How to Make Lemon Extract

lemon extract

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. 

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

In our place in the Jordan Valley we have a few lemon trees, and we 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!

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

If you would like to know how to make extracts at home, look no further.

What is Lemon Extract?

lemon extract

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) which allows the flavor to infuse the alcohol.

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.

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. 

How to Make 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 will get lemon juice from the peeled lemons so they don’t go to waste.

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.

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

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.
PREP TIME10 minutes
TOTAL TIME28 days 10 minutes
Servings: 1 cup


  • 4 Lemons peeled
  • 1 cup Plain Vodka


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

Nutrition Per Serving

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
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @cheftariqcooks or hashtag it #cheftariq!

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