The champagne of garnishes, candied orange slices instantly elevate any cake, cocktail, or dish garnished with them. Use half of a slice to top the frosting on cupcakes, a full slice to garnish drinks, and a whole host of rounds to press into the sides or top of a cake for that extra wow factor. Or, keep it simple and serve them by themselves next to cranberry orange sauce at holidays like Thanksgiving.
Even better, candied orange slices store exceptionally well, and you’re left with a delicious orange flavored simple syrup to use in cocktails and mocktails! If you prefer to watch a video showing you how it’s done, I walk you through all the steps in my YouTube video on candied orange slices.
Ingredients for Candied Orange Slices
Candied orange slices require only three ingredients: Oranges, sugar, and water. Most of the sugar remains in the pot as the orange simple syrup, which you can save to use in drinks or brush over cake layers.
- 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, lemons, 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 instead!
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.
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.
Use a large kettle or Dutch oven to cook these. Smaller pots about 12″ across will work, but I recommend making them in two batches for more consistent results. The orange slices already like to cuddle together for safety during the boiling and syruping process, and a smaller pot will make them stick together.
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 reduce the amount of liquid clinging to each orange slice, which will result in less dripping!
Quick Tips for Drying Candied Orange Slices
Once you have the right setup, drying candied orange slices takes hardly any effort.
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.)
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 the cooling racks. (As one does with stackable cooling racks.) Then, I aim a pedestal fan on low speed at them overnight to increase circulation.
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.
How to Store Candied Orange Slices
Candied orange slices should be stored in an airtight container after they have dried fully. They will keep for about two weeks at room temperature, a month in the fridge, and up to three months in the freezer.
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 (2100 ml)
- 2 cups cold water
- Five medium oranges, washed
- 4½ cups of sugar, divided
- Add 5 cups (1200 ml) of water to a large pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Fill a medium bowl with cold water, and set aside.
- While the water heats up, slice the oranges into ⅛-¼" (3-6 mm) rounds, discarding the ends. Thinner rounds break apart more easily while cooking; thicker rounds take longer to cook and dry.
- Once the water boils, add the orange slices and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the orange slices to the bowl of cold water. Discard the boiled water.
- Add 4 cups (800 g) of sugar and 4 cups (950 ml) 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 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. 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 no longer wet to the touch. Place the slices in a well-ventilated room or aim a fan at them to speed up the drying process.
- Once dry, 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 for best results.
You can reserve the leftover orange simple syrup in a bottle and use it in cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks, and desserts!
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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.