Does Limoncello Go Bad? (And How Long Does It Last)

Does Limoncello Go Bad

Limoncello is a delicious alcoholic beverage that you can complement almost any meal with or sip on its own! If you drink it regularly, you must wonder if it ever goes bad and what you need to look out for to know. Continue reading to get your questions answered!

Limoncello many not easily go bad because of its high alcohol content. However, it does have the possibility to lose its flavor if it has been opened and left unrefrigerated for over a week. You can store Limoncello in the refrigerator for up to three months, and it can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.

Let’s take a look at when exactly Limoncello goes bad and why, how to store Limoncello properly, and what some delicious alternatives are!

Does Limoncello Go Bad Over Time?

Most fresh drinks will lose their flavor over time, and some may even go bad. However, this does not apply directly to the Italian liqueur known as Limoncello. Because of its ingredients, it is more of a case that Limoncello will only lose its distinctive taste rather than go bad if left out over a long period of time. 

Even though the alcohol content varies, especially if it is homemade, the alcohol and the lemon peel help to preserve the drink for longer than non-alcoholic beverages. If stored correctly, Limoncello can be kept for many months. Even after this period, it would be safe to drink, but you may find that some of the zestful flavor has faded. Only poor storage of this beverage can make it totally unfit to consume.

Does Homemade Limoncello Go Bad?

Homemade Limoncello should be consumed within seven days if it is not refrigerated. Otherwise, it can go bad, which makes it different from the store bought brands. Storing it in the fridge extends its life up to three months, but it doesn’t last as long as factory-produced versions of the drink sold in stores. This is because they usually contain added preservatives.  

Homemade Limoncello can even be frozen in an airtight bottle and kept in the freezer for up to a year without spoiling. Once you decide to take it out of the freezer, it needs to be refrigerated and consumed within a month. It is best not to refreeze Limoncello once it has completely thawed out.

How Can You Tell If Limoncello Has Gone Bad?

Fresh Limoncello has a balanced lemon peel and sugar flavor with a hint of alcohol. It is a fresh zesty drink that ignites the taste buds because of its tartness. The alcohol should not be overpowering both in taste and smell. This is what fresh and well-stored Limoncello should taste like.

If it has not been kept in a suitable airtight bottle or stored correctly, this balance will likely be lost. Firstly, you may notice a change in smell. This can be by the means of an overpowering smell of alcohol or that the lemon scent may smell of fermented lemons instead of fresh lemons. The liquid itself could also look more cloudy, and it will likely taste sourer than you would like. All these factors are tell-tale signs that your Limoncello is no longer the drink it should be, and it is on its way to, or already is, no longer fit to drink.

How to Properly Store Limoncello?

Whether it is bought in-store or made at home, the key to getting the most out of your Limoncello is to store it correctly. By doing so, you not only prevent the drink from spoiling, but you also preserve the delicate balance between all the flavors that make this beverage the treat it is to drink. 

How to Store Limoncello

  1. Make sure your Limoncello is in an airtight bottle that will prevent any sources of air from interacting with the liquid.
  2. Decide when you plan to drink the Limoncello, as that can determine where you store it.
  3. If you are drinking your Limoncello soon, keep it in your refrigerator to help lock in the flavors and keep the drink fresh for up to three months. Limoncello is best served chilled!
  4. If you are not planning on drinking the Limoncello within the next three months or so, you can store it in your freezer.  If the Limoncello you have is made with 150 proof alcohol or higher, it will keep its liquid consistency even in the freezer. If 100 proof alcohol has been used during the manufacturing process, your Limoncello will freeze into a slushy consistency. However, it will still be drinkable for up to 12 months without losing too much of its rich flavor.

Does Limoncello Go Bad After Opening?

It is not easy for bottled Limoncello to spoil because of its high alcohol content. Mass-produced Limoncello may contain additives like preservatives that extend the life of this drink further still. However, like all consumable products, they can go bad eventually, especially if they are not adequately stored once opened. 

