It was only a matter of time before my love of drying all things turned to citrus fruit! In this easy tutorial, I’ll show you how to make dried orange slices for crafting, decor, and even recipes. I’m especially loving the orange slice trend for home decor from fall through Christmas!
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How to Dry Orange Slices
Luckily, you have many options when it comes to making dried orange slices. You can use the air-dry method, oven-drying method, or dehydrator method. Each has its pros and cons.
For a completely different spin on drying whole oranges, you can also see my tutorial on how to dry orange pomander balls.
The air-dry method requires the fewest tools. Simply run a piece of jute cord or baking twine through the tops of your orange slices, and hang them in a cool, dry place.
Much like drying flowers, you’ll need up to a week (or more) for the orange slices to dry completely. Beyond the time required, you may find that your slices may become more warped with this method.
Oven-drying is my preferred method for drying citrus. That’s the focus of this tutorial. This method does require a day at home to babysit your orange slices, but the quality is fairly consistent.
It’s also less expensive than investing in a food dehydrator.
If you have the dough to spend on a dehydrator, you’ll want to go this route when drying oranges. Many models like this one have a temperature adjustment feature that helps preserve nutrients in the fruit.
Decorating Ideas for Dried Orange Slices
Watch this YouTube video to learn about 5 ways you can decorate with dried orange slices.
Tips for Getting the Best Dried Orange Slices
Tip #1: Slice Oranges Very Thin
Make sure you have a sharp knife when slicing your oranges. You’ll want the slices to have roughly the same thickness so they will dry evenly. Thinner is better, so aim for slices about 1/4-inch thick.
A mandolin is a great tool to ensure even thickness when slicing fruit. Just slice off one end of the orange to create an even surface before continuing with the mandolin.
Tip #2: Dry Excess Moisture Before Baking
With a paper towel, dab each side of the orange slices before placing them in the oven. This gives the fruit a head start on dehydrating.
Tip #3: Bake Orange Slices in the Oven at Low Heat
I tested the oven-drying method at two different temperatures: 175°F and 200°F. Either is fine, but I say if you have the time, go low and slow.
The orange slices I baked at 175°F had better color and texture, though I did have to exercise some patience waiting for them to finish. (Cue the Jeopardy music.)
It can take up to 6 hours to thoroughly dry your citrus fruit at 175°F, while the slightly higher temp takes closer to 4 hours.
I find it helpful to use a baking rack with parchment paper underneath to bake the slices more evenly and prevent the cookie sheet from getting sticky.
Tip #4: Flip Orange Slices Each Hour
When baking your oranges, set a timer to remember to flip the slices every hour or so. This helps the oranges to dry evenly and retain a flat shape rather than curling.
Checking the slices each hour can help you judge when they are dry enough.
Tip #5: For a Culinary Treat, Add Sugar or Spices
If you’d like to use your orange slices as a garnish for a cocktail or in a holiday punch, try sprinkling on some sugar, cinnamon, and/or ginger. This will result in a carmelized slice that makes a great treat.
I recently had a sugared orange slice served with my sangria while on vacation. It was heavenly!
Ways to Use Dried Orange Slices
My favorite way to show off dried orange slices is in home decor. You’ll see a peek at my fall table decor below.
Here are a few specific ideas for displaying your beautiful citrus slices!
Table Decor Centerpiece
Place a few dried orange slices in a dough bowl with pumpkins and greenery for fall or oversized ornaments for Christmas to celebrate each season.
Place Setting Accent
A single dried orange slice can look beautiful as a place setting accent with a sprig of fresh herbs or faux stems.
Dried Orange Garland
Dried orange slices are all the rage when it comes to wreaths and garlands. You can add them to a cypress, pine, spruce, or fir garland to add a pop of color to Christmas decor.
I’m also loving the look of orange slices for fall wreaths.
Tiered Tray Decor
A few sprinkles of orange slices add great texture and contrast to a tiered tray, too!
Sidenote: I use this tiered tray for every season, and I absolutely love it!
When making DIY potpourri with dried florals, you can add a few dried orange slices for a more interesting blend.
DIY Christmas Ornament
Add a pretty holiday ribbon or cinnamon sticks and greenery to your dried orange slices for a unique Christmas ornament. What a great handmade gift idea!
For an extra special touch, tie an orange slice onto your gift wrapping, too!
Simmer Pot Ingredient
Dried orange slices also make a nice ingredient for a stovetop simmer pot. Combine them with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, and apples to make your home smell amazing.
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How to Make Dried Orange Slices
- 2 medium oranges
- parchment paper
- Preheat oven to 175°F (80°C).
- Wash and dry the oranges.
- Cut the oranges into 1/4-inch slices. A mandolin works well for this purpose.
- Pat the slices dry with a paper towel.
- Place the orange slices on a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the orange slices out with space in between to prevent sticking.
- Bake the slices in the oven for about 6 hours or until dry. Flip the slices each hour to help the oranges dry evenly.
- Remove the slices from the oven once the centers look dry and not glossy. Let the slices finish air-drying, if necessary, rather than overbaking.