How to Make Lime Extract for the Best Pies and Cakes

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If you’re lucky enough to have an excess of fresh limes, turn them into homemade lime extract! Learn how to make lime extract to flavor cakes, pies, ice cream, and more.

jar of homemade lime extract.

Like my other homemade citrus extracts, this lime extract recipe is incredibly easy. You basically add lime zest to a jar with vodka for several weeks, then strain it and use it in your recipes! It’s the best way to add that burst of fresh flavor without having to keep limes around. It’s fun, too!

Can you make extract with limes?

Yes! Just like my lemon extract or homemade orange extract, you can easily make your own extract with fresh limes, too. You’ll just need a neutral alcohol with a high alcohol content, like vodka, to extract the flavor oils from the zest over time. 

Why you’ll love this lime extract recipe


  • Preserve the harvest – Citrus fruit has a relatively short season, so it’s best to preserve as much as you can for later in the year! This recipe uses just a few limes, so it won’t make a huge dent in your stash, but it’s a start.
  • Delicious flavor – The zest has the most flavor oils. The alcohol will pull those oils from the citrus peel for the strongest flavor. Plus, it has a long shelf life! It’ll last for a couple of years.
  • Versatile ingredient – Like other homemade extracts, this lime extract recipe can be used for flavorice cream, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones, and so much more. Get creative with it!

Equipment

To make this lime extract recipe, you’ll need:

  • Zester
  • Mason jar
  • Strainer
ingredients to make homemade lime extract.

Ingredients

  • Fresh limes – For this simple recipe, you only need a few limes! You can use regular limes or specialty varieties like key limes, Persian limes, etc. Just be sure to use organic limes to avoid waxes or pesticides.
  • Vodka – Use a high proof neutral-tasting alcohol, like vodka. I usually use 100-proof vodka from Costco.

How to Make Lime Extract

    1. Rinse your limes under cold water and dry them off with a cloth. 
    2. Zest the peel of 2-3 limes into your jar.
    3. Cover with alcohol and shake daily for at least one week. It can help to keep it on the kitchen counter to remember to shake it!
    4. Place the jar in a cool, dry place and allow the mixture to infuse for at least 2-3 more weeks.
    5. When the flavor is strong enough, strain out the lime zest and store the extract in a clean jar.
    6. For an even stronger flavor, restart the process with the strained excess and fresh lime zest!

    Storing Suggestions

    Store your homemade extract in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight for approximately 1-2 years. I prefer to use amber glass bottles to keep the sunlight out, which will preserve the extract for longer-term storage.

    How to Use Lime Extract

    Once your lime extract is ready to go, you can use it instead of lemon or orange extract in any recipe! Try adding it to:

    • Shortbread cookies
    • Pound cake
    • Key lime pies
    • Homemade ice cream
    • Scones
    • Muffins
    • Quickbreads
    jar of homemade lime extract for baking.

    Tips & Variations

    • Scale the recipe. Feel free to make a smaller or larger batch if you prefer.
    • Adjust the strength. I find 3 limes to be just the right amount; you can easily use the zest of a couple more.
    • Use lemon and lime. Instead of just infusing lime zest, add the peel of one lemon too. The mixture of citrus is really lovely!
    • Use key limes. Zest 4-6 tiny key limes for key lime extract!
    • Avoid the pith. The white pith on citrus fruits is notoriously bitter. It’s best to avoid it as much as possible. Fortunately, the zester makes this easy!
    homemade lime extract recipe in a glass jar.

    FAQs

    What is the best way to peel limes for extract?

    Although I usually use a serrated vegetable peeler for lemon or orange extracts, the thin skin of limes is better suited to a zester.

    What can you do with the extra lime juice?

    In addition to making this homemade lime extract, you can also squeeze the limes and freeze the homemade lime juice in ice cube trays! This is a great way to have fresh juice for your bakes all year long.

    Can you substitute fresh lime juice with lime extract?

    Not exactly. Lime extract is meant to add just a bit of lime flavor to your recipes. You usually use just a teaspoon or two because a little goes a long way! Lime juice is often used in larger quantities, like when you’re making salad dressings or key lime pies. 

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    Related Recipes

    If you love making your own extracts, you’ll want to try these homemade extract recipes too!

    jar of homemade extract made with lime zest.
    jar of homemade lime extract.

    How to Make Lime Extract

    Add fresh lime flavor to your bakes all year with this homemade lime extract! You just need two ingredients and a little patience to make this home any time.
    4.5 from 2 votes
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Infusing Time 21 days
    Total Time 21 days 10 minutes

    Equipment

    Ingredients
      

    • 1 cup vodka
    • 3-4 limes, zested

    Instructions
     

    • Rinse your limes under cold water and dry them off with a cloth.
    • Zest the peel of 3-4 limes into your jar.
    • Cover with alcohol and shake daily for at least one week. It can help to keep it on the kitchen counter to remember to shake it!
    • Place the jar in a cool, dry place and allow the mixture to infuse for at least 2-3 more weeks.
    • When the flavor is strong enough, strain out the lime zest and store the extract in a clean jar.
    • For an even stronger flavor, restart the process with the strained excess and fresh lime zest!

    Notes

    Store your homemade extract in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight for approximately 1-2 years. I prefer to use amber glass bottles to keep the sunlight out, which will preserve the extract for longer-term storage.
    Did you try this recipe?Be sure to leave a star rating!

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