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overhead shot of candied citrus peel on parchment paper

Last updated on October 10th, 2023 at 04:35 pm

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Candied Citrus Peel Recipe

Candied Citrus Peels are a sweet and chewy treat, that makes the perfect snack, especially delicious if you dip it in dark chocolate. You can use them in recipes as a crispy topping for salads, ice cream, or yogurt or even for a snack eaten by themselves. The bright orange peels are perfect for holiday recipes or gifts too. You can also use this recipe for grapefruit peels, lime peels, or even Meyer lemons. 

It seems we owe Asia the credit for candied citrus peels. According to many, candied fruit was eaten and used in other recipes in Ancient China. Then, it showed up again in the 1300s in Mesopotamia. It has been refined over the centuries, but the process is still basically made from boiling citrus peels and sugar in water. 

You do not have to worry about nutrition, calories, and fat when serving this to the family or eating them yourself. They are packed with vitamin C, calcium, and fiber with very little fat. You can even adjust the sugar amount. You cannot do that with the store-bought stuff. 

Ingredients needed:

To make this homemade candied citrus peel recipe, you only need a few ingredients and one of them is optional. After gathering what you need, you can find the measurements and instructions at the bottom of the page on our recipe card. 

  • Large unwaxed oranges: It is important to use unwaxed citrus fruit for this recipe. If they have wax on them, you can remove it yourself with our instructions in the FAQs section. 
  • Granulated sugar: You could also substitute this with powdered or confectioners’ sugar. 
  • Dark chocolate: This is optional but makes a nice touch to a sweet gift. 

How to make candied citrus peel from scratch?

  1. Cut and peel: First, cut the oranges into eight pieces. Then, cut off the peel, leaving a thin layer of orange wedges. Cut each one into three to four thin strips with a sharp paring knife.
  2. Blanch and boil: Now, put the orange peels in a medium saucepan and cover them with water (cold water is best). Bring it to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Drain the boiling water and add fresh water. Bring to a boil again and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  3. Drain and dissolve the sugar: Next, place a sieve on top of a bowl to drain the peels, reserving the hot water. Add sugar to the water and heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Put the peels back into the pot and let it simmer for another 30 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
  4. Let them cool: After, let the peels cool off in the citrus syrup. Then, remove all the peels using a slotted spoon and place them in a single layer on a cooling rack or wire rack with a baking sheet underneath. Heat in your oven at 175 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until they dry completely. 
  5. Toss and dry: Then, sprinkle 1 cup sugar on top of a piece of parchment paper and toss the finished peels in the sugar. Spread them out and let them air dry for another hour. 
  6. Use or store: Finally, once all of the candied peel is dry, use it on your favorite dessert or store them in an airtight container lined with parchment paper. 

 

Recipe variations:

  • Other citrus fruits: Feel free to try this recipe with other citrus fruits. You could make candied lemon peel, candied lime peel, or even candied grapefruit peel. Any kind of candied peels would be delicious.
  • Add vanilla: For a different flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to your water on the final boil. 
  • Other extracts: Actually, you can use any extract you like such as lemon, lime, or even almond. 
  • Softer peels: If you would rather have soft and chewy peels, just reduce the drying time. 
  • Spicy citrus peels: To give your candied citrus peels a kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sugar. 
  • Different sugar: Feel free to use brown sugar or whatever kind of sugar you like for the final coating. 
  • Sugar-free: Instead of using regular sugar, you could use Splenda or another sugar substitute for a carb-friendly dessert.

How to serve:

This dessert cuisine gets a recipe rating of 5 out of 5 stars for its ease, taste, and versatility. You can change it and use it in so many different ways. Here are some of our serving ideas. Feel free to share some of your own ideas in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

  • Melt the chocolate in a small bowl and dip the candied orange peel to cover about half of them. Then let them set before wrapping them in plastic wrap to give as adorable gifts. 
  • Orange marmalade is another delicious recipe you can make with orange pieces. Try our easy recipe for marmalade you can make it in minutes. 
  • You can use excess syrup in other baked goods recipes for sugar syrup or simple syrup. Or use the extra sugar water for your coffee, tea, or other beverages as a citrusy sweetener.
  • These tangy little candies would be a wonderful addition to any drink like our tequila sunrise. 
  • Another way to use any leftovers you have is to add them to homemade salad dressing. It is easy to make with honey, vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. 
  • Make some flavorful orange sauce for your favorite veggies or salad with leftover candied citrus peel. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to blanch my peels?

Blanching means submerging your fruit in boiling water for a short period of time. The blanching process will help remove any bitter flavor from the white pith. Removing the white pith is fine too but it takes a long time and thinner peels are harder and chewier when you candy them. This recipe calls for a blanching time of five minutes, which is perfect for oranges. 

