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How To Make Lemon Extract

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Learn how to make lemon extract with only two ingredients. All you need is vodka and lemon peels to make this flavorful extract that will give baked goods that bright lemon flavor.

homemade lemon extract in a glass mason jar with lemons around a wood cutting board

Who else loves saving money and being more self-reliant?

This journey started for me about nine years ago, and I still love creating new things.

Extracts are one of those things. Have you ever noticed how expensive the store-bought extracts are?

Like, why? Vanilla is super expensive, yet also takes less than five minutes to make and costs a fraction of the store-bought kinds.

Same with the lemon version! They add so much flavor to baked goods. Right now I’m using some to make some delicious sourdough scones with lemon and vanilla. Seriously YUM!

I cannot wait to share the recipe.

Honestly, they are not hard to make at all, and all you need are a few ingredients.

So today, I’m going to show you exactly how to make it.

Lemon Extract Tips

  • I use a vegetable peeler, because I feel like it is faster.
  • Use quick, light movements to get just the rind and none of the whites, as they can be bitter.
  • Choose organic lemons when possible, since you are using the peels.
  • Shake once a week and allow it to steep for 3-4 weeks before using.

Is lemon juice and lemon extract the same thing?

No. Lemon juice is the juice that comes from squeezing a fresh lemon, and it contains a lot more water. Lemon extract is made from soaking the peel in alcohol, which gives it a stronger citrus flavor and includes the natural oils.

Can you make alcohol-free versions?

Yes. You can substitute vodka for food grade glycerin, but it does take longer to extract the flavor. Mix together 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup food grade vegetable glycerin until well combined. Pour over the lemon peels, shake and cover. Allow it to sit in the cabinet for two months before using.

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homemade lemon extract in a mason jar on top a wood cutting board with lemons around

Ingredients:

Lemons: Choose organic, whenever possible. Once you peel them, squeeze the juice into some sparkling water to make your own homemade soda, or use them in other recipes like lavender lemonade, lemon vinaigrette, or blueberry lemon bars. The sky’s the limit, and you don’t want to waste those tasty little fruits.

Vodka: Organic versions are hard to find. Many vodkas are made with GMO’s, like corn or soybeans.

Try to find one that is made with wheat or potatoes, like Absolute, Grey Goose, Kettle One, and more. Although they are made from wheat, they are also supposed to be gluten-free.

For a totally gluten free option, look for vodkas made from potatoes or sugar cane. Smirnoff is said to be made with non-GMO corn.

Tools you may need:

Vegetable peeler or microplane

Mason jar

Liquid measuring cup

overheard shot of lemon peels in a mason jar with vodka poured over. Lemon are placed to the right

How To Make Lemon Extract

Step 1: Wash and dry lemons.

Step 2: Taking a vegetable peeler or zester, remove the yellow part of the peel, making sure the white isn’t included.

peeling a lemon with a vegetable peeler

Step 3: Place in a jar large enough to leave two inches free at the top.

hand adding lemon peels to a glass mason jar

Step 4: Pour vodka over lemon peels and add a tight lid.

measuring cup of vodka being poured over lemon peels to make homemade lemon extract

Step 5: Store in the cabinet for four weeks or more, shaking at least once a week.

Step 6: After four weeks, smell the extract. If it has reached the desired strength or potency, then strain the lemon peels and pour the extract into a clean, glass storage container.

Now, it is ready for your fun baking plans!

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If you try this recipe and love it, I would love if you could come back, comment on the post, and give it 5 stars! Please and thank you.

homemade lemon extract in a mason jar on top a wood cutting board with lemons around
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Lemon Extract

Learn how to make a simple lemon extract to add bright lemon flavor to your favorite baked dishes.
Course extracts
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon extract
Prep Time 5 minutes
Soaking time 28 days
Servings 48 tsp
Calories 12kcal
Author Amy

Equipment

  • vegetable peeler or microplane
  • mason jar

Ingredients

  • 4 lemon peels
  • 1 cup vodka

Instructions

  • Wash and dry lemons.
  • Taking a vegetable peeler or zester, remove the yellow part of the peel.
  • Place in a jar large enough to leave two inches free at the top, then pour vodka over.
  • Add a tight lid and store in the cabinet for four weeks or more, shaking at least once a week.
  • After four weeks, check to see if the desired strength or potency has occured.
  • If it has then strain the lemon peels and pour the extract into a clean, glass storage container.

Notes

Choose organic lemons when possible, since you are using the peels.
Shake once a week and allow it to steep for 3-4 weeks before using. It should be yellow in color and have a strong lemon scent to it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Vodka:

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