How to Make Lemon Extract

lemon extract

Pure lemon extract is one of those small things in cooking that can make a huge difference. 

Not everyone can put their finger on what that difference is, but can tell if it’s missing. 

It is believed that lemons originated in India, no one knows for sure, but we know they grow like crazy in the Middle East. 

We have a few lemon trees, and are inundated with lemons in the Spring and Summer.

One of my very favorite aromas is a flowering lemon tree, it is truly incredible.

When you have several trees close together the air fills with this beautiful sweet smell.

They don’t smell like lemons at all, they smell much more like what I believe heaven would smell like!

What Is Lemon Extract

lemon extract

Homemade lemon extract, a small thing with a big impact, is simple to make.

It is the extraction and concentration of lemon flavor from the lemon peels, or lemon zest.

Lemon peel or zest is soaked for a few weeks in a neutral flavoured alcohol (food grade of course). 

This process allows the lemon flavor to infuse the alcohol, when making these extracts at home.

It is used to enhance lemon flavor in food, or to provide a hint of lemon taste in something like baked goods.

Lemon extract, vanilla bean extract, and almond extract are all things you should have on your baking shelf.

How To Make Lemon Extract

Lemon Extract

Wash and dry your lemons.

Using a peeler, peel the skins lengthwise into strips that are the length of the lemon.

Try not to get too much of the white around the lemon if possible.

Put your lemon skins into a clean jar and cover with a cup of vodka, then seal.

This extract recipe requires you to leave the jar in a cool dry place for at least four weeks.

This time will allow the lemon flavor to infuse the vodka and provide an exceptional taste.

These little bottles of extract make great gifts and will rival anything store bought.

I squeeze lemon juice from the peeled lemons so they don’t go to waste.

Choosing The Right Lemons

You definitely want to choose fresh lemons that have a nice color and are not soft at all.

The best for homemade extracts  are the ones that are just fully ripe, where the rind is still full of flavor.

Organic lemons are preferred if possible because they will not have been sprayed with pesticides. 

Tips For Making

Make sure you use a neutral vodka and not one that has been flavored already.

Try to just capture the skin of the lemons and not the white pith which is bitter tasting.

Definitely the longer you soak the skins the better the flavor will be.

lemon extract

What To Use It In

You can use it in a lot of things like marinades, fruit salads and lemonade.

And in all kinds of desserts like cookies, cakes, custards, frostings, cheesecake, and pies to name a few.

Lemon Extract Recipe

Pure lemon extract is one of those things in cooking that makes a difference and yet not everyone can put their finger on what it is.
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Course: Basics
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Baking, Lemon
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 days 10 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 680kcal


  • 4 Lemons peeled
  • 1 cup Plain Vodka


  • Place the lemon peels in a jar and soak for 4 weeks.



Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 229mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 3mg

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