I love candied orange peel. And I love making them too!
This candied orange peel might look hard to make, but the fact is, they are super easy and fast too. All you need is orange skin, sugar and water and you can make your very own, delicious orange peel snack in no time at all.
What is orange peel and what are candied orange peels?
Orange peel is basically the skin of an orange fruit. It consists of the orange-colored outer skin as well as the white pith underneath it. Orange peel is also sometimes called orange rind or orange zest, however, the rind and zest refer specifically to the orange layer only and does not include the white bitter pith underneath.
While orange zest or rind is widely used in cooking, the peel is often discarded due to the bitter taste of the pith.
Candied orange peels are a great way to use the peels. These are basically, orange skin that has been cut into thin strips and cooked in sugar syrup until they turn translucent. The cooked peels are then coated in sugar and that makes them candied.
These candied orange peels are not only great as a snack, they make pretty cake decorations too! Here is my orange cake decorated with the lovely candied peels. Pretty right?
How to Make Candied Orange Peel
Making these treats is super easy. All you need are 3 basic ingredients and these candied peels will be ready in no time!
Cutting the peel
- To start with, peel your oranges. The easiest way to do this, is to use a sharp knife to cut out the orange skin. Slice off the top of the orange, and then cut the skin deep enough to get both the orange rind and the white pith, but without the orange pulp inside.
- Next is to remove the white pith off the peels. I prefer to remove the pith as much as I can because that helps in making sure my candied orange peels are not bitter. Use a small sharp knife to do this, it is so much easier to remove the pith when your knife is small and sharp.
- And here is how the peels looked like after removing the pith. You will see that the white part of the orange skin is still very much visible on the peels and that is perfectly ok. One thing, its a bit hard to remove all the white skin, and secondly, if you do, your peels will be left with a very thin orange skin. When you candy them, there will not be much to munch on.
Slicing the peels for candied orange peels
- The next process is the slicing of the peels. Slice them into thin strips. I like mine to be about 1mm to 2mm thick but you can make them thicker or thinner as you wish. If thicker, you will need to cook them slightly longer than the time indicated in my recipe below.
Boiling orange peels
- Once the orange peels are ready, fill water in a small pot and boil it. Add the sliced peels and cook them over low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain the water.
- This process is to remove the bitterness from the orange peel. Since I have removed as much of the pith as possible from the orange peel, I only boil and drain the peels once.
Cooking the orange peel in sugar syrup
- Next, measure the sugar into the empty pot. Add equal amount of water and heat it up over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the drained peels and reduce the heat to low. Cook them in the syrup for about 10 minutes. This cooking time will depend on the thickness of the sliced peels. Ideally, at the end of the cooking time, the peels should turn translucent. Remember to keep the heat low because we wouldn’t want the syrup to thicken too fast or else it will be hard to drain it off later.
- Once the peels are cooked, drain the syrup. Leave the candied peels in the strainer for 5 to 10 minutes before coating them with sugar. Try not to leave them too long in the strainer. If the syrup coating on the peels dries off, it will not able to hold the sugar coating in the next step.
Coating the peels with sugar
- For the sugar coating, fill a small bowl with granulated sugar. Dip the candied orange peels into the sugar. The best way to do this is with a fork. You need not dip the peels one by one, you can do them in batches.
- Remove the sugar-coated candied orange peel to a parchment-lined tray and let them dry for about 30 minutes. And they are ready to be enjoyed!
Storing the candied orange peels
- Store the peels in an airtight container.
- These peels can be stored at room temperature for a good 2 to 3 weeks. They last longer when refrigerated.
Candied Orange Peel – Recipe Notes
Here are my tips and notes for making the best candied orange peel:
- Oranges skin is often exposed to a lot of pesticides. Make sure to wash them thoroughly before using them. Organic oranges would be ideal, if you can get them.
- Also, use fresh oranges. The skin is a lot juicier and plump and when made into candied peels, they are soft to chew.
- Once the orange peel is cut, cook and candy them on the same day. I have tried refrigerating the uncooked peels once, for a few days and even though I kept them in a covered container, the peels became dry. When I candied these, they were hard and dry, unlike the batches of candied orange peel I have made with freshly cut orange skin.
- The syrup for this candied orange peel has a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar and water. Both need to be increased proportionately if you are making a larger batch of candied orange peels.
- When boiling the orange peel in the syrup, take note to use a low heat. This is to ensure the syrup does not thicken up too fast. If it does, you will have a problem straining it out once the orange peels are cooked.
- The drained syrup (once the orange peel strips are candied) can be stored for other uses. This orange-infused sugar syrup can be mixed into drinks for a lovely citrus-flavored drink.
Drying the candied orange peel
- The best way to dry the peels is to first, strain the syrup out. Leave them in the strainer for about 10 minutes and then dip them in sugar.
- Avoid leaving the candied peels in the strainer for too long. You need to coat these peels in sugar while they are still wet. If the sugar syrup coating dries out, the granulated sugar will not stick to the peels.
- The best sugar to use for coating the candied orange peel in granulated sugar (castor sugar). You can also use brown sugar, but make sure it is fine brown sugar.
Candied Orange Peel Recipe
Here is the full printable version of my candied orange peel.
Candied Orange Peel
- 1 orange (cut the skin)
- 500 ml water
- 100 ml water
- 100 g sugar
- 50 g granulated sugar
- Slice off the skin of the orange.
- Using a sharp knife, slice off as much of the white pith that is attached to the orange peel slices as possible.
- Cut the peels to about 1mm to 2mm wide and about 2cm to 3cm long.
- Fill a medium-sized saucepan with 500ml water.
- Turn on the heat and let the water boil. Add the cut orange peels and cook them in medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the orange peels and discard the water.
- Return the saucepan to the stove to make the simple syrup.
- Add water and sugar and turn on the heat to a medium flame.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the flame to a low heat. Add the strained peels and cook for about 10 minutes, until the orange peels turn translucent.
- Strain the syrup.
- Let the candied peels dry slightly in the strainer for about 10 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl of granulated sugar. Use a fork to mix the peels in the sugar until they are well coated.
- Place the sugar-coated candied orange peels on a parchment-lined tray and let them dry for about 30 minutes.
- Store the candied orange peels in an airtight container.
And that is pretty much my candied orange peels recipe for you!
Here are my other recipes you might want to check out:
- Dried cranberry muffins with orange glaze
- Orange cake
- Orange chocolate cupcakes with candied ginger
- Light fruit cake
- Easy Coconut Candy
Happy Baking 🙂