Candied Lemon, Orange or Grapefruit Peel

"Pungent citrus peels, softened by simmering in syrup, then dried with a thin, crisp coating of granulated sugar. A fruity, bittersweet confection that can hold its own with a strong after dinner coffee. And think how virtuous you'll feel that you transformed otherwise wasted peels into such a delicacy."
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Tinkerbell photo by Tinkerbell
photo by SoCalCookerGal photo by SoCalCookerGal
photo by SoCalCookerGal photo by SoCalCookerGal
Ready In:
1 lb




  • With sharp knife, score the skin of the fruit (use only one type for a batch) into quarters,then peel it off with your fingers, keeping the pith attached.
  • Lay each quarter of skin on a cutting board and cut to make uniform strips from 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide, according to your preference; you should have about 3 cups of strips.
  • Cover peels with water in saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute,then drain, cover with water again and repeat two times (total of three times).
  • Then, cover again and simmer the peel for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In the saucepan, make the syrup with sugar, water and corn syrup. Boil for about two minutes, then add the peel.
  • Simmer briskly stirring occasionally, until the syrup is considerably reduced, then watch closely.
  • The point of decision:

  • If you want a tender candied peel, cook until perhaps 3 tbsp syrup is left, and drain the peels (you can save the syrup).
  • Medium-firm, leave only a spoonful of syrup, then drain.
  • For candy-like crisp peel, watch closely until the syrup is on the point of hardening and has almost vanished.
  • Arrange the peel on a bed of sugar on a jelly roll pan at whatever stage you have stopped cooking. Straiten the strips while hot if you want them symmetrical, or crumble them if you like a kinky tangle.
  • Sprinkle more sugar over the strips and toss them occasionally as they cool.
  • When cool enough to handle, put the strips onto cake racks and let them dry. The consistency of the finished candy will depend partly on the point at which the cooking stopped, but also on how long the strips are left to dry. They will keep indefinitely if candied 'hard'; not quite as long if left translucent and flexible. The choice is yours.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I've made both lemon and orange peel, and both are delicious. However I've found that it's less tedious to leave the pieces of peel in larger pieces. I cut my rinds in half, then in quarters and cook and store them that size. Then when I'm ready to use them in a recipe, I cut/chop the peels into whatever size the recipe calls for, sometimes thin strips and sometimes tiny dice.
  2. These taste amazing as soon as they have cooled to room temp and are well worth the effort! I put parchment paper on the baking sheets so I could shake the trays to move the sugar while the strips were still warm. I also pulled out a little of the syrup and can't wait to put it on a piece of salmon tonight. I'm sure it would also be good on chicken or pork. I can't wait to add some of the candies to a salad or couscous. Amazing!
  3. Let me save you guys a lot of grief. Grapefruit peels need 7 fresh water boils before you simmer them in sugar. Yes,7. The peels will break into smaller pieces but can be handled gently. Also, no need to remove the pith. So much boiling involved to remove bitterness you'll lose some particles and the pith makes sure you still have more than a sliver left when done. Good luck, there delishes
  4. Oh, Donna! This recipe rocks! It seems like a lot of work, but it's really EASY. Just make this recipe while you have other stuff going in the kitchen and it feels like it took no time at all. I was using up a crate of oranges sent from a friend of a friend in Florida, and I thought this would be a great way to make use of all the leftover peels. I had a total of 9 oranges so I doubled this recipe. I intended to do the grapefruits at the same time, but just before starting I read the "one type per batch" suggestion and put those aside for next time. I followed the directions exactly. During the syrup simmering stage I set my kitchen timer and stirred every 5 minutes. I was afraid of getting a hard candy consistency, so I stopped cooking at 48 minutes, which looked to be about the medium-firm stage, but when I drained the peel there was more syrup in the pan than it had looked like, so I'm guessing I could have cooked a full 50-55 minutes instead. That's just a texture thing though and the fact is, these little babies are delicious! After sugaring (I used super-fine sugar) and cooling, I put the candied orange peels into a Ziplock bag. This morning they feel a little softer than they did when I put them in, so I'm going to put them back on the racks to dry out a little more. I think they were left out for about 3 hours yesterday. Even if they don't get any crispier, they aren't going to last long around here. I know I'm eating a bunch of sugar, but at least I can call it a fruit too! ;) Thanks for posting a wonderful recipe, Donna! I'll be making it again & again. Made and enjoyed for the 2012 All Aboard the L-O-V-E train! tag game.
  5. This was my first attempt making candied orange peel. It took me longer than 1 hour but I was also focused on cooking for Thanksgiving. I was wondering about the pith if it would be removed during the cooking phrase and sure enough the pith was gone. I had the same problem as another reviewer had. I made the peels to stage 3 the crispy stage. It was way too hot and I could not straighten out the peels. So what I ended up doing was rolling them in clumps in fine sugar (which I thought looked the best, I had both granulated and fine sugar I liked the fine sugar best, It also looks nicer IMO) After rolling in the sugar I pulled apart the clumps and made smaller pieces and rerolled them in the sugar. I think they look pretty this way. They taste wonderful! Hard to believe you're eating orange peel. What a great way to use up orange peel with out throwing away.Next I will try stage 2 the softer version. I have a thouht. How about using lime peels for decorating margarita glasses! :) Thanks for the great recipe. I will try making these again when things are less hectic in the kitchen.


  1. Grapefruit peels-7 boils, NOT 3 ( or they will still be disgustingly bitter)
  2. Yum! I used to always buy the candied grapefruit from a penny candy store in New England. This was just as delicious. I used oranges (I had some that were starting to turn), and honey instead of corn syrup. I also used about half the honey called for, and slightly less sugar. I also added in a small shake of ground ginger. I let it simmer for about an hour and a half after blanching 3 times, and stirred occasionally while I cleaned my kitchen. The peels came out nice and crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle! I can't keep my hands off these...we'll see what Hubby thinks when he gets home! Thanks!
  3. Thank you a million times over. Great recipe that REALLY works well. The second time I tried it with honey instead of corn syrup, and it worked as well. Thank you yet again - I really needed some candied peel in the non-holiday season and this did the trick.



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