Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe and video too)

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Instant Pot Limoncello ~ if you love lemons you probably also love this gorgeous Italian lemon liqueur.  It traditionally takes weeks to infuse the lemon peels into vodka ~ but the amazing Instant Pot does it in 30 minutes.  So basically, how can you not make this?

Updated on 10/05/18: Although I have had no trouble making limoncello in my Instant Pot, it has come to my attention that cooking high-proof alcohol in an Instant Pot is not safe because the alcoholic vapor it generates can possibly be ignited by a spark either in the machine itself or in the vicinity.  I’m continuing to research the issue but to be absolutely safe I recommend you make your limoncello with the regular method, not in the Instant Pot.  

Infused liquer is a blast to make at home, especially when you’re using the freshest seasonal fruit.

I’ve wanted to make homemade limoncello for years, but the big production and having to wait forever to taste the stuff put me off for so long.  Getting an Instant Pot finally pushed me over the edge.  The high heat and high pressure inside the machine extracts the flavor from the lemons in a fraction of the time.

Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe and video too) imagery

This is my favorite kind of kitchen project, the kind you can decide to do when you have a random spare hour, and in this case, a few lemons and a bottle of vodka handy.  Imagine ~ you can get the idea in the afternoon and have your homemade limoncello ready for entertaining that night.  Now that’s a great recipe!

a glass of homemade Instant Pot Limoncello image

So here’s the deal ~ you need to remove the peel from 4 lemons.  I used Meyer lemons, but regular lemons will do just fine.  I recommend using organic lemons because the color and flavor will be extracted from those peels, and you don’t want random chemicals in your liqueur.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel in strips.  Make sure to get only the yellow part, the white part is bitter.  If your peels have some white stuff stuck to them, you can just scrape it off with a small knife.

Making Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe and video too) image

Put the peels in a mason jar, and fill up with vodka.  Some folks say to use a super high proof alcohol product like Everclear, (150 or 190 proof alcohol) which is better at sucking all the flavor out of the lemon peels, but I prefer to use Vodka.  Everclear is too much like rubbing alcohol for me.  I used regular 80 proof vodka and was happy with the results.

Making Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe and video too) imagery

Once you’ve filled your jar or jars, and screwed on the caps, they’re ready for the Instant Pot.  Set them on the metal rack in the pot, and cook for 30 minutes.  The jars will be bubbling like crazy when you take them out.  Let them cool all the way down before you attempt to open them.

To make your limoncello with the regular method, you will set your jars in a dark cool place, such as a kitchen cabinet, for 3 weeks to a month to allow the lemon flavor to infuse into the vodka naturally.

Making Instant Pot Limoncello photo

The last step in making Instant Pot Limoncello is adding a simple sugar syrup which sweetens and brings out the lemon flavor.  You can adjust the amount of syrup for a stronger or more mellow result.

Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe and video too) photo

Limoncello is best chilled, whether straight up in a pretty little vintage glass, or on the rocks, and it’s great mixed in cocktails.  Spike your lemonade or iced tea with it, or even cook with it ~ I’ve used it in the sauce for MEYER LEMON ROAST CHICKEN.


  • I bottled my limoncello in a recycled vinegar bottle.  Remove the labels, wash, and save your prettiest bottles ~ you never know when you might be able to use them!
  • Store your limoncello in the freezer if you like it super frosty.

Safety Notes:

This recipe is formulated for the Instant Pot only.  Please don’t try this with any other type of pressure cookers as I haven’t tested it on other models.  Follow all safety instructions in your manual, and follow the recipe instructions carefully.

There is no definitive answer that I have been able to find about whether cooking alcohol under pressure in the Instant Pot is safe. I recommend you do your own research and decide what is best for you. I found the information in this post from Tidbits, and this post from The Kitchn about making vanilla extract in the Instant Pot helpful.

