The Easiest Candied Orange Peel Recipe
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A totally foolproof, wonderfully easy Candied Orange Peel recipe that makes sweet and bright orange peel candy – perfect for the holidays!
Candied Orange Peels
The holidays call for a bit of flourish, don’t they?
Candied Orange Peels are a terrifically vibrant and delicious way to add festive pizazz to Christmas cocktails and desserts. Bright golden slivers of sugar-coated orange peels taste as wonderful as they look, and bring some impressive flair to nearly any drink or dish.
Most recipes for making candied orange peels from scratch seem trickier than necessary. They often use candy thermometers, and include watching (and watching… And more watching) for crystallization. No, thank you.
This easy recipe makes the BEST, sweetest orange peel candy, without all the fuss. The pieces are soft and perky, with just the right hint of chewiness and light, sugary crunch.
What Ingredients You Need
Our uncomplicated recipe for tangy Citrus Peel Candy includes only 5 simple ingredients:
- Navel Oranges – just the peels so feel free to use the juice of the orange to make other holiday recipes, like Holiday Wine Punch Cocktails (You can also use Valencia or Cara Cara oranges.)
- Water – for simmering the peels
- Granulated sugar – to create perfectly sweet candied orange peels
- Vanilla – adds a deep earthy flavor to balance out the sweetness
- Salt – essential for the candying process
You can also use this same recipe for making candied grapefruit, lemon peel, or lime peels! Orange you glad to know? *wink*
How to Make the Easiest Candied Orange Peels
This effortless recipe is great to make as a relaxing weekend or weekday evening project. Just follow these few basic steps for making cheery, citrusy-good orange peel candy from scratch at home in less than an hour!
First, prep the oranges by trimming off the tops and bottoms with a paring knife. Then use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel the oranges from top to bottom, into 2-4 inch long segments. It helps to press the peeler very firmly against the orange to collect a nice even layer of peel, omitting as much white pith as possible.
Once you’ve peeled all of the oranges into wide strips, cut the slices into thinner ¼ inch strips.
Next, place the orange peel segments into a medium saucepan and turn the heat on to medium or medium-low. Add water, sugar, and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. As soon as the water begins to boil, set a timer for 20 minutes. You want to cook the peels until they are just soft, but still have their lovely vibrant color. (Using medium to medium-high heat will burn your peels quickly.)
Meanwhile, prepare for the next steps: Add the remaining ½ cup sugar to a bowl and set aside, and set out a drying rack with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper under it.
Once the orange peels have simmered for 20 minutes, stir in the vanilla extract. Turn off the heat and let the peels rest in the sugar syrup for several minutes.
Then use tongs (or a slotted spoon) to move the orange peels to the cooling wire rack. Allow the orange peels to rest for at least 15 minutes to dry and cool. (This allows the excess syrup to drain off the slices.)
Toss the cooled peels in the sugar to coat.
Let the peels dry completely at room temperature. This should take another 30 minutes or so.
Store the Candied Orange Peels in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy as a snack or as a decoration on cake or cupcakes.
Get the Full (Printable) Easiest Candied Orange Peel Recipe + Video Below!
How Can I Enjoy Candied Orange Peel?
Eat these homemade candies right out of the container as a special treat, or serve Candied Orange Peels as a garnish on desserts and drinks.
Add a few to Homemade Chocolate Pudding for a delicious chocolate and orange dish, or top this Yogurt Cheesecake with Orange Shortbread Crust to add an extra burst of citrus flavor.
Use pieces of orange peels to finish festive cocktails, like an Aperol Spritz or in a Spiced Manhattan Cocktail.
However, you choose to include, these homemade candies are sure to add some joy to your holiday celebrations!
Looking for More Easy Candy Recipes?
- Vanilla Orange Candied Cranberries
- Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe
- The Tastiest Turkish Delight Recipe (Lokum)
- Bourbon Candied Bacon Bites
- Chocolate Toffee Christmas Crack Recipe
Check this candy’s printable recipe card below for the prep time, total time, and nutrition information including calories, protein, sodium, potassium, vitamin c, and calcium percentages.
The Easiest Candied Orange Peel Recipe
- 4 large navel oranges or 5 small
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Trim the tops and bottoms of the oranges. Then use a vegetables peeler to peel the oranges from top to bottom, into 2-4 inch segments. Press the peeler firmly against the orange to collect a nice even layer of peel. Be careful to trim off just the peel, not the white bitter pith. Then cut the wide strips into ¼ inch thin strips.
