How to Make Candied Fruit Peel

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How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

I’m notorious for giving homemade goodies at the holidays—from bags of squishy marshmallows and freshly ground hot chocolate to bottles of velvety Irish Cream.

I’m not usually one to brave the pre-Christmas crush at the malls (and I’m not organized enough to get my shopping done months in advance)—plus, I spend most of my time in the kitchen, anyway.

So it kind of works out.

Candied fruit peel is one of those miraculous acts of culinary alchemy.

You take tough, bitter fruit rind that’s packed with oil you could use to polish your furniture, and, thanks to the magic of sugar, transform it into heavenly, fragrant candy.

The result is one part fruit, one part sweet jelly—and totally delicious.

They’re like those fruit slices that my grandmother used to love. (You know the ones I mean.)

Only a thousand times better.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Candied fruit peel is easier than you might think to make at home.

Basically, you blanch thin strips of peel to remove most of their bitterness, then let them take a leisurely soak in a bubbling sugar bath.

Let them drip dry, then roll them around in sugar until they’re wearing sparkle-y little sweaters.

Leave them out on a rack overnight to cure, and package them up and start handing them around.

That’s it! The process isn’t instant, but it certainly is easy.

To me, the hardest part of this whole process is getting the peel off in nice, presentable pieces.

I’ve included detailed instructions on how to do just that.

Should I remove the white pith from the peel?

I say no. Here’s why.

A little unscientific research on the interwebs reveals that there are differing opinions on how much of the papery white pith to remove from the peel.

Some folks recommend scraping off every last bit of it, because it’s bitter.

Some say leave the pith on and blanch the peels.

I’m in the latter camp. A quick swim in boiling water soaks out a lot of that bitterness.

The simmering sugar bath takes care of the rest. I never cut the pith off, and it’s never been a problem.

Plus, it means there’s less prep—and more candy to love.

So, pith on or off: It’s entirely up to you.

This recipe will work with most citrus fruits

I happened to use oranges, but this technique will work with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and blood orange (etc.).

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Candied fruit peel + flavored simple syrup = two treats in one

Once you cook the fruit peel, don’t toss the sugar syrup!

It’s deeply flavorful and will make a wonderful addition to desserts, cocktails, and tea.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Just pour the sugar syrup through a strainer to capture any errant bits of peel, then toss it in the fridge and use within a month or so.

This recipe calls for equal parts sugar and water, just like regular simple syrup.

The addition of the fruit peel and the long cooking time can throw your proportions off, though, which means that your syrup may wind up crystallizing a little—or a lot.

If that happens, just heat the syrup up to liquify it again and you’re good to go.

Candied Orange Peel

3 large oranges
4 cups water
4 cups sugar + 1 cup sugar for coating the peel

Yields about 3/4 – 1 lb. candy, depending on how big your oranges are

Peel the oranges

Grab your oranges.

Give them a rinse under cold water, then wipe them dry.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Whack about a quarter-of-an-inch off each end.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

You want about this much of the inside showing:

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

With a sharp paring knife, cut through the peel and into the white pith.

Slice through the peel from the top of the orange to the bottom.

Don’t cut all the way through the pith and into the fruit.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Make the same cut a few inches over.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Cut a shallow semi-circle into the top of the orange at the edge of the peel to connect the two cuts you just made.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Wiggle your finger under one edge of the peel.

Work your finger down under the peel to separate it from the fruit.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Keep going until you’ve removed the whole piece of peel.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Repeat this process until you’ve removed all the peel in nice, whole pieces.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Then do the same with the other oranges.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

At this point, if you’re like me, you may start playing with the orange rinds, like they’re Legos.

Save the oranges, and do something yummy with them.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Slice each piece of peel into thin strips.

Mine were about as wide as a No. 2 pencil, give or take.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Blanch the orange peels

Put a few inches of water in a medium-sized pot and set it on the stove over high heat to boil.

(Sidebar: Look for a post soon on how to make an easy homemade polish for your embarrassingly tarnished copper pots.)

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

When it’s boiling, drop in all the sliced orange peel.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Give the pot a stir to soak them all.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Boil for about 20 minutes.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Drain the peel in a colander. Run under cold water until the peels are cool to the touch (this will take a minute or two).

I should note that many recipes have you blanch the peel a few times. I’ve done it that way before, and I honestly don’t see any difference.

Once is just fine with me.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

At this point, your peels will be floppy and kind of sad looking.

That’s just fine. Leave ’em in the colander while you whip up the sugar syrup.

Simmer the fruit peel in sugar syrup

Put the water and sugar in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk to combine.

Bring the syrup up to a boil, whisking occasionally until all the sugar melts.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

When the sugar syrup is boiling, carefully add the blanched peel to the pot.

(Be careful! Boiling sugar is like napalm.)

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Give the peel a stir. Lower the heat a little.

You want to maintain a rolling (but not furious and bubbling over) boil.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Boil the peel for about 45 minutes like this.

