Candied Orange Slices in Syrup (Caramelized Orange)

5 from 7 votes
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How to make candied orange slices (caramelized orange in syrup and optionally sugar-coated) with just 3 ingredients and a simple process; perfect for adding to cakes, desserts, and serving alongside yogurt!

Candied orange slices in a jar with some oranges next to it

Caramelized orange is to dessert what salad is to mains – the perfect accompaniment. Okay, I may be slightly overstating things – but I won’t deny that these candied orange slices (aka caramelized orange) are officially a new favorite of mine. It’s more than a garnish; these candied oranges in syrup become the perfect ‘cherry on top’ for tons of dishes.

Who knew that simmering orange in cardamom syrup could result in the most fantastic syrup sweet, tangy orange perfection. Perfect for adding to desserts like this pistachio and orange cake, tarts, cheesecake, chocolate pudding, with ice-cream, and even serve with yogurt for a delicious breakfast or dessert treat.

Candied orange slices in a jar with syrup

Best of all, this caramelized orange method can be used with all kinds of oranges. With there being some kind of orange in-season at all times of the year, it means you never have to miss out. For this particular DIY, I used some blood oranges and navel oranges, but keep reading for more suggestions.

The candied orange slices also make for a great edible gift. If you dry and sugar-coat the slices, they have a 3-4 month shelf life! Perfect for Christmas and other special occasions. And if you decide to make these candied orange slices, why not make Candied Lemon Slices at the same time!

The Candied Orange Ingredients

Ingrdients for candied oranges
  • Oranges: unless you plan on peeling the orange, make sure to use organic oranges to avoid nasty pesticides. It’s also best to use seedless varieties when possible.
  • Sugar & water: to make the simple sugar syrup, you need equal parts of both.
  • Spices: cardamom and vanilla pods. These are optional but help to up the syrup’s flavor – perfect if you plan to use that with the slices. 

Optional add-ins: a little cinnamon would work well with the citrusy flavor too. You can experiment with other herbs and spices also – like ginger.

Variation: this recipe works well with most citrusy-type fruits, including lemons and grapefruit.

How To Make Candied Orange Slices

Step 1: Prepare the orange slices

This is best done using a mandoline for thin, even slices. Aim for slices that are around 3-4mm thick. 

Orange slices on a plate

The slices need to be thick enough that they’ll hold their shape but not too thick that they’ll be hard to caramelize and take longer to dry.

Step 2: Prepare the simple syrup

In a large pot, add the sugar and water and heat over medium, stirring gently. Add the cardamom pods and the seeds from a vanilla pod to the syrup and bring to a soft boil.

Steps for making candied orange slices

Optional step: Check the FAQs for a top tip on preparing the orange slices, so the rind isn’t as bitter (if you plan to keep the skin on the slices).

Step 3: Add the orange slices

As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat and add the orange slices to the pot. Allow the orange slices to simmer for between 30-45 minutes until the rinds start becoming slightly translucent. Occasionally turn the slices over (every 10-15 minutes) to make sure they’re evenly soaking in the syrup.

You can simmer them for up to an hour. However, I wanted to keep the syrup for other uses, and since it evaporates and reduces more as it simmers, I didn’t cook for longer.

Orange slices in a pan with sugar syrup

Step 4: Store or Dry

At this point, you have two options:

  • Store the candied orange slices in a jar with the leftover orange simple syrup.

OR

  • Allow the slices to dry for up to 48 hours (usually overnight is enough) in a single layer on a parchment-lined surface or cooling rack (with a tray for drips underneath). This will help the slices dry out and become perfectly chewy.

You can also speed this process up using a dehydrator or oven (on the lowest heat). 

For less sticky slices, optionally cover them with a sprinkling of sugar.

Orange sugar syrup in a spoon

How To Use

There are tons of ways to use candied orange, whether using them in syrup, dried, or dried and coated in sugar.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite ways of using them is!

How To Store

You can keep the prepared candied orange slices in syrup in an airtight jar in the fridge for between 3-4 weeks.

Alternatively, if you plan to slightly dehydrate the caramelized orange and roll them in sugar, these can be kept in an airtight container for between 2-3 months.

Candied orange slices in a jar with syrup

FAQs

How do you remove bitterness from orange peel?

As gorgeous as the non-peeled candied orange slices look, I know people avoid them for the peel’s bitterness. Luckily, there is a trick to remove some of this.

