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homemade citrus extract from our best bites

How to Make Homemade Citrus Extract


If you’re looking for a quick and easy Christmas gift for neighbors and friends, this homemade citrus extract is a great option!


for every…

1 quart high-quality vodka

You’ll need

4 medium oranges OR 6 medium-large lemons


2 medium oranges AND 3 medium-large lemons


Select high-quality, fragrant fruit that doesn’t smell off or rancid at all. Wash thoroughly in warm water with a gentle soap like Mrs. Meyers to remove any wax from the peels.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the topmost layer off each piece of fruit. Place the orange peels in one glass mason jar and the lemon peels in another, then cover with vodka. Make sure the peels are completely submerged and then place lids on the jars.  Allow them to steep for at least a week (as long as the peels are covered, the alcohol will preserve the peels and prevent them from rotting). When the extracts are very fragrant, transfer to small bottles for gifting.


to make mint extract

I completely forgot you can make homemade mint extracts until after I photographed this post (another post for another day, I suppose!), but just gently crush mint, peppermint, or spearmint leaves with your hands, fill a jar half full with mint, and cover with vodka. It will steep in the same amount of time.

Some of our favorite recipes that call for citrus extracts are…

Overnight Cream Cheese Stuffed Lemon French Toast with Strawberries

Lemon Cheesecake

You could slip some into this Almond Poppyseed Bread, which makes another great holiday gift

Add some to the glaze of these rolls

Basically, you can slip it into frostings, glazes, breads, rolls–anywhere you want an extra punch of citrus flavor.