Candied orange slices are available at the grocery store, but why not make your own? The recipe is easy, it's more affordable, and not only do you get candied oranges, but you also get the orange-infused syrup after! Shall we?
- Why Make Your Own Candied Orange Slices
- Candied Orange Slices vs Dried Oranges
- Ingredients You Need for Candied Orange Slices
- What Kind of Citrus to Use for Candied Orange Slices
- How to Make Candied Orange Slices
- Some FAQs and Pro-Tips
- How to Use Candied Orange Slices
- How to Make Candied Dried Citrus Recipe
Why Make Your Own Candied Orange Slices
Making your own candied orange slices is better than buying for a few reasons, mostly that you can:
- make sure that the citrus is from a local source and organic
- wash them thoroughly yourself, since you are eating the outer peel!
- cut down on plastic packaging!
- can be more cost-effective
- bonus: orange-infused simple syrup can be used for cocktails!
By the way, people might tell you that to make Candied Oranges, you need to use a dehydrator, a specialty appliance just for dehydrating, but that is absolutely NOT true and it's probably because they just want to sell you a very expensive dehydrator. You can, and should use your oven.
Candied Orange Slices vs Dried Oranges
A quick note: This is a recipe for Candied Orange Slices, which is different from Dehydrated or Dried Oranges (different recipe). This recipe for Candied Orange Slices are cooked in sugar syrup so they are softer and very very sweet. They taste great and can be eaten as candy or from a cheese or charcuterie board.
The latter, Dehydrated/Dried Oranges, are dehydrated at a very low temperature as is from the raw state with no sweetener, so they are brittle and taste very bitter. They work better as a cocktail garnish or for visual garnish on a cheese and charcuterie board.
Make Candied Dried Citrus to use on cheese and charcuterie boards, eat as is, give away as gifts, decorate cakes and desserts, and garnish cocktails!
Ingredients You Need for Candied Orange Slices
You will need only a couple of ingredients:
- oranges of course! or citrus of any variety
What Kind of Citrus to Use for Candied Orange Slices
You can candy and dry and kind of citrus, as long as the citrus slices are thin. Generally, sweeter citrus work better because the sweetness will balance the bitterness of the pith and skin. These are the citrus I have tried and like:
- Regular navel and valencia oranges
- Mandarin/clementine/tangerine oranges
- Pink grapefruit
- Lemons and limes are good even though they are very tart when fresh, they will be candied with simple syrup
- Blood oranges are especially fun for their color
The one exception here for me is pomelo, which look like swollen grapefruit with greenish skins. Pomelo almost always have disproportionately more white pith than other citrus, which makes them very bitter.
I get organic citrus from the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesdays, or any grocery store that carries organic citrus.
How to Make Candied Orange Slices
There are only a few, VERY SIMPLE steps to making Candied Orange Slices! But it does take some time to dry them out. Here's how to make Candied Orange Slices, and use this method to make ANY candied citrus:
Slice oranges horizontally ¼-inch thick.
Save the butt ends to squeeze out juice later.
Boil the orange slices in plain water for 5 minutes to get out of some of the bitterness from the pith. Drain the water, add fresh water, and boil again for 5 minutes. Repeat for a 3rd time. If you actually like the bitter flavor of the orange peel like I do, you can skip this step.
Make a simple syrup by combining 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar, then immediately turn down heat to simmer.
Add orange slices to simple syrup. If you saved the butt ends of the oranges, squeeze out what little juice you can into the syrup to add more flavor! Simmer orange slices in simple syrup for 40 minutes.
Lay orange slices in a single layer on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or wire racks. Dry out in oven at the lowest temperature—my oven goes down to 170°— for 3 hours, flipping the orange slices over every hour.
Pro-tip: Save the simple syrup in a mason jar in the refrigerator to use for other recipes or in cocktails! If you make this Candied Citrus with lemons, the Lemon Syrup is SO GOOD in a Gold Rush cocktail!
