Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel makes a great gift (especially when coated in lashings of dark chocolate). It's easy to make at home and a great way to turn orange peel (which would usually be tossed out), into a tasty candy.

Candied Orange Peel is simple to make at home and makes a fantastic gift at Christmas time. Dipped in dark chocolate, these sweet and fruity treats always seem to disappear quickly in my house.

Candied peel is also a classic baking ingredient for other festive treats like a traditional German Stollen or a classic Christmas cake, so it’s a useful ingredient to have on hand at this time of year.

Candied Orange peel with oranges and sugar.

Ingredients

To make Candied Orange Peels, you’ll only need two ingredients (three if you’re going all out and dipping in chocolate!)

  • Oranges: A lot of commercially grown citrus fruit is treated with some serious chemicals like Thiabendazol and Imazalil to keep it pest-free and fresh for longer at the grocery store. While this is great for the supermarket, it’s not exactly healthy or delicious! When you are cooking with the skin of the fruit, it’s important to use organic, pesticide-free fruit. Even better if it comes from the garden or from a friend! Navel oranges are a good size to get nice long strips of peel.
  • Sugar: For the best, brightest colour and strongest orange flavour, ordinary white sugar is the best for candied fruit.
  • Chocolate: Choc-orange has to be one of the greatest candy flavour combos. Dipping the candied peel in good quality dark chocolate takes them to the next level and makes them even more delicious.
Sliced orange peels on a wooden board.

Instructions

Candied Peel is very straightforward, but each step does take a bit of time as you need to soften and then candy the fruit. The good news is that it is mostly hands-off, though you’ll need to keep an eye on the boiling sugar.

  1. First wash, then top and tail the oranges. Use a small sharp knife to cut a vertical line on each side of the fruit, through the skin, just to the flesh. Use your fingers to gently work the skin free of the fruit, then slice longways into strips around 5mm / .25 inches wide. Wrap the unused fruit and save it for fruit salad or snacking! 
  2. Blanch the peel to remove bitterness by placing it into a saucepan, covering it with cold water and simmering for 2-3 minutes. Drain, return to the saucepan, cover again with cold water and simmer for 30 minutes. The blanching process will remove any bitterness from the peels
  3. Drain the peel, reserving the liquid. Top the liquid up to 500ml / 2 cups with cold water, then return it to the saucepan with 500g / 1 lb. sugar. Heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then return the peel to the pan. Simmer for 30 minutes then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the peel in a single layer to a wire rack set over a baking paper lined tray. Either allow to dry for 24 hours at room temperature or dry in the oven (100°C / 200°F / Gas 1 or lowest setting) for 30 minutes.
  5. Fill a bowl with sugar and toss a few pieces of the peel at a time until well coated. Set aside to dry, then store in an airtight container.

The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do with the leftover sugar syrup?

I taste it and see how much orange flavour is left over. If it has a strong orange flavour, you can water it down and use it as a simple syrup for cocktails or soda. It will be very thick by this point so I often simply discard it. If you intend to use the peels for baking (rather than snacking) you can store them in the fridge in the syrup until needed.

How long do candied citrus peels keep?

This is a very old preservation process, designed to keep fruit for a long time. Candied peel that is kept in an airtight container in a cool dark place will keep for 3 months or more.

Can I use other citrus fruits to make candied peel?

Yes! Lemon peel is very tasty, as well as grapefruit (be mindful that not everybody can eat grapefruit), though you will need to blanch them at least twice to remove any unpleasant bitterness. I find lime peel is bitter no matter how many times I blanch it, so I don’t candy it.

Closeup of candied peels on a tray.

More Homemade Candy

I LOVE making candy at home and am never happier than when I have something sugary bubbling away on the stove.

Have you ever tried making Homemade Marshmallows (recipe with video!) or how about lusciously soft and chewy Honey Vanilla Caramels or Cranberry and Almond Nougat?

Chocolate dipped candied orange peels on a tray.

To take your peel to the next level, dip them in melted dark chocolate. These make a fabulous gift!

Candied Orange Peel Recipe

Candied Orange peel with oranges and sugar.

Candied Orange Peel

Jay Wadams
A favourite special treat, Candied Orange Peel makes a great gift (especially when coated in lashings of dark chocolate). It's easy to make at home and a great way to turn orange peel (which would usually be tossed out), into a tasty candy.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves 250 g candied peel

Ingredients
 

  • 3 large organic oranges, unsprayed
  • 500 g 1 lb. white sugar, plus extra for coating

optional:

  • 250 g ½ lb. dark chocolate

Instructions
 

  • PREPARE: Wash the oranges well, then slice off the tops and bottoms exposing the fruit flesh. Score the peel through to the flesh on each side, which will divide the peel into two pieces. Use your fingers to gently separate the peel and rind from the flesh, being careful not to tear the peel. You should end up with two wide strips.
  • SLICE: Use a sharp knife to slice the peel into the long, thin strips, around 5mm / .25 inches wide. Transfer the strips of orange peel to a medium saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with cold water.
  • SOFTEN FRUIT: Bring the water to the boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes then drain peels through a sieve. Return the peel to the saucepan, cover with fresh water to around 5cm / 2 in. above the peels, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • DRAIN AND ADD SUGAR: Place a sieve over a bowl to catch the liquid and drain the peels. Set the drained peels aside, then measure the liquid. Make up to 500m (2 cups) with cold water, and return to the saucepan with the sugar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • CANDY PEELS: Return the peels to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the peels to a wire rack set over a tray lined with baking parchment paper. Transfer to the oven and dry for 30 minutes at 100°C / 200°F / Gas 1. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a further 10 minutes.
  • COAT IN SUGAR: Fill a bowl with sugar and toss the candied peels to coat. Set aside to dry completely.
  • OPTIONAL: Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Dip the dry candied peel half into the sugar and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper or a silicone baking mat to set.

Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container in a cool place for 2-3 months.
Peel length: For more beautiful peels for gifting I always try to cut the peel as long as possible. If you plan to dice the peel for baking, you can quarter the orange instead which makes peeling it easier.

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Nutrition

Serving: 4-5 peels | Calories: 32kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Sweet Things
Cuisine | European
Ⓒ | Jay Wadams
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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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