(Keep a good eye on the pot after 30 minutes. Your peel may take more or less time, depending on how thick it is.)

Your kitchen will start to smell amazing after a few minutes.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

The peel is done when it’s translucent.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

It should look jellied and clear, like candy:

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Drain the orange peel

Grab a baking sheet. Line it with a few paper towels.

Set a rack on top of the towels.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

A few at a time, fish the peel out of the syrup with a fork.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Set the peel on your prepared rack to drain.

Repeat until all the peel is on the rack.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Let the peel drip dry for about 15 minutes.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Roll the fruit peel in sugar & dry out overnight

Remove the sticky rack with the orange peel from the sheet pan and set it aside on the counter.

Put a clean rack in its place on the pan. (You don’t want to use the same, sticky one for the finished candy.)

After about 15 minutes, put 1 cup of sugar in a medium-sized bowl.

Drop a few pieces of the peel into the sugar.

(I do this a few pieces at a time to keep them from clumping together.)

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Roll the peel around to coat on all sides.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

You want each piece to be completely coated, like this.

Give the peel a tap against the side of the bowl to knock off the extra sugar.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Set the sugar-coated peel on the clean rack.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Repeat with the rest of the peel until it’s all coated in sugar.

Space them out so they’re not touching. Leave them out just like this, uncovered, to dry out overnight.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Save the syrup!

Don’t forget all that luscious syrup.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Run it through a strainer to remove any bits of peel that might be left in it.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Let it cool to room temperature, then pop it into the fridge and use it up within a month.

Depending on how much liquid evaporated, it might solidify a little (or a lot) in the fridge.

If that happens, just heat it up to dissolve.

