Candied Citrus Peel

When I was growing up my mother loved to host dinner parties.  This was in the 70’s and not the era of dialling in a caterer, ordering in pre-cooked meals or even driving to the local deli for an antipasto platter.  That isn’t to say that some didn’t take a few shortcuts.  I remember being taken to plenty of parties where the appetisers were bowls of pimento stuffed olives or salted peanuts and my favourite, potato chips.

Candied Citrus Peels

Candied Citrus Peels

Those who went the extra mile prepared things on toothpicks.  You weren’t a proper housewife unless you had a drawer full of toothpicks.  Cubed cheese and pieces of tinned pineapple were stabbed onto a toothpick then poked into a naval orange.  Or it could have been cabanossi and cheese or olives and cheese, or for the adventurous, a combination.

Excellent for dinner parties

Excellent for dinner parties

My mother was a DIY entertainer and loved to prepare everything from scratch.  Mum’s appetisers were usually straight from the oven and were prunes wrapped in bacon and fastened with a toothpick, (she had a drawer full), mini-quiches with homemade pastry (pastry sheets not yet available and there were just two types of quiche, Lorraine and Florentine), and my favourite, slices of bread with the crusts removed pushed into muffin tins then filled with a variety of fillings usually including chicken, mushrooms and asparagus.  Wonderful but as these were served hot, you had to be careful the heat didn’t take burn the skin off the roof of your mouth!

Not everything emerged from the oven.  On the one or two days temperatures in New Zealand soared, there was a cooling handmade cheese ball that had been rolled in parsley and finely chopped walnuts and served impressively with a variety of crackers.  Must find that recipe!

Oranges and lemons

Oranges and lemons

And the canapes were just the start of the everything-made-by-hand dinner party.  Progressing to the ‘something sweet’ to serve with coffee, mum had a variety of chocolate creations and one of them was candied citrus peels dipped in chocolate.  These were considered sophisticated dinner party fare as the bitterness from the peels mixed with the richness of the dark chocolate made these very ‘adults only’.

Slicing the peels into strips

Slicing the peels into strips

And considering they are ‘adults only’, they’re surprisingly easy to make, have only three ingredients and are pretty much made from what is usually considered throw-away scraps (unless you’re making marmalade).

I found these very easy to make however there is some time involved so you need to start making them a day ahead.  With the candied citrus peels having such a dominant orange colour, these would be wonderful to serve not only at dinner parties but also on Halloween.  Once you become addicted to these, you’ll never want to throw away citrus peels ever again.

Just out of the saucepan

Just out of the saucepan

I used a combination of oranges and lemons but you can also use grapefruit.  I had oranges in my fruit bowl but also had some lemons that had been ‘cheeked’ and I used the leftover centres to make citrus peels.

The drying process

The drying process

5.0 from 3 reviews
Chocolate-Coated Candied Peel
Recipe type: Chocolate
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: A party
Candied Citrus Peel Coated in Chocolate
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 4½ cups white sugar plus extra
  • 1½ cups water
  • 300gms dark cooking chocolate
  1. Begin this recipe a day ahead.
  2. Wash and dry the fruit.
  3. Top and tail the fruit.
  4. Cut each orange and lemon into quarters and carefully remove the flesh without tearing the skin.
  5. Cut each quarter of peel into slices about .5cm thick - about 6 slices/qtr orange.
  6. Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring.
  7. Using a candy thermometer, bring to 110C (230F).
  8. Add peels. To coat the peels, agitate the pan gently.
  9. Continue to simmer until peels are translucent - about an hour.
  10. Strain peels but keep syrup (good for cocktails, cakes etc).
  11. Sprinkle a tray lined with baking paper with extra sugar and spread peels onto tray and coat well. Leave overnight to dry.
  12. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted. Dip one half of each peel into chocolate and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until set.
  13. To store the candied peel, place in an airtight container and leave in a cool place.
  14. Serve with coffee or wine or port and cigars.


Candied Citrus Peels drying on the trays

Candied Citrus Peels drying on the trays

Perfect for dinner parties.