Tools and Equipment You Need to Make Candied Citrus
- favorite all-purpose 7-inch chef's knife (expensive but worth it!)
- Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash to wash the oranges
- large, very-heavy bottom pot (I use different brand cookware for pans vs pots)
- metal tongs, that lock closed for storage, crucial feature!
- sturdy all-purpose baking sheet
- racks for baking sheets
- unbleached parchment paper
Some FAQs and Pro-Tips
A: No you absolutely do NOT need a dehydrator, a specialty one-job appliance, just to make Candied Dried Oranges! Use your oven on the lowest temperature and just make sure you have the time to check on them every few hours!
A: You may not have boiled your orange slices long enough in plain water to pull out the bitterness from the peel. To make it less bitter next time, boil a few minutes longer and maybe a couple additional cycles (boil-rinse). The white pith in orange and other citrus peels is naturally bitter, and becomes less so when boiled in plain water.
A: To make it less bitter next time, boil a few minutes longer and maybe a couple additional cycles (boil-rinse). The white pith in orange and other citrus peels is naturally bitter, and becomes less so when boiled in plain water. You can also try a different variety of citrus that has s thinner skin like tangerines and mandarins.
A: Candied Orange Slices will last for up to a month if stored properly. Keep them in an airtight container, preferably with as much air removed as possible. They may last longer in the refrigerator.
How to Use Candied Orange Slices
Honestly, I eat candied oranges by the handful like, well, candy, because they're sweet and chewy, kind of like gummy bears. However, here are some more ways to use:
- on cheese and charcuterie boards <-- resource of all the dried fruits, nuts, and spreads you need for a cheese board
- top each slice with a sliver of blue cheese and toasted walnut for a sweet and funky appetizer/hors d'oeuvres
- garnish cocktails
- remember to save the orange-infused simple syrup in the fridge
How to Make Candied Dried Citrus Recipe
- 2 cups sugar
- citrus, like oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, sweet lemons, limes, and grapefruit washed and scrubbed, preferably using a produce wash like Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash if you have it.
- Slice the citrus into round "sunshines" that are just under ¼-inch thick. Save the "butt" ends of the citrus to squeeze out the little bit of juice they have into the simple syrup for extra flavor.
- Bring a large, heavy-bottomed pot half full of water to a gentle boil. Add the citrus slices and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, drain the water from the pot, add fresh water to the citrus in the pot, and bring to a gentle boil again. Boil for 5 minutes. Repeat one more time. This blanching process removes some of the "bitterness" from the peel and pith, but you can skip this step entirely and jump ahead if you don't mind the bitterness.
- Remove the blanched citrus slices from the pot and discard the water.
Make Simple Syrup for Candied Citrus
- Make simple syrup: To the same large, heavy bottomed pot, combine 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water. Squeeze in any juice from the "butt" ends of the citrus. Bring to a low boil, stir until sugar dissolves, then reduce heat to low.
- Add back the blanched citrus slices, making sure that all of the citrus is covered by the simmering syrup. Simmer for 40 minutes, turning the slices over at least once.
- Pro-tip: Save the now-citrus-flavored syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator! You can use it for cocktails, tea, anywhere you'd use a syrup or sweetener.
- Dry the Citrus Slices: Heat oven to 170°F, or the lowest your oven will go.
- If you have wire racks for baking sheets, remove the citrus rounds from the syrup and place on the racks in a single layer. If you don't have racks, line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the citrus rounds on the baking sheets in a single layer. The citrus can touch, but do not let them overlap.
- Place as many baking sheets as will fit on your racks in the oven. Dry the citrus rounds in the oven until they are dry (they will still be a little sticky from the sugar) and firm enough to hold their shape when you pick them up with tongs, about 3 hours, flipping every hour.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven and remove the candied dried citrus to a wire rack to cool and dry further. Once cool, store in an airtight container. A re-sealable plastic bag works as well.