Ever wondered how to turn fresh citrus into the most gorgeous dried citrus in your oven? If so, I can't wait to share my ultimate guide on How to Dry Citrus in the Oven with you as well as some of my favorite ways to use dehydrated citrus!
Every time I post a recipe with dried citrus involved, I get questions asking how I made my dehydrated citrus slices without a dehydrator. While this process is rather time-consuming (3-6 hours total) it's VERY easy because most of that is hands-off time just waiting for the citrus to dehydrate.
What citrus can I dehydrate?
While any citrus can be dehydrated, for this post I used the following:
- Dried Lemons (2-3 hours)
- Dried Limes (2-3 hours)
- Dried Blood Oranges (3-4hours)
- Dried Cara Cara Oranges (3-4 hours)
- Dried Navel Oranges (3-4 hours)
- Dried Grapefruit (5+ hours)
Steps to dry citrus in oven
One: Preheat oven to 200F convection settings
The first step to making perfectly dried citrus is to set your oven at the right temperature.
For my oven, 200F is the perfect low temperature to bake my citrus wheels. However, if your oven can go lower you can set it all the way down to 170F for similar results (though it will take a bit longer to dry out the citrus).
By setting the oven at a low temperature, you are essentially very slowly dehydrating the citrus slices over a period of 3-6 hours by drawing out all of the moisture.
Also, I always recommend using the convection settings in your oven if available. A convection oven has a fan at the back which helps to evenly circulate the steam.
This is ideal for dehydrating fruit so the moisture is removed evenly and it actually makes the process faster!
Two: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a wire rack
It's important to use parchment paper or an oven-safe bakeable wire rack on top of a baking tray or else the citrus may stick to the pan while dehydrating.
If neither of these options is available, you can always lightly coat a pan with oil to avoid this problem.
However, I prefer not to use oil when drying fruit in the oven so I always recommend parchment paper when available. I always use If You Care parchment paper since it is compostable!
Three: Thinly slice the citrus
This step is crucial to perfectly dried citrus! I recommend using a mandoline so you can guarantee the fruit is sliced evenly. However, if you have great knife cutting skills using a very sharp knife also works.
Four: Add to tray & bake 3-4 hours or more
Once the citrus has been sliced, add it to the parchment-lined tray (or tray coating with oil/ with a wire rack) and place the citrus so it is at least ½ inch apart between slices.
Then, bake the citrus anywhere from 3-6 hours. I highly recommend removing the tray at the two-hour mark and flipping the citrus as well as rotating the tray in the oven for the best results.
Some ovens run a little hotter or colder, so make sure to only remove the citrus wheels from the oven once they are completely dried and all the moisture has been removed.
Otherwise, they will mold and now keep as long as they should. It's also important to note that the larger the citrus, the longer it will take to dehydrate. That means lemons and limes are likely going to be done before larger fruits like oranges and grapefruit!
What can I do with dried citrus?
There are SO many ways to use dried citrus, but here are a few of my favorites:
1: As a cocktail garnish
Try using dried grapefruit in Grapefruit Rose Paloma
Add a dried blood orange on top of a Blood Orange Mint Mimosa
Dehydrated limes make a great garnish to a Tequila Smash cocktail
Dried orange slices are amazing in this Cranberry Gin Fizz
2: As a dessert topping
I love using dried lemons on layer cakes like my Lemon Lavender Cake
3: Add dried citrus to tea for flavor
It adds a citrus essence that is truly so enjoyable!
4: Make citrus sugar!
I absolutely love making citrus sugar! You can use it in many baking recipes if you want to add in extra citrus flavor. I especially love doing this with lemons and have used it in my Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Donuts for even more lemon flavor.
Dehydrated citrus sugar also can be used as a garnish around the rim of cocktails.
5. Make a citrus garland as decor
This is especially popular to do during the Holidays with orange slices and cinnamon. However, I personally feel it can be a great decoration year-round!
6. Dip it in chocolate & eat
Don't forget to add a little flaky sea salt on top! The combination of citrus, sweet chocolate, and sea salt is absolutely divine.
How to store dried citrus:
If you have properly dehydrated your citrus (aka no moisture remains) then they can actually last for several years! I have some that have lasted up to 3-5 years that I use as decorations.
I find dried citrus is best within one year if you are using it on baked goods, in teas, and as a cocktail garnish for the best flavor.
When storing, make sure to store my citrus wheels in a closed container or zip-loc bag in the fridge or dark cold space in your home. This will help the citrus last longer and keep the radiant bright color longer.
I hope this guide on How to Dry Citrus in the oven helps you make these gorgeous citrus wheels from the comfort of your home. Enjoy!
