Candied Lemon Slices

This simple recipe for candied lemon slices makes a wonderful garnish and chewy tart snack. With only three ingredients needed, you can make lemon slices with things you may likely already have!

A white plate with lemon slices on it.

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Candied Lemon rlices Recipe

The tart flavor of lemon has long been pals with the sweetness of sugar. It’s the driving force behind a good homemade lemonade, and is the best part about soft and sugary lemon bars.

Candied lemon slices taste a lot like sour patch kids to me! If you love lemon candy, then this easy recipe will be a favorite for sure. You can add a sugary tart touch to so many different cocktails and dessert recipes.

This all-in-one beautiful topping and sweet treat can be used these year-round too! You can use them as a perfect garnish for your spring brunch cocktails like Lynchburg lemonade, or a summery drink like margarita sangria! Even add it something like winter citrus spa water during the holiday season.

Whatever you choose to use it with, these candied lemons are worth making. Just follow this simple process and you can have the best sugared lemon slice in no time. The best treat for lemon lovers!

More lemon recipes: Vodka LemonadeBlueberry LemonadeLemon Champagne Punch

Why you’ll love this recipe

There are so many reasons to love this simple lemon recipe:

  • Candied lemon slices add a touch of elegance to any dessert or drink. With their slightly shiny sugar coating and bright yellow color, they’re a gorgeous addition to anything you can think of!
  • Use up extra lemons before they go bad by making these little slice of heaven. Citrus fruit lasts a while, but I know I’ve had a few uh-oh moments where I needed to quickly use up an abundance of lemons.
  • Candied fresh lemons are a great make-ahead recipe. They’ll store pretty well once complete, so make them in advance to get a few of your party recipes out of the way!
Sliced lemons on a cooling rack.

Tools & equipment 

You only need a few supplies to successfully this sliced lemon candy. Grab a large bowl to use for ice water and a large saucepan that will contain the sugar and water for the candying process.

Use a very sharp knife and cutting board to slice lemons. The sharper the knife, the better the slices will be. You will also need measuring cups to correctly measure out the necessary water and sugar.

To dry the coated lemon slices, use a wire rack and a large baking sheet. Planning to store leftover slices? Then make sure you have a large airtight container and parchment paper to place between the layers of lemons.

Ingredients for candied lemon slices on a marble countertop.


With these three simple ingredients, you can make the most amazing candied lemon slices:

  • sliced lemons: It doesn’t matter which type of lemons you use. Whether regular lemons or meyer lemons, they will all work in the candying process. I do try to find some where the lemon rinds aren’t too thick though. Otherwise, the candied lemon peel can stay kind of bitter and difficult to chew.
  • water: For best results, I recommend using purified or filtered water. This is especially important if you know that your tap water tends to have a not-so-pleasant flavor.
  • sugar: Use granulated white sugar to make a sugar syrup and to coat the lemons when they are still a little sticky.

Substitution tip: This recipe and method will work for any kind of citrus. Use it to make candied orange slices, lime slices, and even grapefruit slices.

How to make Candied Lemon Slices

Ready to learn how to make homemade candied lemon slices? Then let’s get started:

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl, you will need it quickly.

Bring a cup of water to boil in a medium saucepan, then add the lemons to the pot of water. Cook them for 2 minutes.

A pan with lemon slices on it sitting on top of a stove.
Lemon slices in water with ice cubes.

Use a slotted spoon and quickly remove all the blanched lemon slices and immediately place them in the ice bath. If you are making multiple different types of citrus, it is important that you do this blanching process with each one.

If needed, add more water and then toss it.

Add 2 cups of water and 2 cups sugar into a large saucepan to begin simple sugar syrup. Bring the sugar mixture to a simmer and ensure that all sugar is fully dissolved.

A person pouring liquid into a pan on a stove.
A pan with lemon slices in it.

Place the lemon slices in a single layer in the warm sugar water. Don’t stir the slices around, instead use tongs to flip them if they begin to curl up.

Cook for 30-40 minutes until the flesh of the fruit is thin and see-through. Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.

A tray with lemon slices on it.

Then remove the slices from the saucepan and place them onto the wire rack and let the excess syrup drip onto the baking sheet below.

A bowl of sugar with a slice of orange in it.

If desired, coat the candied lemon slices in sanding sugar or extra granulated sugar. Serve or store for later!

Tips & tricks

Check out these tips to make the process for this recipe a 100% success:

  • Cut the lemons in uniform slices so that they cook evenly and they have the best presentation. Thin slices do best in this recipe!
  • If you plan to make lemons and oranges together, the lemons will get a more orange color. If you would prefer they stay their yellow shade, then make them first. You can do the oranges after the lemon slices are complete.
  • When making the ice water, use really cold water to keep the ice from melting quickly and to make the bowl of water extra cold.

How to use Candied Lemon Slices

I love to use these candied lemons on top of my favorite lemon desserts! They are a beautiful topping for lemon meringue pie and lemon curd.

Add it to cocktails like homemade limoncello or frozen lemon daquiris for a fun garnish. A honey lemon whiskey sour or lemon mojito would also be perfect to pair with a slice of candied lemon.

Add as a garnish to pound cake or bourbon ginger ale cake too. Really, they’re a great use for so many different things!

Sliced lemons on a white plate.


How do I store candied lemon slices?

Place the slices into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month. However, use the lemon slices quickly because the longer they are stored the more chewy they could become. Place sheets of parchment paper in between layers if you have to stack them.

Are candied lemons bitter?

Lemon slices that have been blanched in water at a rolling boil will not have a bitter flavor after being candied. This is why it important to blanche the slices before continuing on in the candying process!

More garnish recipes

A white plate with lemon slices on it.

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Sliced lemons on a white plate.

Candied Lemon Slices

Yield: 24 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
These tart and sugary candied lemon slices are a fun garnish for cocktails and desserts! Make them whenever you need a pretty addition to your favorite treats.
5 from 1 vote
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  • 2 lemons sliced
  • 2 ½ cups water divided
  • 2 cups sugar plus more for dusting if desired


  • Prepare an ice bath in a bowl.
  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the orange slices and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath. Do this for all the citrus you plan to cook.
  • If needed, add more water, then toss it. Begin the syrup with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar.
  • Add sugar to the water and stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add citrus slices in a single layer. Don’t stir, but you can use tongs to flip them if they begin to cup — this helps them lie flat.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit part of the slices are thinned.
  • Place a wire baking rack on a baking sheet. Remove the slices from the syrup and place on the wire rack. Let cool completely.
  • If desired, you can coat the slices in sanding sugar or granulated sugar.


Use a variety of types of lemons to get different colors and flavors, such as Meyer lemons. You can also make candied limes, oranges or grapefruit. 
If you are also candying oranges or another fruit, do the lemons first, on their own. Don’t mix them with another fruit. Otherwise, they can take on the color of the other fruit. 
The candied slices can be used to decorate drinks and desserts, or you can eat them plain.

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nutrition information

Yield: 24 slices

amount per serving:

Serving: 1slice Calories: 67kcal Carbohydrates: 17g Protein: 0.1g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.003g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g Sodium: 2mg Potassium: 13mg Fiber: 0.3g Sugar: 17g Vitamin A: 2IU Vitamin C: 5mg Calcium: 3mg Iron: 0.1mg
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