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Candied Orange Peel

A simple and easy recipe to make candied orange (or any other citrus) peel to flavour your fruitcakes. They make for great festive gifts too!
Course Christmas
Keyword Candied Orange Peel
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour


  • 2-3 unwaxed oranges with thick skin (Navel or Valencia works best)
  • 9 cups water (divided (to boil the peel)

For the syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water

To coat

  • 2/3 cup caster sugar


  • Wash the oranges thoroughly and cut off the ends. Slice through the skin vertically and peel it off carefully so as to not break the skin in odd shapes. Reserve the fruit for another purpose
  • Cut the peel into strips of approx 1/2 cm width and transfer into a pan. Pour approx 3 cups or enough water to cover the peels and bring them to a boil. Discard the water after 2-3 minutes and put the pan back on the heat. Add another 3 cups and bring to a boil. Discard. Repeat this for a total of 2 or 3 times to remove the bitterness of the peel. If you like your peel to be a tad bitter, then twice is more than enough. Keep the drained peel aside till required.
  • To a clean pan add the sugar and the water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook it for 5-7 minutes till it thickens slightly. There is no need to check any string consistency here. We just need to thicken it a bit.
  • Add the drained peel and cover it with the syrup. Cook on a low heat for 30-35 minutes stirring every now and then, till the peel turns translucent (transparent). The peel should be tender but still have a bite to it (should not turn mushy).
  • Drain the syrup and remove the peel into a bowl. Then arrange it on a wire rack placed over a tray to collect the dripping syrup. When the excess syrup has dribbed away and the peel has cooled it is ready for the next step.
  • You can either coat the peel in melted chocolate and arrange them back on the tray to dry or you can coat them with caster sugar. You can leave them uncoated too - in which case, you can store them in the fridge or chop up and use immediately in your fruit cakes or other recipes.
  • To coat the peel in sugar, place 2/3 cup of caster sugar in a bowl and add the peel to it. Cover it well with the sugar, shake off the excess and place it on the wire rack to dry completely. They will firm up when cooled. It is very important to cool the peels completely or they will turn mouldy. They should also have no sticky residue of the syrup, so ensure that you coat them properly.
  • Once completely cooled, transfer the peel to an airtight container and use whenever required. They make for delightful festive gifts too.


In this recipe I have used 2 big Navel oranges but you may use whatever is available. Depending on the size of the oranges you can use 2, 3 or 4 for the given quantity of sugar. 
You can even use the same recipe to make other kinds of citrus peel such as lemon, grapefruit, pomelo and in India, mausambi (although I have never tried it). Do note that the cooking time may vary, ie to get them to the translucent stage. If you are mixing peels please ensure that you mix only those peels that are more or less uniform in terms of the thickness of the skins as you don't want to overcook some and leave the others undone (and bitter!)
Once the syrup has cooled you can make a drink or repurpose it for something else. The recipe for the drink is on my blog.