I love combining them with fresh sprigs of rosemary, dried eucalyptus, cinnamon sticks and/or pinecones to create a cozy atmosphere in my home throughout fall and winter.
They can be made using your oven or dehydrator, and though they truly are easy, there are a few tricks to getting the best results. I’ll cover those below, along with some ideas for using them in everything from decor to drinks.
1. Use something thin and sharp to poke a hole through the top of the orange, just underneath the rind. I used a shish kabob skewer, but a clean meat thermometer would also work.
2. Thread a piece of twine through and tie it into a circle. That’s it!
As you can see in the photo, when you add a bit of light it shines through the slices and allows their patterns to really shine.
Ways To Use Dried Orange Slices
Tuck them into mason jars with cinnamon sticks and few other ingredients to give as stovetop potpourri to friends and family (Find my recipe here)
Tie with a string and hang as Christmas tree ornaments
Add to garlands, mantles, table centerpieces, and wreaths
To embellish gifts (see the photo below)
As a garnish for drinks like mulled wine
To snack on. I love to eat them whole!
Tips for Getting The Best Results
Choosing the best oranges:
The deeper the color of the orange, the better the result
Choose oranges with thick, dimply peels instead of thin, smooth peels.
Navel oranges can vary in color from deep orange to pale yellow. A previous batch you see pictured was deep orange, but the ones I bought most recently were more pale, so I decided to add color by tossing blood oranges into the mix.
Cara cara oranges are often very vibrant if you can find them, and grapefruits can work beautifully, too.
Use A Good Knife
Thin, even slices (about 1/4 inch thick) create the best result, so make sure you have a sharp knife for making smooth, even cuts on hand.
Another option is to use a mandolin for slicing, but the blade needs to be very sharp. When I tried it with mine, it created about 50% beautiful slices and 50% mangled slices that I ended up serving to my kids as a snack.
Opt for Low, Slow Heat
It may be tempting to rush the process by increasing the heat a little. However, lower heat settings allow the oranges to retain more their vibrant color while higher settings tend to darken them.
I keep my oven at 170F, but up to 200F will work. You will probably need to remove them early to prevent burning, though. I’d start watching them around the 4.5 – 5 hour mark and remove them just as soon as they feel mostly dry. They’ll continue to dry a bit at room temperature.
Add Sugar & Spice
My first batch of dried orange slices was intended for decorating handmade gifts, but I had to make a second one because I didn’t realize just how deliciously snackable they can be.
I like mine plain – with the rind and everything – but they’re also delicious when sprinkled with a bit of sugar and/or cinnamon or dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with a touch of vanilla finishing salt.
Oven Vs. Dehydrator Results
If you have both an oven and a dehydrator and are wondering which one to go with, here’s a side-by-side comparison of oranges that I dried in my oven (left) at 170F for six hours versus my dehydrator (right) at 115F for twelve.
The higher heat oven-dried ones are a bit more rustic and softer in color, while the lower heat dehydrated ones are more true to their original vibrant hues. Both are beautiful in my opinion, so it really just depends on what you prefer.