Orange Sugar

How to Make Orange-Scented Sugar

Orange Sugar. Photo © Molly Watson

Orange sugar is easy to make and adds the wonderful aroma of orange with just a sprinkle once you have it on hand. I find it makes a lovely gift if you put it in a pretty glass jar and tie a ribbon around it.

To Make Orange Sugar

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 orange into about 3/4 cup granulated sugar. If you have a microplane, this is a great place to use it, but a regular zester or even a sharp paring knife (resulting in bigger pieces) is fine, too. Zest the orange over the sugar to catch as much of the aromatic oils that are released during zesting as possible.
  2. Put the mixture in a blender or food processor and whirl until the sugar is even finer and the orange zest is nicely incorporated into the sugar. If you've used a microplane to zest the orange, this step is purely optional, but I find the powdery texture this gives the sugar to be most pleasing.
  3. Transfer the resulting orange sugar to a clean screw-top jar or other type of re-sealable container.

Store the orange-scented sugar at room temperature, just as regular granulated sugar. It keeps more or less indefinitely—again, just like sugar!

How to Use Orange Sugar

Orange sugar is delicious added to anything that 1) could use a little extra sweetness and 2) would benefit from a hint of orange aroma. Let your imagination run wild and feel free to experiment with abandon. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Sprinkle it on pancakes or crepes for a switch from maple syrup or powdered sugar.
  • Stir it into black or herbal tea to add an aromatic sweetness.
  • Use it to rim glasses of cocktails that contain orange juice or orange liqueurs, such as whiskey sours or margaritas.
  • Sprinkle it on quick breads, muffins, pound cakes, or cookies before baking to add orange flavor and a shiny surface.
  • Use it to "sugar" doughnuts!
  • Make orange sugared cranberries—dip raw cranberries in a simple sugar syrup, drain them, then roll them around in a bowl of orange-scented sugar; lift them out to dry and crunch away!
  • Sprinkle it on simple fruit salads 
  • Use it as a dry "dip" for sticks of jicama or wedges of melon
  • Add it as a topping to grilled fruit—either before or after grilling