Candied Orange Peel 2.0

Crunchy, tangy candy made from fresh orange peel.

So, when I included a procedure for candied orange peel to be used in the Amaranth Wafer recipe in my book, EveryDayCook, I didn’t have a lot of space and so the procedure had to be abbreviated…a lot. And it wasn’t given nearly the attention it was due.

Some of you have had trouble with it, and once I went back and gave it a fresh look, I can see why. It’s badly written…simple as that.

Truth is, candied orange peel is one of my very favorite candies, not only as an ingredient, but just as candy I like to munch. What’s more, I love making it. So it (not to mention you) deserve a full explanation of the procedure.

(Browse gallery for a full how-to in photos above.)

This recipe first appeared in EveryDayCook.

Candied Orange Peel 2.0

  • 4 ripe oranges, like Navel
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  1. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have a sheet pan, just put the paper on the counter, but don’t skip the cooling rack.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer peel of each orange, working from stem end to blossom end — think about following the longitude lines on a globe.
  3. Lay each piece on a cutting board, pith (the white stuff)-side up. Use a paring knife to scrape off as much of the pith as possible. Don’t go crazy, but the more you get off, the less bitter it’ll be.
  4. Place the peel strips in a medium saucier or saucepan. I use a 3-quart saucier so that the liquid will pool in the bottom as it reduces. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then drop the heat to maintain a simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and return the peel to the pan.
  5. Add the sugar and the last two cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir every few minutes with a silicone spatula until the sugar dissolves.
  6. When the syrup hits a boil, drop the heat and maintain a simmer for approximately 1 hour. Since the syrup is going to slowly concentrate, you’ll need to drop the heat every now and then to just maintain that simmer. Remember, this isn’t just about creating a sugar crust, it’s about actually getting some of that sugar into the peel and that takes time. Stir every few minutes to help ensure equal coverage and cooking.
  7. After 50 minutes, a majority of the water will have evaporated and the remaining syrup will be thick and there will be a lot of bubbles. You’ll know the peels are nearly done when you swipe the spatula across the bottom of the pan and you feel grit. That means the syrup is “concentrated” and the sugar is falling out of solution. At this point, use an instant-read thermometer to start checking the temperature.*
  8. When the syrup hits 250 degrees F, immediately remove from the heat and pour the orange peels onto the cooling rack, separating and straightening the pieces as quickly as you can with the spatula or two forks. Once cool, shake off any excess sugar and cover lightly with paper towels or a clean towel overnight.
  9. Seal the candied peel in a glass jar and store at room temperature for up to 3 months. If making in the summer, consider adding a food-grade silica desiccant pack to the jar to absorb humidity. (Yes…the interwebs has them.)

Yield: Approximately 40 (3-inch) pieces

Active time: 25 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Note: I don’t like waste so I return any syrup and surplus sugar from the paper and rack to the pan. I add a cup of water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. The resulting syrup can be used in beverages…like tea and cocktails. Sealed in a jar and refrigerated it’ll keep for months.

Oh yeah…don’t forget to eat the oranges.

*Why not use a “clamp-on” style candy thermometer? Because the amount of syrup is so low at the end that you wouldn’t get a decent reading. So I use an instant read thermometer and just tilt the pan to pool the liquid to one side when reading.

Adapted from EveryDayCook


Add yours
  1. 1

    First time making this, and wow…WOW!!! I went into it with the primary product being the syrup, specifically for the occasional Old Fashioned (which turned out beautifully). The candy was really a byproduct, so I added a few splashes of bitters to the syrup at the outset. The peel took on a hint of that spice, and let me tell you, that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s reminiscent of the orange slice gummy candies grandma always had around the house, but concentrated, better tasting, and not made by Dow Chemical. Great recipe AB!

  2. 2
    Flo Jo

    First try at this.I was really aggressive in removing the pith and froze the peels until I had enough to make a batch (4 days) I drained the peels after the first boil over a pan saving the water because my sink was full. (another family member was working on another dish) Surprisingly the water was not very bitter at all and very orange flavor forward. After some thought I used some of the saved water to make the syrup. I liked the resulting syrup. really good for tea and such. I of course washed the oranges to remove any possible bug spray or other contaminates before pealing and eating.

  3. 3
    Dixie Smith

    I came across this recipe after making my first (and thankfully small) batch. Other recipes had said you could leave the pith as long as you blanch it, and even after blanching three times (possibly not boiling for long enough) they are still WAY bitter. Next time, I will follow your recipe!

  4. 4
    Julie Brennan

    Thank you Alton! I had a similar experience as Barbara Barnes in that the navels that we brought back from Florida this March, were also dry and pithy! So, wanting to make Hot Cross Buns for this unprecedented Easter in Quarantine, I sought out a recipe and you came thru—as I have grown accustomed! I also appreciated that you “salvaged” the sugar syrup and I will do the same!

  5. 5
    Brian Cavanagh

    Initial boil takes out bitterness. I bring the peels & cool water up to a boil, drain them, then repeat 2 more times, then make the simple syrup on the 4th return trip to the pan. When peeling, try to use as light a touch as possible to get thin peels with no white pith if at all possible. Going slowly and learning how to do this, you will be able to pick up speed with experience. A Y-peeler gives you more control. A dull peeler gives you the least. Thanks, Alton!

  6. 6
    Barbara Barnes

    The last batch of Cara Cara oranges we bought was dry and had little flavor. I didn’t want to just toss the final four, so I peeled them and now I have a tray full of beautiful, candied orange peel.

  7. 7

    I 100% think of citrus in terms of longitude…I am always reminding my husband to cut lemons and oranges “equatorially” to get pretty wedges!

  8. 8

    I have orange peel from Orangello I just made. Wonder if I have to boil them first or skip to the sugar stage? Hate to boil out the flavor in them.

+ Leave a Comment