Candied Orange Peels

Candied Orange Peels
Keep these candied peels in the pantry for up to a year. (Giulia Scarpaleggia)

Making candied orange peels from scratch is not difficult; it just requires patience and dedication. The hands-on time is minimal, but you will need to wait 7 to 10 days for the candying process to finish.

Some people say to double the weight of the peels to get the weight of water and sugar needed; others suggest multiplying by three, to make sure you have enough syrup for storing. After trying both ways, I’ve decided that the perfect amount for me is two and a half times.

So use this ratio by weight: 1 part peels to 2 1/2 parts water and 2 1/2 parts sugar. For every 1 pound of peels, you will need 2 1/2 pounds of water (40 ounces) and 2 1/2 pounds of sugar. This will help you easily scale down or up if you have a smaller or bigger amount of peels.

At the end of the process, you’ll add some glucose or honey to prevent the peels from crystallizing or becoming too hard.

If you have some leftover syrup from the candying process, keep it in the fridge in a jar. Use it to brush over cakes or make sorbets and refreshing drinks in the summer.

Makes 3 medium jars
  • 16 ounces organic orange peels, pith included, cut into large, even segments
  • 5 cups (40 ounces) water
  • 5 3/4 cups (40 ounces) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup (10 ounces) glucose, or acacia honey
Prepare the orange peels: Fill a pot with water and add the peels. Bring the water to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, drain the peels and cool them down in a bowl of cold water. Repeat this process of blanching the peels two more times. The last time, instead of removing the peels as soon as the water starts to boil, simmer them for at least 30 minutes, or until the white pith becomes translucent. Gently drain the peels and cool them again in cold water.

Once cold, drain the peels and let them drain well on a wire rack.

Candy the peels: Pour the water and sugar into a large pot and stir well. Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, and the syrup starts to simmer.

Turn off the heat immediately and add the orange peels into the hot syrup, making sure they are entirely covered by the syrup. Let cool completely, cover the pot (do not cover while warm or hot, or condensation from the steam will drip into the syrup), and leave until the following day.

The next day, heat the syrup and orange peels. As soon as it starts to simmer, turn off the heat. Wait again until the following day.

Repeat this process for 7 to 10 days; the syrup will thicken day by day, becoming stickier. How do you know when the peels are ready? Eventually, a film will form on the surface, and the syrup will be almost as thick as honey. For the geeks out there, use a refractometer, the tool that measures sugar concentration: The peels will be candied to perfection when the syrup reaches 72 degrees Brix.

When the peels are ready, add the glucose or the acacia honey, stir carefully until dissolved, and bring to a boil for the final time.

Preserve the candied peels: Collect the hot candied peels into sterilized jam jars, cover them with syrup, and seal the lids.

Put the jars in a large pot and add water to cover them by a few inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat and let the jars cool completely in the water before removing them.

Store the sealed jars for up to a year in a dry, cool, and dark place. Refrigerate the jars after opening.

Giulia Scarpaleggia is a Tuscan-born and bred food writer, food photographer, and author of five cookbooks, including “From the Markets of Tuscany.” She is currently working on her sixth cookbook. Find her online at her blog,