Recipe: Tasty, In-Season Candied Citrus Peels 

This recipe for candied citrus peels makes use of citrus season's abundance for simple-to-make, tasty treats that store readily for seasonal snacking.

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: sriba3/Adobe Stock

Here is another recipe to help you take advantage of citrus season this winter. Whether you favor oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruit, this recipe can be made with all the above. Just follow the simple recipe guidelines and apply it to one or many of the citrus fruits you enjoy most to make yummy candied peels.  

Candied citrus peels can be eaten as-is, or used as a garnish for pastries and cocktails, or they can even be chopped and baked into breads, muffins and other treats.  

Because citrus is on the “dirty dozen” list, I recommend only using organic fruit or fruit that you can verify was not treated with harsh pesticides. (These chemicals can really impact the flavor, too.)  


  • Peels from oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines or grapefruit 
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup water 
  • An additional medium size bowl of white granulated sugar for tossing cooked citrus (optional) 
Additional Supplies 
  • Parchment paper 
  • Cookie drying rack 

Read more: Brighten dark winter darks with this delightful orange curd recipe.


Wash and scrub the fruit well, and dry. Use a pairing knife to remove the ends of the fruit. Cut the fruit into quarters and use a spoon to scoop out the fruit flesh and white pith. 

Cut the peels into 1/4-inch thick strips.  

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In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water to a simmer, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add citrus peels. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peels are cooked, soft and saturated. (They will have an obvious cooked appearance versus raw.)

Stir occasionally.  

While the peels simmer, set up a cookie drying rack over parchment paper. The parchment paper will catch the sugar and/or syrup droppings from the rack.  

Working in small batches, use a slotted spoon to remove the citrus rinds from the hot syrup and transfer them to the bowl of sugar. Use another spoon to stir the citrus in the sugar to get it thoroughly coated.

Once the peels are generously coated in sugar, transfer them to the drying rack. Separate the citrus so they don’t touch.  

Allow the peels to completely cool and dry, which will take many hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container, such as a canning jar with lid securely tightened on.  


Thick-skinned fruits are easiest to work with and keep the best texture after simmering. 

If too much pith is removed, the candy will become very tough. 

If you don’t want to toss the simmered peels into granulated sugar, skip that step. Instead, just scoop out the simmered peels onto the cookie rack and let them dry completely.  

Boiling the citrus and straining it before cooking in sugar will decrease the bitterness. Sometimes this process is done two or three times. It’s completely up to your personal preference. 

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