Homemade Grand Marnier

Homemade Grand Marnier – This homemade orange flavored liquor that is typically mixed into margaritas and other tasty drinks – a staple for any home bar. This homemade Grand Marnier is significantly cheaper and tastes better than what you can buy in the store!

Homemade Grand Marnier

Confession: I’ve held out on you guys for a while now. I’m not really sure why it’s taken me so long to post this recipe, I’ve been making my own Grand Marnier for years and its really fabulous! I learned how to make this from my friends Mary and Dori – they’ve been doing this for years and are certainly pros at it!

Homemade Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is an orange flavored liquor that is typically mixed into margaritas and other tasty drinks. I would consider it a staple for any home bar. It tends to be pretty expensive, so this homemade version is significantly cheaper and tastes better. It’s really simple to make, but it takes a little bit of waiting. So I’d recommend you get yourself some oranges and make it this weekend, then you can enjoy it all summer long! It also makes really great gifts.

I’ve included some step by step photo’s on the process as well as the recipe at the bottom of the post.

For the first part you’ll start with these ingredients:

  • 8-10 oranges – you’ll want unsprayed or organic oranges, since we will be using the peels
  • 1.75 liter bottle of Brandy – honestly I don’t think the brand matters much here
  • A large glass jar – You will want something with a wide opening to get the orange peels in and out. I use this gallon size jar from Amazon, but you could also use a giant Costco sized pickle jar (washed out really, really well).

Homemade Grand Marnier

Rinse and dry all of the oranges, then gently remove the surface layer of the peel with a vegetable peeler.

You want to be really careful not to get any of the white pith below the orange part. It’s really bitter and wont add a very nice flavor to your Grand Marnier.

Homemade Grand Marnier

It will probably take a few tries before you get it down and it’s a little time consuming at first. If you do get some of the white pith, you can gently scrape the peel with a pairing knife to remove it.

Homemade Grand Marnier

Once you have peeled all of the oranges, put them into your glass jar.

Homemade Grand Marnier

Pour in the entire bottle of brandy and put the lid on the jar. Store the jar in a cool, dry place for 30 days. I like to check on it once every few days and give the jar a little swirl to mix up the contents. Sometimes when I’m making it I feel like I should be on Moonshiners Winking smile

***wait 4 weeks***

Homemade Grand Marnier

After brandy mixture has been stored for 4 weeks, Stir together 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until sugar is completely dissolved. Let sugar mixture (simple syrup) cool completely.

Meanwhile, Pour the brandy/orange peel mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Homemade Grand Marnier

Throw away all of the orange peels from the jar. Add the cooled simple syrup to the brandy mixture.

Homemade Grand Marnier

Line the strainer with a coffee filter and pour the Grand Marnier through the filter. Once all of the mixture has filtered through replace with a new filter and strain again. Repeat this process 2-4 more times until Grand Marnier is clear.

Homemade Grand Marnier

Transfer the Grand Marnier to bottles and refrigerate before serving. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 1 year.

Homemade Grand Marnier

There you have it! Waiting the 4 weeks is the hardest part – I typically set a reminder in my phone so I don’t forget about it Winking smileHomemade Grand Marnier

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Grand Marnier
Homemade Grand Marnier - This homemade orange flavored liquor that is typically mixed into margaritas and other tasty drinks - a staple for any home bar.
Serves: 7 cups
  • 8-10 Oranges, unsprayed or organic
  • 1.75 Liter bottle of Brandy
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  1. Peel oranges into long strips using a vegetable peeler, taking only the rind and none of the white pith. If some of the white pith is on the peels, use a paring knife to trim it away and discard. Place Orange peels into a 2 quart glass jar, pour in brandy and stir gently. Cover jar and store in a cool dry place for 4 weeks, stirring once a week.
  2. After brandy mixture has been stored for 4 weeks, Stir together water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until sugar is completely dissolved. Let sugar mixture cool completely.
  3. In a fine mesh sieve strain orange peels out of the brandy mixture and discard peels. Stir in sugar syrup into the brandy. Line the strainer with a coffee filter and pour the Grand Marnier through the filter. Once all of the mixture has filtered through replace with a new filter and strain again. Repeat this process 2-4 more times until Grand Marnier is clear.
  4. Transfer the Grand Marnier to bottles and refrigerate before serving. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 1 year.
In addition to prep/active time please allow 4 weeks for mixture to process



  1. Jessica says

    Looks yummy. Can’t wait to try someday, when I have a house back to myself! lol.

  2. says

    Eric loves Grand Marnier, I’ll have to make this for him!

  3. says

    I had a bad experience with Grand Marnier after a very long day and night of drinking in Grand Cayman and cannot stomach the thought of it since (and that was years ago!). However, this really intrigues me, and I’m sure it’s better than the real version. I may have to try this….

