A Simple Recipe for Candied Orange Peel

how to make candied orange peels
When Christmas gets closer I get orange-crazy. I need to have a pot with some intensely orange-y 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 now closed Slow Travel forum as a suggestion for home-made food gifts. It is easy and exceptionally delicious.
It’s also 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?
I promise, you will taste often.

  • 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.
candied orange peels simmering in syrup
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 or sieve drain the peels and spread them on  a tray lined with parchment paper.
candied orange peels easy recipe
Once they are at room temperature toss them with 1 cup of sugar. Let them dry 1 day.
candied orange peels Italian recipe
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. Wrap in kitchen paper, transfer in a 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.


  1. 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….

  2. 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!

    • Thanks Sanne! Believe it or not I also do not live in a place where I can grow oranges. We make it to grow olives but we are at the limit of its climatic distribution. So I buy oranges or get them from friends who have family in the South. That must be why I am so fixated with them.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!!!

    • Ciao Grazia
      e grazie per essere passata da qui. Il traduttore sul mio sito non c’e ma se ti serve ti posso inviare la ricetta in italiano. Cari saluti

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. Dear Madonna Del Piatto,
    Thank you for the recipe and directions. I am making them now. I will let you know how they turn out.

    • thank you, I hope you will enjoy the recipe, for me it’s a joy to make it every year!

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