Can Limoncello Go Bad?

One question that I often get from readers over email is “can limoncello go bad?” Quite accidentally, I am now able to give a pretty solid answer to that question. Within the past year I moved to a new house and I happened to belatedly unpack a box recently, finding a partial bottle of one of my old batches.

As you can see in the photos, it is from batch #4, a batch that I reviewed on the site so I know it’s about five and a half years old. It hasn’t been well cared for either, it was sitting in my basement at both houses. So I said what the heck, I’ll take this opportunity to see if this stuff holds up.

The verdict? It holds up very well! My main problem with this batch was a roughness in the flavor and all that time resting really subdued the alcohol. The limoncello was still flavorful and it is now pretty smooth as well. So, feel free to rest this stuff with impunity.

Remnants of Batch #4

Remnants of Batch #4

Batch 4 Remnants cont.

Batch 4 Remnants cont.


  1. David W. Bates says

    I LOVE THIS SITE!!! Love how you record results and strive for excellence and consistency. I’m hoping to have a ‘cello competition amongst my friends. I’ve had good luck with other citrus as well. Also, if you’re ever in New Orleans, check out the homemade ‘cellos at Domenica, a John Besh restaurant in the Roosevelt hotel.

  2. Ben says

    I’ve never yet made it to New Orleans but when I do, I’ll give that a try. Seems like a great climate for limoncello.

  3. Bryn says

    Thank you for this informative site!! Exactly what I have been needing in my quest for delicious limoncello…….!!

    I am assuming (and maybe missed somehow) that one batch uses a liter of alcohol? I didn’t see a measurement and hope to try your technique this weekend.

    Thank you again!!

  4. Renee says

    I purchased a bottle of Lemoncello while vacationing in Sorrento, Italy (2011) with every intention of drinking it but time got away and guess what, it is still in my cabinet, unopened. Wondering if it is good. Yours is 5 years old so I guess my should be good as it is unopened. We’ll see.

  5. Mitchell says

    I’m making lemoncello at home. I’ve left the vodka sitting in the lemon peels for a little over 4 weeks to flavour the vodka. The last patch I did went fine. However this batch it’s gone a tinge of yellows brown. Not sure what it is? Any help email your help to me at
    It’d be really appreciated thanks :)

  6. Ben says

    Hey there, sometimes that happens but I’ve never noticed that it affected the flavor much so I’d proceed with the batch.

  7. Noel says

    Hi from Australia. I’m making a batch with home made grappa and up to the syrup stage. I noticed in the basic recipe that you mention put it in the freezer but you don’t mention it in the long version. What does freezing do for the limoncello? I’ll let you know how the batch turns out.

  8. Ben says

    That’s an oversight on my part, but the freezing is just preparation for consumption. It doesn’t do anything other than make it taste good. :)

  9. says

    . Nice. After reviewing your rcpiee I see that I should have removed the peels before adding the simple syrup. The rcpiee I was following exactly did not instruct to do so. I had grain alcohol on the peels for 45 days and then in the peels and simple syrup for another 26 days. Could this be the reason, or is it just how grain alcohol is? Should I just add more simple syrup or will it mellow? So many questions . Wanted to give them as gifts, but they must be great. Any input welcome. TinaP.S. The finish/aftertaste was devine.

  10. says

    I love the web site. I am having trouble with the “Limoncello Alcohol Percentage Calculator”.
    It worked for me earlier this year. I’ve used 4 different computers with various OS and security settings. When I hit enter I get a “select strength” message with no other icons or text below…..

  11. Ken B says

    I for some reason wasn not thinking however I
    14 lemons (organic)
    2 (750 ml) bottles everclear
    Simple Syrup:
    4 cups sugar
    5 cups water (filtered tap water or distilled water)
    combined all ingredients into one batch
    I put both 24qt pots into a freezer till i get optinions

    whats going to happen? Sugggestions?I was going to go to a Beer & WIne Supply retail destibutor to see about getting large bottles

  12. Bob says

    Been using your alcohol content calculator for 2 yrs to help me with my liqueurs. Today, I found the website had been redesigned, and the calculator no longer functions.
    Too bad.
    Found another online calculator which does work.


  13. Kelly says

    Hi. Three weeks ago, I completed a batch of limoncello and now have what looks like maybe mold growing inside. I followed all of the preparation instructions…peeled the skin of clean organic lemons, mascerated the peels in Tito’s Vodka 40% alcohol by volume for about 8 weeks, then added the simple sugar three weeks ago. I planned to transfer it to smaller gift bottles, but it has this weird cloudy substance floating in the limoncello near the top and extending in “trails” through the middle. Any information on what this substance could be would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  14. Annie says

    thank you so much for your great info
    what happens if I mix my ingredients in a large (food grade) hard plastic container???

  15. Ben says

    That’s “il collarino” and it’s harmless but gross-looking. If you search this site or click the image at the top right you can learn more about it. You can filter a lot of it out.

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