Dried Orange Slices for an Old Fashioned Christmas.

Dried orange slices FOR THE WIN. They’re ridiculously easy to make, last for years and make your Christmas tree look like it’s covered in stained glass.  Here’s how to make dried orange slices.

how to make dried orange slices

You can take your seats and relax because this is probably the easiest and most effective Christmas decoration in existence.  Unless you count setting out a box of After Eight dinner mints Christmas decorating. Which I do.  So, let me rephrase … this is probably the second easiest and most effective Christmas decoration in existence.

Shoot.  I don’t mean to get off track, but if you and I were to sit down and have a real heart to heart about easy Christmas decorating, I think we’d agree that putting fluffy socks and a Hallmark Christmas movie on  might actually be number the number 1 easiest thing you can do.  That bumps After Eights down to number 2 and orange slices down to 3. 

They’re sounding harder and harder aren’t they? 

Dried orange slices.  Slice, bake, hang.  Those are your instructions. That’s it.

how to make dried orange slices

You might think with something so simple that the results would be mediocre. They are not. The results are spectacular.

So what can you do with these dried orange slices?

You can:

  • hang them on a tree
  • set them in a bowl
  • tuck them into garland
  • make an ENTIRE garland out of them
  • stick them on a wood skewer and use them in planters or windowboxes

The choice is yours because dried orange slices are incredibly accommodating. They’ll give you no trouble at all.

how to make dried orange slices

There are really only three things you need to remember.

How to make dried orange slices.

  1. Preheat oven to lowest temperature.
  2. Cut orange slices to around 1/4″ thick.
  3. Set them on wire cookie racks, not a metal baking sheet (because they can stick and don’t dry as evenly)
  4. Bake them at the lowest temperature your oven goes to for 4-6 hours or until no stickiness remains.

drying orange slices in the oven

For me that was 150F.

TIP FOR ORANGE SLICES

I bought most of my oranges from the reduced produce section. They were bruised and weird, and yet they all turned out perfectly.

Let them dry until when you touch them they don’t feel sticky at all.  That can take from 4-6 hours depending on how thick the slices are and how juicy the orange is.

dried orange slices

When they’ve finished drying just remove them from the oven, call yourself Laura Ingalls and look for a place to set them.

The oranges I had on the lower rack of my oven turned out darker than the ones higher up in the oven. If I’d checked on them more often I could have removed the lower ones so they didn’t darken quite as much, but I actually like the variation in colours.  You could also rotate your pans throughout the drying process.

As they age, they get darker anyway so don’t worry about it.

How long will dried orange slices last?

Years! I’ve had these orange slices for 3 years and they’re still in perfect shape, they’ve just become a bit darker.

traditional christmas tree

They’re a thing of beauty. And they took 12 seconds.  O.K. they took 6 hours, but the prep time was 12 seconds.   You slice an orange. That’s it.

dried orange slices as Christmas ornaments

The magic  happens when the tree lights come on.  If you place or orange slices in the vicinity of a lightbulb they GLOW like stained glass.  This isn’t some sort of Photoshop magic, this is how the dried orange slices look at night with the tree on.

Don’t they look delicious? I know your next question.

Can you eat dried oranges slices?

Yes you can. (Add that to the list of things you can do with them) I mean, I haven’t actually eaten them, but the world on the Google streets is that dried oranges slices like this are delicious. Do them exactly as I outline or you can add a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg on top before putting them in the oven.

The peel is also edible but if you don’t want to do that,  crack them in half and eat around the rind like you would with an orange slice.

You can also use them for flavouring desserts, marinades and stir fries. And of course they’d make a beautiful and perfect accent to a chocolate dessert. If you don’t like chocolate and orange together you might not be a real human. 

Keeping dried orange slices in a mason jar in your pantry will also give you the look of someone who is all earthy and mixes potions and stuff.  So like, a witch, I suppose.


These orange slices combined with my DIY tree candles has resulted in the most beautiful Christmas tree I’ve ever had.

glowing dried orange slices on Christmas tree

Plus my tree will never catch a cold which is an added bonus.

Dried Orange Slices

Dried Orange Slices

Yield: Lots!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Estimated Cost: $5

A Christmas ornament for all of your senses. O.K. Maybe just your eyes and nose, but still.

Materials

  • Naval oranges

Tools

  • Oven or Dehydrator

Instructions

  1. Cut orange slices to around 1/4" thick.
  2. Set them on wire cookie racks, not a metal cookie sheet (because they can stick and don't dry as evenly)
  3. Bake them at the lowest temperature your oven goes to for 4-6 hours or until no stickiness remains.
  4. For a DEHYDRATOR set the dehydrator to 135 degrees F and let them dry until they aren't sticky. It could take up to a day but check on them every few hours.

You could hang the oranges with ribbon or twine but I wanted the orange slices and only the orange slices to show up so I just shoved a regular hook for hanging Christmas balls through them. The hooks just disappear once they’re on the tree.

THIS year if I get the time I’m going to do more of them to make an 8′ garland.

