Looking for a fun way to wow your friends this holiday season? How about decorating your cakes with candied orange slices! You’d be surprised at how easy it is to make these tasty treats. You only need three ingredients and about 30 minutes to transform normal orange slices into little bites of candy. As a bonus, you’ll end up with some orange flavored simple syrup, too. Perfect for making homemade sodas and cocktails!
A Quick Note on Citrus
We use orange slices in this recipe because they’re our favorite size for cake decorating. Feel free to substitute any sweet citrus fruit that’s in season, like blood oranges or tangerines. You can also use this recipe to make candied limes, lemons, and grapefruit. Since those fruits are a bit more tart, you may want to consider adding an extra 1/4 cup of sugar to balance out the acidity.
How to Make Candied Orange Slices
Yield: 10 to 12 orange slices (plus 2½ cups orange simple syrup)
- 2¼ cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 10 to 12 medium orange slices
Step 1: Make simple syrup
Simple syrup is one of the easiest concoctions to make! It’s as simple as combining the sugar and water over medium-high heat and bringing the mixture to a boil. Usually, you’d make it in a small saucepan, but since we’re add orange slices to the mix later, let’s use a Dutch oven to give ourselves plenty of room. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium.
Step 2: Add the slices
Now that your simple syrup is nice and hot, add your orange slices. Drop the slices in one at a time to make sure they don’t stick together. Continue to cook the oranges over medium heat until they’re translucent, about 20 minutes, turning them from time to time. Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the slices are tender but still intact.
Step 3: Cool and enjoy!
That’s it! How easy was that? Now that they’re fully cooked, use a slotted spoon or tongs to carefully remove the slices to a wire rack or a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Let them stand at room temperature overnight until they’re fully dried before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You might not need that syrup anymore for this recipe, but don’t throw it away! Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make a mixed drink or a sparkling orange soda.
The slices and syrup are both good for 3-4 weeks when stored in the fridge, so have some fun with them! Candied orange slices make an excellent topping for pies and cakes (Psst: Learn how to decorate a cake like a pro from our Test Kitchen masters). They also make a fun addition to salads when cut into quarters, or you can serve them as-is as a sweet snack. When we want to get really fancy, we’ll make that snack gourmet by dipping half of the slice into chocolate before serving.