Candied Lemon Peel

Candied lemon peel in a shallow white bowl with lemon leaves in the background.
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With just a few simple ingredients, you can turn scraps of lemon rinds into sweet, zesty candied lemon peel. This is a great way to reduce food waste, and the options for using it are endless!

  • Author: alexandra
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes (up to 55 minutes)
  • Total Time: 50 minutes (up to 65 minutes)
  • Yield: 2 - 2 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: candy
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • 7-9 fresh lemons, preferably organic
  • 18 3/8 ounces (2 5/8 cups) granulated sugar, divided use
  • 1 1/8 cups (9 ounces) water


  1. Rinse lemons. Slice off the top and bottom of each and score the skin into quarters.
  2. Remove peels from lemons and slice into strips about ¼”-⅜” wide.
  3. Place strips of lemon peel in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, use a metal colander to carefully strain water from peel. Repeat this process at least 3 times to remove the bitter flavor present in the peel.
  4. Setting peel aside, combine 9 ounces (1 1/8 cups) water and 15 3/4 ounces (2 ¼ cups) sugar in the same saucepan used for step 3. Heat over medium-low, whisking occasionally just until the sugar dissolves. Cease whisking and simmer mixture for 8-10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed, until the temperature of the syrup reaches 230°F-235°F.
  5. Add peels to the sugar syrup and cook at a simmer until the peel is mostly translucent. For me, this takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes, but the timing can vary greatly. Avoid stirring the mixture or letting the syrup boil during this process.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the candied peels from the syrup, saving it for another use. Transfer peel in a single layer to a wire cooling rack set over a large piece of parchment (to collect drips). Let cool for about 15 minutes. Toss the peel in the remaining 1 3/4 - 2 5/8 ounces (¼ - ⅜ cup) sugar as needed to coat. Transfer back to wire rack to finish drying - at least a few hours - before storing.


Storage and shelf life:

  • Candied citrus peel is best kept in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Store in your pantry or another cool, dry place.

Helpful Tips:

  • For thinner candied peel, use the citrus zest only, removing the inner white pith. Blanch only once before candying.
  • To curl candied citrus peel, let it cool slightly and then twist it around a toothpick or straw while it’s still soft. Let it dry in this shape, and then store as usual.