Candied Orange Peel 2.0

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 is that 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.)

Candied Orange Peel 2.0

  • 4 ripe oranges (Navel will do just fine)
  • 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 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. (I’d say “longitudinally,” but who thinks about oranges having lines of longitude?)
  3. When all the peeling is done, lay each piece on a cutting board, pith side up (that’s the white stuff) and 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 three 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 until the sugar dissolves. A silicone spatula is absolutely the best tool for the job.
  6. When the syrup hits a boils, 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 insure equal coverage and cooking.
  7. After 50 minutes a majority of the water will have evaporated and the remaining syrup will thick and there will be a lot of bubbles. You’ll know you’re close to done when you feel grit at the bottom of the pan when you swipe the spatula across it. 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 temp.*
  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 a couple of 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.)

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.
Makes approximately 40 three-inch pieces.

Adapted from EveryDayCook


Add yours
  1. 1
    Mariah Nebutaire

    Interesting blog post.Thank you for sharing it.You gave me some interesting thoughts.I like your style.Do you write blogs on Upmixed every once in a while?I think I saw yours blog there not a long time ago.Sorry if I’m completely wrong.
    Best regards: Maria Nebutaires

  2. 2

    People there is no water after you’re done cooking this. the water boils away and all you are left with are recrystallized sugar and the orange peels. Alton’s recipe for candied ginger is similar and it’s amazing it works like magic. I haven’t tried it on peels but I’m going to do that tomorrow on pomelo peel.

  3. 3
    teresa taylor

    You forgot to add ” dredge cooked rinds in sugar” then dry on rack. Otherwise paper towel covering will stick , and you can not boil to make sugar Cristal’s, you would have to stand at stove forever. , candied orange peel., I also dehydrate the leftover oranges cut into slices for trail mix.

  4. 5

    I used your recipe, but I had already cut the orange strips with the white part on some strips. I had some in a home in Croatia, and that’s how they cut it. I am happy to have ideas for using it in baking, not just candy snacks.

  5. 6
    Tiffany Low

    Hmm, years of making candy makes me wonder, doesn’t stirring crystallize the sugar, which is why it looks grainy? Would not stirring work?

  6. 8

    I made this recipe to use in a recipe for Polish Babka. So glad I took the time to do it; it is superb and vastly superior to anything from a grocery store.
    It gave the babka a fresh brightness that might be otherwise absent!

  7. 9

    Just this weekend I learned that my significant other missed the candied orange peel his grandmother used to make. Since I love to make food fantasies come true, I’ll be making this very soon, and will update you as to the results. I have a feeling success is only a peel away…

  8. 10

    I just got a set of stainless steel pans for my wedding. Is it ok to boil orange peeps in these? I know acid isn’t great for stainless steel.

    • 12

      Just made these in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan. (20 yr-old Cuisinart) There were no adverse effects. S.Steel is usually considered non-reactive. Same with enamel-coated cast iron, or similar. Aluminum pans, however would be an issue.

      The recipe itself worked beautifully.

  9. 15

    Leaving the pith on the peals is nutritious and super flavorful. Bitter flavors are important, believe me you will become accustomed to it and begin to crave it. At least it will keep you from eating the whole batch, at first. What I wonder is, what happens if you cook them with the orange juice also, maybe instead of adding all the water? Has anyone tried that? Thanks

  10. 16

    I’ve made candied orange peel before. This time I tried with “Cutie” peels. They never got stiff just a sticky mess. Great taste though. Should I coat these in sugar to make them easy to pick up?

  11. 17

    Great recipe Alton! I needed candied peel for a Panettone recipe and I couldn’t find it locally and it was so expensive to order online so I thought I’d give this a try. Amazing results! Plus I now have fresh squeezed orange juice and a delicious orange syrup too and it only cost me less than $3.

  12. 20

    Please give a note to your webmaster: “If AB recommends viewing the gallery, please stop hiding it behind the banner. Thank you.” I would really love to see those photos but I can only see half of the picture because the ultra-wide banner blocks it. Thanks for the updated recipe, though!

  13. 25
    Nicholas Fang

    Would this work with mandarins? I imagine it would be a little harder to get the pith off, but that’s all I have right now.

  14. 27

    OMG! YES! I so needed this. Love candied orange peel, it seriously makes the best cookies ever: dark chocolate oatmeal with candied orange peel, you will never have a better cookie.

    But, COP is hard to find, and when I do find it, it’s usually got corn syrup. So my friends will be excited for more of my cookies

    • 34

      OXO makes some great veggie peelers and the thermometer he always mentions (and is in the book) is thermoworks. They are awesome thermometers.

    • 36

      Well after two attempts I am here enjoying what is now my favorite ‘candy’. Thank you Alton, this is brilliant! I am using the oranges (and added some raspberries) in my diffuser bottles (I keep two in my frig for whenever) and I made some fresh tea using the leftover syrup………….I’m in heaven!

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