Candied orange peel | homemade + edible gifts

Candied orange peel | homemade + edible gifts

{ video recipe at the end of the post }

There’s always a box of candied orange peel in my cupboard around this time of year. Dad loves them and I always gift him a box.

Truth be told, we try to limit dad’s consumption of said candied orange peel, because that’s one of the most sugary treats around. He could easily scarf down the whole box in one sitting! When it comes to sweets, he’s not very keen on discipline. But I love my sweet tooth daddy!

candied orange peel in a jar

So this year I decided to make my own candied orange peel and take a step back on sugar. The idea came after posting this vegan sponge cake, where I used candied ginger as a topping.

To be completely honest, when I bought a bunch of organic oranges I had panettone in mind, with homemade canditi (aka candied fruit) of course. Because it’s go big or go home over here you know?

whole oranges ready to be cut into strips

After googling a few recipes for the glorious Christmas sweet bread I grew more and more disappointed. There’s no stand mixer in my kitchen, nor in the studio (gosh, how could I ever think to hide that machine in my teeeny space). I knead my bread by hand, mix cake batter with a hand whisk, and beat eggs or aquafaba to stiff peaks with an old electric whisk. I’m such a pro, I know.

Anyways, panettone wasn’t about to happen and I had already invested in a few gorgeous, leafy, organic Sicilian oranges. So now what to make? Ah-ha. Candied orange peel!

strips of orange peel

If you didn’t know, there are basically two ways to make candied orange, or to candy any citrus or (small) fruit for that matter. We’re using the quick method today, which calls for a couple blanching baths in boiling water, then a further cooking in a simple syrup until the peel becomes translucent. With this method the peel retains some of its bitterness, which makes a lovely contrast with the sweet bite that you get at first.

orange peel strips after blanching

Once you’re done with the actual candying process, you have two choices. This time I coated my candied orange peels with some granulated sugar, but if you’re feeling extra, skip that step and go for a dark chocolate coating instead. Chocolate and orange, a match made in heaven. (And I have a vegan cake recipe featuring that delicious combo!)

candied orange peel on sugar

Now I know, white sugar is no good. But honestly, there was no healthy-ish sugar substitute that would yield the result I was after. Don’t get me wrong, I almost exclusively use unrefined sugar or agave/maple syrup for my baking, but there are things they’re just not made for. Think (vegan) merengue, or any recipe where you can’t sacrifice texture or color.

macro shot of sugar coated candied orange peel

So to not go overboard with nasties I used my favorite raw sugar for the syrup, and a teeeny bit of white sugar to coat the peels. However, these are still sugary treats and they’re far from being healthy, although they’re not meant to be eaten by the handful (that’s right dad). A little goes a long way and sometimes you gotta enjoy a guilt pleasure right?

candied orange peel on skyr, with pistachios

These candied orange peels would make for a lovely and beautiful handmade gift, if you’re running late and looking for a last minute idea.

macro shot of candied orange peel with skyr and pistachios

Hope you’ll be having a wonderful Christmas, full of love, joy and serenity, surrounded by your loved ones… furry friends included! Please please remember that they need your time and love even when you’re busy with all the grand preparations, family gatherings and so on.

Merry Christmas!

See you with the next post,

x Chiara

candied orange peel
prep time
20 mins
cook time
25 mins
Resting time
3 hrs
total time
45 mins

Did you know making candied orange peel is quick, easy and delicious? It also makes for the perfect, sweetest homemade gift, so grab your citrus and dig in!

course: dessert / treats, snack / nibbles
cuisine: Italian
Keyword: candied orange, christmas gift, homemade gifts, orange peel
servings: 1 200ml jar
ingredient list
  • 2 organic oranges
  • 70 g raw sugar or brown sugar
  • 150 ml water
  • granulated sugar, to coat
Cut the orange peel and blanch it:
  1. Carefully wash your oranges. Remove top and bottom parts of the peel, then separate the flesh from the peel following the fruit’s curve. You’ll be left with pieces of peel with as little flesh attached as possible, and the whole fruit.

    Set aside the latter for another use, and slice the peel into 0.5cm strips.

    Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the peel for 5′. Remove with a slotted spoon, let dry on a few layers of kitchen paper and repeat the blanching once more.

Cook the peels in simple syrup:
  1. Combine raw sugar with water, bring to a gentle boil and cook until sugar is completely dissolved.

    Add blanched orange peels and cook on low until translucent and syrupy, about 10-15′.

    Carefully remove with kitchen tongs and place on a cooling rack to cool and harden. Make sure none of the peel pieces touch another one. This will take at least three hours, but you can also leave the peels exposed to the air overnight.

Sugar coating:
  1. Once dry to the touch, or at least not sticky, cover with granulated sugar and refrigerate, storing the peels in an airtight container for up to one week.


For a quick dessert, serve a few pieces of candied orange peel on top of lightly sweetened skyr, and finish it off with crushed pistachios.

Do not discard the cooking syrup. It’s perfect to flavor boozy drinks or to moisten cakes! 

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