Candied Lemon Peel

When I was young, my mother often made candied citrus fruit – usually grapefruit and orange. I didn’t quite have the palate for these at first, and couldn’t grasp the concept that is was okay to eat the peels! But as I got older I became more fond of them.

Recently I realized that I’ve never made any kind of candied citrus, so I thought I’d make a small batch. I typically see these during the holidays; they make such pretty gifts, especially partially dipped in dark chocolate.

But instead I thought I’d make candied lemon peel for a fun summer treat, perhaps chopping them up to add to home-made granola. And just to say I’ve made them!

Here’s what I did, based on this recipe from Epicurious.

Candied Lemon Peel
Printable recipe below

3 large lemons
4 cups white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

Place rack on rimmed baking sheet.

Cut ends of each lemon. Score each one lengthwise in quarters, butting just through peel, and not the flesh. Carefully pull off each peel quarter in 1 piece.

Cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/4” wide strips. Cook peel in saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour peel into a colander. Rinse.

Bring 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Add drained lemon peel to saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lemon peel is very soft and looks translucent, about 40 minutes.

Using fork, transfer lemon peel, 2 or 3 strips at a time, to prepared rack. Separate strips and arrange on rack. Let peel drain 15 minutes.

Sprinkle peel generously with sugar.

Turn strips over and sprinkle second side generously with sugar. I used white sugar, above left, and raw sugar, above right. Let dry uncovered overnight.

Candied lemon peel can be made up to 1 week ahead.

Keep refrigerated.

Attention! Do not throw away that wonderful lemon-infused simple syrup! Store it to use in cocktails! No filter, it’s really that pretty!

And, use the peeled lemons in a lemon dressing. I added olive oil, parsley, garlic, and salt to the blended lemons based on my whole lemon dressing recipe.

Turns out there was little difference between the white granulated sugar and the raw sugar. I’d personally just stick with white.


By Published On: October 8th, 201888 Comments on Candied Lemon Peel

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Italian Goodness October 8, 2018 at 7:17 AM - Reply

    I love this! I wonder if my daughters will like it. I have to try !!!

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 7:31 AM - Reply

      It probably depends how old they are!

  2. mencanmakehomes October 8, 2018 at 8:26 AM - Reply

    Nice. I also love to make orange rinds occasionally. They are so versatile in usage + the fun for the kids !

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 8:45 AM - Reply

      I didn’t like them when I was young but I think it’s because I didn’t think you were supposed to eat orange peels!

      • mencanmakehomes October 8, 2018 at 1:54 PM

        actually they are slightly bitter on the first bite. extremely slightly :-) . maybe thats why too

  3. Kiki October 8, 2018 at 8:43 AM - Reply

    Ooh I once had orange peel on my want-to-make list but the instructions were way more complicated than the ones in your recipe, so I just forgot about it.
    I think I’ll try your version for a winter treat.

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 8:46 AM - Reply

      It was very easy. Plus you get the lemons to play with!

  4. Bill (Suppertime Blues) October 8, 2018 at 8:48 AM - Reply

    I absolutely adore how you used up the whole lemon along the way! You know, I haven’t made candied citrus either… I preserve lemons but that’s way different. On the to-try list, no question. Thanks, Mimi.

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      Now I don’t feel so bad! They were very easy, and got gobbled up quickly! Now I need to preserve lemons…. and make limoncello… so much to do still…

  5. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso October 8, 2018 at 9:35 AM - Reply

    Haven’t made candied citrus in ages, and this definitely motivates me to go back to it. Love the use of all parts of the lemon!

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 10:00 AM - Reply

      That was the best parts of making the recipe!

  6. October 8, 2018 at 10:42 AM - Reply

    Have you ever heard of Buddha’s Hand? 2014 was the last time I made candied citrus and I also infused some lemon “fingers” with vodka. I did a post on it 4 years ago – guess I should make some again with the holidays coming up.

  7. Ron October 8, 2018 at 10:47 AM - Reply

    Mimi, I love candied ginger, so I know I’m going to love your candied lemon peel. Such a fun thing to prepare and so many uses. I really like the salad dressing idea.

