Candied Orange Peel – a holiday tradition

Candied orange peel is delicious to make. From the moment you start to remove the rind from the oranges straight through to the final sugaring of the peel, your home will smell like Christmas. I started on Monday and will put the finished peel away for Christmas today – Thursday. In other words, not something that you can rush!

Having said that, it is possible to time things so that the rest periods happen, when you are either at work or sleeping. Read through the recipe and chart your schedule. It is so worth the effort!

It is times like this when I really miss my girls. The four of us would sit in the kitchen with our Christmas music playing on the stereo. Each of us, with our own pile of oranges, competing as to who was the most effective with a knife. Meg always won. She has the patience of a saint. She may have been a little slower but her strips were perfect.

I am dreaming of having all of my girls home again – maybe next year…

Candied Orange Peel

makes 2 1/2 lb

8 navel oranges

7 1/2 cups sugar

6 cups water

2 drops each red and yellow food color [optional]

a candy thermometer

Using a very sharp knife, remove peel from oranges

Cut peel lengthwise into 1/3 inch wide strips. Put strips in a large bowl of cold water to soak for one hour. Drain in a colander.


Place peel in a deep heavy pot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Then drain in colander. Repeat blanching 2 more times. This is important to ensure no bitterness from the pith!

Cover peel once more with cold water and simmer until skin is tender – 30 minutes – drain in colander.

Return pot to stove and add 6 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add food color and boil syrup without stirring until it reaches 220*F on the candy thermometer – about 30 minutes.

Add drained peel and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until translucent.

Remove from heat and let peel stand in syrup overnight, at room temperature.

Return syrup and peel to a boil until syrup reaches 226*F – do not stir

Remove from heat and let stand , uncovered for 8 hours.

Repeat process but this time bring syrup to 228*F.

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 8 – 12 hours


Reheat syrup with peel over low heat just until syrup has liquified, then lift peel from syrup with tongs. Spread out on a large metal rack. Place rack on paper to catch drips…Leave for 24 hours or until syrup has crystallised.

Spread 1/2 cup sugar on a plate and roll each piece of peel to coat. Add more sugar if necessary.

Leave to dry 1 hour

the peel will keep for 3 months in a well sealed container layered between pieces of wax paper 

Thanks for reading

  • Angela

    just a sealed container? not in a cool place, frozen,fridge?

    • sealed and in a dry and cool place.

  • I had no idea of the long process for making candied orange peel. Thank you for such complete instructions and the beautiful photos of the steps along the way. This is my first time of stopping by your blog and I am so happy that I did.

  • Pauline

    Ha, ha…now if I ever see it in a chocolate shop I’ll be more than willing to pay the price!

  • Ooo! I love this! And your photos are so pretty!

  • meggie

    Your right mom I did always win!! I hope we are all home next year too! Love you! xo

  • Are you using white granulate sugar or confectioners sugar? They look delicious, do you snack on them or mostly use them for garnish?

    • I should have been more specific – white granulated sugar. Sorry about that! This particular peel is like a candy. Next week I will post the candied orange peel that I use for garnishes. It’s quicker to make. Thanks for reading!

  • I was looking for a candied orange peel recipe. This will come quite handy. thank u very much!

  • OMG!!! THE WORK!!!! I would love to make this but i think i will put it on hold til next year!!! i had your garnish peel before and it was lovely! i think you placed it on beets ,maybe? My mom made this before and she also made candied watermelon rind–very labour intensive!! great pics!

    • Thanks! You did have candied orange zest as a garnish on a beet salad with chevre but it was different. I’ll post that recipe next year! xo

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  • Louise

    Those look wonderful!
    I’m curious as to whether the taste is like marmalade(Horrid and bitter… I think mamalade is an aquired taste.)
    Thank you if you have the time to answer 🙂

    • no no it is sweet and delicious

  • Mercedes Suarez

    I love your recipe and just wanted to say thank you..I also know one way of making a dish with the peel of a sour Orange but this one u have to scrape the skin and only use the white parts but is another long prosess..blanching a few times and them boiling with the sugar and cinnamom a pinch of salt and let caramelize is very delicious it makes a great dessert !

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