Place the orange slices in a saucepan with tap/ room temp water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove the water and add in more room temp water to repeat the process. Once finished, drain the water again, place the peels in ice water to quickly cool them (to stop them from cooking and becoming too soft), and then continue with the caramelizing process.

Top Tip: You may be able to save the water used to boil the oranges and add some cinnamon, ginger, and/or honey or sweetener of choice for a simple, soothing warm ‘tea.’

What oranges will work for this?

Most oranges will—Tangerines, mandarins, navel oranges, tangelos, Valencia, etc. 

Grapefruit will also work, as will lemon/lime slices. Though, it may be best to slightly increase the sugar content to balance their bitterness. 

I suggest using whatever is in season and/or available at your local farmer’s markets for the best flavor and results. 

Candied orange slices in a jar

How to use leftover orange syrup?

There are several ways to use the orange simple syrup. This particular time, I used this blood orange syrup for this blood orange and pistachio cake (along with the caramelized orange slices). 

  • It can, likewise, be used to brush and drizzle over various cakes and bake. 
  • The syrup can also be kept for when you next want to make candied oranges. It will also work as a simple syrup for lemonade, cocktails, etc.
  • I’ll often serve the slices in their syrup of yogurt and various dishes too.

Recipe Notes

  • Feel free to peel the skin of the oranges if preferred. You could add the orange zest to the syrup rather than the larger pieces.
  • Make sure to use ORGANIC citrus fruits if you’re using the peel too.
  • Swap out the oranges based on what’s in season and available to use. Lemons and grapefruit will also work. 

If you try this candied orange slices recipe (caramelized orange), then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and would love to see your recreations – just tag @AlphaFoodie.

Candied Orange Slices in Syrup (Caramelized Orange)

5 from 7 votes
By: Samira
How to make candied orange slices (in syrup and optionally sugar-coated) with just 3 ingredients and a simple process; perfect for adding to cakes, desserts, and serving alongside yogurt!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 30 Slices (more or less depending on thickness)

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 3 oranges or more if wanted. Any will work
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean optional
  • 4 cardamom pods optional

Instructions 

  • This is best done using a mandoline for thin, even slices. Aim for slices that are around 3-4mm thick.
    The slices need to be thick enough that they'll hold their shape but not too thick that they'll be hard to caramelize and take longer to dry.
  • In a large pot, add the sugar and water and heat over medium, stirring gently. Add the cardamom pods and the seeds from a vanilla pod to the syrup and bring to a soft boil.
    (Optional step): Check the FAQs in the blog post above for a top tip on preparing the orange slices, so the rind isn't as bitter (if you plan to keep the skin on the slices).
  • As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat and add the orange slices to the pot. Allow the orange slices to simmer for between 30-45 minutes until the rinds start becoming slightly translucent. Occasionally turn the slices over (every 10-15 minutes) to make sure they're evenly soaking in the syrup.
    You can simmer them for up to an hour; however, I wanted to keep the syrup for other uses, and it evaporates and reduces more as it simmers, so I didn't.

Store or Dry

  • At this point, you have two options:
    Store the candied orange slices in a jar with the leftover orange simple syrup
    OR
  • Allow the slices to dry for up to 48 hours (usually overnight is enough) in a single layer on a parchment-lined surface or cooling rack (with a tray for drips underneath). This will help the slices dry out and become perfectly chewy.
    You can also speed this process up using a dehydrator or oven (on the lowest heat).
    For less sticky slices, optionally cover them with a sprinkling of sugar.

How To Store

  • You can keep the prepared candied orange slices in syrup in an airtight jar in the fridge for between 3-4 weeks.
    Alternatively, if you plan to dry the pieces and roll them in sugar, these can be kept in an airtight container for between 2-3 months.

Video

Notes

  • Feel free to peel the skin of the oranges if preferred. You could add the orange zest to the syrup rather than the larger pieces.
  • Make sure to use ORGANIC citrus fruits if you’re using the peel too.
  • Swap out the oranges based on what’s in season and available to use. Lemons and grapefruit will also work. 
Course: Dessert, DIYs
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3-4 Months

Nutrition

Serving: 1Candied slice, Calories: 33kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 27mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 29IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I had some organic mandarin oranges that were wilting and this was the perfect way to use them up! I saved the syrup to use in pancakes and dehydrated the slices in my oven. Thank you for sharing this recipe