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- 2 Lemons cut into ¼ inch slices
- 2 Limes cut into ¼ inch slices
- 1 Blood orange cut into ¼ inch slices
- 1 Cara Cara Orange cut into ¼ inch slices
- 1 Navel Orange cut into ¼ inch slices
- Preheat the the oven to 200F (or 170F if your oven can go lower) and make sure to set to convection oven settings. Then, line a tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Use a mandoline or a very sharp knife to slice the citrus into slices no more than ¼" in width. If the slices are thicker, they will take longer to cook.
- Place the citrus slices onto the parchment lined tray and bake anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the size of the citrus. Lemons and Limes take the least amount of time followed by oranges and lastly grapefruit which will take the longest.
- After about 2 hours of baking, flip the citrus so the side facing the parchment paper is now exposed. Also, rotate the tray so that the citrus that was closest to the glass is now in the back of the oven. Continue this process every 2 hours as needed.
- Once the citrus has no more moisture and is brittle to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Use as a cocktail garnish, topping on a baked good, or blend into a citrus sugar. Enjoy!
- Please see blog post for cooking times for citrus as well as tips on how to use dehydrated citrus wheels
- Dried citrus wheels can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for several years assuming all the moisture has been removed. I prefer using them within a year of making if using for an edible purpose such as a cake topping or cocktail garnish.
- Follow these same steps to make dried citrus in a dehydrator, but dehydrate for 6-8 hours at 135F.
Are they fragrant?
A little! Not as much as a fresh citrus.
Lorraine Stuart says
I had no idea it was so easy! I recently purchased some dried citrus wheels to use as cocktail garnishes….but I will definitely make my own next time. Thanks for posting!
You're welcome 🙂
Aurailia Arnold says
Great article. I am looking to creating my own dehydrated citrus for my simmer pot i sell, instead of buying them in bulk. I like this process a lot. Can I also do the same with apples?
Yep also works for apples but you will need to adjust the time- I'm not sure exactly how long but the same temperature works 🙂
Love your detailed directions. I’ve always wanted to try this. Thanks for the inspiration!
So happy you enjoyed them 🙂
I tried this but the color wasn’t as bright when I got them to a non sticky point…. Any tips?
Your oven may run a little hot and it may be worth turning down the temperature a little bit next time. To keep the color drying them out slowly at a low temp is crucial. It also may just be the citrus not being as vibrant to start with so. Hope that helps!
Can you use the dehydrate setting on the air fryer?
I would assume so but I really don't know how long.
Question, do you eat or grind the rind after dehydrated or do you remove it?
You can eat it 🙂
Have you ever ground dried citrus into salt? If so, can you recommend a ratio of citrus to salt? Thanks!!
I've personally never done that, only with sugar, but I bet it'd be delicious! I don't know what amount would work best as a ratio but let me know if you try it 🙂
Can you use as potpourri?
Definitely! Just make sure they are completely dried out and not soft in any spots and they should work perfectly for that.
Mar C says
great for the sail boat
Do you remove the seeds first or just dehydrate them as well?
It depends on what you're using it for. I keep them in if used as a dessert/cocktail garnish or as a garland. If grinding into a powder, you'll want to remove them either before or after dehydrating.
Teresa Potjer says
How do you make the citrus sugar from the dried rounds. Would love to add some more zing to my baking
You can use one slice of dried citrus and blend it into a little bit of sugar. Then mix that into more unblended sugar to use for baking. You can use more citrus for more of an intense flavor and test it out!
I found this very helpful
So happy to hear that!
I made them, and I sprinkled the tops with just a bit of sugar, my orange’s were not very sweet. I ate them like candy. I’m now addicted, and just two slices satisfied by need for something sweet after dinner.
Sounds so delicious!
Good clear instructions
So glad you liked them 🙂
Margarita R says
Thank you for your easy to follow instructions
You're welcome! 🙂
Andrea D Buck says
A friend and I are having a garland making brunch this weekend! Definitely glad I have the time to prep ☺️ I’ve started making a few small batches - if they are still a bit sticky, I’m guessing that’s an indicator that they aren’t quite dried yet? Thanks!
How fun! Yes, if they are still sticky you'll want to keep drying them for longer at the low temperature. Just make sure to have the convection oven setting on or it takes a lot longer. You want them dried throughout so they can keep for a really long time.
Kathy L says
can't wait to do these to decorate and use is Christmas cookies and Drinks
It's such a great addition to cocktails and as a garland- enjoy!!
Wonderful! Will be using for my wreath this holiday season! Thank you!
That sounds lovely- you're so welcome! 🙂
Gave some dehydrated orange and apples to my grandson... he strung them up for window decorations.