How to Make Dried Orange or Lemon Peel at Home

Dried Orange or Lemon Peel

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Dry Time: 48 hrs
Total: 48 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 2 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
124 Calories
0g Fat
32g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 124
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 134mg 672%
Calcium 89mg 7%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 431mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When enjoying citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, you end up with a lot of waste. Unless you're adding tons of zest to your dishes, the peel ends up in the trash. It's a shame since there's a lot of good citrus flavor and aroma stored in the peel. You can certainly freeze citrus zest and peel, but one great way to preserve and harness this flavor is by drying lemon and orange peel, which are perfectly edible and can really add a whole lot of flavor to your cooking.

While dried orange peel and lemon peel are sold in markets and natural food stores, they can be difficult to find. The good news is that dried citrus peel is quite easy to make at home, and can be made with or without the help of an oven—no fancy dehydrating equipment required.

If at all possible, use organically grown citrus fruit with untreated, pesticide-free peels, and wash and dry them well before beginning. Oranges, such as navel, Valencia, or cara cara, are great for drying, as are lemons, limes, tangerines, and grapefruits. Once your peels are thoroughly dried, you can leave them whole or grind them in a spice grinder to form a fine powder. 

Ingredients

  • 2 organic oranges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    oranges

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Use a fine-bladed paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler to trim away just the colored part of the skin, leaving the bitter white pith behind. The white pith is not only bitter, but the peels will also take much longer to dry if it is still attached. Use a knife to scrape off any pith clinging to the peels.

    orange peel removed with a paring knife

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. No-cook method: Lay the strips on a plate (with the inside of the peels facing upwards) and let them dry in a warm, well-circulated, sunny place at room temperature for two to three days; until they have shriveled, lost their moisture, and are crisp. 

    orange peel on a plate

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Speed method: If you are short on time, you can also dry them in a 200 F oven. Spread them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and dry in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. If the peel starts to brown, turn off the oven for a few minutes, and rotate the pan. The peels will curl up and turn stiff when they're dry. 

    orange peel on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Store the cooled, dried peels in a cool, dark place in a clean, airtight container. They will keep for up to a month.

    orange peels in a jar

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Variation

  • Substitute oranges for lemons or any other citrus, such as tangerines, limes, grapefruit, pomelo, blood orange, bitter orange, etc.

What to Do With Dried Orange or Lemon Peel?

You may be wondering what to do with all those dried peels. Here are a few ideas.

  • Dried orange peel or lemon peel can be used to make your own DIY cocktail bitters or homemade vermouth.
  • Add them to a mulling spices mix for making aromatic hot mulled cider or mulled wine (vin brulé). Homemade mulling spices make a great holiday gift.
  • Add dried citrus peel to a marinade or salad dressing.
  • Make an infusion with your favorite extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Grind them up with salt in a food processor for a citrus-flavored salt that's delicious on vegetables, chicken, and fish, for example.

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