madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking

candied orange peel


sweet, aromatic, melt-in-your-mouth, candied orange peel

When Christmas gets closer I get orange-crazy. I need to have a pot with some intensely orangey concoction quietly simmering on the stove.  That exotic aroma keeps the cold Umbrian winter away from my soul.

I have been experimenting with candied orange peel for a while, but I was always unhappy with the leathery results and convoluted methods. I have been given this recipe by a kind soul from the Slow Travel forum (see original here) as a suggestion for home-made food gifts. It is easy, fabulously delicious and dangerous.

It’s dangerous because after a couple of days, the peel is transformed in a spectacular soft candy and you’ll find yourself in sugar/orange overload. I mean, you do need a taste or two to see when it’s ready, isn’t it?


  • 5 lb. oranges (approx. 12 oranges)
  • 8 cups/1.8 kg sugar

Halve and juice the oranges. Reserve the  juice for another use. Place the  peels in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Drain. Return peels to pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cook 3 minutes, and drain. Repeat once more. Leave them in a colander until cool enough to handle, 20 minutes.

Using a  spoon, scrape out soft the membranes and discard. Cut the peels into 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide strips and set aside.

In a large, shallow pot over high heat, bring 8 cups/2 lt. water and 6 cups/1.350 kg sugar to a boil. Add the peels, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until peels are tender, and translucent. This will take 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the heat level of your stove. Don’t let the sugar brown or caramelize. Using a slotted spoon drain the peels and spread them on  a tray lined with parchment paper. Once they are at room temperature toss them with 1 cup of sugar. Let them dry 1 day.

The next day the peels should look soft but dry. If they are still sticky, toss them with some more sugar (1/2 cup to 1 cup) and let them dry one or two more days.

At this point the peel should still be soft and can be packed for gifts. it will last about a month but be aware that if t is too moist it will eventually mould.

If you need them for cooking, leave the peel on the tray for several more days until crunchy. Transfer in an airtight container where it will last for months and it is great for flavoring all sort of  sweets like – for example – my chocolate crostata .

The leftover syrup is great on pannacotta.

Author: madonnadelpiatto

Former scientist, I now run B&B and cooking school Alla Madonna del Piatto in Assisi, Umbria, central Italy, together with my husband Ruurd, daughter Tea and truffle dog Google. We love good food and wine, travel, beautiful handicrafts like textiles and pottery. We feel fortunate to be able to share our magical mountain with many friends from all over the world.

28 thoughts on “candied orange peel

  1. Yum. Covered in chocolate too!


  2. Hmmm, this does look dangerously easy. And I would try to tell myself that this is just fruit!
    The smell of the simmering orange must be gorgeous….


  3. Anything citrusy steals my heart = those look ‘illegal’~


  4. Well, the trees here in Sicily are laden with oranges; they’re selling them by the boxful along roadways. This looks like an amazing idea & perfect for the holidays–my first Christmas in Italy. Thanks so much Letizia!


  5. Ah, amazing.
    Back to the stove right now!
    Wish we lived in a climate with own oranges though…
    Thanks for sharing.


  6. I really liked this recipe, thanks :)


  7. They look gorgeous! I have tried making them myself several times but unsuccessfully. I’ll try your recipe. Bravissima!


  8. What a great holiday treat!


  9. Ahh, thankyou! Most of my candied oranges are disasters but their too pretty to give up on. Look forwards to trying this method.


  10. Mmmm, now I will not throw away those orange peels.



  11. Hi Ray, when you use orange juice just store the half squeezed oranges in the fridge until you have enough to make a batch. The peels can be stored for several days in a plastic bag.


  12. It’s really a problem….
    I don’t find TRASLATOR or….. there is and i don’t find it????
    Compliments for recipes ..i try to understand them!!!!


  13. Just got a bargain on the largest juiciest oranges 4 for $1
    bought a caseload of it, now I have more things to make. I’m so glad I read your post. Hate to waste anything, great idea!


  14. Can the peel be frozen do you think? I can make some now (January), but really need it towards the end of summer when I make my fruit mincemeat for mince pies in September. Would love to be able to add another homemade ingredient to that!


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