- Place the orange peel segments into a medium saucepot. Set over medium to medium-low heat. Add the water, 1 cup of sugar, and the salt. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, set the timer and simmer approximately 20 minutes, or until the peels look soft, but still retain their vibrant color. (You don’t want them to turn brown, so set the stove just hot enough to hold the simmer.)
- Meanwhile, place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a bowl and set aside. Set out a drying rack and place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper under it.
- Once the orange peels have simmered 20 minutes, stir in the vanilla extract. Turn off the heat and let the peels rest in the sugar syrup for another 5-10 minutes.
- Use tongs to move the orange peels to the cooling rack. Allow the orange peels to rest at least 15 minutes to dry and cool. Then toss them in the sugar to coat. Let the peels dry completely at room temperature. Then store in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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Cooking the peels and then rinsing them in cold water takes away any bitter that may have been in the peels.
you either like the marmalady candy taste or you don’t.
don’t blame the chef..!
Personally, I would peel the oranges (4 peels per orange),
then cook the peels for 30 min
the let it cool down and remove the pith with a teaspoon or vegie-knife.
Then cut it in the desirable sizes, every 1/4 peel in 5 or 6 long strips.
now cook it with the sugar, add vanilla, let it rest, and put it on the dry rack.
Every now and then pour some of th syrup over it and wait till it drips off.
Now roll the strips in castor sugar or icing sugar.
Let it drip off. Cover 50% – 60% of the individual strips, by dipping it into melted chocolate. (Dark chocolate will work nicely).
Let the choc settle and then pack the strips in a sugar jar.
Same ingredients as your recipe.
I make candied orange peels all the time and this method is by far the best I’ve tried. Adding the vanilla after they cook make them taste even better.
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I made these little citrus delights. I layed them out on my dehydrator racks and left them on the counter to dry for about an hour before I coated them in sugar and layed out again. Yummy thanks for sharing!!!
For the person complaining about wasting time on this recipe.. the author took hours to write this out with photos (of which I’m sure was done with a kind heart). I was taught to be kind to others.. not to belittle their efforts (leaving a truthful review is one thing but saying a waste of time was rude and overboard). There’re several other variables such as how thin you shaved the peels away from the pith, what kind of oranges were used (huge difference that perhaps wasn’t known as all oranges aren’t the same) and how high the stove was turned up during those 20 minutes for example so let’s be kind and actually treat others how we’re like to be treated ourselves.. thanks.
Well said, Cheryl! Uploading a recipe takes an enormous amount of time, energy, resources & money! And we don’t have to pay a single penny, except maybe a kind word or two & perhaps a nice compliment.
Well said, Cheryl L March
I found this recipe on an accident when trying to search whether or not orange oil is still in my room dried orange peels. I never found that answer out but there’s no room in my freezer to put the huge amount of SUMO orange peels I have (I wanted to make essential oil to add in a spray bottle as an all natural air freshener). Although I can’t find a decent recipe for that I thankfully stumbled across this candied orange peel recipe.
I tried this recipe to find out if it would work for “straw” for the top of an Easter cake. They turned out perfect! And they are yummy too.
These came out great! Not bitter at all like a lot of people were complaining about. If you use a vegetable peeler you should have no pith (white part). That’s the bitter part. They were kind of wet even after leaving them to dry on a rack. So I coated them with sugar and placed them between paper towels for a few hours to dry more. Chewy and delicious. I can’t wait to try this with lemons.
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Orange peels are supposed to be blanched; I just learned that the hard way. Removing such step leads to bitter, inedible results.
I have made other candied orange peel recipes in the past and they turn out much more delicious than this one. Cooking the peels in such a thin sugar syrup may be easy, but it results in a wet, fairly bitter “candied” peel. The taste is improved by dredging them in sugar at the end, but they are still wet, soggy peels unless you dry them out carefully in a slow oven. The care that this step requires is substantial and the recipe ends up being less “easy” than it is billed.
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I might have cooked these a bit more than called for but they came out amazing. Washing the orange aggressively before i think helped eliminate the bitter. Still, perfect addition to my cranberry sause for Thanksgiving thank you for the guide!
I can’t overstate the bitterness of these “candied” peels, after following the recipe exactly and then taking one small bite. This is one of those times when you can’t really “shortcut” your way into a final product. Candied peels take much more time than this. I wish I’d used a classic recipe. I’m bummed I wasted my oranges—these are inedible. :(
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This yummy peel came out perfect!
