Dried Orange Peel

In many of my recipes, you will see one of the ingredients called for is dried orange peel.  Please don’t spend a lot of time looking to find this in a spice store.  Dried orange peel is a homemade ingredient, and one that is very handy to keep around.

I first started drying orange peel when I was the chef at Campagne Restaurant because I noticed it was called for in many Provencal recipes.  With a bit of research, I found that many home cooks in Provence constantly have a string of orange peel hanging in a south facing window along with summer herbs being dried for the winter.  The uses for dried orange peel are many, but the classic use in a Daube, the slow simmered beef and red wine stew of Provence.  It can also be used in creamy sweet dishes, such as creme anglais, ice cream or creme caramel, where it is typically added to the milk or cream when it is boiled.  In savory dishes, it adds a subtle complexity, especially when paired with a filet of anchovy and walnuts.  In sweet dishes, it adds a light orange flavor without the acidity of fresh zest or juice.

Since removing the peel doesn’t prevent the use of the meat of the orange, I try to make it a habit to make dried peel from every orange I have at home.  Plus I think I like saving this peel because it gratifies my image of myself as a thrifty French cook who hates throwing out anything that can be used to improve my cooking.

Any orange can be used for dried peel, but I prefer organic oranges, as drying the peel tends to concentrate pesticides, etc on the exterior of the orange.  In French Catalonia, the peel of bitter Sevilla oranges is used.  Select oranges that have not been waxed or, of using waxed oranges, scrub under warm water to remove the wax.


Dried Orange peel


  • Organic unwaxed oranges


In France, I have seen drying orange peel that has been removed in one long spiral,then suspend on cotton thread to dry. This method is easier, if not as picturesque.


​1) Wash the oranges. Using a very sharp paring knife, remove the zest including only a little of the white pith as possible. I find that using a knife includes the right amount, whereas using a peeler includes almost no pith.

2) Spread the peels on a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Leave to dry in a cool, well ventilated space until completely dry and brittle.

3) Store in an airtight jar. Note that if the peel is not completely dry, it may mildew.


12 thoughts on “Dried Orange Peel”

  1. Shari Underwood

    I bought some dried orange peel last week, now I was wondering how to use it. Through a Google search I found your site. I am part of a cooking show “Man in the Kitchen” with Jeff Baker, we will be in Seattle in August and will try and visit you restaurant. Interesting site you have!

      1. I just stumbled upon this site, but I think what Maddy is saying perhaps is “not many sunny windows” in her neck of the woods; Maddy, try placing your peels in a 200º oven for a few hours (or however long as necessary) to dry out… :^/

  2. Orange peels are also fantastic in a cup of tea. I usually use fresh peels but I suspect that dried ones would work as well. This is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember because I love the taste, but I’ve recently been informed that tea made from orange peels apparently has some wonderful health benefits as well.

  3. I came across a recipe requiring “Orange Peel Spice”. I’m presuming this would be ground dried orange peel mixed with possibly cinnamon and sugar. I’m also presuming the dried orange peel was ground in a similar way to using a coffee grinder. Could you please help me out in how to accomplish this with your suggestion.

    1. I use dried orange peel to add flavor and complexity to dishes that are cooked in liquid. I don’t grind my dried orange peel, but instead remove it when the dish is completed. So, for example, you could put it in a slow simmered stew, or scald it with the milk when you are making creme anglais. In both cases, the peel is removed and discarded after the cooking is complete. This use of dried orange peel is very common in the cooking of southern France.

  4. Thanks Jim for getting back to me, now I can go ahead and make a few dishes and cakes. Another thing just came to mind, I’d like to try making “Orange Scones” and seeing that I’ve sliced my orange peel extremely fine before drying I’m going to try grinding it to a powder and add a pinch or two just for a little flavour and maybe top them with some sliced almonds. What do you think of this idea?

    1. I think that dried peel works best in applications where it is going to simmer or steep in liquid, like stews, teas, soups etc. I am guessing that the powdered peel will not impart as much flavor to scones since it doesnt steep, but it is worth a try, right?

    1. It can store almost indefinitely but after about 6 months, the flavor begins to fade. I dry a big bunch of peel every 3-4 months.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top