Candied Orange Peel sweetens the colder winter days.
Vibrant healthier bites to snack on or to use in your cooking and baking. I show you how to make them from scratch!
What are Candied Orange Peels?
Candied orange peel is a wonderful way to turn something we usually throw away into something fragrantly delicious and decadent.
A frugal way to add fruity and sparkly sweetness to your afternoon cup of tea.
Oranges originated in China and ended up through trade routes on the European continent in Sicily.
The German term for orange "Apfelsine" is a testimony to the fruit's Chinese origins and means "Chinese Apple".
In medieval Europe, oranges were a luxurious exotic fruit from far away lands, which was prohibitively expensive.
Making candied orange peels originated in medieval Europe and was a way of using every last bit of that precious fruit and preserving its fragrant flavor for later use.
Several 16th and 17th-century cooking books include a candied orange peel recipe similar to the one below.
As with most things, homemade sugared peels taste much better than the store-bought versions and are more budget-friendly.
What Oranges to use?
You can use any kinds of oranges, such as blood oranges, navel oranges, or mandarin oranges.
Just make sure to buy organic oranges if you have the option as you will be consuming the peels and would want them to be free of any chemical residue.
Alternatively, if you do not have any access to organic oranges, scrub the oranges well under running water before using them.
How to make Candied Oranges?
You can easily prepare candied oranges at home.
Here is an overview on how it's done. The complete recipe with adjustable US and Metric measurement options is located further down in the recipe card.
Wash oranges and peel orange skin.
Do not peel the white pith, that's bitter.
Place orange slices into boiling water for 3 minutes. That's called blanching. Do that two times, discarding water and using fresh water each time.
Add water and sugar to orange peel and simmer for 45 minutes. They will turn translucent.
Strain orange skin pieces.
Spread them out over a parchment lined baking tray.
Dry the orange skin for about 6-8 hours over a low temperature in your oven, 200 Fahrenheit or 100 Celsius.
Or even better, dry them in a dehydrator over a medium hot setting.
When dried, toss them in granulated sugar to use as a snack. Or dip in chocolate or crumble them small to use in baked goods.
Candied oranges peels are an essential ingredient in European Christmas cakes and puddings and can be used in a variety of baked goods, such as cakes, muffins, and cookies.
Great examples are the Elisenlebkuchen cookies from Bavaria Nürnberg or in a Gugelhupf recipe.
My favorite use for candied orange peel is in an Orange Semolina Pudding.
It can also be used in granola, your morning muesli, or simply as a delicious accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee as it is or dipped in decadent dark chocolate.
You can even use candied orange peels to decorate a cocktail or a cup of hot chocolate.
Store the peel in an airtight container in a cool and dry place where it will keep for up to 3 months.
If you live in a tropical climate, it would be better to store the container in the fridge for the candied peels to last longer.
You can also freeze it to use later, though because the peel will get a bit soggy after defrosting this is only a good option if you are planning to use the peels for baking.
Other citrus peel options
You can use the same process to candy the peel of other citrus fruit.
A visually stunning option would be to candy the pink peel of grapefruits, the bright-green peel of limes, and the zesty yellow peel of lemons.
Blood oranges, tangerines, clementines, and calamansi lemons also are wonderful candidates to be candied.
You can also use the same process to candy slices of citrus fruit and other fruit, like apples and pears.
For that, just slice the fruit into thin slices and follow the process described above.
Thinly sliced ginger also makes a wonderful candied ginger.
If using the candied orange peel in cakes and other baked goods, it is recommended that you cut it into small pieces that can be easily included in the batter. If you are going to use the candied orange peels as a snack or for dipping it in chocolate, the peel should be cut into long strips.
If you would like to create something special, you can use small cookie cutters to cut the rind into shapes such as hearts, stars, leaves, and glowers. A candied orange rind that has been cut into heart shapes and dipped into chocolate makes a wonderful homemade gift for a loved one on Valentine's Day.
You can easily substitute white sugar with unrefined brown sugar, jaggery, or coconut sugar, resulting in an added richness of flavor.
Sugar crystals have a unique property that is essential to classical candied citrus peel, which is hard to achieve using other products. However, you can modify the recipe and use honey, which will result in a softer and chewier rind texture. When using honey, make sure to consume the peels quickly as honey does not preserve the rind as long as sugar does. You can use coconut flakes to roll the candied rind in to recreate the crunchy texture and snowy look of sugar crystals.
You can also experiment with sugar substitutes and alternative sweeteners, such as Stevia. Just make sure to get the granulated form of the sweetener as that mimics best the texture and properties of regular sugar. You will have to experiment a bit with the different sweeteners and adjust the quantities according to your taste.
You can add ground spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and chili pepper while candying the peel to give it a deeper flavor profile and add some extra zing
Yes, keep the cut and trimmed peel in the dehydrator trays over high heat and dry until desired consistency is achieved (40-60 mins or more if you want a crispier texture).
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Candied Orange Peel Recipe
- 3 Organic Unwaxed Oranges
- Water to blanch + to cook ¾ cup (150 ml)
- 1 ⅔ cups Sugar
- Wash and scrub your oranges well to get rid of dirt etc. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the orange peel without taking off the white orange pit. We only want the orange colored skin!
- Keep a pot with some water to boil on the fire.
- Add the cut orange peel to the boiling water and keep in the water for 3 minutes to blanch. This will remove some of the bitterness of the orange peel. Then discard the water and repeat the same process by adding water again and cooking it until boiling hot for another 3 minutes. Discard the water again.
- Now to the orange peel, add the ¾ cups (150 ml) water and sugar together to the pot and keep on lower heat function. We want the orange peel now to simmer slowly for 45 minutes. Don't stir all to often with your spoon, just let it cook slowly and sometimes just swing the small pot so that nothing gets stuck on the borders.
- Now spread the candied orange peel pieces on a parchment paper and keep it to dry for a few hours in the kitchen or you can place it into the oven and dry the orange peel for 20 minutes at 200 Fahrenheit/ 100 Celsius. The whole point of drying is for prolonged conservation (as is the sugar), however, you can skip the drying process if you want your candied orange peels to be juicier.
- Store in an air tight container for further use.
- 20 servings = 1 jar (just an approximate)