    • says

      Hi HMM – Listed in recipe above, I state that it makes about 7 cups of Grand Marnier. That translates to about 2 and a half 750 ml bottles. Just so you have a point of reference, 750 ml bottles are the size of most standard hard alcohol or wine bottles, so pretty big.

      You will need to figure out how many oz or ml the bottles you will be using to give as gifts can hold, then you can determine if you need to make a double (or triple) batch. You could probably go with a smaller bottle, like 375 ml since that is a typical size of a Grand Marnier bottles (and other liqueurs too).

      Hope this helps – Happy Grand Marnier making :)

  4. Tricia says

    Why does this have to be refrigerated? If I bottle and cork it, it is not shelf stable? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Tricia!

      I believe you are correct – The amount of sugar and the alcohol content should make it shelf stable, or at the very least I’d say store in a cool dark place. But personally I find it tastes best when it’s perfectly cold, straight from the freezer -so that’s where I keep mine :)

  5. Dwight Swan says

    Your recipe is the best of the best. The finished product was perfect. The filtering process makes or breaks this recipe. The color and clarity is fabulous. Thank you very much for this recipe. I will be passing it along to my friends.

    • says

      Hi Dwight! Thank you so much – I am glad that you love it as much as we do. In my book, nothing store bought can compare! :)

  6. Irene says

    Can’t wait to try your recipe. I’ve been making my own Kahlua for over 20 years with Everclear and it’s fabulous. Thanks for sharing yours.

  7. Stephen B. says

    So I am just wondering. At the very top you say to use “8-10 oranges” then on the bottom is says 6-8 oranges. How many do you personally use? Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Stephen!

      Thanks for the question. I used to use less oranges when making it (which is why it says 6-8). Now I prefer to use at least 8, but will use up to 10 if they are small and/or difficult to peel without the pith. I’m going to update the recipe at the bottom so clear for others :)

      Hope this helps and enjoy!

  8. Stephen B. says

    One more question about your receipt…we’re making the GM today! :) So you say to use a 1 liter bottle of brandy, which is about 33 ounces. You then say to use 1 cup of water which is 8 ounces. 33 + 8 = 41…with that said I saw where you responded to another comment and said that the receipt made 7 cups of GM which is 54 ounces. Is mine or your math off, or is the receipt off? I promise I’m not trying to be a smart ass, i just really love GM and want this to turn out as spot on as possible.

    Thanks so much,

    • says

      Hi Stephen!

      It’s totally my math, not yours – but I found an even bigger error. I was at the store today picking up supplies to make my batch for this year and realized it’s not a 1 liter bottle, it’s a 1.75 liter bottle of brandy! I haven’t really looked at the bottle since I jotted down my notes from a few years ago. Hopefully it’s not too late and you can still add more to your orange peel mixture :)

      Happy New Year!

  9. Melodie says

    Hi, Nicole,
    I have an orange tree and it’s producing beautifully. I’m going to try your GM recipe. Another gal has a uTube video making GM and she uses the whole orange (peel and pulp). You use only the peels, correct? What’s your reason for that. Just curious. And what do you do with the rest of the oranges since you use only the peels for the liquor. Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Melodie!

      You are correct, I only use the peels to make my Grand Marnier. I have found that the peels from the oranges hold so much flavor and when you combine that with the brandy there is no need to utilize any other part of the orange. Also I think that using the pulp from the orange would make the Grand Marnier cloudy/unclear and create a diluted end product.

      I normally use the rest of the oranges to make fresh squeezed orange juice (my husband loves it!) and I usually make a batch of homemade orange sorbet (similar to this recipe http://www.foodiemisadventures.com/2012/03/tangelo-sorbet.html)

      Thanks for your question – happy Grand Marnier making!

  10. Mary says

    Love this recipe. Three of my sisters are going to make this recipe. It is smooth, clear, mild and very pleasant on the pallet. Will make again and give as gifts.

  11. says

    Just a thought: Instead of discarding them, couldn’t you candy the brandy-soaked orange peels and use them for recipes that call for them? Sounds tasty to me! :)

    I’m going to try this recipe! Thank you!

    • says

      Hey Olivia!

      That’s a great idea – I have never tried that but it sounds like it would be a delicious way to use them instead of tossing them. I’d love to know how they turn out if you try it!

      • says

        I have been making lemon cello as well as orange, lime, tangerine and grapefruit cellos (basically the same same as GM – peel extracts with a sugar syrup) for a couple of years, and yes do keep the peels for baking/candy/dessert making. I actually put the peels into the sugar syrup while making the syrup, and in the end, I have sugared peels. I add a good amount of sugar to the drained peels that are stored in jars after shaking the sugar all around them in the jars. I use most of the peels, cut up in a med fine mince and added to a buttered, citrus liquor flavored, sweetened Focchia. It makes a terrific breakfast bread. Recipe in the foundry pages, 3rd picture down, on the splash page at MLCE dot net. Love this site!!!!! I hope to add my 2 Cents often.