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 11:42 AM - Reply

      It’s called whole lemon dressing on the blog; there’s a search on every page. Fabulous stuff! In this case I didn’t use the peels, though, obviously! The candied peel never made it into any granola!

  8. 2pots2cook October 8, 2018 at 10:55 AM - Reply

    Oh dear Mimi ! Thank you so much :-) My grandmother used to make Candied Lemon Peel every Christmas. It seems I have to start making it on my own ! Thank you for the recipe ! So great post !

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 11:38 AM - Reply

      Thanks! I guess I’m not the only one who hasn’t followed suit!

  9. David October 8, 2018 at 12:01 PM - Reply

    We love candied citrus – we make our own for the holidays, especially for our panforte! Love how yours looks!

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 12:03 PM - Reply

      Thank you David! I’ve only made panforte once, but I (obviously) didn’t make my own candied fruit. I bet that makes it so much better!

  10. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward October 8, 2018 at 1:12 PM - Reply

    Your lemon dressing is fantastic. Great tip for cocktails! 🍸🍋

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      I still haven’t used the lemon simple syrup. Ideas?

      • Jeff the Chef October 11, 2018 at 6:52 AM

        Soak it into a butter cake!

      • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 6:59 AM

        Great idea! I actually need to taste it to see how sweet it is. I was originally going to concoct a cocktail, but then it’s become a fixture in my fridge and I forgot about it!

  11. Laura October 8, 2018 at 2:15 PM - Reply

    Mimi, these are beautiful! I’ve long wanted to make candied orange peel, I imagine I could use this same recipe, don’t you think? I’m hoping to dip them in chocolate for Christmas gifts! Thanks for the recipe and all of the photos!

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      Yes, the recipe works for all citrus. I’ve actually purchased gift for friends of candied orange peels dipped in chocolate, but never bought some for myself! Now I guess I can make them myself !

  12. Adrianne October 8, 2018 at 2:16 PM - Reply

    I like this recipe Mimi! It is unique and original. I haven’t tried them but I know where to find a good recipe for them now. Thanks!!

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 8:51 AM - Reply

      Thanks Adrianne. It is a good and easy recipe, which is always nice!

  13. Karen (Back Road Journal) October 8, 2018 at 2:45 PM - Reply

    I’ve made preserved lemons but have never made any candied peel. I should as I really enjoy it. Thank you for the inspiration. I’m pinning.

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 8:53 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Karen. Well now I need to preserve lemons, cause I’ve never done that! So much left to do…

  14. Mary October 8, 2018 at 3:58 PM - Reply

    This is something I have always meant to do, but it seemed such a rigmarole. Your recipe looks so easy. That’s enough to get me going. Love orange rind dipped in dark Chocolate – just think how much I could have now.
    If one didn’t gobble it all up as soon as it was made, how long do you think it would keep?
    Lovely, yummy stuff!

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 4:34 PM - Reply

      If you could keep it dry, like in a canister with holes in the lid, i think it should keep a couple of weeks. I say that because I have extreme humidity where I live and I couldn’t put them out without the risk of mold. In the fridge they might get sticky, but you could always put more sugar on them right before serving.

      • Jeff the Chef October 11, 2018 at 6:56 AM

        I often crystalize ginger. If I understand this correctly, once you sugar the candied peel, it’s called “crystalized” peel. I let mine dry on the rack for at least a day, so that they are quite dry. Then I store them in jars in the cupboard, and they seem to keep forever. But I don’t live in a high-humidity environment.

      • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 6:58 AM

        That makes such a huge difference. I can’t even leave bread out. And we have air conditioners! Good to know about crystalized vs. candied.

  15. Debra October 8, 2018 at 4:04 PM - Reply

    My neighbor has a tree and I hate it when the lemons go to waste! I think I’ll try to “borrow” some. :-)

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 4:31 PM - Reply

      Perfect! As long as they won’t call the cops on you.

  16. Gerlinde October 8, 2018 at 5:55 PM - Reply

    Thanks Mimi, I was looking for a good recipe for candied citrus . I still have some lemons left on my tree. I made preserved lemons a couple months ago and I usually use them for savory dishes and I use candied citrus for desserts. I have to try your dressing.

