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.


34 thoughts on “A Simple Recipe for Candied Orange Peel

  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!


    1. 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. 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!!!!


  4. 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!


  5. 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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