5 Ingredients or Fewer

Candied Citrus Peel

February 13, 2015
1 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes 3 to 4 cups
Author Notes

From Pure Dessert (Artisan 2007). —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
  • For the candied peel:
  • 4 oranges or tangelos, 2 grapefruit, or 6 to 8 lemons, limes, or tangerines, bright-skinned preferably organic or unsprayed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for dredging
  • Equipment:
  • Instant-read or candy thermometer
  1. Use a sharp paring knife to score the peel of each fruit into quarters (or sixths or eighths if using grapefruit), cutting just through the skin from the top to bottom all around. Use your fingers to strip the peel from the fruit. It’s okay if some fruit is left on the peel for now. You should have 3 to 4 cups peel. Save the fruit for another dish.
  2. Place the peel in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and fill the pan with cold water, leaving just enough space for it to boil. Bring the water to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Drain the peel and dump it into a large bowl of cold water to cool for a minute. Drain and return the peel to the saucepan. Repeat the entire blanching and cooling sequence twice for thin-skinned Meyer lemons or tangerines; three times for oranges, regular lemons, or tangelos; or four times for grapefruit. (Blanching rids the fruit of excess harshness and astringency and tenderizes it. The number of blanchings is not cast in stone. With experience, you may increase or decrease the number to get the tenderness and flavor that you like. Even fruit of the same variety varies in texture, skin thickness, and bitterness, so use my guidelines as you will.)
  3. After the final blanching and draining, use a small sharp knife to scrape only the mushiest part of the white pith (and any fruit left on the peel) gently from the peel, leaving thicker lemon, orange, and grapefruit peels about 1/4-inch thick and thinner tangerine or Meyer lemon peels about 1/8-inch thick (thinner skins, in fact, may need little or no scraping). Cut the peel into strips or triangles or whatever shape you like. Place the peel in a smaller (2-quart) saucepan with the water and the sugar.
  4. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Wash the syrup and sugar off the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush or a wad of wet paper towel. Adjust the heat and simmer the peel uncovered, with little or no stirring, very gently until the syrup registers between 220° F and 222° F and the peel has been translucent for a few minutes; this will take a little more or less than an hour.
  5. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the peel to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, to catch the syrup drips. Spread the peel out in one layer and let cool and dry overnight.
  6. Dredge the peel in sugar to coat. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where the peel will keep for several months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Janice Clarke-Reiter
    Janice Clarke-Reiter
  • umbrellanaut
  • Blair
  • Cyndi
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

5 Reviews

umbrellanaut December 21, 2017
these came out tasty but unfortunately leaving uncovered food out overnight is not an option for me, so I didn't give them a chance to fully dry out. I wonder if there's a faster way to dry them. I might try putting them in the oven at a very low temperature next time.
Janice C. February 2, 2021
A food dehydrator might work for drying out the strips too.
Blair January 7, 2017
i made this today; it's slightly more bitter than i'd like, but it will still disappear very quickly!! the entire process took much longer than anticipated. it's easy but time-consuming and requires patience (especially when individually laying out the finished strips - my fingers are still burning! the remaining syrup is delicious - it'd make for a great zingy sweet topping. while googling how to save it as a sauce, it hardened beyond repair, but with the next batch (trying to use up an entire orange tree!) i'm hoping to make a storable sauce by adding almond milk and earth balance (avoiding dairy). otherwise adding butter and cream appears to do the trick, but i have no experience with it.
Cyndi July 15, 2016
Many years ago, a newsgroup 'friend' sent me candied orange, Meyer lemon, and grapefruit candied peels...!! They were absolutely delicious but the grapefruit was my favorite.
homecookin May 17, 2016
I made this last year and it turned out perfectly. This recipe is the only one I could find to give a temp. on the candy thermometer, which helped as the other recipe I used the candy was not firm. The liquid was also almost completely gone in the pan when done, if you have no therm. and still want to try it, but don't go by the time listed, takes alot longer.