This Easy Candied Lemon Peel Recipe Makes Perfect Sweet And Zesty Peels!
If you are looking for an easy candied lemon recipe, you are in luck!
These candied peels – coated in sweet, hardened sugar – look great and are a super useful ingredient in the kitchen.
When prepared right, candied lemon peels bring just the right amount of zest and lemony bitterness to any recipe!
Lots of people wonder how to use candied lemon peel. The answer is: However you like!
There are a number of ways you can enjoy these unique treats. You can eat candied lemon peels… but we wouldn’t advice munching away on too many!
Unlike candied orange peels, lemon peels are a tad less palatable so they aren’t usually eaten straight. (Although to be fair, both creations are just sugar and peel so they are kind of even when it comes to relative tastiness).
Due to their hardened glaze and bitterness, some people like to use candied lemon peels as a garnish in a cocktail like an Old Fashioned.
Another popular use for candied lemon peels – one that we are much more familiar with – is as a baking ingredient.
There are a number of recipes in German baking that use candied lemon peels – two of which are German Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) and German Stollen.
The candied peels are cut into small cubes and add their sweet, zesty attributes to these classic German holiday recipes.
You can buy these candied ingredients in a store – but they are honestly pretty easy to make yourself.
One thing to keep in mind is that candied lemon peels need a bit of drying time on a rack until they harden up.
So, if you plan on using homemade candied peels for a German Stollen or another recipe, be sure to make the peels in advance. They’ll need at least 24 hours to dry!
Another big reminder for when you’re making candied peels – be sure to buy organic lemons.
You will be eating the peel so this is the best way to reduce the amount of chemicals and sprays that might be in/on the peel.
How to Make Candied Lemon Peel – Step by Step
If you want to make your own homemade candied lemon peels at home, you can check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
And those who are more visual learners and want to see the individual steps can follow along below with our candied lemon process photos in this section.
Start by washing and then drying your two lemons.
Then cut off the ends and use a smaller knife to cut into the peel so you are essentially quartering the peel.
Use your fingers to carefully remove the peel and place it on a cutting board.
Then use a knife to cut the peel into thin strips.
Add the lemon strips and approx. one cup of water to a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.
Boil the lemon peel for around 15 minutes and stir occasionally.
Pour the content of the pot through a strainer. Then rinse the lemon peels under running water and also give the pot a quick rinse.
Once you’ve rinsed the pot and the peels, add the peels back into the pot. Also add one cup of new water and one cup of sugar.
Bring the mixture to a low simmer for around 1 hour 15 minutes until the liquid becomes a thick syrup and the peels look slightly translucent.
Make sure to stir the mixture occasionally.
Once the lemon peels are done simmering, remove them from the pot and place them on a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath (this will capture any drips).
Separate any peels that got stuck together and let the lemon peels harden until they are no longer sticky. This takes approximately 24 hours – but might be shorter or longer in your case depending on how warm it is in your home.
You can keep the lemon peels as long strips or cut them up into small cubes once they have dried. This is often done when using the lemon peels for baking.
Store the peels in an airtight container with a lid if you don’t use them right away.
Candied Lemon Peel
- Peels from 2 organic lemons
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Wash the lemons and dry them off.
- Cut off the ends, then slice down the lemon lengthwise to divide the outer peel into quarters. Now use your fingers to gently peel the lemons.
- Cut the peeled-off peels into fine strips and place them in a small-medium pot. Add around 1 cup of water so that the lemon peels are just covered and then bring the water to a boil. Boil the lemon peels for around 15 minutes while stirring them occasionally.
- Pour the contents of the pot through a strainer to drain the water and to capture the lemon peels. Rinse the pot and rinse the lemon peels under some water to cleanse them of some of the bitterness.
- Place the lemon peels back in the pot, add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. Let the lemon peels simmer for around 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the water-sugar mixture becomes a thicker syrup. The lemon peels should also look slightly translucent.
- Remove the lemon peels from the pot and place them on a cooling rack. It’s a good idea to put some parchment paper underneath the cooling rack to catch the sticky syrup drips. Separate the peels that are stuck together with two forks and let the lemon peels dry for around 24 hours until they are no longer sticky to the touch.
- Either place the strips into an airtight container for storage or cut them into small cubes if you plan on using them for baking (for example in Gingerbread cookies or German Stollen).
- Make sure to use organic lemons for this recipe since you’ll actually be eating the peels.
This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.
13 thoughts on “Candied Lemon Peel”
Would this recipe work if Stevia (or other sweetener) is used instead of sugar.
I don’t use Stevia when cooking or baking, so unfortunately I can’t say for sure. As far as I know stevia does not act the same way sugar does when heated – so while it might work, the peels would likely not be coated the same way. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, maybe someone else can chime in! /Lisa
I compared various recipes and chose this one. It was easy to follow and they turned out wonderful. I am always looking for things to do with lemons. I want to add the to shortbread but they taste great on their own. They do take a little longer to dry in cold weather.
I’m so happy to hear that, Stephanie – thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! And adding them to shortbread sounds delicious. /Lisa
This is my second time making the lemon peels. Love this recipe even though it takes patience to dry for 24 hrs. The little drops of sugar that fell on the parchment can be used for tea. Also, I gently scrape and cut off the pith before cooking by using a very sharp knife.
I’m happy to hear that you like this recipe, Irene – and thanks for sharing your tips, the lemony drops of sugar in tea sound delicious! /Lisa
Love it. These are so beautiful on a lemon cake filled with lemon curd. Just sprinkle the peels on and around the cake.
That sounds delicious, thanks for sharing! /Lisa
Just made those and the orange ones.
Worked very well. They are beautiful.
Thanks for this recipe.
Thanks, Val – I’m so glad you liked them! /Lisa
We had made these today and they were a total disaster. An hour and 15 minutes to cook sugar? It went to the hard crack stage and totally burned. Probably only needed 1/2 hour. What a waste.
Sorry this recipe didn’t work for you, Mary. Did you make sure once you added the water and the sugar that the mixture was simmering, not boiling? It should be a low simmer as indicated in the recipe instructions, otherwise there is a risk of it burning. We are simmering the lemon peels for so long so that they can soften (without a risk of the sugar getting burned) and aren’t too hard when used as ingredients in other recipes.
I am so excited about your recipe Candied Lemon Peel that is what I searched for use Germany Christmas Stollen. Thank you.