Limoncello can be left at room temperature unopened without going bad within a few days. However, if opened, leaving the bottle out and not refrigerated will eventually lead to the beverage spoiling. Therefore, for an extended shelf life and best results when stored and served, this drink should be kept chilled.

Can You Get Sick From Consuming Old Limoncello?

Drinking old Limoncello spoils the experience because most of the flavor fades with age, making it a dull affair for the taste buds. Limoncello would have to be kept out at room temperature for weeks on end to go truly bad, and only then would it make you sick if you drank it. Otherwise, it is a case of loss of taste rather than spoiling like milk and other products. 

The lemon content could begin to ferment as well, and this would not only taste unpleasant, but it could lead to an upset stomach. Drinking old Limoncello is not advisable because it will taste bland at best.

Does Limoncello Have Dairy?

Limoncello is a famous Italian liqueur produced mainly in Southern Italy, in addition to being regularly made at home or mass-produced in other countries. The main ingredients of Limoncello are lemon zest, ethanol, and vodka. The lemon peel reacts with the alcohol and releases lemon oil. Sugar is then mixed into the concoction for added sweetness.

Like many alcoholic beverages that people enjoy around the world, Limoncello is dairy-free, and it can be safely consumed by those who are on dairy-free diets or are lactose-intolerant. 

Alternatives to Limoncello

If you are a connoisseur of Italian liqueurs, but Limoncello is not your thing, or you have trouble finding it, then some alternatives can make adequate Limoncello substitutes.


Mirto is produced in Sardinia, and this liqueur is made by distilling berries from the myrtle shrub. The berries that are used come in two varieties – black and white. It has a bitter taste and is best served chilled with a pork dish.

Torani Lemon Syrup 750mlTorani Lemon Syrup

If you crave the zesty flavor of Limoncello but are not too bothered about the alcohol content, then Torani Lemon Syrup could be the answer. It is sweet and rich and is best used to make flavorsome alcohol-free cocktails rather than being drunk neat on its own.


Meloncello, as the name suggests, is a melon-based creamy liqueur that is also from Italy. It has a rich orange color and a sweet taste with an alcoholic kick.

Homemade Lemonade

Homemade lemonade is another suitable alternative to Limoncello, and it is effortless to make. All you need are some high-quality lemons, spring water, and sugar. Again, this is best served chilled, and it can also help with rehydration during those hot summer months.

Final Thoughts

If you love lemon, sugar, and alcohol, then Limoncello is probably your favorite drink! Many people with allergies can consume it because of its minimal ingredients, and it is dairy-free and gluten-free. Make sure to always have a bottle on hand for when you need it and properly store it in either your refrigerator or freezer, depending on when you plan on having a drink next!

Related Questions

Is Limoncello Alcoholic?

Yes, Limoncello is alcoholic with an estimated alcohol content of around 28 percent. The alcohol used is sometimes ethanol or vodka, and it is vital in the lemon peel infusion process. It also acts as a natural preservative that adds months to the shelf life of this drink. Because of the high alcohol content, when Limoncello is frozen for long-term storage, it can often retain its liquid state.

Is Limoncello Vegan?

Vegans can safely consume Limoncello because it contains no animal products. The main ingredients are alcohol, lemon zest, and sugar, and there is no need for any animal products to be added to a beverage. Even the mass-produced brands that add preservatives do not use animal-based ingredients.

Is Limoncello Gluten-Free?

The number of people who have celiac disease and wheat intolerance is on the rise, and getting a diagnosis can take time. However, once you are diagnosed, the only treatment is avoiding all forms of gluten for a lifetime. This is harder than it sounds to achieve because many products contain hidden sources of gluten. Limoncello does not contain any wheat, malt, barley, or other gluten-containing ingredients, making it suitable for celiacs.

Related Guides

Christine VanDoren

Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her passion is helping others learn how strong and healthy they can become by transforming their daily habits. Christine spends most of her time in the gym, hiking, painting, and learning how she can influence others through positivity!

Recent Posts