What to Do With Orange Peels: 10 Fresh Ideas

Don't toss those peels! We've got lots of great ways to use them for flavor and freshness.

Published December 18, 2023


Orange peels smell amazing, and it's totally a shame to throw them away. Luckily, knowing what to do with orange peels is all about getting creative and trying some new things. From making candied orange peel to creating the ultimate fresh scent for your home, we've got you covered. Don't toss those peels in the trash.

Make Candied Orange Peel


Sugar is a great way to preserve things, and if you ask us, adding sugar is a really good way to make any great thing even better. Making candied orange peel is easy, too. You'll just need sugar and water.

  1. Start by cutting the peels into small slices (no rules, just what you like).
  2. Boil them in water for about 15 minutes and then drain them well.
  3. Mix equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the peel.
  4. Boil for about 45 minutes.
  5. Drain the peels and let them dry for about 24 hours.
  6. When they're dry, put more sugar in a plastic bag and toss the peels in the sugar to coat them thoroughly.
Quick Tip

How much sugar you need for this depends on the amount of orange peel you have handy. For the peel of one large orange, you'll need about 1.5 cups sugar for boiling and another half a cup for tossing when the peel is dry.

Make Your House Smell Amazing


If you want to give your home a nice fresh scent, you've already got most of what you need. Grab that orange peel and toss it in a small pan of water on your stove. Add spices like cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, as well as vanilla. If you happen to have some cranberries, throw those in there, too.

Then cook the mixture on low heat. Remember to add more water if it starts to get low. When people come in the door, they're going to comment on how great it smells.

Infuse Some Vodka With Orange Peel


Orange peel adds tons of flavors to food recipes, but it's also all you need to make a super special DIY vodka flavor. This is so easy you won't even believe it.

  1. Get a bottle of vodka that's not totally full (if you have a full bottle, this is a solvable problem).
  2. Cut the peel into pieces that will fit inside the neck of the bottle.
  3. Push the pieces of orange peel into the bottle.
  4. Put the top on and shake the bottle to make sure the peel is covered in vodka.
  5. Let the bottle sit for about a month and then give it a taste.

Create Aromatic Orange Salt


Just like you can add orange peel to vodka to give it a citrus kick, you can actually do the same thing with salt. For this, we like sea salt because of its larger flakes. You can use this aromatic salt to top salads, meat, or anything else you like.

  1. Cut the peel into small pieces.
  2. In a container that seals, add the peel and cover it with salt. If you want, toss in some herbs.
  3. Seal the container and shake it well to make sure the peel is coated.
  4. Let it sit for a week.
  5. When you're ready to use the salt, just remove the peel.
Quick Tip

Can you eat orange peel straight? You can, although it can be a little bit bitter. Try it with sugar to balance the taste.

Brew Some Orange Peel Tea


For a soothing winter drink, try brewing up some orange peel tea. It's really easy and only takes about 15 minutes.

  1. Place the orange peels in a cup or teapot.
  2. Cover in boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the peels and serve. You can add honey to make it sweet.
Quick Tip

If you're going to brew orange peel tea or eat orange peels, make sure you wash them well to remove any pesticides or chemicals from the peel. Some people also choose to use organic oranges.

Garnish a Cocktail or Mocktail


Orange peels are so colorful and pretty, and they make a gorgeous (and fragrant) garnish for cocktails and mocktails. If you're wondering what to do with orange peels and have some cocktail ingredients on hand, this is definitely our favorite options.

Make Orange Peel Christmas Decorations


Orange peels are just lovely to look at, and they smell amazing. If you're looking for something to do with them during the holidays, just look to your Christmas tree for inspiration.

  • Cut peels into the shape of stars and dry them on a cookie sheet. Then string them together to make a garland.
  • Make a single orange peel ornament by peeling the orange to preserve a large piece of peel. Cut it into a pretty shape and flatten with a rolling pin as it's drying.
  • Glue pieces of dried orange peel and whole cloves to a piece of cardboard cut in the shape of a bell or star. Hang the ornament from your tree.

Dry Orange Peel to Use Later


Just because you have some orange peel handy doesn't mean you have to use it right this minute. We love drying it to use later in recipes or when we want to add some fragrance.

The peel is easy to dry, too. Just cut it into small pieces and place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer (line the cookie sheet with parchment paper). Heat the oven to 200°F and dry the peel in the oven for about half an hour. Remove it and let it cool before storing it.

Make a DIY Air Freshener for Your Car or Home


If you have kids or pets, it's pretty common to have a less-than-fresh-smelling situation going on in your house or car. We more than get it (my kids once left a piece of bacon just sitting on the back seat of the car for a few days). You can use orange peel to freshen things up, and we guarantee it's going to smell way better than that Diaper Genie.

Just put the orange peel in a spray bottle of white vinegar and let it sit for about three days. Then lightly mist the air wherever you smell a funky odor. Problem solved.

Make Refreshing Orange Peel Water


Sure, you can (and totally should) drink regular water, but it's easier to get your 64 ounces if it feels a little fancy. That's where the orange peel enters the scene. Put filtered water in a pitcher in your fridge and add the orange peel. When you're thirsty, fill up your glass or water bottle with the orange-infused water.

So Many Things to Do With Orange Peels


There's no shame in putting orange peels down your garbage disposal to help it smell fresh, but there are actually so many uses for these flavor and fragrance-packed peels that it does seem like a little bit of a waste. Next time you're wondering what to do with orange peels, just think about where you could use a fresh smell or a burst of citrus flavor and put those peels to work.

What to Do With Orange Peels: 10 Fresh Ideas