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How To Make Candied Lemon Slices

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These candied lemon slices are incredibly EASY to make. They make the most beautiful edible garnish for desserts like cakes, pies, or cupcakes, AND can be eaten just like a piece of candy!

candied lemon slices on plate

Recipe Features:

  • 3 Ingredients- Could it get any easier??
  • Quick and Easy: From start to finish you are just about 30 to 45 minutes, with only 15 minutes of active time.
  • Perfect Edible Decoration: The entire lemon is edible which makes this the perfect decoration for any dessert recipe.

I have been searching for easy and beautiful ways to decorate cakes and cupcakes. I wanted something completely edible that can hide imperfections in my frosting skills. These easy candied lemon slices are amazingly simple to make and helped me accomplish my goal.

One batch helped give my cupcakes the perfect finishing touch. Really, you can’t go wrong with adding these to any citrus dessert recipe! Check out my list of over 200 Must-Make Treats for inspiration.

This post was originally published April 4, 2014. It has since been updated to include helpful information and photos.

sliced lemon on cutting board

Candied Lemon Peel Ingredients:

Like I mentioned above, you will only need three ingredients.

  • Lemons: Either regular lemons or Meyer. See below for more details.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar works best.
  • Water: Regular ol’ H2O.

Regular Lemon VS Meyer Lemon

I have made this recipe over a dozen times and we have tested both regular lemons and Meyer. Here’s the skinny- the BOTH work well. But let’s talk about the difference to help you figure out which one will work best for you.

  • Regular Lemons- Regular lemons are larger in size compared to Meyer. They will also have a more bright and vibrant yellow color. The flavor will be more bold with a higher acidity. These can be used in all recipes, including desserts, but are specifically wonderful in cooking (think chicken or salmon) and marinades or vinaigrettes.
  • Meyer Lemons- Meyer Lemons are a deep and slightly darker yellow. They tend to be smoother and a little more round vs the classic oval shape we are used to seeing. They are sweeter due to the lower level of acidity and much more fragrant rind. I reach for Meyer lemons for desserts. They are sweeter which means they are ideal for bars, cakes, and candies.

If you are still unsure, opt for the Meyer to start. You can’t go wrong.

lemon slices being cooked in simple syrup

How To Make Candied Lemon Slices

  1. Wash your lemons well. Slice them as thin as possible. Consider using a sharp knife or mandolin cutter (affiliate). Set aside.
  2. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan (affiliate). Bring to a boil and cook just until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the lemon slices.
  4. Simmer until the lemon slices are translucent, roughly 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on parchment. Allow the lemons to cool and dry completely, overnight preferred.
  6. You could also place the lemon slices in an oven set at the lowest temperature to dry. Be sure to turn them frequently and pull them out as soon as they start to harden.

Should I Blanch My Lemon Slices?

Blanching lemon slices is a great option if you are finding that your candy is a little too bitter.

When using regular lemons, vs their Meyer counterparts, you will sometimes notice that they have a more bitter aftertaste. To help eliminate this you can blanch- boil quickly followed by an ice bath- the slices before beginning the candy process. This reduces bitterness and retains a bold yellow color that is appealing as well as delicious.

  1. Add ice to a medium bowl and fill with water. Set aside.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the lemon slices.
  3. Allow the slices to sit in the hot water for 60 seconds.
  4. Remove and place in the ice water to immediately halt any cooking.
  5. Remove from the ice after roughly 30 seconds and dry on a towel.

I find that this step isn’t necessary, especially with Meyer lemons, but can come in handy if you are looking for a candy you can pop right into your mouth and munch on.

candied lemons drying on parchment

Tips and FAQ’s:

This recipe is fairly straight forward but can seem a tad intimidating to newbies. Just know that it is really that easy to make candied lemon slices for cake decorating or whatever you plan on using them for (they are even great in cocktails!). If you get to the 30 minute time and they still do not look translucent, keep letting them simmer until they do. Sometimes, depending on how thin I slice mine, it can take around 60 minutes. But this is rare if you slice them even and thin.

