How to Make Dried Orange Slices at Home

Finding Inspiration in Winter

If I ever need recipe inspiration, browsing the farmers market can help spark ideas. It’s a great way to support local farms and have access to the best seasonal flavors. However, in New Hampshire, access to local fruits and vegetables is limited during the winter. It may not be regionally local, but citrus season is booming in the south, offering the best flavors and seasonal varieties. This time of the year, oranges are my favorite fruit to use in recipes. One of the newest ways I’ve been experimenting with citrus is dried orange slices. 

Dried Oranges Slices Should be a Pantry Staple

You’re not wrong if potpourri or vase fillers come to mind when you hear dried oranges. But that’s the tip of the iceberg for their potential in a kitchen. Once dried, the sweetness intensifies and almost tastes like candy. And if you’re wondering, the zest is edible too! While the zest of a fresh orange can be bitter, the flavor mellows when dried. The zest also loses its chewiness and takes on a snap. The best thing about making dried orange slices at home is you don’t need a dehydrator! You can easily dry orange slices using an oven. 

dried orange slices
Photo by Katrin Bolovtsova

How to Make Dried Orange Slices at Home

Step 1: Wash and Dry the Oranges

Select oranges that are firm and free of blemishes. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water and pat the surface dry. 

Step 2: Cut the Oranges Into Thin Slices

Once dry, carefully cut the oranges into 1/8-inch slices using a sharp knife or mandolin slicer. To help make cutting thin slices easier, refrigerate the oranges until ready to cut. 

Step 3: Dry With a Paper Towel

Once sliced, place the slices between clean paper towels and pat the surface. The towels will absorb moisture, helping to shorten the drying time. If you use a cloth towel, choose one you wouldn’t mind if it stains. Citric acid or the tannins in blood oranges can discolor fabric. 

Step 4: Arrange on a Baking Sheet

Place the slices in a single layer on a metal rack insert to promote even drying. If you don’t have an insert, place the slices on parchment paper and flip them halfway through drying.   

Step 5: Bake or Dehydrate at 175° F

Bake the slices at 175° F until dry throughout. If the center of the slices feels soft when pinched, continue to dry the slices. Depending on the thickness of the orange slices, it can take between two and five hours to fully dry. 

Step 6: Cool the Dried Orange Slices

Once dried, remove the slices from the oven. Allow the slices to cool fully before transferring to an air-tight container. 

Dried Orange Slices Recipe Inspiration

Making dried orange slices at home does require some time, but it’s well worth it! Unlike fresh citrus, dried orange slices can be used in recipes that need to stay dry, including:

  • Homemade granola
  • Trail mixes
  • Herbal tea blends
  • Olive oil infusions
  • Desserts and candies 

Dried orange slices can also be used as edible garnishes and decorations in:

dried orange slices
Photo by Tara Winstead

Recipe Tips

Varieties to Dry

You can use any variety you eat as a snack when drying oranges. That includes navel oranges, clementines, mandarins, and tangerines. My favorite orange to dry is blood oranges. The flavor is sweeter than navel, and the colors make for a gorgeous garnish. 

Buy Organic

Depending on their availability and your budget, buy organic oranges when possible. While the juice and inside contain trace amounts of pesticides, the peel has the highest concentration of pesticides.

Storage Tips

Dried orange slices can last up to a year from the date dried. To achieve the longest shelf life possible: 

  • Store dried orange slices in an air-tight container and record the dried-on date. Place the container in a cool, dark area away from sunlight. 
  • Open the container at least once a month to check for signs of moisture. 
  • For the best freshness, oxygen absorbers can help preserve the flavor over time. 

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