Candied Orange Slices are a favorite holiday tradition at our house (along with dried sliced oranges!). They're easy to make and they're a wonderful gift or treat to have on hand. They're also a show-stopper piece if you're making a holiday cookie tray or box!
Looking for a few other food-related holiday gift ideas? Try making Dried Sliced Oranges (a great gift, decoration, or to garnish a cocktail), or homemade vanilla extract! You can also make Candied Blood Oranges with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt. These kinds of food gifts are a wonderful way to share something homemade and seasonal.
As always, I do include a few affiliate links in this post for products I truly use and love. This just means that if you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I'll earn a little money (at no cost to you) to keep the kitchen up and running, which I promise to use to create more fun content like this! One of those affiliates is with Amazon, which requires a very clear disclosure: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about affiliates, please reach out!
Luckily, there are only three things you'll need to bring this together!
- Oranges: I like to use blood oranges, but you can make this with any kind of orange. Smaller oranges tend to be better: try blood oranges, cara cara oranges, or tangelos. You can also make this with other citrus fruits like lemon!
- Water: not a surprise here!
- Granulated sugar: you will boil the oranges in sugar water to help sweeten them, and then use additional sugar for the final coating once they're dry.
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
Making Candied Orange Slices is simple, but it does take time (mostly with the drying process).
Thoroughly wash your oranges and slice with a mandoline or very sharp knife to about 4-5mm.
Boil the oranges in a pot of water for 2 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath.
Combine water and sugar in a large pot or sautée pan and bring to a boil.
Add the oranges and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
Remove the oranges from the liquid with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack. Let dry at room temperature for about 24 hours.
Gently toss the oranges in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
The drying time will vary depending on the humidity and temperature of your room, as well as the thickness of the slices. The oranges will still be slightly tacky, which is a good thing, as you'll want them to hold on to the granulated sugar once you toss them. And remember, these are not the same as dried oranges - they will not be crispy, no matter how long you let them air dry!
Hint: Once you remove the oranges from the sugar water they've boiled in, you'll be left with orange simple syrup! This is great for making cocktails (like this Blood Orange Old Fashioned), or giving as a gift, so don't throw it away!
This recipe is very flexible and can be applied to other types of citrus, or made in a few different ways:
- Use different citrus - I like to use blood oranges, but any small orange (like cara cara oranges or tangelos) will work well. You could also make this with another type of citrus, like lemon!
- Dip them in chocolate - Once dried, dip the oranges in dark chocolate to make these Candied Blood Oranges with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt.
Blood Orange Simple Syrup
Once you remove the orange slices from the sugar water, you will be left with a pot of blood orange simple syrup. This is great for making cocktails (like this Blood Orange Old Fashioned), or giving as a gift.
Let the simple syrup cool fully, then strain and transfer to an airtight container or bottle. Store the simple syrup in the fridge for up to one month. If the syrup looks cloudy at any point, it's time to discard.
I also highly recommend using a mandoline to slice the oranges evenly. You can also do this with a sharp knife.
Store these candied orange slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.
The drying process is the most time-consuming part of this recipe, but it is important! I do not recommend trying to speed up the process by baking in the oven (you'll end up with a very different finished product). Drying them on a cooling rack helps the slices get as much air as possible. You can also flip them to ensure even drying.
No, you can use another type of small orange, such as cara cara oranges or tangelos, or another type of citrus like lemons.
The mandoline will help you make even slices, but you can also slice the oranges with a sharp knife and a cutting board.
Once you've simmered the blood oranges in the sugar water, you will be left with blood orange simple syrup! This is great for cocktails or to give as a gift!
The slices will need to dry for about 24 hours. They will still be tacky to the touch (which is good for holding on to the sugar), but they should not feel wet at all.
I do not recommend it. That will dehydrate the oranges, which is not what we're aiming to do here. Stay patient and let them air dry for 24 hours!
Candied Orange Slices
- 6 blood oranges sliced 4-5mm
- 12 cups water divided
- 3 ½ cups granulated sugar divided
- Wash the oranges, then use a mandoline or sharp knife to slice to 4-5mm thick.
- Bring a pot with 6 cups of water to a boil. Boil the orange slices for 2 minutes, then transfer the slices to an ice bath and discard the boiled water.
- In a large pot, bring 6 cups water and 3 cups sugar to a boil. Add the orange slices, reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the oranges from the liquid and transfer to a drying rack*. Let dry at room temperature for 24 hours.
- After drying, gently toss the orange slices in ½ cup granulated sugar to coat. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.