Also, this recipe can be used for ANY citrus. I have made candied grapefruit, limes, and oranges with this same method. Be sure to blanch other fruits to help break down any bitterness in the rind (directions in the recipe card).

What Can I Do With Candied Lemon Slices?

Candied lemon slices are completely edible. That makes them perfect to top on cakes, cupcakes, bars, and any other dessert recipe! They are beautiful and add a touch of elegance to your treats.

You can also eat them like candy, serve with a cocktail, or add them to a cup of tea!

The options are nearly endless.

How Long Does Homemade Citrus Candy Last?

Candied lemons can last up to six months if stored properly. I have never had them around longer than 1 week- we eat them right out of the container.

Be sure to let them dry completely before storing. Transfer to a zip top bag or air tight container and keep them in the refrigerator.

how to make candied lemon slices

More Lemon Recipes:

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How To Candy Lemon Slices

How To Candy Lemon Slices

Yield: 10 to 20 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These candied lemon slices are incredibly EASY to make. They make the most beautiful edible garnish for desserts like cakes, pies, or cupcakes, AND can be eaten just like a piece of candy!

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons (regular OR Meyer), washed and sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

1. Wash your lemons well. Slice them as thin as possible. Consider using a sharp knife or mandolin cutter. Set aside.

2. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook just until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the lemon slices.

4. Simmer until the lemon slices are translucent, roughly 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on parchment. Allow the lemons to cool and dry completely, overnight preferred.

Notes

  • You could also place the lemon slices in an oven set at the lowest temperature to dry. Be sure to turn them frequently and pull them out as soon as they start to harden.


Should I Blanch My Lemon Slices?

Blanching lemon slices is a great option if you are finding that your candy is a little too bitter. I find that this step isn’t necessary, especially with Meyer lemons, but can come in handy if you are looking for a candy you can pop right into your mouth and munch on.

  1. Add ice to a medium bowl and fill with water. Set aside.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the lemon slices.
  3. Allow the slices to sit in the hot water for 60 seconds.
  4. Remove and place in the ice water to immediately halt any cooking.
  5. Remove from the ice after roughly 30 seconds and dry on a towel.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 0g

Pin for later:

Candied lemon slices are so pretty on top of cakes and are ridiculously easy. Try this easy tutorial and learn how to candy lemon slices for yourself!

Maureen

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

After about 30 minutes, the sugar-water solution suddenly started getting bubbly and brown . I knew then that it was a lost cause !! Like it was turning molasses-like in color and appearance ! 😟 What did I do wrong !?!

M

Monday 11th of October 2021

This did not work at all for me. Even at a simmer, all the water boiled out before the rinds turned translucent.

Jesseca

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

Hi M, this sounds like the slices were not thin enough. I've had that issue when I slice them too thick. Hope that helps in the future.

Carrie

Sunday 27th of December 2020

I can't wait to try these! If I'm going to candy a lime, a lemon and an orange to decorate a tart, do you think I can do all three fruits at the same time? Or would you recommend doing each fruit separately? Thanks!

Wendy

Sunday 3rd of May 2020

Just a bit of clarification. For those of you who didn't get the right result. All stovetops work differently, so really hard to go by a length of time to simmer. Obviously, for Jesseca, she has been doing this for a while and it has always just worked for her. But, for those who need something more accurate for all stoves, Pauls method is a bit more exacting and would probably produce better results for those with finicky stoves. Though, as Carly said, 234 is not hard ball stage, nor is it hardball stage 302 (hardball stage is actually 250-264). I believe what Paul was trying to say, though a bit harshly, is that it should be soft ball stage at 234. And Holly, yes you can eat lemon peel, but the lemons should be washed thoroughly to remove any pesticides or use organic lemons. And, not sure how many people actually eat them, but, they are lovely as decorations on desserts.

Janice

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Can they be coated in granulated sugar

Jesseca

Thursday 19th of December 2019

I have never tried this, so I couldn't tell you for sure. Let us know if you try it.

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