Candied Orange Slices are a fantastic treat any time of year. Looking to make the most of citrus season? Making a batch as a gift during the holidays? Making an easy summer treat? These Candied Orange Slices are easy to make and a wonderful gift or treat to have on hand for any occasion. They're also a show-stopper piece if you're making a cookie tray or holiday cookie box!
If you're looking for the kinds of oranges that you use for cocktail garnishes or decorations (rather than cadies to eat), check out these Dried Orange Slices.
- Why you'll love this recipe
- Substitutions & Variations
- Alternative Drying Methods
- How to make Candied Orange Slices
- Expert baking tips
- What type of oranges should I use?
- How to slice the oranges
- Orange Simple Syrup
- How to use candied orange slices
- Recipe FAQ
- Candied Orange Slices
Why you'll love this recipe
- Candied Orange Slices are easy to make. The bulk of the time needed for this recipe is inactive drying time!
- They're a showstopper and make a great foodie gift or addition to a holiday cookie box!
- They can be eaten as a dessert, added to cocktails as a garnish, or used to decorate a cake.
- You can speed up the drying time by using a dehydrator or drying in the oven. This takes drying time from about 18 hours to about 2-4 hours.
- These Candied Orange Slices can be dipped or drizzled in chocolate as a tasty variation!
You only need two ingredients to make these Candied Orange Slices!
- Oranges: This recipe can be made with many different types of oranges, but generally works better with smaller, juicier oranges. Try blood oranges, cara cara oranges, mineolas or tangelos. The key here is to work with good fruit. If your oranges aren't delicious on their own, they won't make good candy either!
- 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.
- Dark chocolate (optional, see variation): I've included notes for a variation that includes a dark chocolate drizzle. I recommend using dark chocolate, but you could also try this with milk chocolate!
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
Substitutions & Variations
This recipe is very flexible and can be applied to other types of citrus, or made in a few different ways:
- Use different citrus - Try this recipe with different types of oranges, or you can also make it with different types of citrus! Try this recipe for Candied Lemon Slices.
- Chocolate Drizzled Orange Slices - Once the orange slices have dried, drizzle them with dark chocolate and sprinkle with flaky sea salt (no need to roll them in granulated sugar). Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to let the chocolate firm, then enjoy!
I have not tested this recipe with other variations, but if you do, let us know how it turns out in the comments! I always love to hear how you're adapting these recipes and use those as ideas for future recipes as well!
Alternative Drying Methods
I recommend letting the orange slices dry at room temperature. Yes, it takes time, but it is easy to feel when the oranges are dry enough for the final step of coating in granulated sugar.
If you would like to speed up the drying process, there are two ways:
- Dry with a dehydrator: After simmering, transfer to a dehydrator at 135 degrees F and dry for 3-4 hours. Drying time will vary depending on the thickness of your slices.
- Dry in the oven: After simmering, transfer the slices to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Dry in the oven at 200 degrees F for 1-3 hours, flipping every 30 minutes to check the dryness. Drying time will vary depending on the thickness of your slices.
Regardless of the drying method you use, remember you want the slices to be slightly tacky (not completely dried) so the sugar will stick to them. If using a dehydrator or oven for drying, you will need to watch this more closely as it's easier to dry them too much.
How to make Candied Orange Slices
Making Candied Orange Slices is simple, but there are a few crucial steps for success.
Thoroughly wash your oranges and slice with a mandoline or very sharp knife to about 4-5mm. Remove any seeds or pith.
Boil the oranges in a pot of water for 2 minutes to remove some of the tartness from the peel, then transfer to an ice bath. Discard the water.
Combine 6 cups water and 3 cups sugar in a large pot or sautée pan and bring to a boil. A pan with a lot of surface area works well here so you can spread out the orange slices.
Add the orange slices and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes.
Remove the oranges from the liquid with a slotted spoon or spatula and transfer to a cooling rack. Let dry at room temperature for about 18 hours. These can also be dried in a dehydrator or in the oven (see notes in recipe below).
After drying, the orange slices will feel dry, but still slightly tacky (so the sugar will stick). Gently toss the oranges in granulated sugar to coat.
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. But you don't want them to be so wet that the sugar instantly melts on them, or so dry that they are hard and the sugar doesn't stick.
Expert baking tips
- Cut thin and uniform orange slices. Thinner slices won't need to dry as long, as making the slices uniform ensures they will all dry at the same time. Freeze the oranges for about 15 minutes before slicing them to make this easier!
- Simmer until the rinds are slightly translucent.
- Keep some of the sugar water mixture after simmering - it's simple sryup for cocktails, mocktails, teas, or other baking projects!
- Drying times will vary depending on the temperature and humidity of your room, as well as the thickness of the slices.
- The orange slices should be slightly tacky after drying so the granulated sugar will stick.
- Make sure to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator!
