Candied Citrus Peel: How To Make a Candied Citrus Peel Recipe at Home

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Candied Citrus Peel Recipe

This candied citrus peel recipe makes for a great cocktail garnish. Or add a slice to hot tea water and enjoy. Store out of direct sunlight.

Not too long ago, my sister and I went to a local distillery. They make gin and whiskey. We tried some samples and discovered that the gin was really tasty, despite the fact that I’ve never had a taste for it. The distiller said that was likely because of the candied citrus peel that they garnish the drinks with. In fact, it wasn’t just a garnish, but actually part of the drink. How did they make them? Read on!

Prepare Your Citrus for Candying

Winter is a great time for this making candied citrus peel. Citrus of all kinds is in season and the humidity is generally lower, making drying time a lot shorter than if you made these in the summer. And if kept dry, they could last until then!

Candy Your Favorite Citrus Fruit

You can do this project with any type of citrus. The peels will still be somewhat bitter, as they normally are, but the sugar helps to balance the bitterness. I like lemons, limes, and oranges but grapefruit, tangerines, and blood oranges also lend great color and flavor.

Clean Off the Waxy Coating

You want clean candied citrus peel, so wash your citrus well. If you’re not sure if they have a waxy coating or not, run hot water over them. Often citrus is covered with a waxy or oily coating to preserve them for longer selling times in grocery stores. Cleaning them to remove this coating is a good idea.

Slice or Cut Into Wedges

Once the fruit is dry, you can slice them. I cut mine about 1/4 inch thick so they don’t fall apart while in the syrup. You can discard the ends, but I add mine to the syrup. We’ll be using them for a different recipe later. Remove the seeds along with any extraneous white pith. You can dry the seeds and store them until spring or just stick them in a pot that already has a plant in it. My cousin did that when he was very young. My aunt had no idea where all the tiny grapefruit trees came from!

When your citrus slices are ready, cover them and prepare the syrup for your candied citrus peel recipe.

Candied Citrus Peel Recipe

Candied Citrus Peel Boil Recipe

This candied citrus peel recipe makes for a great cocktail garnish. Or add a slice to hot tea water and enjoy. Store out of direct sunlight.

Prep Time
30 minutes
Active Time
1 hour
Drying Time
1 hour
Total Time
2 hours 30 minutes
6 candied fruits
Estimated Cost



  • 6 oranges (or other citrus fruit, cut into slices or strips and remove white pith)
  • water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2.5 cups water
  • sanding sugar (if desired)


  1. To make candied citrus peel, begin by simmering the citrus slices in the first amount of water for about 5 minutes. No amount of water is given. You just need to cover the slices and stir often.

  2. After 5 minutes, drain and discard the water.

  3. Next, combine the second amount of water with the 4 cups sugar and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.

  4. Once the sugar dissolves in the water, add the citrus slices. You can add the ends here too, or add them when the slices are done. They're not candied citrus peel yet, but they will be soon! Blanching will not work, be sure to simmer for about an hour, or until they become translucent then remove from the heat.

  5. Remove the slices with a slotted spoon and set them to drain on a wire rack over parchment paper. If the ends aren't translucent by now, you can simmer them until they are. Then let them cool in the liquid.

  6. If you want to use sanding sugar simply toss or dip in a bowl of sugar; just be sure to do it before they cool.

  7. When the candied citrus peel is completely cool, it will have hardened and the sugar will have a glass-like coating. It should be very hard. Some people even dip half of them in melted chocolate for a complex flavor treat!

  8. Place them in an airtight container and store out of direct sunlight. I use a quart canning jar.


This recipe uses sugar for sweetness and to make candied peels. I have not found a sugar substitute that will candy and preserve the orange peel, or other citrus fruit, as well. You’ll need a nonreactive pan, like a stainless steel saucepan. I’ve used glass pans, but I like the steel better.

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That’s it! You can use these as garnishes in cocktails or in your tea, simply add a slice to hot water and enjoy. They should last for about a year if kept sealed and out of direct light.

Using The Ends and Simple Syrup

I use the simple syrup to make my own sodas and for flavoring in cookies and cakes. The syrup from candied citrus peel lasts a very long time. If you have the ends in it, you can use an immersion blender or a food processor to chop them up. I go all the way to a puree. I like this as a flavoring but you can also make flavored ice cubes from it. Simply scoop the puree-sugar mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. When it’s frozen, you can pop them into iced tea or any other drink. They flavor cocktails and mocktails very well! I place a few in my water bottle before I go on a hike. The residual sugar provides electrolytes and energy and the ends are refreshing.

Tip: Make our homemade electrolyte drink!

I hope you enjoy this candied citrus peel recipe as much as I do! How do you plan to use yours?


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Debra Maslowski says

    Hi Linda, a lot of times the pith is really bitter. I like to remove the pith so the peels are just sweet without that bitter aftertaste. When I do slices, I leave the pith intact because the fruit offsets the bitterness. Hope that explains it!

  2. Linda Geremina says

    Confusing when you say to remove the citrus white pith yet candied citrus always has the outer rind and pith. Can you explain? Thanks!