Candied Orange Peel

If you’ve ever read a book about a bygone era – A Christmas Carol, for example, or even Little House On The Prairie – or perhaps listened to your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ stories of their childhood Christmases, you know that finding an orange in your stocking used to be a delightful, classic Christmas treat. Kids today might expect something a little fancier (or at least more, well, plastic) in their stockings, but we think some citrus is exactly what a cold winter night needs. So we’re bringing back the tradition with a sugary twist: Candied Orange Peel!

We’ve long known that orange peels have all kinds of uses, and we love citrus candy, so we can’t believe it took us this long to try it. You’ll want to try it, too, once you see how totally possible it is to do in your own kitchen. Grab some oranges and some sugar, take a look at our demonstration, then keep reading for the step-by-step instructions.

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Candied Orange Peel

Makes approximately 3-⅓ cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes


  • 4 navel or Valencia oranges
  • 2 cups water, plus more for boiling
  • 2-½ cups white granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted (optional)


  1. Rinse the oranges.
  2. Cut off the tops and bottoms of each orange, and score the skin into quarters.
  3. Remove the peel, along with any pith that is attached. Slice the orange peel into ¼-inch-wide strips. If desired, trim any excess pith off using a paring knife.
  4. Place the strips of orange peel in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat the saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, drain the water from the peels, and repeat the boiling process twice more. Set the boiled orange peel aside.
  5. Pour the 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar into a medium saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring the sugar water to a simmer.
  6. Add the boiled strips of orange peel to the simmering sugar water and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, until translucent. Avoid stirring, as this will encourage crystallization. If necessary, gently swirl the pan to make sure all the peels get covered with syrup.
  7. Drain any remaining syrup from the orange peels. Spread the peels out on a baking sheet lined with lightly-greased wax paper or a silicon baking mat, and allow the peels to cool enough to handle.
  8. Sprinkle the orange peels with the remaining ½ cup of sugar and toss to combine.
  9. Allow the sugared orange peel to cool completely and dry before storing in an airtight container. Cooling and drying may take a few hours or up to overnight.
  10. If desired, once the candied orange peel has cooled and dried, dip each piece in the melted chocolate and allow to cool on a parchment-lined baking pan until the chocolate is set.

Chef’s Tips

  • Want to try this candying method with other citrus, too? You can! Grab about 3 lemons, and prepare them the exact same way simultaneously with the candied orange peel for a candied citrus cornucopia!
  • What to do with the orange fruit after you peel it? Wrap the peeled orange fruit in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container for later use (i.e. to eat or to juice).
  • During the simmering process, if you are worried about your syrup reducing too much before the orange peel is cooked, add a few tablespoons of water to give the orange peel more time.
  • What to do with any remaining syrup after the orange peels are cooked? Set it aside for another use, like a beverage sweetener!

What a great treat! These sugary strips of orange peel are super tasty on their own or dipped in chocolate, and they would also be a great topper for or ingredient in all kinds of delicious desserts. We love this idea for bringing citrus delight into the holidays.

Now what about you? Have you ever candied orange peel before, or at least used it in your baking? What other citrus fruits would you want to try this method on? Tell us if you give it a try and let us know how your candy turns out for you!

Recipe adapted from Bright-Eyed Baker