Candied orange slices are the champagne of garnishes. They have just a touch of juice, a hint of tang, and a burst of flavor that complements any citrusy dessert, cocktail, or drink. You wouldn’t think it by their looks, but they are one of the easiest things to make, and they store and freeze exceptionally well. Now, you can always be “that” person with beautiful garnishes!
These candied orange slices are incredibly easy to make as well, with only three ingredients and a handful of dishes. I like making these at the end of California’s citrus season to prolong the freshness throughout the beginning of spring.
Ingredients for Candied Orange Slices
Candied orange slices require only three ingredients: Oranges, sugar, and water. Because there are so few ingredients, that means there’s a lot of sugar in the recipe. But don’t worry: most of the sugar remains in the pot as the orange simple syrup, which you can save to use in drinks and cocktails.
- Medium oranges. I use navel oranges for the size and flavor. You can use this recipe for a number of other citrus fruits as well: mandarin oranges, sumo citrus, grapefruit, etc.
- Granulated sugar. Sugar both sweetens and preserves the fruit. It’s what makes the candied oranges candied rather than just dried.
- Water. Placing the oranges in boiling water removes the bitterness in the pith. Then, the water gives the oranges enough room to properly candy when mixed with sugar.
Quick Tips for Prepping Candied Orange Slices
If you’d prefer to watch these tips rather than read them, you can watch me candy these orange slices here instead!
This recipe is entirely possible to make without a mandolin, though I would suggest using one if you’re not yet entirely confident using a knife. I’ve been able to make slices ⅛” thick with my santoku-style knife by going slowly. As long as you’re able to make your orange slices somewhere between ¼” and ⅛”, they will turn out just fine.
Please use a large kettle or Dutch oven to cook these. If you only have smaller pots about 12″ across, make these in two batches. It only adds a few minutes, and you’ll have much more consistent results. The orange slices already like to cuddle together for safety during the boiling and syruping process, and a smaller pot will exacerbate that.
The blanching may take anywhere from one to two minutes for the rinds to become translucent. It varies from the thickness of your orange slices, so use the timer as a suggestion, not a firm rule.
To reduce the mess on your stovetop, drag the orange slices against the side of the pot before you place them on a drying rack. That will lessen the amount of liquid on the orange slice, which will result in less syrup drips on the way from the pot to the racks!
Quick Tips for Drying Candied Orange Slices
Once you have the right setup, drying candied orange slices takes hardly any effort.
Keep the orange slices thin (about ¼” to ⅛”). Having thinly sliced oranges is imperative to this recipe’s success. Anything thicker makes it difficult for the moisture to evaporate out of them.
Then, lay the candied orange slices in a single layer on top of cooling racks. To prevent drips onto your counter, line your counter with parchment paper or a baking sheet. If you use parchment paper, you won’t have to wash any extra dishes.
I’ve found that thicker orange slices have a harder time fully drying. Even after keeping the thicker slices out on the counter for an extra day, the edges were slightly tough with wetter centers. I wouldn’t recommend keeping those at room temperature for more than three days, as the moisture creates a better environment for bacteria to grow. Just eat those ones first!
Is There A Way to Make Candied Orange Slices Dry Faster?
Yes! Your results may vary, especially if you live in a humid climate, but I have successfully reduced the drying time by a few hours. It’s not an immediate fix, but it certainly does help.
I place all my orange slices in a single layer on the cooling racks and then stack them. (As one does with stackable cooling racks.) Then, I aim a pedestal fan on low at them overnight. That allows for plenty of circulation without cooking them further in the oven.
If you have a dehydrator, you can put candied orange slices in the dehydrator for about five hours. You may need more time if your orange slices are particularly thick, so adjust as needed.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
These make a perfect topping for chocolate orange cupcakes or chocolate Bundt cake!
If you’re interested in more citrusy flavors with easy cleanup, my small batch lemon curd is essentially sunshine in a jar.
Dish Cleanup: Not Too Bad
I rate my recipe cleanups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.
My candied orange slices recipe is a 2, solely because of the amount of drying/cooling racks involved. If you have cooling racks that are dishwasher safe (like I do), this recipe is definitely only a 1. There’s the one pot, a bowl, a cutting board, a knife, and the cooling racks. It doesn’t get much easier than this.
- 9 cups of water, divided
- Five medium oranges, washed
- 4½ cups of sugar, divided
- 2 cups cold water
- Add 5 cups of water to a large pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Prepare a medium bowl with the cold water (ice is helpful but not necessary) and set aside.
- While the water heats up, slice the oranges into ¼-⅛" rounds, discarding the ends. I prefer eating the thinner rounds, but they break apart more easily during cooking. Any thicker than ¼" will take much longer to cook and dry, so cut them as thinly as possible.
- Blanch the orange slices: Add the orange slices to the boiling water and cook for about two minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the orange slices to the bowl of cold water. Discard the boiled water.
- Make a simple syrup: Add 4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water to the large pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has fully dissolved. Nearby, prepare cooling racks set over parchment paper or baking sheets to catch any drips.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the orange slices. Carefully stir, poke, and flip the orange slices as necessary to ensure even cooking, about a minute.
- Once the rinds on the thinner slices begin to look translucent, begin transferring those slices to the cooling racks in a single layer. The thicker slices may take another 30 seconds or so to cook before you need to transfer them.
- Let the slices dry for 24 hours, or until dry. To speed up the drying process, move the slices to a well-ventilated room or aim a fan at them.
- Dip in the remaining ½ cup of sugar, if desired. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a month or in the freezer for a few months.
You can reserve some of the orange-flavored simple syrup leftover for cocktails, coffee and tea drinks, and desserts!
Serving Size:2 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 0g
The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.
Thanks for trying out my candied orange slices recipe! I’d love to see how it turns out: Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @floralapronblog to share with me, or use the hashtag #floralapronbakes.