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How to Make Lemon Extract

Lemon extract is a great way to add flavor to your foods.

While it is expensive to buy, it is easy and cheap to make quality extract at home. It is great to have on hand and a little goes a long way.

Lemon peals in a jar with vadka on a white marble counter

In Israel you can find lemons pretty much everywhere.  

It is common to have at least one tree planted in your yard if you have one or lining public sidewalks.  Not to mention orchards of them you pass on the highway.

The first house my family lived in after moving to Israel had a big lemon tree.

I was always looking for what to make with them but in the end, they all went to lemon juice.  

After they were squeezed I’d see the leftover peels and with there was something I could do with them.  So, I started looking into it.

I found I could use it for zest or to make lemon extract.

After they moved they had two pathetic lemon trees.  One which didn’t have fruit and one which did and died before the ripened.  

I was really disappointed until until someone pointed out that there was a street not far from us lined with lemon trees.  

Since these are public property not only could anyone take, but if no one did they would go to waste.

I came back later that day with dozens of organic lemons.

I finally had (more than) what I needed to make a cup of pure lemon extract for the cost of a cup of vodka.  

Normally this amount would cost anywhere from $12 for the cheap stuff to $30 for a good one.

While you’re at it, mint extract is just as easy to make and are vanilla extract and orange extract.

Pure Lemon Extract Tip

You don’t need a great quality vodka, but it is preferable to have decent quality. Like cooking with wine, use what you’d drink.

Unless you’re a wine or vodka snob that is. Then use what I’d drink.

Yield: 48 servings

Pure Lemon Extract

Lemon peals in a jar with vadka on a white marble counter

This homemade lemon extract is easy to create at a fraction of the price

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 6 medium lemons, washed and dried
  • 1 cup vodka


  1. Peel the lemons using a Y-peeler, careful not to get much rind.
  2. Place strips in a glass jar. Add vodka.
  3. Leave for 5 or 6 weeks. Shake once a week until then. Store in a dark cool place.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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Saturday 19th of June 2021

Hello Elisabeth, I baked my lemon bread yesterday and finished using my lemon extract bottle. The recipe calls for 2 Tbsps of extract. Luckily, I had another bottle on hand. It occurred to me that I could make some of my own extract as buying it is very expensive. I needed to find a recipe and here you are! Thank you for sharing it! As it happens our lemon tree produced a bumper crop and I made some Limoncello. The recipe starts with the peels and vodka. I started another recipe and I will use it for the lemon extract. Thank you again! Lise


Sunday 20th of June 2021

You're welcome! :)

debra a arciero

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

okay I did your recipe, it is now going on 8 weeks I now have a brown colored jar of lemon extract. is this normal or is it trashed? thanks


Friday 7th of May 2021

It should be an amber. If you left the lemon peels in for longer than six weeks I guess it maybe could have damaged the extract but I doubt it...


Thursday 25th of March 2021

I just started some lemon extract 2 weeks ago. I thought that I read that the lemon peels needed to be changed out during the 2 mo. extract time. Is that right?... or can I keep the same peels in? Mine are getting a light color already.


Thursday 25th of March 2021

If you want you can change the lemon peals but I've never heard of doing that and I don't do it myself, so really either way is fine.


Monday 19th of October 2020

Just getting ready to reorder lemon extract when I came across your recipe. I'm going to give it a try, but first, after steeping 5 weeks, do you leave the peels in it?

I make large amounts of hibiscus tea, sometimes twice a day, and add a splash of lemon extract, so I go through quite a bit.


Monday 19th of October 2020

I take them out after 5 weeks but I don't think there is any hard rule about it. I think after five weeks they may have given all they got, so if you want to have lemon peals in it I'd probably add fresh ones to it. However, if you go through it that quickly, it may pay to just keep fresh ones for a new batch.


Monday 17th of August 2020

Thank you! I first read your post about mint. I have tons of it. I’ve been drying my leaves naturally and my mint is so healthy! I’m going to try to make the mint extract AND lemon extract! We buy tons of lemons as we juice and freeze it because we LOVE fresh squeezed lemonade! I have TONS of halves peels and I really don’t want them to go to waste. I think I will try peeling the lemons first THEN pressing them for juice. Also I got some empty tea bags because I thought about making tea that way as gifts. Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for the information.


Monday 17th of August 2020

I'm really happy my posts are helpful to you!

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