Making Candied Orange (or Any Citrus) Peels

Ever made candy at home before? If not candied oranges are a great way to start. They’re simple and, well, you were going to just throw those orange peels away anyway, right? This recipe works with any citrus fruit peel. Begin by cutting the ends of your oranges:

Now score them in quarters.

Pull those peels off.

Pull off those extra thick piece of pith at the ends…unless of course you like pots of pith…some do!

Cut the peels into half-inch slices. Cut them in half again on the bias if you like smaller pieces.

Place them in a pan of cold water and bring the whole thing to the boil for 2 minutes.

Drain them and repeat the process two more times.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, water and syrup in another medium saucepan.

Bring the mixture to about 238 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the orange peels and simmer for 45 minutes.

At that point they’ll be translucent on the edges — not transparent like the commercial stuff — just semi-transparent on the edges and along the skin.

Let them drain and cool on a rack for 3-4 hours.

You can use them in recipe as they are. If you want to make candy out of them, toss them in granulated sugar.


26 thoughts on “Making Candied Orange (or Any Citrus) Peels”

  1. I’ve done that! though I threw sliced orange peels into a sugar syrup and simmered them until translucent through and through (I was doing it for the syrup) I spread the mess on parchment and let it cool down. sticky but good. now that I have a candy/frying thermometer of the analog style I might be able to do it in a way to make them not so sticky. hmmm…. (the digital one I have takes half a minute to take a temp. long time when it comes to candy)

    1. I use it for all sorts of things…on pancakes or French toast, in tea, over ice cream, as a drizzle on plated desserts…they sky is the limit!

      – Joe

  2. I made candied citrus once as the finishing touch for a fancy dinner party dessert. It was fun to do, but I found the peels in their container in the back of the fridge as I cleaned up after the party.

  3. I’ve always wondered how to make these! I assume you could do this with any citrus with a rough peel…like grapefruits, for instance?

    1. Hi James!

      Scroll down for the recipe…I used 2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup corn syrup to 1 cup of water.

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe!

        That was confusing to me too when I first found your site. And I know you answered the same question for me and I can only guess at however many others over the years.

        Ever considered putting a link to the recipe in the subsequent posts on whichever topic? Maybe there’s even a script that would do it (said the computer illiterate).

  4. The best part of this process is that “let cool on a rack for 3-4 hours”. My mother makes candied peel every winter, and when I was growing up I would come up with any excuse I could think of to wander casually through the kitchen while it was drying so I could sneak a couple pieces…

  5. Have you ever tried just using a vegetable peeler to get the skin off? That’s what I usually do, might have to give this method a try though

    1. Some people do that, though the pith is an important part of the overall taste and texture. Give it a try and see what you think!

      – Joe

  6. Easy and delicious! My fiance and I are obsessed with candied orange peels, and we’ve made them before as a garnish. Re: Matt’s question above, we did it with a citrus peeler (not sure of the correct term) that barely skimmed the pith and produced quarter-inch wide pieces. The results weren’t nearly as satisfying as biting into the nice gummy texture of these, I can imagine :) We’ll do it this tastier and easier way next time.

    1. It’s amazing how much home made orange peels are like the candy versions. I grew up not far from the Ferrara Pan candy factory outside Chicago where I used to buy them. These are better of course, but it’s impressive how sugar transforms bitter, dry pith into chewy goodness.

      – Joe

  7. Made some of this for the stollen I’m baking Monday, and wow is it good!

    I also candied lemon peel by the same method, and it seems to have worked, but because those peels were thinner I only cooked it in the syrup for 20 minutes. I used four small lemons (about a cup of peel) and a little less than a half batch of the syrup.

    1. Wonderful! I made stolen this morning and wished I’d had time to candy my own citrus peels. Bt the stollen is amazing!

      Merry Christmas!

      – Joe

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