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 5:57 PM - Reply

      Since I’ve never made candied citrus before I’m not away of how different recipes might be, but this one seemed easy and straight forward. The whole lemon dressing that I made once is exceptional. It would be perfect for a good, organic dressing. Search for whole lemon dressing. There’s a search on every page.

    • Gerlinde October 8, 2018 at 9:46 PM - Reply

      Your whole lemon dressing looks great. I am going to try it the next time I make a salad. I have a recipe for a lemon cake where you boil the whole lemon with the peel before baking with it.

      • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:04 AM

        Oh, that sounds wonderful!

  17. Jodi October 8, 2018 at 8:31 PM - Reply

    I think I would LOVE this!!!

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:05 AM - Reply

      I’m sure you would!

  18. Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 9, 2018 at 1:09 AM - Reply

    I love candied peel and grapefruit is my favourite :)

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:04 AM - Reply

      I’ll eventually try them all. They’re just such yummy little treats!

  19. sherry October 9, 2018 at 2:43 AM - Reply

    i like the sound of whole lemon dressing. these peels look delicious but a lot of work:) I may not get around to making them. :) cheers sherry

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:01 AM - Reply

      It didn’t seem like much work, honestly. Just a couple of steps.

  20. Linda Duffin October 9, 2018 at 4:36 AM - Reply

    So much better than shop-bought and I love the way you used the whole lemon. No waste!

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:00 AM - Reply

      And it surprisingly makes a wonderful dressing, even though in this case I didn’t include the peel. Try the dressing some time with a whole lemon. It’s outstanding!

      • Linda Duffin October 11, 2018 at 10:27 AM

        I’ve tried it! It’s really good. xx

  21. Healthy World Cuisine October 9, 2018 at 7:12 AM - Reply

    Great little recipe and with the holidays around the corner could see so many uses for them. Even nice for gifts.

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:21 AM - Reply

      Yes! Definitely. I will be making these again. And a bigger batch!

  22. Our Growing Paynes October 9, 2018 at 11:46 AM - Reply

    I’d make this just for the syrup to put in the cocktails. :) They are so pretty.

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 12:42 PM - Reply

      HAHAHAHA! I haven’t figured out how to use it yet, but I will!

  23. Emma October 9, 2018 at 1:30 PM - Reply

    I love candied citrus peel, especially in a fruit cake. I have never tried making my own I shall defiantly give it a go now.

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 1:33 PM - Reply

      You’ll love them! They’re really fun to eat.

  24. Angela@eatlivehappy October 9, 2018 at 3:50 PM - Reply

    I love These!

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:28 AM - Reply

      Thanks! They’re yummy.

  25. camparigirl October 9, 2018 at 8:57 PM - Reply

    I hated candied fruit for most of my life, picking it out, bit by bit, from panettone slices. Like you, I have grown to love it and make it when I feel patient enough!

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:27 AM - Reply

      Well it also just seemed wrong, didn’t it?!! Eating peels?!!

      • camparigirl October 16, 2018 at 7:13 PM

        It was something about their texture for me.

  26. kathryninthekitchen October 10, 2018 at 1:29 AM - Reply

    Lovely use of the whole lemon Mimi….. I have only preserved lemons (always have a stash in the pantry) and candied oranges, both in syrup to decorate cakes and dipped in chocolate for a sweet’ish’ treat after a meal with coffee. I will be trying your candied lemon along with the delicious dressing! Both lovely gifts too! 🍋

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:26 AM - Reply

      The whole lemon dressing (I think there’s a link to it) is crazy good!

  27. kitchenriffs October 10, 2018 at 10:13 AM - Reply

    When I was young I always thought it weird to eat the peel, too. But I LOVE candied fruit peels, especially lemon, so I’m digging this recipe. Never made them myself, though — I should give this a try. Thanks!

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 7:03 AM - Reply

      Those old food memories are funny, aren’t they?!! Thank goodness our palates change as we age. One thing – at least double this recipe, because they’ll go fast!

  28. October 10, 2018 at 10:52 AM - Reply

    These candied lemon peel are delightful! My parents used to buy my brother and I tubs of fruit and nut mixes for Christmas and those tubs would often contain candied fruits. Like lemon and orange. I always wondered how they were made. Now I know. Really simple too. Thanks Mimi.

