Americans waste about 30-40% of their food every year. That’s just ridiculous. Not only is that super bad for the environment, think about all the money wasted that is! Candied citrus peels are a great zero waste cooking recipe. You get to use every part of the citrus without having to put anything in the trash or compost bin. Plus, the recipe is so easy. I mean, for homemade candy, it’s about as easy as it gets.

I am a huge fan of zero waste cooking not only for the eco-friendly benefits but also I’m just a giant cheapskate. Getting as much out of my grocery budget as humanly possible, is one of my special skill sets. I feel as though I’m becoming that weirdo who somehow wastes -10% of their food because I find recipes for all the parts that aren’t traditionally eaten.

candied citrus peels

Candied citrus can be used for all sorts of things as well. Garnish cakes and cupcakes with them for a little extra decorum and/or taste. Wrap them up in little mason jars, put a ribbon on it and give them as easy Christmas or fall gifts. Eat them plain for a tasty snack. They’re pretty versatile treat that no one can resist.

But I guess I could sit here all day and talk about how great candied citrus peels are, but that’s not why you’re here. So let’s just dive into the recipe.


  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 large naval orange peels
  • 2 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 10 cups of water


  1. Make sure your fruit is clean and sticker free before peeling.
  2. Once peeled, cut your orange or citrus peels into 1/4 inch strips.
  3. Using a small sauce pan add your oranges to the pan with enough water just to cover them (about 2 cups).
  4. Bring the water to a boil + then drain the oranges. Refill the pan with another 2 cups of water and repeat twice more.
  5. After the third time you drain the oranges, add 2 cups of sugar over the top of the peels, the vanilla, + about 3-4 cups of water.
  6. Bring the peels to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Allow the peels to simmer for about 30 minutes or until the edges begin to look translucent.
  8. Remove the peels and lay them on a drying rack for 3 hours.
  9. Put the last 1/3 cup of sugar in a mixing bowl and coat the orange peels in the sugar. I did it one by one to ensure an even coverage.
  10. Put in an air tight container and enjoy!
candied citrus peels

**Be sure to save the water at the bottom of your pan. You my dear friend, have created a fresh orange-y simple syrup that is delicious to add into drinks (especially hot cocoa), and summer refreshers.

Simply add strain the syrup into a mason jar or an air tight container, stick a label on it, and stick it in the fridge! **

Final Thoughts…

Candied citrus peels are a healthier option for some sweet candy. You by no means have to use oranges. Lemons and grapefruits also work great with this recipe.

Reducing food waste isn’t always an easy thing. But by starting small with simple recipes like this can help you save the environment and your budget.

Food is a wonderful gift that can bring us all together, we shouldn’t waste it.

Have you made these candied orange peels? Let me know what you think of them in the comments below! And if you loved them, share this article and spread the love!

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