Candied Citrus Peels


In our last couple dessert posts we finished off the desserts with a couple different candied citrus toppings. Candying citrus is a great, very easy way to “classy” up a dessert. Give it a little eye appeal. You can use whatever citrus you like, grapefruit peels, mandarin peels, orange peels, lime peels.  Most times we will use the same fruit that is in the recipe, but occasionally will use something that will give a bit of contrasting pop in color on top of the dessert.

It doesn’t matter if you are candying the peels of zest or slices of citrus, the technique is basically the same.  The only change is if we are candying citrus slices, we will cook them for just a bit longer. Everything keeps quite nicely, so you can make them days ahead of time, or make more than what you will immediately need, then save the rest for another purpose.

They are best after a few hours of drying, but in pinch you can use them almost right away. As an added bonus, you are left with a delicious citrus syrup that you can save and use for brushing your sponge cakes, in cocktails or to top off a batch of morning muffins.


Cut the citrus peel swaths into 1/4″ strips.



toss with sugar


5 from 1 vote
Candied Citrus Peels Recipe
Total Time
1 hr
  • Citrus of your choice (you can do more than 1 kind at once)
  • Water
  • Sugar
  1. With a vegetable peeler, peel length wise in a continuous strip, the rind from the citrus.  Remove any white pith from the inside of the peel (we scrap with a knife blade for this.)
  2. Bring 1 part water to 1 part sugar to boil in a saucepan (for zest of two oranges we’ll use 2 cup water, 2 cup sugar.)
  3. Add citrus peels and boil over medium for 30-45 minutes.  Strain, reserving liquid (now a tasty citrus syrup for other culinary delights.)
  4. Pour about 1 cup sugar in a bowl.  Toss candied peels in sugar, then separate and allow to air dry on a sheet of foil.
{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Kitt

    Hey you two. I tried this your way and Jen’s this weekend. I like the more intense flavor of the peel alone, and using less sugar, but the peel really curls up when it’s cooking. That’s not *really* a problem, but it doesn’t look like yours and it takes a long time (days!) for them to dry because they get syrup trapped in the rolled-up parts. Any suggestions?

    More important, do you think I can re-use the simple syrup from one batch to make another batch? The Sergeant brought me a giant bag of Meyer lemons.

  2. recipejohn

    That was really wonderful, the pics are really fabulous and the recipe is simply delicious, thank you for sharing it.

  3. melinda

    Wow! This recipe is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I love candied citrus peel but what a time consuming, tedious job. I was thinking by using a vegetable peeler I could eliminate all the boiling and scraping and I found your recipe. Can’t wait to try it. I live in a neighborhood full of citrus trees and always have an extra bag handy for lemons oranges, etc. when I’m walking my dogs. I will let you know how my attempt works out if I can figure out how . Not very computer savvy. Thanks in advance, Melinda

  4. Louise

    This looks so simple but handy to have. Once we move to our new place, I think I’m going to make some too. I bet it’d be great in a sazerac or old fashioned.

  5. Angela@spinachtiger

    I came back to let you know that I used your tips to candy my first lemons for a photo last week, backing TWD coconut thins and I linked you because your technique was described too beautiful to repeat. Thanks again.

  6. Sophie

    I love it!! Thanks for the info!!

  7. shayne

    these look like they could make some many things beautiful. Plus I love to eat sugared citrus peel.

  8. Angela@spinachtiger

    Just yesterday, I was thinking I should candy some citrus, but I’ve never done it before. Thanks for the beautiful photos and technique. Love your blog. See you on twitter.

  9. Marc @ NoRecipes

    Great photos! I love the combination of colors. Almost reminds me of a pack of skittles (minus the purple ones).

  10. White on Rice Couple

    Joy – Too much fun indeed.

    Hélène – Thank you very much.

    Heather – Thanks!

    Simply…Gluten Free – Thanks Birthday girl!

    Asianmommy – It’s a nice little eye candy that tastes good too.

    susan – Next time! Thanks for the compliments.

    Thanks for visiting everyone! Sweets and treats for all! Todd.

  11. susan

    i used up a few citruses the past weekend. i should have saved the peels for this! love the photos.

  12. Asianmommy

    Thanks! What a nice way to spruce up a dessert.

  13. Simply...Gluten-free

    Oh I just love to come here and visit, just a treat for my eyes!

  14. Heather


  15. Hélène

    As always, your pictures are a feast for the eyes. Love coming here.

  16. Joy the Baker

    I love these! Every time I make them they never actually make it to the dessert they’re intended for. They’re just too much fun to snack on.

  17. White on Rice Couple

    Rebecca – Yeah, they’re kind of like grown-up gummy worms.

    Jaden – Thanks. The lemon was a total diva, all drama!

    Victoria – Ahhh, a whiskey sour would be so nice right now. Cocktail for tonight for sure. Making our own cherries is another thing on our to do list. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve always wanted to know how much better a homemade one could be.