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 10:53 AM - Reply

      Definitely simple, and very good!

  29. Lauren @ Lemon & Mocha October 10, 2018 at 1:47 PM - Reply

    I’ve never candied citrus before! I will have to try it – I love all your ideas from partially dipping in dark chocolate to using the leftover infused syrup for cocktails! Yum!

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 6:02 PM - Reply

      Thanks, Lauren. I would recommend you double the batch, because they’re good!

  30. Susan@savoringtimeinthekitchen October 10, 2018 at 5:11 PM - Reply

    I’m another one who has never made candied citrus peel! You are definitely an inspiration to make me try it and love your ideas for using the syrup and rest of the lemon!! Thank you!

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 6:01 PM - Reply

      Fabulous! If you use this recipe, I’d certainly suggest doubling what you make!

  31. Conor Bofin October 11, 2018 at 4:30 AM - Reply

    Lovely and simple dish Mimi. I wonder if this method could make fore more interesting fruit cakes?

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 7:00 AM - Reply

      It’s got to be better than the candied fruits I see at holiday times…

  32. nahdalaskitchen October 11, 2018 at 5:37 AM - Reply

    Yum~! Great use-all-of-it-in-one-go game plan! I make candied citrus quite often since they’re fabulous as edible deco on my desserts and chocolates :D Sadly not all of them result in a syrup worth keeping (pomelo and grapefruit for example… ick.) but I bet they’d all work in your mouthwatering whole.fruit dressing! Which reminds me… I have a couple of blood oranges in the pantry! *rolls up sleeves* thanks for the inspiration~!

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 7:02 AM - Reply

      Fun! Good to know about the grapefruit syrup. Because I love grapefruit and will probably be candying/crystallizing those next!

      • nahdalaskitchen October 11, 2018 at 7:13 AM

        Yay, a citrusy love shared~! You could give the syrup a try anyways, but for me personally, the clash of sweet and bitter was too much – the crystallized peel is delicious though :D

  33. Jeff the Chef October 11, 2018 at 7:06 AM - Reply

    I have an obsession with not wasting food, so I’ve often experimented with ways to eat citrus peels. I have to confess right up front, though, that I also easily embrace bitter and especially bittersweet tastes. Most Christmases, I candy kumquats and use them as a garnish for fluted glasses of champagne (spooning them into the glass – with a bit of their syrup – and then pouring the champagne over), as well as in individual spice cakes that I cover with warm toffee sauce. I love candied peels covered in dark chocolate (or milk chocolate … or, who am I kidding, any chocolate), but the tempering process, ugh!

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 7:08 AM - Reply

      So when are you inviting me over to your house?

  34. Julie is Hostess At Heart October 11, 2018 at 9:34 AM - Reply

    So pretty! I’d love to serve those eels on the side of some tea. The simple syrup and dressing sound amazing too!

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 11:19 AM - Reply

      Thank you. The dressing is incredible. Try making it with a whole lemon some time!

  35. FrugalHausfrau October 11, 2018 at 12:22 PM - Reply

    I love candied citrus and have made it on my site, too. My photo of the flavored liquid was a bit unfortunate…it looked like maybe it should have been turned in at the doc’s office, lol! Beautiful post Mimi!

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 6:07 PM - Reply

      Ha! Ew.

  36. David @ Spiced October 12, 2018 at 7:39 AM - Reply

    Candied lemon peel (or really any citrus peel) is one of my secret dessert weapons! Sure, it takes some extra time…but it’s a surprisingly easy recipe. But with that said, I don’t think I’ve made candied lemon peel in quite some time. I’m gonna have to do that soon! Love the photos here, Mimi!

    • chef mimi October 12, 2018 at 8:04 AM - Reply

      Aw, thanks David! This recipe was great, but I’ve never used any other. So I have no idea how it compares. It didn’t seem like a lot of work.

  37. Laura October 13, 2018 at 6:14 PM - Reply

    Great post Chef Mimi – I always feel a little sad when I juice a lemon and throw the skin away (hence why I often preserve whole lemons)….

    • chef mimi October 13, 2018 at 6:20 PM - Reply

      That makes total sense!

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