Today I am back with another one of my favourite home-made liqueur recipes: Crema di Limoncello. We could call it Limoncello’s little brother as this is basically the creamy version of Limoncello, made with cream and milk. It is smooth, sweet, lemony and simply irresistible!
Like Limoncello (see my home-made version here), this liqueur originates from the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula, the coast of Amalfi, and the islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri.
Funny enough, I had it for the first time in Sicily, at my aunt Daniela’s place. Her mother in law had made a bottle of it and it was amazing!!!
The recipe itself is very easy, but it requires a lot of time as the alcohol needs to rest. But the result is well worth the wait. It tastes just like the one you get in Italy!
Have it chilled, after a good meal and enjoy! Cheers!
Also, make sure to check out my Home-made Limoncello recipe, for another classic Italian liqueur.
Let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment in the section below!
Home-made Crema di Limoncello
A tutorial on how to make home-made Crema di Limoncello - the traditional Italian way!
- 8 lemons home grown or untreated
- ½ lt – 2 cups alcohol 95% or 151 proof grain alcohol or 650 ml – 2 ¾ cups Vodka
- ½ lt – 2 cups fresh cream
- ½ lt – 2 cups milk
- 1 kg – 5 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
Peel the lemons, removing as much of the white part from the peel as possible otherwise this will make your Crema di Limoncello bitter.
Put the lemon peels in a jar with all the alcohol. Close it with a tight lid and keep it in a cool, dark place for 30 days.
When the 30 days have passed, put the sugar in a pot with the milk, cream and scraped vanilla pod and heat it on the fire until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until completely cold.
Add this mixture to the lemon peel and alcohol mixture (which will be yellow by now) and mix well.
Keep it in the fridge for 10 to 15 days before serving.
Serve chilled, after meals (I usually keep it for 15 – 20 minutes in the freezer just before serving).
Don’t forget to pin this post! This Home-made Crema di Limoncello is so good!
I believe I may have to try this one. I do have a question about the alcohol, I have always used the 151 grain alcohol. Is that the best? Since I have never been a drinker I don’t know the difference between that and the vodka. What do you recommend? Is there a difference in taste at all or it really doesn’t matter? Thanks! !
Hello Bea! Go for the 151 grain alcohol. It’s the best to make home-made liqueurs! It has no taste, so it doesn’t interfere with the flavouring. 🙂
Pat D'Anna says
151 is better. You simply have to add more sugar syrup to bring down the proof. I use 195. We can get it in SC
I know this is a 5 star recipe. I still have problems rating them on here. Sorry.
Lily Lau says
Thanks for this limoncello, Manu! Seems so fresh for this spring 😀
hi Manuela, we are very fond of limoncello at our house! So excited to make crema di limoncello this time, i have one question though: How long does the crema last in the fridge, I mean how long is the best before time? Grazie!
hi Manu! how long does the crema di limoncello last in the fridge, rather, how long is the best before period? thanks! Vasiliki
How long can it be held in the fridge before it goes bad? If you had a batch that didn’t get used quickly, how long can you keep and still feel safe drinking it?
Hi Margie. The alcohol helps to preserve it, but to keep it longer, you can also freeze it. It will last a few months this way. 🙂
Don Kowal says
A friend freezes(!) his and he says lasts for years. Don’t have that much room so really would like to know how long not in freezer but in the fridge. Your answer above should be stated more precisely if you can: based on your experience or information from others how long can it safely be held just in a refrigerator
Offered 5 litre bottles to a Christmas dinner party for 22 and my guests made 3 litres disappear with the utmost of joy but now I’d like to extend the life of the two remaining bottles to the fullest extent,
My recipe came from the principal perucssionist of the White House Band “The President’s Own”. It defers in some respects from this one hear but not substantially. Also have developed “Lite” version using sugar substitute as most of the calories come from that ingredient – not all that bad.
Is it possible to use almond milk (Sicilian style) instead of dairy and sugar?
Short answer: No. It will change the flavour of the limoncello. Not necessarily for the worse. Try it ad if you like it drink it! Limoncello a la almendra perhaps?
Can I ask where you found your swing top bottles
I live in Sydney – Australia. I found them at a 2 dollar shop… 🙂
Where did you get your grain alcohol from? Was it somewhere like BWS or Dan Murphy’s? What brand was it or did you use vodka? I haven’t seen anything with high alcohol percentage in Victoria.
I used to buy it at Dan Murphy’s but they don’t sell it anymore. You can still find it online, it’s called Polmos Spirytus Rektykiowany (Rectified Spirit) 95%.
Hope it helps. You can use Vodka, but it won’t taste the same, it will be much lighter.
Tina Archambault says
I made this recipe to serve after dinner at a family gathering at the end of August and it made 2 full bottles, that I purchased at IKEA. Everyone loved it. I used a bottle of 90 proof vodka instead of grain alcohol, because I didn’t want it to be too potent. It was on the super sweet side, so if I make it again with vodka, I would probably try backing down to 4 cups of sugar instead of 5. Maybe it needs 5 cups of sugar if you use grain alcohol?
can you use vanilla extract instead of the vanilla pod, and if so how much? I’ve never used vanilla pods, know where to get them locally, or what it means to scrape them
Hi! You can definitely use vanilla extract. 1 typical vanilla bean will equal 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
I’m making this for Christmas gifts, but we’re travelling 12 hours away. Can we keep this at room temp in order to gift it? Or do you think it needs to be in a cooler and gifted cold?