How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse

Enjoy!How to Make Candied Fruit Peel at The Hungry Mouse


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

50 COMMENTS

    • Oh, so good dipped in chocolate. I brought some of these to a friend of mine, and he presented me with some of his favorite chocolate-dipped peel a few days later. Love it both ways! +Jessie
    • Oh, fabulous! So glad to help :D And I'll tell ya: It's probably so wrong, but I love to nibble on a piece of candied orange peel with a glass of good Syrah. There's something about the combination that's just heavenly! Thanks for stopping by! +Jessie
  1. Yum! Excellent instructions on making the strips of peel. I like to do citrus slices, too. Usually to decorate things like a lemon cheesecake or lemon tart. I always end up eventually throwing away most of the syrup. Any tips on how to use it besides in beverages? {I've heard that catsup is a good polish for copper, but haven't tried it yet.}
    • Catsup! I'll put it on my list of things to try. That pot needs some serious love. (I use it all the time, can you tell?) :D Hmm, what to do with the syrup... You could mix a little booze into it and pour it over a cake and let it soak in, a la rum cake. Or cook fruit in it (instead of water/sugar) for a compote or quick & dirty jam. You could top waffles with a compound cranberry orange butter (I have a great recipe for this coming up soon), then drizzle on a little syrup instead of maple syrup. My initial instinct was to make caramels with it, but I couldn't quite get the recipe math to work out. Orange-scented caramels would be amazing, though. Cheers! +Jessie
  2. Yes! Thank you, I have been looking for good directions on how to make these, but I work much better with visuals. I have to admit that the peeling directions I read were always pretty confusing.
  3. Looks great! Can you make me about 10 lbs. and ship before Christmas? LOL Actually...as an apprentice we were always very proud when we would come up with a really good food item, dish garnish, dessert, etc...and then show it off to Chef! The running joke was then chef would say, "Great, now make 1,000 of them for tomorrow!" Also, I've given this post a "Thumbs Up" on Stumble Upon! Regards, CCR =:~)
  4. These look great. My unit xmells delicious and I know that my husband will eat a lot of them tonight. I have found the stock syrup is really nice as a cordial mixed with tonic water. Thanks
  5. Can you tell me if the simple syrup left over will have an orangey taste? I was thinking it could be used to make simple syrup flavorings for drinks. Orange would be great too but if I wanted to add a ginger flavoring or a strawberry flavoring would it also have a slightly orange taste? Thx! Love this idea! Uses the whole fruit and that is the best thing! (well, meaning you can use the orange meat for anything else including just eating)
  6. My Dear HM, For Thanksgiving I made sweet potatoes with fresh orange juice and was very thankful for your excellent candied fruit peel recipe. Your visual aids were invaluable. It was a smart and delicious way to use the entire orange. Plus they are so easy to make and useful for all kinds of things. I thought of using candied orange peel in Manhattans- with a dash of orange bitters instead of cherries (though I do plan to make candied cherries, too, when next they are in season). I have jars of orange peels now topped off with cognac. Yum.
  7. Thanks so much! I'm going to make this to use in my homemade Christmas cakes this year (I know, I'm behind schedule...) Much better than store-bought peel, which is loaded with colorants and preservatives. Thank you & Merry Christmas!
  8. Well, im an 18 year old from CA and i happened to stumble onto this article while browsing the internet tonight while my girlfriend is asleep behind me. I got about half way through your article and had to wake my girlfriend up just to see if she thought that eating the peels of a fruit was as disgusting of an idea as i did. (She does, and neither of us has ever heard of anyone doing this before) Anyways, i have just finished your article and they look AMAZING, so i told her we are going to the store tomorrow and getting the supplies and having a baking date just to see if these are going to be as good as they look or as horrible as they sound. :P BTW, neither of us are cooking buffs or anything but i am just to intrigued to let this one go. Thanks for mystifying me nonetheless!
  9. Hi Can you use fruit slices and not just the peel. I've seen some in a shop (very expensive) and would love to make some. You make it all look very simple! Can't wait to have a go.l
  10. I just did this recipe twice and it is awesome - so well presented and accurate. I just tried doing it with full slices of orange complete with peel and it worked a treat. The lemon slices lost their lemon meat but the full rind stayed and is great. Tried doing whole mini mandarins, they ended up goopy lumps. Tasty goopy lumps though.
  11. Hi. I tried a batch and love the results. I'm wondering if I can reuse syrup for another batch of peels or if I have to start over with 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water. Thanks!
  12. I picked your recipe because of the pictures, I'm more of a visual person. I'm boiling these in the syrup as I type this. I'm a foodie and love to cook but living in Jordan these last 6 months has proved finding ingredients etc. sometimes difficult. This however looks like the perfect combo of elegance and simplicity. Fruit is often served as a desert here so I thought why no kick it up a notch! Can't wait to try them... your right about the boiling syrup being like napalm, ouch.
  13. Along the years I have made citrus peel for the xmas holidays in batches, (the old fashioned way) and boxed them to give as gifts. Its a personalized item that everyone enjoys. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is so well explained and easy to make that it will save me some time this year.
  14. Hi there Monica, Yes, I cut and prepareand then freeze my peel during the year and then just do the syrup part when I have enough.
    • Hi! I'm Marla. Sorry for the late response! I'm just starting to prepare for Xmas. I don't start thinking candied peels until now! As for the syrup, it's great in teas. Especially the green teas and milder blends like Constant Comment. It's very good in mixed drinks too. You can roll the rim of the glass in the syrup, then while nice 'n sticky, roll again in shredded coconut or crushed hazelnuts! Add the pina colada or shaken cream & hazelnut liquor and you'll have some very happy folks at your place this year! Have you ever made a trifle? You can pour a little of your syrup on each layer of cake. Or you can soak your strawberries in it if they're sour. It's really good on a lot of things. I've never thrown any out yet! Take good care & have a wonderful, blessed & happy Christmas.
  15. My grandmother ate lots of fresh grapefruit in the winter and often made candied grapefruit peel. She stored them in a tin (the kind fruitcakes come in) with a tight lid lined with wax paper, but I'm sure a plastic container would do. They never lasted very long because we ate them up. mmmmmmm!
  16. […] Candied fruit peel is one of those miraculous acts of culinary alchemy. You take tough, bitter fruit rind that’s packed with oil you could use to polish your furniture, and, thanks to the magic of sugar, transform it into heavenly, fragrant candy.The result is one part fruit, one part sweet jelly—and totally delicious.Jessie Cross from Salem (Massachusetts) […]
  17. Love the recipe, thanks! I've been making orangettes for years but have never rolled them in sugar before... that's the difference maker! As for those inquiring what to do with the syrup: I use the syrup in all sorts of cooking... marinating chicken is amazing, in stir fry's with shrimps and curry is also amazing.
  18. If I candy this specifically to use in recipes (cookies, cakes, ...), would I still roll in sugar or skip that step? What about cranberries? How would I modify the cook time for this more tender fruit?
  19. I tried this recipe and added a "twist" - approx. 2 teaspoons of mixed spice and the juice of one lemon......... it was absolutely delicious....... I then dipped some of the strips (only half way) in bitter chocolate and left them on the rack to cool........ A great after dinner accompaniment with coffee.......
  20. P.S. I save ALL the peel from oranges, grapefruit and lemons and pop them in the freezer and do the crystallised bit once I have enough......
  21. Thanks for the Step-By-Step! Made a test run with lemons. Both the rind and the syrup tastes great. One question: The perks were a little tough and I assumed they would be softer. Did I cook too long or too little? Boiled about 35 minutes as they were translucent and the syrup was getting pretty thick. Didn't use a thermometer. Thoughts?
  22. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Easy to follow and so delicious. I spent weeks trawling the net looking for suppliers of candid peel in Ireland to no avail. Looking forward to trying out some more of your recipes.
  23. This is terrific! I was looking for candied peel to make home-made mincemeat, and cannot eat sulfite-treated dried fruits, which is in most commercial preparation. Was so glad I found your easy recipe to make my own. One hint, if you are letting it boil, it can quickly go to a 'burn stage' and has an off flavor, I managed to save it right before that! Great recipe, finally a solution to what to do with all those peels! I'm going to try taking the syrup to use with the fruit of the oranges and make marmalade- should work! thanks!

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