  1. What a fantastic Post 🙂 I love all of it… my mum too was a dinner part hostess! I remember those bread cups…my mum use to make these amazing port ice cream balls that had tooth picks in them and where coasted in chocolate!!!! I think I might revue them for my blog or even the bread cups 🙂
    Because of my Thermomix demonstrations I always have so much peel and feel really bad throwing it out… Not anymore… guess what my friends are getting for Christmas 🙂 Thanks again for a trip down memory lane. Liz x

  2. I used to hate candied citrus peel as a kid but now I can’t get enough of the stuff! And those dinner party flashbacks take me back. Don’t forget the pineapple hedgehog! lol

  3. I love these and have wanted to make my own for quite some time so have bookmarked this recipe. Your mother sounds very impressive in the kitchen. My mum used to do quite a few dinner parties. I remember loving it when there were potato chips in a bowl when we were entertaining (though I think it was more likely to be kids stuff than the dinner parties and I wasn’t allowed to be part of those anyway) I used to do dinner parties but these days it is more picnics or dinner elsewhere.

  4. What wonderful memories…of those fancy foods and fancy parties.

  5. They are gorgeous! My mom and grandma used to make these, what a good memory! I miss all those 70’s party appetizers. I may just have to have a 70’s themed cocktail party one of these days.

  6. I would love your mom’s dinner parties! Reckon I would eat far too many of these moreish candied citrus peel.
    Have a wonderful day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  7. Fruit peel is something that horrified me as a child – especially in fruit bread and cakes where it could take me by surprise – but a chocolate coated version appeals hugely to my adult tastes. What a beautiful result too, really lovely.

    I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed your carob comment 🙂 My Mum sounds just like yours – early Easters involved carob eggs, until she gave up on keeping us from chocolate. Unlike you, though, I embraced carob as the best thing I was going to get, and my love of it has remained!

  8. I remember the cheese balls but there would never have been candied citrus peel. Not in the winter anyway. In the frigid north, citrus was very expensive and frozen juice concentrate was as close to fresh as it got. These look fantastic!

  9. My mom used to make candied orange peel, too. I wasn’t a fan till decades later. And I love the idea of dipping it in chocolate…so elegant!

  10. These look delicious Charlie, your mom sounds like a wonderful cook. Great story.

  11. What a fun treat!

  12. Wow, these look amazing!

  13. I’ve been meaning to make very similar thing for years! Wow this candied citrus peel looks sooooo good! I won’t be able to stop eating for sure. I see where you get your talent in hosting parties – from your mom!! I’m not good at hosting a big party…. 🙂

  14. Hostess with the mostest Charlie! My mum had a pineapple and glace cherry toothpicky nibble that she was famous for 🙂 The only something sweet we had after dinner were After Dinner Mints from a packet, your yummy citrus peel would have been amazing! I’ll definitely have to make these for my next dinner party xox

  15. I used to make something similar for dinner parties … so delicious and really not too difficult! I love the combination of orange and dark chocolate.

  16. I always thought Candied Citrus Peels was difficult and time consuming to make your Mum’s recipe is so simple and very doable, saving my citrus peels to make this. Thanks for sharing.

  17. It’s been decades since I made these Charlie, thanks for the great reminder! Loved the tale!

  18. My friend owns this crazy pineapple shaped display designed to hold toothpicked food. I would love to use it one day for a retro dinner party 😛

  19. So elegant, that was my first thought when I saw it on instagram! Love your mum’s recipe 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. My mom wasn’t much for exotic foods. I think chicken liver stuffed mushrooms was as creative as she ever got. And she wouldn’t have attempted this chocolate covered candied peel but the combination of peel and chocolate is delicious. I’ve only had it from a shop.

  21. My mother made the exact same thing, but with ginger. Oh how nice are these memories.

  22. Really, I remember tis being such a ‘grown-up’ treat! Truth is I never liked them and wondered why adults were so crazy about them. I only started eating them a couple of years ago and feel like they are really having a comeback… although they may have been around all this time and I just never noticed them that much (like pregnant women when you aren’t!). Now, however, I have developed a true linking for them and these look amazing!

  23. How beautiful! We have citrus a-plenty and what a shame that I’ve never even thought of using the peel. I can’t wait to change that! This is a lovely little treat that doesn’t look too difficult. It’s been so hot I haven’t been creative in the kitchen, but I think I can handle this. I was married in the early 70s and did plenty of that “adults only” entertaining and you’re accurate in describing the usual fare. I was at least one to use the tooth picks and feel very chic doing so! Your mom was a much more creative and better cook than I! I make a lot of your recipes, Charlie, so I appreciate your tutelage! 🙂


  1. […] I made citrus peel that was such a gourmet trend back in the 70′s I thought I would post another recipe from […]

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