“Good Luck Buddhacello” made with Buddha’s Hand Citron



In December of 2011 I posted my “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade” recipe and to date it is still one of my most popular posts. It even got a mention in an article on Smithsonian.com written by K. Annabelle Smith, “What the Heck Do I Do with a Buddha’s Hand?” from which I still get a few hits every week. Thanks K. Annabelle.

This most mysterious of the citrons are once again showing up in the markets…only in December in Nashville does the Buddha’s Hand, or “finger citron” for obvious reasons, appear for a few short weeks.

Buddha's Hand Still Life on Gingko Leaves, 5th Avenue North
Buddha’s Hand Still Life on Gingko Leaves, 5th Avenue North

I am not sure why I am so seduced but each winter I purchase a few. They spend some time in our fruit bowl ripening and scenting the entire house with a light citrus aroma. Very subtle but pleasing. Anyone who drops by is equally smitten. Friends pick them up and play with them…you know who you are e.e….smell them, turn and twist them and finally ask what in heck they are.  All in all they are lots of fun to have around before I actually do something with them in the kitchen.

e.e. with Buddha’s Hands…

“Buddhacello” liqueur is this year’s recipe.  As well as Candied Buddha’s Hand that is  yummy decorating the top of a cake,  and a very aromatic simple syrup for drizzling on pound cakes or adding to some Holiday cocktails….. all of which from these two Buddha’s Hand Citrons.


(In previous posts I have shared my “Mellow Yellow Limoncello” and “Blood Orangecello” recipes and stories.) The process is simple but the finished liqueur is anything but….


A vegetable peeler and a bottle of good vodka…..


….a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for holding the liquid and for safe shaking…


…and patience is a good thing as well. The wait will be worth it.


Two words….”dark place”. Yes, put this jar of glowing yellow into a dark, cool place…a closet or cabinet…for 4  to 6 weeks. Shake every so often. If you start now you can have your own Buddhacello ready for gift giving or sipping on cold winter nights.

Meanwhile….tick, tock…tick, tock..the days pass…lots of things to do….cold and dark nights….inside the dark place chemistry is happening….

After 4 weeks, I strain out the peel, add some of the simple syrup left over from making the candied peel to the vodka mixture and leave in the “dark place” one more week….decant into individual bottles. Store a bottle in the freezer and serve icy cold straight or with a splash of soda water over ice or added to a hot toddy to make a cold night warmer.


Good Luck Buddhacello



  • 2 Buddha’s Hand Citron (or use grapefruit, orange, or lemon peel)
  • 6 cups good Vodka
  • 1 cup simple syrup – 1 cup sugar melted in 1 cup water or use the syrup from the candied peel if you make this

Directions for Buddhacello:

  1. Using a sharp vegetable peeler remove peel & pith to make at least 3 cups of strips.
  2. Place strips of Buddha’s Hand into a large glass jar.
  3. Pour in vodka, tighten lid and shake well.
  4. Place jar in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking a few times a week.
  5. After the 4 to 6 weeks, strain out the peel from the vodka and stir in 1 cup of Buddha’s Hand simple syrup saved from making candied peel, or any plain store-bought or homemade simple syrup.
  6. For making a simple syrup at home put 1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water in a sauce pan over med high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  7. Tighten the lid on the jar, shake well and return to the cool dark closet or cabinet for another week. Strain & decant Buddhacello Liqueur into individual bottles or jars. Store or give as gifts.
  8. Serve icy cold straight, or over ice with a splash of soda water. Also makes a great drizzle over pound cake or ice cream.

Directions for Candied Peel:

  1.  Chop 2 cups of Buddha’s Hand Citron into small chunks. Place in a pan of water and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the chunks are somewhat transparent. Remove from heat and drain.
  2. Place chunks in a larger pan with just enough water to cover and 2 cups white sugar. Bring to a low boil, stirring often. Turn to simmer. Cook until a candy thermometer reads about 200 to 225 degrees. Remove pan from heat. Let sit for about 1 hour to cool down.
  3. Pour candied chunks of Buddha’s Hand into a strainer set over a bowl to catch the syrup. Let drain for about 30 minutes. Reserve syrup, storing in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready to use for other recipes.
  4. Toss candied chunks in a bowl with 1 cup of sugar until pieces are well coated. Scrape out onto a cooling rack set over a parchment paper covered pan. Leave overnight to harden. Shake to remove excess sugar & store in an airtight tin or jar. Great for topping desserts or adding to cookies.

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com   http://www.foodonfifth.com

36 thoughts on ““Good Luck Buddhacello” made with Buddha’s Hand Citron

  1. Yum 🙂 This sounds very fun! I have not heard of Buddhas hand but I would probably do the same- pick it up, play with it and then question its identity 🙂

  2. I also have never heard of Buddas hand but I love citrus , do they taste like Meyer lemons or any other citrus? As soon as I get back to Santa Cruz I will make candied citrus peel using your recipe.

    1. Buddha’s Hands do not have any real pulp, just the outer yellow skin and pith, but in this case you can use the pith and the peel the same. I used the entire citron to make the Buddhacello, the candied and the simple syrup! Nothing wasted.

    1. Julie I just randomly found them at Whole Foods and a few Import Markets a few years ago and started reading and researching them. There are not very many recipes on the net but more and more show up each day. They are much more aromatic than any other of the citrus family that I have encountered to date. Just in a bowl on the counter they will make your house smell very good. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I have never encountered a Budha’s hand lemon but sure would like to! I am signed up for a limoncello class in February and was looking forward to learning how to make it but just did:)

    1. You know Johanne there are hundreds of ways to approach making Limoncello. It seems everyone who makes it has their own approach. I take the most simple approach and mine has always turned out just fine. Let me know how your class goes. You may pick up some really good tips or shortcuts that I need to know about. Also what a great class idea! Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. YUMMM omg this looks amazing!!! I don’t think they have those at my store but now I’m going to go on a hunt!!! Thanks for the great idea!! 🙂

  5. I remember your other buddha hand post. I guess this citron is far to exotic for rural New Hampshire as I’ve never seen it at our markets. I’m sure your buddhacello served icy cold at the end of a meal would be wonderful.

  6. I’m starting this recipe today! To be clear, your simple syrup is one cup *sugar* dissolved in one cup water, correct?

    1. Hi Delaine, I like them both equally. Buddha Hands are very, very seasonal so I make limoncello more often as lemons are prevalent all year. The Buddhacello is not as sweet, but has an amazing fragrance. Good luck if you make a batch and let me know how it turns out. Best, T

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