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12 Days of Edible Gifts: Candied Citrus Peel

Not Your Grandmother's Candied Citrus Peel

This holiday, I wanted to make homemade candy as one of my edible gifts for friends, and I concluded that candied citrus fruit would be the perfect choice. The recipe only calls for fruit, which I always have on hand, and sugar. Candy making doesn't get more basic than that!

I used oranges, but any combination of lemons, oranges, and grapefruit would be wonderful. I can't wait to give this handmade, preservative-free candy to my friends and family — to do the same, check out the recipe.

Candied Citrus Peel

Candied Citrus Peel


*If using grapefruit, adapt the recipe since the fruit has more pith, which is bitter and must be completely removed. If making candied grapefruit, after scraping the pith from the peel (in Step 4), simmer peel for 20 minutes more, and repeat to remove remaining pith.

Candied Citrus Peel


  1. 8 oranges, 10 lemons, or 6 grapefruits*
  2. 6 cups sugar, plus more for rolling


  1. Cut ends off fruit, and halve fruit lengthwise.
  2. Insert the tip of a small paring knife carefully between fruit and pith about 1/2 inch deep and cut, following the shape of the fruit and keeping skin in one piece. Turn fruit on other end and repeat.
  3. Using fingers, gently pull the peel away. Reserve fruit for another use.
  4. Place citrus peel in a 6-quart pot; fill with enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Drain. Soak peel in cold water until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.
  5. Using a melon baller, scrape the soft white pith from the peel, being careful not to tear or cut the skin.
  6. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into thin strips 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.
  7. Stir together sugar and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, about 8 minutes.
  8. Add strips and reduce heat to medium-low. Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, wash down any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan. Simmer until strips are translucent and syrup thickens, about 40 minutes. Let the strips cool completely in syrup for 3 hours (or overnight). Strips can be refrigerated in syrup in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.
  9. For sugared peel, remove strips with a slotted spoon. Using fingers, wipe off as much excess syrup as possible, and roll strips in sugar. Let dry.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Susannah Chen
Boodski Boodski 5 years
I'm making a homemade food hamper for my Dad this Christmas and he would love these. How long do they last for in either sealed jars or cardboaard boxes?
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I made these and found that everything worked out really well! I followed the instructions to a T.... next time I'll probably add some juice from the fruit to the syrup.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
trumanu - glad to hear I'm not the only one with problems. I took mine to work and everyone loved them. So maybe after working with oranges for 4-5 hours, I just didn't like them anymore. But I told my co-workers enjoy because they won't be seeing them again next year!
trumanu trumanu 8 years
starangel82, it took me just as long and mine ended up in one solid mass of sugary-orange mess...then it burned on the bottom and was nearly impossible to get out of the pan. So you're not the only one who had some issues.
PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
I've never tried this but sounds like a yummy good idea to do for a gift, or just for your family around the house for the holidays.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Okay, I tried this... maybe I did something wrong but it took me 2 1/2 hours to get to the peel in sugar stage and then another 1 1/2 to get the sugaring done. And I am not really that happy with how they turned out. Did it take anyone else that long?
brookrene brookrene 8 years
Can't believe it, it does look pretty simple, except for maybe a bit of prep time. Very cool, i'll have to try it. :)
Baileybuns Baileybuns 8 years
I just finished making this - thanks for posting this Yum, this is awesome and so pretty to look at!
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 8 years
wow I think I might just have to give this a try. I'll be the aroma in the kitchen is delightful as well!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Wow, I had no idea it was that simple to do this. I'll have to try it.
mschase mschase 8 years
I do this EVERY year....limes, lemons, grapefruit, oranges....everyone loves them. I put them in canning jars and top with a bow. :)
RMF587 RMF587 8 years
I've tried doing this, and it was DISASTER. I didn't use this recipe, but maybe I will!
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