Candied lemon slices are an easy to make garnish to dress up your favorite desserts. Use candied lemons for decorating cakes, pies, cupcakes, and more.
I've always envisioned this blog to be a place where people can come to for help in making homemade desserts that look professional. Some fancy desserts seem like too much trouble or too hard but you should know that's not always the case.
There are plenty of easy ways to make your food creations pretty. Today, I want to talk about a super simple way to dress up your dessert. Candied lemon slices!
Candied lemon slices are lemon slices that have been cooked in sugar and dried out. You can eat them as a delicious snack or use them to garnish a plate. It's simple to make once you know a few basic things.
How To Make Candied Lemon Slices:
First, you will want to cut your lemon slices as thin as possible. Use a mandoline or a sharp knife. I'm lazy about taking out my mandoline so I just use a knife. I prefer a serrated knife because it gives me the most control when cutting.
Second, some recipes say that you have to blanch the citrus before cooking them in sugar water. Blanching softens the rinds and removes the bitterness. This important for making candied orange peels but not always essential for lemons.
To be honest, I usually skip this step, especially for thin rind Meyer lemons, and don't really notice. However, in case you do want to blanch them, I've included it in the recipe instructions below.
Next, it's important to simmer the lemon slices in the sugar water using a WIDE bottom pot so the lemon slices do not over lap. This way each slice is more exposed to the syrup. Let the slices simmer away until they turn translucent.
Finally, you have to let them dry out using one of these options. The first is to dry them overnight by letting them sit out on parchment paper. The second option is to put them in the oven at a low temperature for about and hour.
I prefer using the oven because it's quicker and results in a less sticky lemon slice. You do need to be careful not to over heat them in the oven so keep an eye on them.
Tips For Making Candied Lemons:
You can use regular lemons or those fancy Meyer lemons. (In fact, you can use this same recipe to candy other citrus such as limes and oranges.) Meyer lemons will look and taste better than regular lemons because they have a thinner rind.
If you're in a hurry and just want a quick garnish, you don't have to simmer for the full hour. Just use your judgement and think about how you are going to use them. I have used this recipe to make candied orange garnishes for this flourless chocolate orange cake and was pleased with the results after 10 minutes.
I also didn't need them to be stiff, just sweet and soft. So, I did not have to spend the extra time to dry them in this case.
Finally, instead of disposing your cooking syrup, you may want to save it to make cocktails!
Uses For Candied Lemon Slices
- Do I really need to give you the number one use for something coated in sugar? Eat them like candy of course!
- Drop one in a cup of tea for a little extra lemon flavor and a light sweetener.
- Decorate cakes, cupcakes and other plated desserts. Here's an example where I garnished a Meyer lemon poundcake slice with a candied Meyer lemon.
I hope you try out these candied lemon slices soon! Tag me on instagram @dessarts and show me how you used them in your dessert.
Candied Lemon Slices
Candied Lemon slices can be a treat alone or used as a garnish on cakes, cupcakes, pies and other desserts
- 1-2 lemons
- 1 cups sugar
- 1 cups water
- Slice your lemons as thin as possible and set them aside.
- Do this step if you want to blanch the slices: Set up a bowl of ice water. Heat water in a medium pan until boiling and then remove it from the heat. Add the lemon slices and stir for 1 minute and drain. Immediately, place the slices in the ice bath for 30 seconds and drain.
- In a wide bottomed pot, add the sugar and water and heat until the sugar is dissolves.Add the lemon slices and poach until translucent. Be patient, this can take 25-45 minutes depending on how thin you sliced it.
- Lay them out on a silcone or parchment lined baking sheet. Let them dry overnight or alternatively, bake the chips at 200°F turning them over occasionally. Bake them for about an hour or until they start to stiffen up. Let them cool.
I use a convection oven, which circulates the hot air and prevents oven hot spots. If you have hot spots, your lemon slices may brown faster. Adjust your timing and/or lower your temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 41Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
This nutrition information is only an approximate provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. Information comes from Nutritionix, an automated nutrition calculator.
Ian Bryant says
If I make these candied lemon slices, how long can I store them before I need to use them?
I have not tried to store them for long term but I would think at least up to a week should be fine. Just make sure they are in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Brandy J says
Can a dehydrator be used in place of the oven? Thanks. Can’t wait to make these
I don't see why not but I have never used one before. I would think it would work even better since it's meant to do exactly what you would want for the lemon slices.
Erin E Smith says
Followed your instructions but for cooling I placed them in a mini cupcake tin for shaping to make them look like flowers. They're beautiful! Thank you for the easy instructions.
That's brilliant! Thanks for sharing that tip with the myself and other readers.
Do these lemon slices stiff-in up or are they still soft once baked or left over night?
Pam, the longer you let them dry, the stiffer they become. I'd say baking and/or leaving over night makes them quite stiff but still chewy to the bite. Hope that helps!
Ramya Arun says
I tried these today. I candied the lemon slices after blanching. They were a bit bitter? What could have possibly gone wrong? Please help. I was hoping to garnish a lemon cake that I'll be making next week.
What kind of lemons were they? Meyer lemons have a thin rind and blanching once usually does the trick. If you can find Meyer lemons, they may be better for decorating a cake. Thicker lemons and even oranges might need to be blanched 3-4 times before the candy step. Be sure to start with cold water each time.
Ramya Arun says
I candied oranges this time. Blanched them twice. Came out beautiful! Waiting to decorate them on a cake. Thank you so much!
I'm so glad it worked for you this time!
aftet completing all the steps for the candied lemons can they be home canned?
If I put the slices in the oven to dry will they still be soft enough to shape before they harden fully? Or should I shape them before I out them into the oven?
I can't wait to try this out!!
They are still somewhat pliable when you take them out but it may depend on how you want to shape them. I have not tried this but I suggest you dry them halfway, shape them and then put them back in the oven. Hope that helps. I'd love to hear back on what you did and if it worked. Good luck!
How long do I bake them?
Because oven temperatures vary I can't give you an exact time, I estimate an hour at 200F but if your oven runs hot or you have a convection oven it may be a shorter time. You just need to just keep an eye on it. Also, if you have hot spots in your oven, you will want to rotate your pan.
Sliced mine with a mandolin and some came our only halves. I’ll try a serrated knife next. Also wondering if the poaching takes more water at high altitude. I’m at 7000’ and the syrup is reducing fast. Using a dehydrator. We’ll see tomorrow. :)
Dawn Murin says
Thank you for the recipe! Anxious to try it. Just have one question...what does blanching more than once mean? Like, literally put the slices back in boiling water again for another minute after they’ve cooled in the ice bath? Why not just leave them in the boiling water for two minutes? Thank you! :)
Annettte Gallardo says
Blanching helps remove the bitter flavor of the pith (white part). Some lemons have very thick piths and if you use the same water, you are only concentrating the bitterness. So use new water each time.
Thank you for the recipe! Anxious to try it. Just have one question...what does blanching more than once mean? Like, literally put the slices back in boiling water again for another minute after they’ve cooled in the ice bath? Why not just leave them in the boiling water for two minutes? Thank you!
Thank you for the recipe! Just have one question...what does blanching more than once mean? Like, literally put the slices back in boiling water again for another minute after they’ve cooled in the ice bath? Why not just leave them in the boiling water for two minutes? Thank you!
Miranda Granger says
Hi! I am unsure what temperature I should have the sugar/ water syrup at. Should it look like it’s boiling or is that too hot? Thank you 😊
Hi Miranda, it should just be a simmer not a rapid boil. Please check the video for reference.