How to Make Sugared Lemon Peels

Lemon Cupcakes by Ling AbsonRandy and I went to Brother’s Beer Bistro in downtown Ottawa a few weeks ago. We have never been there and we were very impressed. Almost everything were infused with beer – this fact alone has won over Randy’s heart. The butter they served was whipped with beer. Their beer list is extensive.

If I have to pick a favourite cake, carrot cake would probably be it. When I saw carrot cake on their menu, I was compelled to order it. Their carrot cake was served with orange carrot curd, maple porter cream cheese frosting, gingered carrot and smoked dates. I was very intrigued. Smoke dates? Gingered carrot? Hmm….

I cut a small chunk of carrot cake with my fork, scoop a bit of the maple porter cream cheese frosting and orange carrot curd, top it up with a quarter smoked date and gingered carrot – it was the perfect bite. I could taste everything and it just works. The smoked dates were incredible. I’ve never had carrot cake like this. This plate of awesomeness inspired me to try different things with my baking.

Hence the sugared lemon peels. Although these sugared lemon peels are a far cry from the meal I had at Brother’s Beer Bistro, it is my first step at trying something different.


Organic Lemons

First you want organic lemons. Find some nice unblemished ones…


Peel lemon

I used a vegetable peeler to peel the lemon. You can do it vertically or around like you’re peeling an apple, depending if you want it longer or shorter. You want to just peel the yellow zest, not the white pith if you can.


Cut lemon peel in strips

Cut the lemon peel into thinner strips. Or if you’re fancy, you can call it julienne…


Boiling lemon peels

I combine the peels with 2 cups of cold water. Bring to boil and drain the water. Add another 2 cups of cold water, bring to boil again and drain. Repeat a third time.


Sugar and water

For 1 large lemon, use 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 water.


Mix sugar into water

Add water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar dissolves.


Candied Lemon Peels by Ling Abson

Add the peels and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered.


Candied Lemon Peels by Ling Abson

It should start to look like this.


Sugared Lemon Peels by Ling Abson

Then this…


Sugared Lemon Peels by Ling Abson

And finally this. A little translucent.


Sugared Lemon Peels by Ling Abson

Drain and set aside. Find some toothpicks…


Curl lemon peel

While they are still hot (please use caution here, it can be very hot), curl them with toothpicks tightly and let cool. Doesn’t matter if it is not perfectly curled. Art is not perfect. 😉


Curled lemon peels

Remove the toothpicks once they are cooled. I curled some, I left some as is.


Add sugar to lemon peels

Add a handful of sugar…


Add sugar to lemon peels

Mix them around to coat the lemon peels. I only added sugar to half the peels as I can’t decide which one I would like better.


Sugared lemon peels by Ling Abson

Shake the excess off and store them in a ziplock bag. They can keep for several weeks.


Sugared lemon peels by Ling Abson

Ahhh…don’t they look oh just so fancy?


Lemon Cupcakes by Ling Abson

Have you tried making your own candied lemon peels? Do you use the same way like I do? If you have any tips on how to curl them I would love to hear them.

I thought it might be fun to show you how I did it with a video. No voice over as I can’t talk and cook at the same time (and I had Dora on TV in the background).

Sugared Lemon Peels


  • 1 Organic Lemon
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • A bunch Toothpicks


With a vegetable peeler, remove peel from lemon in vertical or horizontal strips around the lemon. Try to get only the zest and not the white pith.
Combine peels with 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan. Bring to boil and drain. Repeat for two more times. Set aside peels.
Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add peels and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until peels are translucent. Drain peels and set aside onto a plate.
While peel is still warm, curl peel around toothpick tightly and let cool on plate. Once cooled, remove toothpicks. You should see the lemon peels stay curled.
Add remaining sugar to lemon peels and toss to coat. Remove peels by shaking excess sugar. Keep sugared peels in a ziplock bag.


























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