      • says

        I forgot to add in my comment above, that we also use the citrus liquors in our chocolate truffles and “designate” which citrus flavor each batch is by using pieces of lightly fried, with sugar, in butter, thin strips of the sugared peel and adding different shapes or designs of peel to the still warm, dipped truffle. Also make little “sticks” of peel, again fried as above, for a refreshing mouth cleaner/candy for consumption after a great meal. It’s just good candy too.

  12. Andy says

    Could one zest the oranges rather than peeling them?

    • says

      Hey Andy!

      I have not personally tried it, but am sure it would yield a very similar result (if not identical). If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

    • Marta says

      Zesting a citrus fruit is exactly what Nicole does, as zesting refers to removing only the outer colored part of the fruit without the pith, regardless of what size tool you use to do so. When you’re zesting this much fruit, a good peeler really speeds things up.

  13. Jean says

    I just bought a bottle yesterday for recipes, and I have been putting off the purchase because of the price, but recently decided to try it in some recipes. I found your recipe on Pinterest while looking for more recipes to use it in. My question: Is there a reason it is only good for one year? I thought alcohol had an almost endless life span. Thank you for sharing your treasured recipe! I’ll have to try this rather than buy it next time around. :)

    • says

      Hi Jean!

      I list a one year shelf life to stay on the safe side – I have kept some longer than that and it was still as delicious as the day I made it. Since we are adding water and sugar into the brandy, it changes the ABV percentage and in turn will affect the shelf life.

      I hope you love this homemade version as much as we do!

  14. Simone Lewis says

    I am putting oranges and brandy on my shopping list. My bottle of GM has disappeared (along with my “friend” and her new boyfriend…alas, a whole other topic lol) What do you usually make with the rest of the orange?

    • says

      Hi Simone!

      I usually eat a few then juice the rest – nothing fancy :)

  15. says

    Can I use a plastic jar instead of glass. I do not want to go and buy glass when I have plastic? Please respond soon. T.Y.

    • says

      Hi Patricia! Yes, you could technically use a plastic jar, although I would definitely not recommend it. Since plastics can leach chemicals into the mixture and alcohol can easily pick up tastes from ingredients it’s better not to – it would likely affect the taste of your end product. The exception of course would be a jar that is approved for use with alcohol (such as an old alcohol bottle).

  16. says

    While this is surely delicious and your method sounds simple enough, if one uses brandy as the base alcohol, what is being made with orange peel and simple syrup will not be like Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier has a base of cognac–quite a different flavor than brandy. On the happy side, brandy is far more reasonable in price. So this recipe is for a brandy-based orange liqueur–good to know. My guess is if you start with cognac, then the end result should taste a like like Grand Marnie–I’ll have to give it a try. Anyway, thank you for the inspiration and I especially appreciate the careful detail about not letting the white pith find its way into the batch.

    • alyson says

      cognac is a variety of brandy, a refined style to say the least. nonetheless, with all the sugar and infusion of orange peal to make the grand mariner flavor, it all makes sense to use brandy.

      i haven’t tried this recipe, but thank you…i will!

  17. Susan says

    I am delighted that you posted this recipe. If you think waiting a month for this is bad, try making limoncello (lemon, lime or orange) – those have to sit for 3 months before they’re ready, but fortunately they seem to keep forever in the freezer. I really appreciate the tip to make simple syrup – it would definitely make adding the sugar easier to the limoncello as well as the Grand Marnier. :-)

  18. John says

    I love this recipe. I also have done something similar for beer. I bring to a boil the orange peels and then cool. I add a splash of this water to beer…it is amazing. wonder if I took this water and used it as the sugar water added at the end. maybe that would make this orange liquor better. I also want to try it with honey instead of sugar

  19. Marti says

    Hi. My boyfriend and I are having a lot of fun making this GM recipe. I have one question: We are in the straining through coffee filters stage, and it’s taking about an hour to strain about half of the mixture. I’m thinking there might be something wrong since this needs to be done 2 to 4 more times. Thank you for your help!

    • says

      Hi Marti!

      That sounds normal, it does take quite a while to strain through. I usually pour some into the filter, then walk away and do something else (like fold laundry or something haha) while it drips through. After the first pass it gets a little faster each time. One way I like to help speed it up is to replace the filter frequently (for example, fill it up, then toss it once that drains and put in a new one) – Maybe try that if you are wanting to finish it a little faster. Hope this helps!


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