Candied orange slices dipped in chocolate are an easy and tasty sweet treat perfect for any occasion. They are the most delightful finger food for entertaining. The recipe can be easily scaled up or down, making it perfect for both large and small holiday gatherings.
We dipped these candied orange slices in dark chocolate and gave them a sprinkle of sea salt. They look sophisticated but are easy and forgiving, in case you get distracted with other holiday preparations.
You can also omit the chocolate and use the soft candied oranges to decorate cakes or a cheese platter.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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The best part about this recipe is that it is very forgiving. You can make it when you are already in the kitchen making something else. Unlike other holiday cookies and candies if you aren't precise on the measurements or overcook the oranges it will be fine.
Ok I lied, that is the second-best part. The best part is that homemade candied oranges look beautiful on the table while being extremely easy to make.
- Oranges- See below for the best varieties and availability.
- Simple Syrup- A mixture of water and sugar. You can use granulated sugar or coconut sugar.
- Whole Spices- while optional, whole spices such as star anise, cinnamon, or clove can add just a hint of Christmas flavors. Other options are bay leaf and cardamom. In the summer try fresh herbs such as whole basil leaves.
- Cocoa Powder- We use cocoa powder for two reasons. The first is to keep this vegan and allergy-friendly, i.e. no dairy, soy, corn, etc. But also, the oranges slices are extremely sugary if you use sweetened melting chocolate it becomes just too much sugar. The oranges lose their refinement, in my opinion.
- Coconut Oil
- Sea Salt
🍊 Orange Varieties
You can use just about any orange variety for candied oranges slices. Here some of our favorites.
- Common or Navel - Easy to find, and to work with. Available year-round but best from December to March.
- Cara Cara- A pink cousin to the classic navel orange. Available December to April.
- Mandarin- A sweet variety with a thing rind (which is very nice). Available January to April.
- Clementine- A cross between a mandarin and sweet orange and almost always seedless. Available November to January.
- Tangerine- Small, sweet, but a lot of seeds that will need to be removed. Available October to January.
- Blood Orange- Bright and pretty. Available December to April.
- Valencia- Usually used for juicing this orange is available at a different time than our other varieties. Available March to July.
- Kumquat- Not technically an orange but slice these little guys into wedges or 3 slices per. Available November to March.
We don't recommend using Seville oranges as they can be a little bitter for this application.
To begin this recipe you need to slice your orange into thin rounds. No more than a ¼ inch thick at most.
I saw a recipe where someone said to use a mandolin. This only works for certain varieties and nonripe oranges. If you have a juicy ripe orange it will smoosh the orange into a funny shape and make a mess. I find a sharp knife much easier.
Be sure to carefully remove the seeds with a fork and discard ends.
Once you have prepped the oranges it is time to candy them. In a sauce pan you want to make a thick simple syrup by warming the sugar and water until the sugar dissolved. Stir with a fork or whisk to speed this process along.
Add your orange slices, and spices if you are using. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Again a few minutes either way isn't going to be a big deal.
Allow the orange slices to cool in the syrup for a few minutes then transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper so they can finish cooling.
You can stop at this point and refrigerate the cooled oranges slices for 24 to 48 hours. The day you plan to serve we will add the chocolate coating.
To make the chocolate coating, combine cocoa powder and melted coconut oil. Stir until no lumps remain. The coating should be thick but not stiff, allow to cool if too thin. If you want to add a sweetener like a maple syrup, now is the time to do it.
Dip the orange slices in the chocolate halfway. Place on parchment to cool. Sprinkle on sea salt. Place the parchment on a baking sheet and cool in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is set.
- If you want a different shape than a flat round it is easier to cut the oranges into that shape (i.e. wedges) before boiling.
- This recipe can be easily doubled or triples. As the recipe increases, increase the water in with the water to sugar ratio. Up to a 2 part water to 1 part sugar ratio.
- You can add maple syrup or honey to the chocolate coating if it is too bitter for your tastes.
- Don't place your chocolate dipped oranges on a rack. For a nice smooth bottom cool the oranges on parchment or wax paper.
- Add additional flavor to your chocolate covered oranges by adding spices or extracts to your chocolate mixture. Amp up the orange with an orange extract. Or try almond extract for an extra holiday twist. Add cinnamon or a pinch of cayenne for a savory spin.
💭 Candied Orange Variations
Candied oranges can be used in a variety of ways. Chocolate covered is not your only option.
- White Chocolate- Skip the dark chocolate and melt white chocolate chips (no coconut oil) for dipping. This can be very pretty with blood oranges.
- Sugared- After the orange slices have cooled. Dip them in granulated sugar.
- Garnish- Skip the chocolate coating and use the plain candied orange as a garnish for appetizers (like out goat cheese bites), cheese platters, desserts, and cakes.
- Candied Lemons- You don't have to use oranges. You can use any citrus fruit you like to make your own unique version. Candied lemons with white chocolate and Easter-themed sprinkles are a pretty look and a tasty treat.
Looking for more healthy recipes for your holiday table? Check out some of our most popular healthy holiday recipes from years past.
Dark Chocolate Candied Orange Slices
- Slice your orange into rounds, they need to be thin. About ¼ inch thick at most. Discard ends and seeds. You can cut the rounds into wedges at this point if you want a different shape.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed pan add the sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves and then add your orange slices and any spices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Allow the orange slices to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a sheet of parchment so they can finish draining.
- To make the chocolate coating, combine cocoa powder and coconut oil. Stir until no lumps remain. The coating should be thick but not stiff, allow to cool if too thin.
- Dip the orange slices in the chocolate halfway. Place on parchment to cool. Sprinkle on sea salt. Place the parchment on a baking sheet and cool in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- The chocolate coating will taste bitter without the oranges. If you want to sweeten it add maple syrup (or honey for non-vegan).
- The oranges can be 24 to 48 hours in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator,
- The chocolate-covered oranges are best served within 24 hours.