  • Always make sure there are no open flames or sources of heat near your Instant Pot as there may be a small amount of alcohol vapor that escapes as it is cooking.
  • Make sure to use good quality canning jars that are safe to use in the Instant Pot (like Ball or Kerr) to avoid breakage, and be very careful when you do take them out of the Instant Pot as they will remain very hot for a while.
  • If you’re not comfortable cooking with alcohol in the Instant Pot, you can always make limoncello the old fashioned way! It just takes a little longer. See the recipe instructions below for the method.

*recipe adapted from the Instant Pot Community and Prairie Californian

Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe too)
Rate this recipe
30 ratings

Category: cocktail, infused liqueur

Cuisine: Italian

Yield: 1 1/2 pints

Instant Pot Limoncello (regular recipe too)


  • 4 organic lemons, well washed (use Meyer or regular lemons)
  • 750 ml bottle of Vodka (you won't use the whole thing)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar


  1. Use a serrated vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons. You just want the yellow part, not the white. You can remove any white part sticking to the peels by scraping them with a small sharp knife. Divide the peels between 2 wide mouthed 1/2 pint sized mason jars. Fill the jars with vodka and leave 3/4 inch space at the top. Screw on the lids securely but not tightly.
  2. Place your jars in the Instant Pot, on the rack. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the pot. Close and lock the lid. Set the vent to 'sealed', and press 'Pressure Cook' and set to high. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with equal parts (1 1/2 cups) water in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, and the syrup just comes to a simmer, stirring well. Let the syrup cool to room temperature.
  4. When the Instant Pot timer beeps, press cancel. Let the pressure release naturally, this can take about 20 minutes, do not use the quick release for this recipe. Carefully remove the jars, they will be hot. Let them cool completely.
  5. When the jars are cooled to room temperature, open them and strain out the lemon peels. I strained it through a double layer of cheesecloth.
  6. Blend in the sugar syrup to taste. Less will make a stronger liqueur, and more will produce a sweeter, more mellow drink. Start with one cup of the sugar syrup, and add more to taste, to make your own custom blend.
  7. Keep chilled or in the freezer until ready to enjoy.
    regular recipe
  1. Follow step one, above, but instead of putting your jars in the Instant Pot, store them somewhere dark like a kitchen cabinet, and leave them for a few weeks to a month. Then strain out the peels and continue with the sugar syrup, as above.


Don’t forget to pin this epic Homemade Instant Pot Limoncello!

How to Make Limoncello in the Instant Pot ~ if you love lemons you probably also love this gorgeous Italian lemon liqueur. It traditionally takes weeks to infuse the lemon peels into vodka ~ but the amazing Instant Pot does it in 30 minutes. #homemadeliqueur #meyerlemons #vodka #infusion #limoncello #cocktails #lemoncocktail #lemonliqueur #italian #diy #homemadelimoncello

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Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    Emily Lane
    December 9, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Hi, Sue!

    I’m about to run out and buy a bottle of vodka for this recipe, I’m so excited to try this! Two quick questions I have for you — what brand of vodka do you recommend and is the alcohol content changed by the heat in the pressure cooker (instant pot) or not? Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      I go for a lower priced vodka Emily, because it really doesn’t matter, the lemon flavor is going to take over anyway. I’m not sure if the alcohol content changes in the pressure cooker, sorry.

  • Reply
    October 13, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Sorry if this has already been asked and answered, but how long does this last after it’s made?


    • Reply
      October 13, 2018 at 10:50 am

      If you keep it in the refrigerator it will last for many months, Melissa.

  • Reply
    Julie A. Arden
    October 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I made some over the weekend. The issues I had were — maybe I added too much lemon peel, the liquor (before I added the simple syrup) was a bit gelatinous. I then added the simple syrup and put my jar in the freezer — and it froze, which when I buy Limoncello and put it in the freezer, it doesn’t freeze. What did I do wrong or is this normal?

    • Reply
      October 9, 2018 at 7:19 am

      The freezing might be due to the amount of simple syrup you used, a lower ratio of alcohol to water might be the cause there. Not sure about the gelatinous issue, I’ve never had that!