Hi Sarah, unless you are travelling to a hot place, it should be fine. Just tell them to refrigerate it before drinking it as it tastes better when cold.
Byron Campbell says
I made this using some passion fruit. Extra delish. I started to love the cellos when living in Acitrezza Sicill and Castel Volturno, Italy
Hi I have used 2 bottles of the 95% alcohol, do I double milk and cream and sugar mixture? Thanks
It depends on how many cups/ml is the bottle. The recipe is based on 2 cups/500 ml of 95% alcohol. If your bottle is half a liter (2 cups) then, yes you just have to double all the other ingredients. 🙂
Shi, Manu. Thank you so much for this recipe. What type of cream shall I use? I typically use heavy whipping cream when cooking. Would this be best or rather a half and half or light whipping cream? I want to be sure to make the best possible batch. I am very excited to try the crema version.
Hi Rebecca. I think the equivalent is heavy whipping cream. It’s liquid and it has at least 35% of fat content… it should say that in the label. 🙂
Rebecca Clarkson says
Thank you so very much :).
Rebecca Clarkson says
Hello again, Manu. Although I did filter the beverage as my last step before refrigerating, once chilled the crema has settled atop the more liquid alcohol. I would expect that from the cream, but what shall I do now? Before serving shall I discard the crema or stir it all together? Does this happen to you?
I just made it and had the same issue. What I did was stir it and shake it, which helped but it still has little lumps of cream. Next time I make it – coz I surely will as it tastes so beautyful – I might try and turn the bottles a couple of times every day while it sits after mixing the alcohol with the cream+milk so it won’t get so solid.
Manu, thank you for this lovely recipe, have you ever had this problem with the cream settling solidly at the top?
½ lt – 2 cups alcohol 95% or 151 proof grain alcohol or 650 ml – 2 ¾ cups Vodka
Is this 4 3/4 cups total or different amounts for different liqueurs
Hi Tiffannay. They are 2 different amounts for 2 different liqueurs. So if you use 95% (or 151) alcohol is 1/2 lt (2 cups).
If you use Vodka, you need 4 3/4 cups because it is less strong. 🙂
And if I use 180 proof ? I make my own
151 proof is 75% alcohol. Your recipe is based on 95% alcohol. How to modify the 2lt of alcohol to reflect 151 proof?
Hi Alex. I haven’t tried it with 151 proof alcohol yet, but I’d use about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups (no more than that!) to get about the same strength as 95%. To be safe, I’d try the lowest amount first as it will still be fairly strong. Do let me know how it turns out!
Very nice recipe. I lived in Italy for 5 years and I loved visiting Sicily. I never thought of making my own limoncello until we bought a house with 2 lemons trees that produce an abundance of lemons. I gladly tried your recipe. I find it a bit too sweet though. Increasing the alcohol content to 4 cups did the trick. Thanks
I just finished making this and it is absolutly delicious. My mother has brought me creme de limocello from Italy and this is as good or better. Thanks for sharing, I will me making another batch soon.
Linda Susan Schultz says
I love this. I made a drink with lemonade (made with the powedered kind) and lemoncello and blended it with ice like a blended margarita. Maybe we’ll call it the Itialian Margarita. Oh My !!!!! Everyone loved it. I used vanilla paste instead of vanilla beans
How much does one batch make? I live in the USA so one quart? one gallon? I need to make 6 16 oz bottles for christmas gifts. should I double the recipe? or more?
I think you’d need about 3 liters of Crema di Limoncello (for 6 x 16 oz bottles) – so a double batch should be fine. You may have a little remaining, but better safe than sorry. 🙂
I discovered how to reduce the time it takes from 4 weeks to 2 hours: sous vide! The flavour is as good as the 4 week method.
Sous vide the lemon peel & alcohol in a mason jar for 2 hours at 57 C. I prefer to use organic non waxed lemons, preferably with a touch of green still on them.
Trying to simplify my life I found that once the above liquid is cool and strained, I add a heavy simple syrup, double cream and few drops of vanilla essence (all to taste). The final product tastes far better than any shop bought limoncello I’ve laid my hands on.
My general proportions (again depends on your taste):
1.5 L vodka
10 lemons (just the peel, no pith)
2 cups water + 3 cups sugar for the syrup
250ml double cream
10 drops vanilla essence ( I use Baron’s)
I used to like to give this away for Christmas but the lemons don’t seem to be ready until maybe a couple of weeks before Christmas. So I make it for myself now and if anybody else wants a bottle I give it to them. This is a wonderful recipe. I make it with Splenda for my family that are pre-diabetic and they absolutely love it. It has a slightly different sweetness But they love it all the same. I use a 1.75 L bottle of Everclear because I’m not really a fan of vodka. I think it could be anybody’s alcohol of choice.
Did you replace the sugar with the same amount of splenda? I typically find splenda as sweeter than sugar and use less than what’s called for. Just wondering since you’ve already had success and I hadn’t even thought of doing that!