Candied Citrus Peel

Considering how much I love citrus and sugar, this recipe is pretty dangerous.

It’s even more dangerous if you consider how some of the year’s most delectable citrus, blood orange, Meyer lemon, Texas ruby grapefruit, and yuzu (a Japanese citrus — try it if you can find it!), are all in season right now.

If you can boil water, you can make candied peel. No joke!

Uh… and if you can’t, there’s a comprehensive how-to on Serious Eats that will either seriously help you or give you a serious case of the giggles.

I used oranges this time around, because I have big plans for em. Plans that involve chocolate and almond and shortbread.

More on that later. Let’s just focus on peel for now!

For those of you unfamiliar with the anatomy of the citrus, there are three important parts: the skin (the bright outer layer), the pith (the bitter, white layer under the skin), and the flesh (the part you eat and juice).

This recipe only uses the skin and the pith, which means that the delicious flesh is left behind to find it’s way into your face.

Candied Citrus Peel

*adapted from The Food Network


  • 1 large orange OR
  • 1 medium grapefruit OR
  • 3 large lemons OR
  • 3 large limes AND
  • 1 & 1/2 cups white sugar, plus more for coating
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water, plus more for blanching


Cut the tops and bottoms of your citrus.

Cut your citrus into thin rings or quarters — rings might be better for spherical citrus for oranges and grapefruit, while quarters might be better for citrus with tapered ends, like lemons and limes.

Cut the flesh away from the pith and skin, keeping as much pith attached to the skin as possible. A slice of cut peel should me no more than 1/4 of an inch (or a 1/2 centimeter) wide, but it’s fine to cut them even thinner, and it’s fine to trim the peel to any length you desire.

(I did short peel cuts, left some slices long, and sliced little peel “shards” for some tiny pieces, too.)

Once you’ve prepared all your peel, it’s time to blanch it.

Place the peel in a small sauce pan over medium heat, cover the peel with water, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Drain the peel.

Immediately do this boil-and-drain process again — at least three times! It makes the peel tender and removes the bitterness of the white pith.

Once you’re done blanching, set the peel aside.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve 1 & 1/2 cups water and 1 & 1/2 cups sugar. Stir until all the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer.

Turn the heat down to maintain the simmer and cook the sugar-water for about 5 minutes before adding the cut peel.

Simmer the peel for 45 ~ 50 minutes, swirling the pot occasionally, but never sticking a utensil in and stirring!

After about 45 minutes, when the sugar-water has mostly boiled off and the peel has started to turn translucent, drain the peel.

Let the peel sit and drain for a couple minutes. When it’s cool enough to handle, toss the wet peel in white sugar and lay it out on cooling racks or parchment paper to dry overnight.

You can store your beautiful candied peel in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks.

If you store it in the freezer, it can last up to two months.

Candied peel is great on its own, but even better dipped in dark chocolate and cardamom! If you dip it, however, the candy won’t last nearly as long at room temperature, so make sure to freeze what you don’t eat.

Another great use for candied peel is garnish — put it on top of your desserts for extra elegance and flavour! Yum!

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3 thoughts on “Candied Citrus Peel

  1. cathy says:

    hi, I have tried out your recipe. I put the peel on a plate and let it dry in room temperature overnight. but the peels are still sticky…except putting into fridge(since it’s quite hot these days so I am afraid that the peels would melt after they are put at normal temperature), what should I do? šŸ˜¦

    • Christine says:

      Unfortunately it’s the sugary nature of the peels to be at least a little bit sticky… if the peel is very wet and goopy, then I suggest just leaving them out to dry (you can dry them on a rack or paper in the fridge if you’re worried about temperature).

      Sometimes sugar in hot or humid climates can take longer to harden, but, like I said, since candied peels are, in essence, candy, they’re bound to be a little sticky like candy. Coating them in more sugar could help, too.

      • cathy says:

        I see. thank you so much šŸ˜€
        the peels are not too sweet and don’t have any bitter taste (they can refreshen the breath too!) love this recipe!
        let me pack the peels into a jar!:)

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