{edible gift} Candied Grapefruit Peels

A few months ago, I bought a satchel of organic grapefruits. When I tried one a day or two later, I realized they were unbearably sour (serves me right for buying them out of season). They sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks, until I finally decided it was time to stage an intervention.


I’d made candied orange peels before with mixed results: one time they came out perfect, and another time they were too bitter to eat. So, I realized that I needed to choose my method carefully. I read several recipes, including smitten kitchen’s candied grapefruit peel fail. I decided upon a food network recipe, which had received a couple of good reviews and called for boiling the water and draining it 4 times, which may seem excessive, but really helps take the bitterness out of the peels. I made one substantial change – I remembered that for my successful candied orange peels, the recipe had called for leaving the fruit on the peel during the boiling and draining process. I’m happy to say that this recipe was a success! The peels are delicious – sweet and juicy, and not bitter at all.


A happy byproduct of making the peels is grapefruit syrup, which can be used for a number of things, including soaking into cakes, stirring into yogurt, or adding to vodka to make grapefruit liquor. I chose to add the syrup to sparkling water to make grapefruit soda, and it was yummy!


I recommend choosing organic grapefruits for this recipe, as you will be eating the peel, which often receives most of the pesticide exposure in conventional fruit. Also, feel free to switch up this recipe and use oranges (blood oranges would be pretty!), lemons, limes, kumquat, etc. – the sky’s the limit! I didn’t cover my peels in chocolate this time, but that is certainly a viable option, and dark chocolate pairs especially well with the orange peels. Enjoy!



6 organic grapefruits
4 cups of sugar
Water, to cover the peels


  1. Cut each grapefruit in half and, leaving the fruit on, slice the grapefruit thinly (¼– ½ inch wide).
  2. Put the peels in a large nonreactive pot, and add enough water to cover the peels by one inch.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat, and strain.
  4. Add the peels back to the pot, cover with fresh water, and repeat this process again three times.
  5. After the fourth boil, remove any remaining fruit and pith from the peels, and return the drained peels to the pot and add the sugar and enough water to cover the peels by one inch.
  6. Simmer for 2-3 hours, until the syrup is somewhat thickened.
  7. Remove the peels and allow them to drain on a wire rack (or you could place them on a lined baking sheet in a warm oven to help evaporate the water).
  8. Roll the peels in granulated sugar, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (I have found that they stay good for months in the fridge).
  9. Gift these to a friend, chop them up and add to baked goods, or just enjoy them as is!

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Categories: Edible Gifts, From Scratch Holidays, recipe

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18 Comments on “{edible gift} Candied Grapefruit Peels”

  1. Weatherly
    December 11, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Do you have to peel the fruit off or does it just disintegrate?

    • BETSY
      December 11, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      Good question Weatherly – I should have included this in my directions. Much of the fruit does disintegrate, but you will have to peel the rest (and some of the pith) off before you move on to step 5. It comes off very easily, though it does take time.

      • December 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

        I wonder if using the edge of a spoon would help? I’m thinking of peeling ginger.. easier that way. I’m going to give it a try

        • BETSY
          December 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

          Since you peel them when the fruit is so soft from boiling, it comes off really easily. I worry it might break more often with a spoon, but it could be worth a try!

  2. December 11, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    These sound so tasty! I’ll be trying this asap! Love the idea of using oranges and then coating in chocolate too. I may have to do that for my grandpa. He loves the paring of those flavors.

    • BETSY
      December 11, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      The orange peels are so tasty covered in chocolate – I hope your grandpa loves it!

  3. December 11, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for this! I had made candied orange peel for my Great Grandmother when I was a kid. It was something I learned to make in 4-H and have long since lost the recipe/method. I’ve tried a few different method’s since and found them to be “meh”. I *totally* forgot about the boiling a few times thing.

    Oh man this takes me back. I have to make these…

    • BETSY
      December 11, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      Let me know how they turn out Jeni!

      • December 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

        I totally will!

  4. December 11, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Yum! And what a great gift!

    • BETSY
      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Definitely, a great gift! If you find a cute way to package them, let me know!

      • December 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

        When I made some for my Great Grandmother, I put them in a holiday tin layered with wax paper.. wow… that was like 25 years ago.

        • BETSY
          December 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

          That’s a good idea Jeni!

  5. shrop005
    December 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    This sounds awesome! I love grapefruit in all forms, this is a must try.


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