How to Make Candied Orange Slices: Perfect for Desserts and Garnishes

There’s something utterly delightful about the sweet, citrusy burst of candied orange slices. Not only do they make a stunning garnish for desserts and cocktails, but they also serve as a tasty treat on their own. If you’ve ever wondered how to create these glossy, jewel-like slices, you’re in for a treat.

Key Takeaways

  • What Candied Orange Slices Are: Thinly cut pieces of orange cooked in sugar syrup until glossy and translucent, making them versatile for garnishes or as a standalone treat.
  • Ingredients Required: Fresh, organic oranges, granulated sugar, water, and optional spices like vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, or cardamom pods.
  • Preparation Steps: Clean the oranges, slice them uniformly, prepare a sugar syrup, and simmer the slices until they achieve a translucent and chewy texture.
  • Creative Usage: Perfect for decorating desserts, adding into batters, and as gourmet garnishes for cocktails; pairs well with chocolate and ice cream.

Understanding the Basics of Candied Orange Slices

What Are Candied Orange Slices?

Candied orange slices are thinly cut pieces of orange cooked in a sugar syrup until the peel and fruit become translucent and glossy. These slices retain the citrus flavor of fresh oranges but add a sweet, slightly chewy texture that makes them versatile in culinary applications. They can be used to decorate cakes, incorporated into holiday recipes, or simply enjoyed as a sweet snack.

The History and Cultural Significance

Candied fruits, including orange slices, have a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The technique of candying fruits was originally developed to preserve them. Spanning several cultures and regions, candied fruits became synonymous with festive celebrations, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. In some cultures, they’re intricately linked with Christmas traditions, where candied orange slices often adorn holiday desserts.

Ancient techniques involve soaking fruit in honey or sugar syrup to prolong shelf life. By the 14th century, recipes for candied fruits became widespread in Europe. Apart from being preservation methods, these techniques contributed to the development of various confectioneries.

Today, candied orange slices continue to hold cultural importance, especially during festive seasons. They represent a blend of culinary tradition and modern confectionery innovation, showcasing how simple ingredients like oranges and sugar can create a timeless treat.

Ingredients Needed

Choosing the Right Oranges

For making candied orange slices, I recommend selecting fresh, organic oranges. Organic oranges ensure there are no pesticides or chemicals on the peel. Look for oranges with firm, thick skin and vibrant color. Varieties such as Navel and Valencia work well because of their balanced sweetness and abundant juice content.

Additional Ingredients and Substitutes

Besides oranges, you’ll need granulated sugar and water. Use 2 cups of granulated sugar and 2 cups of water to create the sugar syrup. A pinch of salt enhances the flavor balance. For added depth, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, or cardamom pods can be added during the syrup cooking process. These aromatic spices infuse the slices, providing a fragrant twist.

Preparation Steps

Cleaning and Slicing the Oranges

Start by thoroughly washing the oranges under cold water to remove any dirt or residues. Use a vegetable brush for better cleaning. Select a sharp knife, and cut off both ends of each orange. Slice the oranges into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Make sure the slices are uniform in thickness to ensure even cooking. Discard any seeds visible in the slices.

Preparing the Syrup

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 cup of water, and a pinch of salt. Use medium heat to dissolve the sugar in the water, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, add aromatic spices like a couple of cinnamon sticks or a few cardamom pods for extra flavor. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. The syrup should slightly thicken, forming a glossy liquid without caramelizing. This prepared syrup will be used to candy the orange slices.

Cooking Process

Boiling the Slices

Add sliced oranges to the prepared sugar syrup. Ensure each slice is submerged for even coating. Boil on medium heat for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the slices for translucency. They should become tender without falling apart. Reduce heat if the syrup thickens too fast to prevent burning.

Achieving the Perfect Texture

Remove boiled slices using a slotted spoon. Place them on a wire rack to cool. Ensure air circulates to avoid sticking. Check texture after cooling. Properly candied slices should be slightly firm yet chewy. Adjust boiling time if slices seem too soft or too hard.

Creative Uses for Candied Orange Slices

Decorations and Garnishes

Candied orange slices add visual appeal to various dishes. They enhance aesthetics on the tops of cakes, tarts, or pies, providing a bright, glossy embellishment. Their vibrant color and translucent appearance make them perfect for decorating holiday treats or elegant desserts. Edible arrangements and cocktail garnishes also benefit from their sweet, citrusy flavor. For a sophisticated touch, I sometimes dip half of each slice in melted dark chocolate.

Incorporating Into Desserts

Candied orange slices infuse desserts with a sweet, tangy kick. I fold chopped slices into cake batters, muffin mixes, and cookie doughs. These pieces introduce pockets of flavor that enhance the overall taste experience. Tarts and cheesecakes benefit from a layer of candied orange slices on top, adding a chewy texture that contrasts with creamy fillings. For a refreshing twist, I often pair them with vanilla ice cream or blend them into sorbet mixtures.


Making candied orange slices at home is a rewarding experience that opens up a world of culinary possibilities. With their tender texture and vibrant flavor, they can elevate a variety of dishes from desserts to cocktails. Whether you use them as cake decorations or pair them with ice cream, these versatile treats are sure to impress. Plus, dipping them in dark chocolate adds a sophisticated touch that’s hard to resist. So why not give it a try and add a burst of citrusy sweetness to your next culinary creation?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key steps to making candied orange slices?

The key steps involve slicing the oranges thinly, simmering them in a simple sugar syrup until tender, and ensuring the syrup doesn’t burn. Adjust boiling times to get the desired consistency.

How do you prevent the sugar syrup from burning?

Maintain a low to medium heat and keep a close eye on the syrup, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a splash of water to prevent it from thickening too quickly and burning.

How can candied orange slices be used in baking?

Candied orange slices can be used as decorations on cakes and pies, and incorporated into the batter of cakes and cookies for added flavor and texture.

What desserts pair well with candied orange slices?

They pair beautifully with ice cream, blended into sorbets, or used to garnish tarts and cocktails. They add both flavor and visual appeal to a variety of desserts.

Can candied orange slices be dipped in chocolate?

Yes, dipping candied orange slices in dark chocolate is a popular way to add a sophisticated touch. It creates a delightful combination of sweet and bitter flavors.