Limoncello – Sous Vide

Note: It is easier to peel, zest, and juice lemons and limes if you warm them first in the microwave oven. Place them in the oven 4 at a time and cook them on high for one minute until slightly warm (not hot). If heating a single lemon, do not exceed 20 seconds.


  • Zest from 10 fresh lemons.
  • 4 cups vodka (750 ml.). You can substitute Everclear (151 proof) for a more authentic limoncello.
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (or 1.75 cups granulated sugar)


  1. Set the Sous Vide to 135ºF.
  2. Wash lemons in hot water to remove wax.
  3. Remove the zest in strips with a vegetable peeler. Try to get only the yellow zest without taking any white pith. If you have a zest grater, use that but it is a lot more work.
  4. Place zest strips and alcohol in a sous vide bag and cook for 2 – 4 hours.  (longer/overnight is better).
  5. Heat water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until dissolved and place it in the refrigerator to completely cool.
  6. Strain the lemon and alcohol mixture into a container and place it in the freezer to cool.
  7. Stir the sugar water into the cold lemon alcohol mixture. If you mix these hot, they will be cloudy and bitter.
  8. Bottle.
  9. Serve chilled.


Some recipes show adding the sugar and water with the liquor and peels/zest in the sous vide.  My theory is diluting the alcohol with water and sugar will slow the infusion so I add it after.

A simpler way to dissolve the sugar in water is to place the mixture in a microwave and heat until is just starts to boil.  At this point, the mixture will become clear when stirred.

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