    Shar – Thanks! It was great meeting you too. To bad we didn’t have more time to spend together, but we’ll just have to get together again. The recipes will be on their way soon. With no no-boil mac & cheese one too. You guys have such a great family, it was our pleasure to try and spoil everyone.

    Layla – Thank you. Definitely by being economical it has helped expand our cooking and made us better in the kitchen.

    Kate – We usually remove the pith because it lends a bitter taste to the peels, but it is really a personal preference thing. The texture can be adjusted by changing cooking times, as well as a thicker peel will cook for a different amount of time than one that is thinner. After doing it a few times you start to get a feel for when they are the texture that you prefer. Good luck on the next go-round. – New updated knowledge- The pith can be left on, but usually people will blanch the peels several times to help remove the bitterness. We found this out through Jen at UseRealButter. She posted about candied orange peels back in Oct. ’07.

    Allen – Great way to finish them off with the chocolate. Tasty!

    Phoo-D – Now we have a dilemma! Martini with the peels, or Victoria’s Whiskey Sour. Maybe one of each tonight!

    Gastronomer – Sweet and simple. Those are our favorites, too.

    Passionate Eater – They don’t melt in the hand either!

    krysta – I seriously think we are psychologically linked. It must be ESPN or something 😉 You’ve been putting up stuff on your site that is exactly in line with some of the stuff we’ve been doing or have wanted to do at home. Scary. But I like it!

    Angela – Grab the citrus by the pith and candy it baby! It’s easier than pie (which at times can actually difficult depending on the pie!) Seriously, these are sweet and simple.

    Thanks for visiting everyone. Happy sweets to all! Todd.

  18. Angela

    I’ve always been intimidated by candy-making. But these look so easy and utterly delicious; thanks!

  19. krysta

    oh man we must be on the same brain wave… i just made a whole bunch of candied lemon to go on my lemon cake.

  20. Passionate Eater

    I would probably wolf those down like M&Ms if they were in my home. Simply gorgeous.

  21. Gastronomer

    I love reading simple and tasty recipes like this. They’re just so darn do-able! I’m gonna go do it!

  22. Phoo-D

    These are a staple around our house! I can’t resist using the syrup and candied peel of a Meyer lemon to make vodka martinis. Your citrus is beautiful as usual – wish I could smell it through the screen!

  23. Allen of EOL

    Love these! I made some last year and dipped in chocolate as a final step … yum yum yum 🙂

  24. Kate

    I had an ill-fated attempt to candy citrus peels this weekend (let’s just say I forgot to tell the husband to turn them off and had very caramelized citrus peels.) Do you always remove the pith? I’ve found the peels can be a little tough with no pith, and Jacques Torres says to leave them on. (I did grapefruit peels, no pith, and blood orange with pith, and preferred the texture of the pithy peels).

  25. Layla

    I am loving these photos, you guys are so talented at making simple things look so beautiful. It is great when all parts of a fruit/vegetable are used, this way nothing goes to waste.

  26. Shar

    Todd and Diane,
    I LOVE your website, and having had the pleasure of meeting you in person and enjoying an amazing meal in your lovely home, it only makes keeping in touch with you via your blog even more fun! I’ve already shared your site with many NorCal friends, and have been warned by my hubby that my time on the computer with the White on Rice Couple is nearing an obsession! Keep up the great work…the photos, the clever writing, the delectible recipes and the joy with which you post it all! You two are GREAT!! Thanks for all you did for our family while we were in OC. You’re hospitality and friendship will not be forgotten! PS…Matt (my rice) is wondering if you could share you cheese/herb biscuit and gravy recipe. WOW!! They were delicious.
    Have a great week.
    Sincerely, Shar (Noel’s cousin)

  27. Victoria

    I am always jealous at your glorious fruit. Your citrus is no exception; it is so beautiful. Did I already tell you that a friend from California sent me a BOX of Meyer lemons? I squeezed every lemon and froze the juice in one-cup increments. I have been using it judiciously ever since for many things, especially making whiskey sours. 2 ounces whiskey (believe it or not, blended Scotch is delicous), 1 ounce simple syrup, 1 ounce Meyer lemon juice; shake, shake, shake with lots of ice, then pour into a glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry. (I’m going to make my own cherries since it’s explained in the book The Essential Cocktail, which I got at your urging. My sour recipe is a little different from the one in the book; not quite as sweet so you might want to experiment around a little. But be careful. These are dangerous as they go down very easily! The book is great. I have marked many of the drinks to try – especially the one with Finlandia grapefruit vodka.)

    You might want to take a look at I am having fun!

  28. Jaden

    wow – that’s one of the most dramatic photos I’ve ever seen on citrus peel! i love the lemon peel photo!

  29. Rebecca (Foodie With Family)

    My Mom used to make this around Christmas every year to give out with the plates full of goodies we also made. I used to eat my way through most of a quart jar of candied orange peels by myself. I don’t know what it is about them, but they’re turrible addictive 🙂

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