Candied Citrus Peels

Use lemon, orange or grapefruit peels in this recipe for a zesty and colorful garnish.
Candied Citrus Peels

Candied Citrus Peels

Use candied citrus peels in recipes, cocktails or as a zesty dessert topper.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Use candied citrus peels in recipes, cocktails or as a zesty dessert topper.

Although the flavor found in the rind of lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus fruits is loaded with bright, bold flavor, it’s hard to get past the overwhelming bitterness that comes with it. Don’t throw those citrus peels  away! Instead, temper the bite found in the peels of your favorite citrus and sweeten with simple syrup to create an irresistible garnish for cocktails or desserts.

Tamed by blanching the rind to soften the skin and break down the bitter enzymes, citrus peels will retain much of their vibrant flavor without the discouraging bite. Boiled in a sugary simple syrup, the notoriously tart rind is transformed into flavor-plus topper for pies or cakes, a bold garnish when served in cocktails, or to add a little zing to ice cream or yogurt.

Candied citrus peels are easy to make at home and make great use of an ingredient that might otherwise end up in the compost bin. As an added bonus, after candying your peels, retain the flavored simple syrup to use in cocktails, moisten cakes or to make a refreshing citrus sorbet.

Candied Citrus Peels

  • 6 unwaxed lemons or limes. 4 oranges or 3 grapefruit (to yield about 3 to 3-1/2 cups of peels)
  • 4+3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water

Score the peel of the fruit into 8 segments and remove from the flesh.

Use a paring knife to scrape away excess pith.

Cut peels into 1/4” strips.

Place peels in a pot, cover with water and bring to boil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Drain, add water and bring to boil a second 5 minutes.

Drain and set peels aside.

Combine 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar in pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Once syrup is boiling, add citrus peels and reduce to simmer 50-60 minutes until tender and translucent.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Use  colander to drain and allow to rest 30 minutes.

In a large bowl toss peels with 3/4 cup of sugar.

Arrange peels on a wire rack placed on a baking tray.

Set aside to dry for 18-24 hours until peels are no longer tacky to the touch.

Candied citrus peels may be stored up to 2 months at room temperature in an airtight container.

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Exotic Citrus Varieties to Grow Indoors

These unique, beautiful citrus varieties grow well indoors and will fill your home with color and fragrance all year.

Make Your Own Candy Apples

This fall tradition is as sweet as they come.

Black Candy Apples Recipe

Swap out traditional red and go black with these frightfully delicious candy apples.

Citrus Trees for Indoors

You don't have to live in the Deep South or California to grow great citrus.

Citrus Fruits

Host Paul James visits the University of California in sunny Riverside for a tasting tour of succulent citrus.

How to Candy Mint Leaves

Learn how to make your own candied mint leaves for holiday desserts and cocktails.

Hibiscus Citrus Tea

Drink in the tropical flavors of this refreshing summertime sipper.

Main Squeeze: Growing Citrus Trees

Pucker up! Grow fresh citrus fruits in your backyard with these tips.

Saving Citrus From Frost

Discover ways to protect your outdoor citrus from the elements.

On TV

Flea Market Flip

7:30am | 6:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Caribbean Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Mexico Life

10pm | 9c

Mexico Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Caribbean Life

12am | 11c

Caribbean Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Mexico Life

1am | 12c

Mexico Life

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.