Like I mentioned earlier, these are edible but after the box of After Eights you probably won’t be very hungry anyway.

 

119 Comments

  1. Jean says:

    I just got a bag of oranges and cinnamon sticks, and was ready to make these gorgeous ornaments but then we had a question.

    Has anyone had any issues with the oranges attracting insects or mice? We want to make these this year but don’t want to attract unwelcome Christmas guests…!

  2. Cindy says:

    Beautiful! Could they be done in a good dehydrator?

    • Karen says:

      They can and I have done them in my dehydrator, but I honestly prefer doing them in the oven. Probably just because it’s a bit warmer in the oven than I normally set my dehydrator so they get done much more quickly. ~ karen!

  3. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Ok I have a batch baking in the oven right now and the gentle fragrance is heavenly! I too used the bargain bin fruit at half the price. My slices are huge…. wonder if this would work with clementines? I’d kinda like smaller diameter ones. I know, picky picky 🙄
    Cheers from up the “hill”!

  4. Sherri says:

    I’m a bit late to this party, but wanted to relate a cautionary tale. Many years ago I used a dehydrator to dry dozens of Orange slices for a few days. (While they were drying, I had to chase the flies away every time I walked past it. This is a major plot point.) I mixed them into a wonderful potpourri and displayed the mix in a wooden bowl on my coffee table. One night I was laying on the floor cuddling with our sleeping puppy and maggots started raining down on us! The bowl was infested with the little varmints and they were coming out to
    play. Warning to make sure those beautiful orange slices are cut very thin and dried very well before using them anywhere.

  5. Shirley says:

    I did this and also dehydrated the two ends from each orange to use as fire starters this winter in my fireplace. They do a great job of starting my DIY lint-filled toilet paper rolls wrapped in brightly colored birthday gift tissue that are tied on the ends with used string or jute twine.

    Thanks for this great post! Ot was very inspiring.

  6. Lindy Williams says:

    How dried should the orange slices be when ready? I ask because I’m drying these in the warming oven at our off-grid cottage. The stove is a wood burning Findlay Oval, and we use the warming oven to dry herbs, warm plates, etc. Should the pretty pulp be perfectly dry when done? Or still somewhat squishy? The rinds seem very stiff at this point. I can’t go by oven temp because this is not a baking oven.

  7. Kim says:

    They also taste delicious in a cup of blueberry tea. Or any tea really.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Okay, I have had dried orange slices in my Christmas decoration box for over a decade, almost two! They get really dry and dark but still the glow of Christmas lights shine through them in a stained glass way. I’m replacing them this year, it’s about time, wouldn’t you say.

  9. Kelly says:

    So sweet and pretty. May try a garland of lemons, little pink grapefruits, and oranges. Love this.

  10. Desirae Andersen says:

    Hi Karen, I’m not sure if I missed it somewhere in your article, but I was just wondering if they had a wonderful citrus smell to them, which I’m guessing they do, and about how long does that scent last on them? Thanks so much! Love your articles. :)

    Desirae

  11. Linda J Howes-Smyth says:

    Actually we are thinking of using the dried stem and branches from one of our harvested cannabis plants. String a few lights and a few ornaments, did I hear dried orange slices?

  12. Vivian Downing says:

    Hi Karen,
    Would clementines work as well? I bought a mini crate but they aren’t very sweet so this could be a win-win.
    Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Vivian. I think they’d work, they’d just end up being quite small. They shrink a lot when they dehydrate. But they could be really cute small! ~ karen

  13. Mary W says:

    I’m making them in my dehydrator – your tree is so pretty! I will then send them through the food processor after Christmas for dried orange (peel and flesh) powder to add to whatever strikes my fancy. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Karen says:

      Don’t forget though, that they’ll last for yearsssss so you don’t need to pulverize them at the end of the season if you don’t want. :) ~ karen!

  14. Janette Thompson says:

    Absolutely doing this – thank you! I’m most excited about mason/vintage jars of them in my pantry – oh, oh – and maybe some hanging from pantry shelves – strung on twine – rustic twine!!! When my pantry items are charming it makes me feel like I have my sh-(act) together – despite realism to the contrary. 😏🙄😅

  15. Barb says:

    Hmmm…thinking ahead to my 3 foot tree that I’ll be decorating this year – I’ll use Clementines for a smaller version, maybe even lemons and limes. Thank you for this reminder that natural is so much more appealing!

  16. Jane says:

    Another use for dried citrus slices: if you have ants coming into your house, put a few where they come in. Ants don’t like the smell of citrus and they’ll stay away. They can smell it even if we don’t.

  17. Linda J Howes-Smyth says:

    That tree is indeed most beautiful. Very old timey and makes me pine for Christmas’ past. I have no room for a tree in my home and miss the welcome feeling of warmth and coziness a Christmas tree always gave me. I may just print out that picture with your permission, and hang it up somewhere instead.

    • Karen says:

      Print away! But do you not have room for a small tabletop tree? That could be just as cozy if you put the little battery operated copper wire lights on it. ~ karen!

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