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Lived up to its name — quick, simple, delicious!
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I did both orange & lemon peels together & coated them with raw sugar (I have a large container of it so, “why not?”). The remaining simple syrup had, obviously, a mild “citrusy” taste so I added it to the simple syrup I make for bar drinks like Old Fashioneds & Manhattans.
Can I make this with orange, lemon and lime peel at the same time, or re-use the syrup to do them separately? If the latter, in which order?
Leave the vanilla out. Put it in the chocolate dip.
Heat 1/4 cup cream, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips until blended, stir in vanilla or a few drops of coffee liquor. Dip the dried candy strips in the chocolate and dry on wax paper.
Salt is unnecessary to make Candied Orange Peel and Vanilla Extract is a matter of choice. I love Candied Orange Peel with just the minimal of ingredients — orange peel, sugar, and water. Sometimes I coat them with Turbinado Sugar ! Dipping them into dark chocolate (just a half of each strip) makes them even more festive. I have frozen my candied orange peel for 6 months and they taste fantastic. Also, for quick drying, I place the candied orange peel onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan/rimmed cookie sheet and place them in my parked hot car — works great ! I also add chopped Candied Orange Peel to my breads (today I’m adding it to Irish Soda Bread — no caraway for me) and cookies — just delicious !
Splendid recipe and so easy! The orange slices are perfect to pop into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon; they look delicious and inviting and make excellent DIY gifts.
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Okay, here’s something a little extra about this recipe. I saved the orange-vanilla simple syrup that this recipe creates, and I froze it in little containers (about 1/4 cup each). Tonight my husband and I were drinking some champagne, kind of a middle of the road champagne, nothing fancy or earth-shattering. So here was my bright idea: get that frozen simple syrup out of the freezer and drop not quite a Tablespoon full in the bottom of each champagne flute before pouring. Oh my gosh, it was so delicious! Now I’m going to start drinking more champagne, just so I can add this stuff to it!
What a great idea! I will try that. I was thinking about using the sugar syrup in mixed berry sauce to freeze. I can add that to yogurt or skyr for a dessert. I can freeze the syrup in ice cube trays, pop the cubes out and store in vacuum bags until more ideas come to mind, too. I hate to waste something so tasty!
Will these go bad right away if not refrigerated? I am hoping to gift them, and I am not sure people will remember to put them in the fridge if not eaten right away. Thanks!
I wonder if these candied peels can be freeze-dried or flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
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I made this and the taste is sooooo good!!!! And it was so easy!!! Do they work fine if you freeze them??
Yes, you can freeze them for up to 6 months, stored in an airtight container. Just thaw at room temperature when ready to serve. :)
I made these today because I have a fruitcake recipe that calls for candied orange peels, and I couldn’t find them anywhere! So this will come in handy, PLUS I will be making some Aperol Spritzers, too :-)
But now my big question is this: Can the strained orange-vanilla-simple syrup be used for something, too? It seems like a waste to just put it down the drain!
Sure, you could definitely use it in holiday cocktails in place of simple syrup. Great idea! :)
If you like an Old Fashioned……there you go! Used it with my brown butter bourbon. Soooo good!
My grandmother had an awful time finding candied citrus peels for her holiday recipes. She made her own, but they were so much work. This is the best method I have found. The Man of the House loves oranges, and it hurt my heart to throw away the peels. Now I don’t have to! I also make my own vanilla extract with the used bean pods and…ahem…vodka…in Mason jars. Waste not, want not!
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This was an easy and fun recipe to make! I did scrape all the white pith possible off the back of the peels so they wouldn’t taste bitter. How long does it take them to dry out completely? Hoping to use them to make some hot cross buns in a couple days :) Thanks for sharing! Hoppy Spring!
it is a great recipe but just wanted to warn others not to peel too deep, because if you go into the white layer it will be very bitter(personal experience ) but i could tell it was a great recipe even with the bitterness.
You made so much easier than all of the other recipes. Thank you!!
I save the sugar water to use as simple syrup in cocktails. Yum!
I just made these, very easy to do. I have made them before but always simmered them in plain water, drained, simmered and drained them again before simmering in the sugar water, this makes it take a bit more effort, but lightly less bitter.
an uncommon and amazing candy idea!
Thank you for this recipe, I have always wondered how to do this! So easy! Now I can enjoy these without having to buy them.
Love this recipe. Perfect for my holiday stollen. Thank you for the simplicity.