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Are your citrus peels on an express route straight off the fruit and into your compost bin? Hold up! There’s so much sweet, aromatic goodness in the peels. Here are six ways to use the leftover lemon, orange, and grapefruit peels in your kitchen.

Cocktail hour

Cocktails and citrus are a match made in heaven. Send a strip of peel on a swim in your drink or squeeze one as a final spritz over the glass. If you’re invested in upgrading your mixology game, consider infusing them into a simple syrup or into your spirit of choice for flavor that packs a punch.

Candy time

Use the whole leftover orange or lemon peels by candying them. Candied citrus peels are simple to make and delicious as a sweet snack, a dessert garnish, or even a holiday decoration.

Elevate a meat dish

The zesty essence of citrus will make any savory dish pop, and peels are the perfect delivery mechanism for releasing the flavor into a slow-cooked braise or sauce. Add them to the braising liquid of a meat dish, or if roasting a bird, stuff them into the cavity alongside other aromatics like onions and rosemary.

DIY cleaning solution

When in doubt, we recommend that you store your citrus peels in white vinegar to create an awesome, aromatic, non toxic citrus peel cleaning solution! This is especially good for all of those Mandarin orange peels that pile up around the holidays.

Dry them for tea or potpourri

Dried citrus peels (cut thin and dried in the oven) are a great addition to a tea blend that you want to spice up, or to a potpourri mixture to make your house smell great!

Just add water

Infuse the peels into a pitcher of water for a refreshing spa-like treat, or make a simple hot tea by pouring boiling water over them and letting them steep for a few minutes.

  • Remember, these tips can work with any type of citrus!
  • Want to learn more about citrus? Get to know this fantastic family of fruits with our Citrus 101 guide.


  • Kara Constantine
    February 11, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    You can also make a no-cook syrup with citrus peels, and other scraps like pineapple cores!

    • Imperfect
      February 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      This is a great idea, Kara! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarahleah
    December 13, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I don’t use salt in my cooking instead I thoroughly dry out citrus peels, especially the lemons, and use them with whole peppercorns in different colors in a pretty table grinder to flavor food of all kinds. I also have a grinder with just fennel seeds and citrus peels. I made one for a friend that had chili flakes and citrus peels. They are great to include in a basket of homemade gifts.

    • Imperfect
      December 23, 2020 at 11:23 pm

      So awesome! Love hearing how you use the dried out peels!


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