What type of oranges should I use?
This recipe can be made with many different types of oranges but generally works better with smaller, juicier oranges. Try blood oranges, cara cara oranges, mineolas or tangelos. The key here is to work with good fruit. If your oranges aren't delicious on their own, they won't make good candy either!
How to slice the oranges
Slicing the oranges is a very important step in this recipe. You want them to be thin, but also uniform (so they will dry at the same time). If you have orange slices with varying thicknesses, some will dry quicker than others.
I highly recommend using a mandoline to slice the oranges, but you can also do this with a sharp kitchen knife. I recommend slicing the oranges to approximately 4-5mm thickness.
If you're having a hard time slicing your oranges, here are a few tips:
- Freeze them: Yes, really. If your oranges feel soft and are hard to slice, place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This will help firm them up a little bit so they're easier to slice whether you're using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
- Slice them thicker: While you want thin orange slices, if they're just falling apart, slice them a little bit thicker! It may take a little longer for them to dry, but it will be ok!
If your slices tear or break, you can still use them! They'll still be delicious, even though they won't be perfectly round slices.
Orange Simple Syrup
Once you remove the orange slices from the sugar water, don't dump it out! That mixture is now a pot of orange simple syrup...what a bonus! This is great for making cocktails (like this Blood Orange Old Fashioned or this Aperol Soda), or to give as a gift.
How to store simple syrup: Let the simple syrup cool fully, then strain it to remove any chunks and transfer to an airtight container or bottle. Store the simple syrup in the fridge for up to three weeks. If the syrup looks cloudy at any point once you've stored it, then it's time to dump it out!
How to use candied orange slices
There are several different ways you can enjoy these Candied Orange Slices:
- Enjoy as a dessert: Whether they're coated in granulated sugar or drizzled in chocolate, these are a delicious dessert on their own!
- Garnish a cocktail: Candied Orange Slices can be used to garnish a cocktail! Orange slices for cocktail garnish can be tossed in granulated sugar, or you can omit that step and use them immediately after drying.
- Decorate a cake: These orange slices are also a great way to decorate a cake. If using for decoration, they can be tossed in granulated sugar, or you can omit that step and use them immediately after drying.
I highly recommend using a mandoline to slice the oranges evenly (and carefully!). If you don't have one, you can also do this with a sharp knife. You'll want to use a large pot or sautée pan (I like to use the Caraway Sautée Pan) for simmering the oranges. A pan with a large surface area works well so you can make sure the orange slices are evenly coated while simmering. You'll also need a large bowl to create the ice bath and a few cooling racks.
These orange slices can be dried at room temperature, but you can also use a food dehydrator.
Refrigerator Storage: Store Candied Orange Slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. Because they have not been dried out completely (remember, we want the sugar to stick to them), they do need to be stored in the refrigerator.
I highly recommend using a mandoline to make thin, even slices, but you can also slice the oranges with a sharp kitchen knife.
If your oranges are feeling soft, place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help them firm up. This will make slicing much easier, whether you're using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
If your oranges have seeds, you will need to remove them. Removing the pith (the spongy white part in the center) from each slice is optional. I do tend to remove it as I'm slicing, but it will also likely separate from the orange on its own while the slices are simmering. The pith is also safe to eat if you'd rather leave it!
Once you've simmered the oranges in the sugar water, you will be left with orange simple syrup! This is great for cocktails, mocktails, tea or other baking projects. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Drying time will vary depending on the thickness of your slices, but will likely take about 18 hours if air drying. The slices should still be tacky to the touch (we want them to hold on to the granulated sugar), but they should not feel wet at all.
Candied Orange Slices
- 6 small oranges such as Cara Cara, Blood Oranges, Mineolas or Tangelos, sliced 4-5mm
- 12 cups water divided
- 3 ½ cups granulated sugar divided
- Thoroughly wash the oranges, then use a mandoline or sharp knife to slice to 4-5mm thickness. If you feel like your oranges are too soft to cut evenly, place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help them firm up before slicing.
- Bring a medium pot or sautée pan 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. This helps remove some of the bitterness of the peel and pith.
- In the same large pot, bring 6 cups of water and 3 cups of granulated sugar to a boil. Add the orange slices, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the slices are evenly coated in the liquid. After simmering, the rinds should look slightly translucent.
- Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the oranges from the liquid and spread evenly on a drying rack (see notes below if using a dehydrator or drying in the oven). Allow the slices to dry at room temperature for about 18 hours, flipping occasionally. The oranges will feel sticky, but not wet, when they're ready for the sugar coating.
- If you'd like to keep the liquid (it's now orange simple syrup, which is great for cocktails), let it cool fully, then strain and transfer to an airtight container or bottle. Store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
- After the orange slices have dried, gently toss them in ½ cup granulated sugar to coat (see notes below for Chocolate Drizzled Orange Slices variation). Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.