Learn How to Make Candied Lemons! Candied Lemons are thin slices of lemon, cooked in sugar, then dried until they have a beautiful glass-like look! They are perfect as garnish on cakes or desserts! If you love citrus, you might even eat them for snacks!
I have no idea why I waited so long to make these. It has been on my to-do list for ages and I just never got around to it. See how easy it is:
Not too long ago, a new client ordered a lemon cake and asked that I "just make it pretty" for her adult daughter's birthday. Cakes like that are my most favorite kind.
Cakes where I get to use my creativity and just roll with whatever comes to mind. I knew as soon as I got off the phone with her that I wanted to decorate the cake with candied lemons.
I had seen pictures of candied citrus fruit on cakes before and they really make a cake look so fancy. Candied Lemons add just a touch of elegance and "extra" to a cake... don't you think? This is the cake I made for B:
Details about the Candied Lemon Drip Cake:
- The cake was very similar to this Lemon Icebox Cake.
- It was filled Lemon Curd.
- I also filled and covered the cake with Vanilla Buttercream.
- I used this Drip Cake Tutorial to do the yellow drip.
- There was brushed chocolate and I used the Ateco #825 and Ateco #864 tips to do all of the piped buttercream.
- A few white sugar pearls and gold sugar pearls were added to the top and side.
- Lastly there were brushes of white chocolate and the candied lemons.
And this is what Mrs. B had to say afterwards:
Loved loved the cake and it was beyond delicious!! Thank you again!
It doesn't get much better than that friends... a beautiful cake and a happy client! So... when I shared that cake over on Facebook, I had several requests to share how I made the candied lemons and as promised... here's the recipe for you.
How to Make Easy Candied Lemons
For ingredients, you'll only need lemons, sugar and water:
First, you're going to want to slice the lemons:
You could use a mandolin to get uniform slices (I use my mandolin all the time!!), but for these, I just did my best to get them pretty even.
The thickness can vary slightly but if they're sliced too thin, they'll disintegrate when cooking.
Next do your best to gently remove all the seeds. Especially if you know these will be eaten. When I started cooking mine the first time, I realized I missed quite a few.
In a large shallow pan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (med-low).
Add the lemon slices in a single layer.
Simmer the lemon slices over medium heat for 20-40 minutes or until translucent. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the lemon slices.
Flip them once or twice during the cooking process if the lemons start to curl up into little cups.
When the pulp of the lemons starts to look clear (and the sugar water will start to thicken), it's time to transfer the lemons to a a cookie sheet or cooling rack.
I prefer to use a cooling rack over a cookie sheet but you can certainly line a cookie sheet with parchment and dry them that way.
Two Options to Dry Candied Lemons:
- You can bake the lemons at 200°F for one hour to dry the lemons, then let them cool and they're ready to use!
- OR you can let them air dry overnight (at least 12 hours). They are a little stickier when air-dryed but that method works too!
I prefer to bake my candied lemons. So when I take them out of the oven and then let them cool - they're ready to use on a cake!
When the lemons are cooled - they're so beautiful! They still may be a little sticky but they're also stiff and glass-like. How beautiful is this?
How long will Candied Lemons last?
I've read a lot about candied lemons and the information out there is not consistent. To be on the safe side, I'd go with the shorter timeframes. Here's what I found:
- At Room Temperature: Most websites said candied lemon slices keep at room temperature for 24 hours. However, I found a few that said if properly dried and coated with a layer of sugar (after drying), they'd keep in a jar at room temperature for up to 6 months. I'm not sure how I feel about this... haha.
- Refrigerated: Almost all websites said the candied lemons would last for 2 to 6 weeks if put in an airtight container in single layers (with parchment paper between) in a refrigerator. Again, a couple of outliers said up to 6 months.
- Frozen: Candied lemon slices can be kept in the freezer in single layers, in an airtight container for at least 6 months... possibly up to a year.
If you plan to keep them long-term, I would suggest that you dip them in another layer of sugar if you plan to stack them so that they don't stick to the parchment paper or to each other. This will also prevent excess stickiness.
Uses for Candied Lemon Slices:
- Snacks - you can eat them alone... so tart and chewy, a bit like fruit leather.
- Garnish for Desserts: use them on cakes, cheesecakes, pies, cupcakes and more!
- Garnish for Drinks: perfect for lemonade, citrus cocktail drinks, or hot teas.
All of the candied lemons I've made, I've used for cakes but they'd be a beautiful addition to any dessert. My son dropped a couple of slices in his hot tea to help with his sore throat and it was perfection.
Even more exciting... you can do the same thing with other citrus fruits... make candied orange slices or candied lime slices. I cannot wait to try!
Alrighty - you ready for the recipe?Print
How to Make Candied Lemons
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: 24 slices 1x
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 lemons
- Slice lemons approximately ⅛th inch thick, throwing away the ends. The thickness can vary slightly but if they're sliced too thin, the pulp might disintegrate when cooking.
- Remove seeds.
- In a large shallow pan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer (med-low) and add lemon slices in a single layer.
- Simmer over medium heat for 20-40 minutes or until translucent. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the lemon slices. Flip them once or twice during the cooking process if the lemons start to curl up into little cups.
- While the lemons are cooking, preheat your oven to 200°F. Also, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat OR place a wire rack on your cookie sheet.
- Transfer the lemon slices to the cookie sheet, then bake for one hour.*
- Remove from the oven. The candied lemons can sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours before storing in an air-tight container.
Candied Lemons will keep in the fridge in single layers for up to 2 weeks or in single layers in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Lemon Desserts You'll Love:
Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake Recipe
This sounds wonderful Since I am diabetic I wonder if I could substitute the sugar with monk fruit or Stevia? It should work I believe.
I'm honestly not sure how sugar substitutes would work. I'm sorry!
I’ve used this recipe for lemons for cheesecake decorations, I wonder if I can use this same recipe for key limes? Or limes?
Yes! It would be the same process 🙂
Rose my goodness, I'm sure glad to find you and your recipes. Girl you are beyond talented. You have a gift from God, I hope you know! That lemon decorated cake is simply magnificient. I am a new fan, so excited to try your recipes! Thanks for sharing your talents.
Love this one, I have made candied orange peel, so will have to give this one a try as well.
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The lemons slices look so yummy! That would be the first thing I would eat if my piece of cake came with a slice on it! I will surprise my family one day and make a few to put on my lemon cream pie!