Learn how to make candied lemon slices easily with just 3 ingredients. This simple method can be applied to any citrus fruit. Use as a gorgeous garnish for desserts or chop up for use in baking recipes!
When the idea for this cranberry curd tart popped into my head, I immediately knew I wanted some festive winter garnishes for it.
That’s how these candied lemon slices came to be.
Sure, we’ve all seen candied lemon slices, orange or even grapefruit on top of fancy desserts in a bakery whether its a tart, cupcake, cake or pie, but did you know how truly simple it is to make these at home?
It’s mind-blowing actually that just a simple syrup (sugar and water) can transform a lemon or two into these delicious and pretty little slices!
With a recipe like this you can level up your at home baked goods into something that looks like it came straight from the bakery!
Let’s get into how to make them.
HOW TO MAKE CANDIED LEMON SLICES
SLICING THE LEMONS
Depending on how many you need or want, grab a lemon or two.
You can use regular lemons but Meyer lemons are also great for this recipe. They have a thinner skin and less tart flavor so they’re actually a bit more edible than a traditional candied lemon slice garnish.
Slice the lemon thinly. There’s no need for a mandolin but try and make the slices as even as possible.
Remove any seeds from the slices trying to keep the flesh as much intact as possible when doing so.
Set the lemon slices aside and make the simple syrup.
MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP
Add equal parts water and sugar to a large skillet. I use 1 cup each for about 24 lemon slices.
I chose a 12″ skillet but if you have a 14″ that’s even better so the slices of lemon can stay in one even layer while they cook in the candying liquid.
Dissolve the sugar over medium heat then place the lemon slices into the skillet.
SIMMER THE LEMON SLICES
Cook for 30-40 minutes over a low simmer, flipping each lemon slice occasionally to make sure both sides are well coated in the syrup.
DRY THE CANDIED LEMONS
Transfer the lemon slices to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper using tongs.
Make sure to let as much of the excess syrup drip off the lemons before placing on the parchment paper.
Arrange in a single layer and let the candied lemons dry out for 24 hours, uncovered at room temperature on the baking sheet.
After 24 hours, they will still be a bit tacky but dry enough to now use as desired.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVER LEMON SYRUP
After cooking in the skillet, the simple syrup will have thickened and reduced substantially and you’ll be left with a nice cup or so of the liquid.
Don’t throw it out!
Reserve the syrup from the skillet and pour into a jar. This lemon flavored sugar syrup is good for so many uses!
The possibilities are endless and the syrup will keep for quite some time so definitely don’t discard it after making the candied lemon slices!
USES FOR CANDIED LEMON SLICES
- Eat them! Did you realize these are actually edible? If you like tart and sweet things, you’ll love munching on one of these!
- Chop them up into a fine dice and throw in muffin recipes. They’d be great as a replacement for the ginger in these whole wheat wild blueberry ginger muffins or in lemon chia mini muffins. They’d even add a nice sweetness to Irish brown bread muffins!
- Use as a garnish on top of any baked good like apricot brandy pound cake or applesauce raisin skillet cake. They elevate any dessert!
- Decorate the rim of your favorite lemon drink like cranberry raspberry chia lemonade or cocktail.
- Incorporate the candied lemon slices on a charcuterie board, especially a dessert charcuterie board!
HOW TO STORE CANDIED LEMONS
Once the lemon slices have dried out, you can store any extra not being used immediately between sheets of parchment paper in an air-tight container.
The lemons will retain a bit of tackiness even after drying out for 24 hours so it’s important they’re stored in a single layer and only touching the parchment paper, not the other lemon slices.
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
Some recipes will say it’s necessary to blanch the sliced lemons before simmering in the candy liquid. I don’t find that necessary.
The end result seems to be about the same and it’s just added time and work so feel free to skip that step.
Sometimes you’ll see candied citrus slices that have also been dipped in sugar crystals after candying. This is optional depending on the look you’re going for.
I tend to like the shimmer of the candied lemon slices as they are naturally but if you prefer them dipped either fully or half in sugar, dry them out as directed then dip in sugar before using.
You can use either granulated sugar for a fine sugar appearance or decorating sugar crystals if you want that chunky sugar look.
Feel free to also use the exact method from this candied lemons recipe to candy any other citrus fruit like oranges or grapefruits.
Candied oranges on top of this glazed orange cardamom cake would make a spectacular winter dessert.
And candied grapefruit could adorn the jars of sparkling grapefruit jello for some flair!
OTHER LEMON RECIPES TO TRY:
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeds removed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Combine the water and sugar in a large 12" or 14" skillet over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Place the lemon slices into the skillet in a single layer. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes flipping the slices occasionally throughout.
- Remove the lemon slices to a parchment lined baking sheet letting as much excess syrup drip off as possible. (*see note)
- Let dry on the baking sheet uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours. The candied lemon slices will be tacky after drying for 24 hours but dry enough to use as garnishes or chop up into baking recipes, etc.
- Store any leftover lemon slices between sheets of parchment in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.
*Reserve leftover syrup from the skillet and pour into a jar. Use in tea, on pancakes, waffles, toast, etc. It's a delicious lemon flavored sweetener!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 34Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 0g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.