributor to our Limoncello, adding a personal touch to each batch. Our homemade Limoncello has evolved from a family delight to a sought-after gift for friends and clients, who often ask, “When is the next batch coming?” Their anticipation and appreciation are truly music to my ears; I adore making Limoncello!

The Dobbs Group Behind Scenes - Making Limoncello

Authentic Italian Limoncello Recipe

Discover the zest of Italy with this authentic Limoncello recipe, a cherished heirloom from the Dobbs-Pallotto family. Passed down through generations, this traditional elixir is made from sun-ripened lemons, quality alcohol and love. Salute!

Prep Time: 30 minutes – Cook time: 1 hour – Yield: 3 liters – Tags: Low fat Nutrition facts: 154 calories,0 grams fat


  • 1 liter grain alcohol
  • 0.5 liter vodka
  • 1.5 liters distilled or filtered water
  • 2.2 lbs white sugar
  • 25 lemons zested with no pith (that bitter, white inner peel)


Zest the lemons with a microplane zester, making sure there is no white inner peel – pith is bitter!

Zest the lemons directly into the alcohol – if left exposed to the air, the zest loses most of its aromatic substance very quickly. Use a non-reactive container (glass or ceramic). Stir well and store in a cool dark place for 5 to 7 weeks.

Use the leftover lemons in other recipes, such as Marmellata Con Limone or  Lemon Curd.

When you are ready to bottle the Limoncello, prepare your simple syrup. To make simple syrup, boil the water, add the sugar and boil for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Cool the syrup to room temperature.

Strain the alcohol mixture, using a nylon nut milk bag or a fine metal strainer, into a large container and stir in equal parts alcohol to simple syrup and mix thoroughly, then pour into your favorite bottle. Taste liberally.

Allow an additional week or two for the flavors to meld into perfection. In Italy, Limoncello is traditionally enjoyed chilled as a digestive, but it’s equally delightful at any time! My dear friend Carla shared her recipe for Berries Con Limoncello: douse raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries with Limoncello. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for several hours, then serve it with lightly whipped heavy cream, Mascarpone, and just a hint of sugar. Top it off with a wafer cookie for an extra touch of indulgence. Or try this delicious cocktail: Lemon Spritz made of Limoncello, Prosecco, club soda, and a twist of fresh lemon zest.

Debra Dobbs' Authentic Italian Limoncello Recipe
By , January 1, 2023

If you have any questions about making the best Limoncello, just send me a message.