Why do my orange peels taste bitter?

To get rid of the bitter flavor, you can go through and remove all of the white pith from the orange peels with a sharp knife before cooking them. Or, as stated above, you can just use the blanching process to get rid of that unpleasant taste. But remember, not only does removing the pith take longer but it also makes your candied citrus peel leathery.

How do I get the wax off my oranges?

Fruit producers often add a waxy coating to keep the fruit fresh and prolong the shelf life. But it makes it impossible to get to the zest of the fruit when you get it home. However, getting rid of the wax is easy to do. Just put it in a bowl of very hot water and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rub it with a vegetable brush or rough cloth until the wax is gone. 

What else can I do with orange peels?

If you have a lot of oranges and do not want too many candied orange peels, you can always use the peels for other uses around the house. For example, you could make a simmer pot to keep your house smelling enticing, use it to make insect repellent or mix it with vinegar for a sweet-smelling cleaner. Another use for the peels is to make essential oil by mixing it with coconut oil. 

More recipes with citrus that you should try:

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: You do not have to refrigerate candied orange peels. Just put them in an airtight container like a ziplock baggie or canister. They will stay fresh for up to a month in a dry area.
  • Freeze: To keep them even longer, pack them in freezer bags and they can be frozen for three to four months. 
  • Thaw: It does not take long to thaw your frozen peels. In fact, they are delicious to eat frozen. 

Recipe tips:

  • If you do not have a wire rack, you can use any kind of oven-safe drying rack. 
  • Make a large batch with this easy recipe to give out as gifts for Christmas or any other occasion. You will need just a few more cups of sugar and a bunch of oranges.
  • Peeling can also be done with a vegetable peeler if you have one. 
  • Mix oranges with other fruits for a delicious blend of flavors.
  • Make sure you get the unwaxed fruit. If you cannot find any, you can remove the wax with our instructions above in the FAQ section.
  • Wondering what to do with the peeled and squeezed oranges? They are great for potpourri to make your home smell delicious. 
  • If you are looking for another dessert cuisine to try, we have lots of sweet recipes on our food blog. 

Candied Citrus Peels

  • Prep Time30 MIN
  • Cook Time2H
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large unwaxed oranges or a mix of oranges and lemons
  • a few cups of granulated sugar
  • 7 oz dark chocolate optional - you can also use milk or white chocolate
  • sea salt optional

Instructions

  • Wash the fruits very well, under warm water, and after that slice the fruit into 8 wedges, remove the flesh, leaving about a bit less than 1/4 inch thickness of peel and pith.
    sliced lemons and oranges on a cutting board some of them with the flesh removed
  • Next, cut each peel wedge into 3-4 thinner strips.
    orange and lemon peel on a cutting board next to an orange slice and a knife
  • Add the peel to a medium pan and cover with cold water, the peel should be submerged in water. I usually add water 1-2 inches above the peel.
  • Bring to a boil, after that reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, then return to the same pan and re-cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, after that reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.
    draining citrus peel in a colander
  • Drain the peel, reserving the cooking water. After that, measure the water and add sugar 1:1. This means, that if you have 16oz of water you add 16oz of sugar.
  • Pour the sugar mixture into a pan and heat over low-medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
    pouring water over orange and lemon peel
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, add the peel and simmer for 30 mins, or until the peel is translucent and soft.
  • Remove from heat and leave the peel to cool the syrup to room temperature. After that, remove it with a slotted spoon and arrange it in one layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven at the lowest setting for 30 mins to dry, it can take 40 mins, depending on your oven.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over a sheet of parchment paper, toss the citrus strips in the sugar a few at a time, then spread out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and leave for 1 hour to air-dry.
  • At this point, you can pack the peel into an airtight jar. Or you can melt the chocolate and dip it in chocolate, place it again on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper for the chocolate to settle. Sprinkle with sea salt.
    dipping candied citrus peel in melted dark chocolate
  • The peels will be kept for 6-8 weeks in a cool, dry place.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(17)
laura

laura

I would love to try this recipe. It is something that I wanted to make for my family for a long time. thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

Zab Zaria

Zab Zaria

This recipe sounds absolutely delicious, and I am looking forward to trying it soon!

HilLesha O'Nan

HilLesha O'Nan

I never tried candied citrus peels before, but wow, how delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

so happy that you liked the recipe! than you for the feedback!

Christy G

Christy G

This sounds like an interesting candy. I’m not a fan of eating the peels on citrus fruit. But my uncle loves them. I’ll send this recipe to my aunt.

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