  • Reply
    Colleen Talbot
    August 25, 2018 at 6:07 am

    What a great idea. I’m already thinking of other liqueurs to try out.

    I recently saw a recipe from Ina Garten on making your own vanilla extract. Basically she fills jars with vanilla beans and vodka and lets it sit for a few months. Do you think I could make vanilla extract using this same IP method?

    • Reply
      August 25, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Yes, there are lots of recipes out there for IP vanilla extract, I want to try that too.

  • Reply
    Holly lorber
    August 24, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    What size mason jar? Fill it with lemon peel? Thought the original way took way too long. Excited to try.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2018 at 7:48 am

      I used the small mason jars, Holly, because they fit in my Instant Pot. The jars should be sturdy canning jars so they don’t break.

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  • Reply
    July 9, 2018 at 5:38 am

    I have now made three batches of this trying 180 100 and 80 proof. I agree that 80 is the best. My issue is that my lemon cello smells like hard boiled eggs. ?????
    I’m baffled

    • Reply
      July 11, 2018 at 7:24 am

      I have no idea…I’m going to have to look that issue up!

  • Reply
    Amy Martin
    July 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Is it still alcoholic after cooking? I know alcohol burns off when you cook it, so I’m curious.

    • Reply
      July 5, 2018 at 8:37 am

      It goes into the instant pot in closed jars, Amy, and some does leak out, but the majority stays in the jar.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2018 at 3:01 am

    Hi. I made this yesterday and put it in the freezer once it reached room temperature. This morning I checked on it and it had froze solid? Did I not cook my simple syrup enough? It’s now in the fridge and I will sample tonight.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 9:18 am

    In your recipe you mention using pint jars, but did you mean half-pint jars? The photos show what looks like what a half-pint jar typically looks like. Also, you mention that you won’t use the whole bottle of vodka, but two pints (32oz) is more than enough to hold a whole bottle (25oz) when filled to the top, even with the added peels.

    • Reply
      June 20, 2018 at 9:44 am

      I just updated to clarify Erin, I used 1/2 pint jars.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2018 at 9:32 am

    We use to live in Italy, La Maddalena in Sardegna. While stationed there with my husband we were introduced to creamy melon chello OMG it tasted just like cantaloupe, and also creamy lemon chello but my favorite is the melon. Please if anyone ever comes across a recipe for the melon i would love to have it. Irishlimmerick@

    • Reply
      May 12, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Kathy I’m going to work on the melon liqueur asap it sounds so good. The creamy limoncello is a great one, too, that’s been on my list, you’ve given me the incentive to get to it!

      • Reply
        October 5, 2018 at 6:52 am

        How do you make it “creamy”?

        • Reply
          October 5, 2018 at 8:06 am

          I’m working on that recipe Victoria, stay tuned!

  • Reply
    April 14, 2018 at 11:20 am

    On the Mason jars, do they need to be the kind with the two part lid? I have a mason jar with a regular screw on top. Thanks!

    • Reply
      April 14, 2018 at 11:54 am

      It can be the regular lids, too Eliza, as long as your jars are sturdy canning jars you should be fine.

      • Reply
        April 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm

        Thank you! Going to give it a go:)

  • Reply
    April 3, 2018 at 8:11 am

    I like Limoncello, but I prefer tequila. I wonder if you could do something like this with tequila and limes. I may have to experiment.

    • Reply
      April 3, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Interesting, let me know…I think you can infuse just about any alcohol, so it should work.

    • Reply
      May 12, 2018 at 7:25 am

      Orange peels and a cinnamon stick go great in tequila. Once infused, I would not sweeten it; just use it in margaritas or other cocktails.

  • Reply
    Mary Beth Cox
    April 1, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Do you think I could sub honey for the sugar in a smaller amount?

    • Reply
      April 2, 2018 at 6:55 am

      I think that should be ok, Mary Beth.

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