Christmas Gifts From My Instant Pot: Candied Lemon

I’ve never gotten into the whole Black Friday retail extravaganza. Might be because I’m not a fan of crowds, chaos, and mayhem, which is the way I would describe it.

Or I don’t like the idea of being manipulated into thinking that everything is a bargain on Black Friday, therefore, I must shop til I drop. Nope. Not me.

The theory behind the term Black Friday is not that it’s a dark, horrible thing the way it would be described in say an office environment of the day when all but the boss’ kid got pink-slipped leaving the entire company in a state of shock and awe.

It’s called Black Friday because supposedly, as the biggest shopping day of the year, retailers recoup all the losses they’ve experienced during the year so far—crazed shoppers taking them out of the red (financial loss) into a healthy profit status.

Honestly, I kinda’ doubt that whole red-black thing to be true, but it does explain the name of the day.

Perhaps you’ve guessed already, that I will not be joining any throngs of crazed shoppers next Friday. Instead, I will be home making Christmas gifts in my Instant Pot!

This year my homemade, consumable gifts will include Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract, Pure Meyer Lemon Extract, Bacon Onion Jam and Candied Citrus Peel. Now here’s the crazy thing—I’m making all of these gifts in my Instant Pot, even the extracts! I’ve discovered that I can make the extracts in one day in my Instant Pot (yes, even pure vanilla extract!), where it used to take up to six months for extracts to be ready for gift-giving.

While I will be sharing all of these recipes and instructions with you soon, today I want to walk you through the simple steps to make Candied Lemon Peel.

Homemade candied lemon peel is a treat—one that is so decadent and classy, it makes for great gift—a treat you know will be gratefully received.

You can sprinkle candied peel on top of baked goods, dip the delicate strips in chocolate or just eat them straight from the jar. Try one and you’ll just have to have one more of this tarty sweet homemade candy!

Photo credit: HIP Pressure Cooking

Without a doubt, the easiest and most efficient way to make candied citrus peel is in a pressure cooker—specifically, your Instant Pot.


  • 1 pound organic lemons—about 5 lemons
  • 2¼ cups white granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 cups water, divided

Wash the lemons well, using a scrubber to thoroughly clean the surface. Slice each lemon in half lengthwise and juice it, reserving the juice for later (pour the juice into ice cube trays, freeze and then store the frozen cubes in a freezer bag in the freezer and you’ll have wonderful, lemon juice for future recipes).

Slice each lemon half into quarters.

Holding the quarters flat on the cutting board, remove every bit of pulp using a knife, your fingers or even a melon-baller.

Once you have only the lemon peel remaining, slice it into thin strips that are no wider than the lemon peel is thick.

Pour four cups water into the Instant Pot. Add the lemon peel strips.

Close Instant Pot lid, set the valve to “Pressure” and cook at high pressure for 3 minutes.

When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure manually.

Pour the peels into a colander and rinse them thoroughly. Discard cooking water and rinse out the pressure cooker.

Replace the inner pot in Instant Pot. Add 2 cups white granulated sugar, 1 cup water and the lemon strips. Set to “Saute” and heat uncovered stirring constantly until all of the sugar has melted about 5 minutes.

Apply and close the lid on Instant Pot, moving the valve to “pressure.” Set Instant Pot to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes.

When time is up, unplug Instant Pot and wait for the natural release method (20 to 30 minutes).

Strain peels, saving the delicate lemon syrup if you like for another use, and spread the peels on a cutting board or parchment paper to cool for 15 minutes or more.

Gently toss four to five peels at a time in a small plate of sugar to coat. Shake off the excess and lay them down on a new parchment on a sheet-pan that can fit in your refrigerator.

Place the sheet pan with the sugar-coated candied lemon peels in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 4 hours to dry completely; overnight is even better.

Once completely dry, place peels in glass jars for storage or for gifting. Store the closed gift jars in the refrigerator until you’re ready to give them. Can be refrigerated for up to six months.

You can use this method with any citrus: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, Meyer lemons, even smaller citrus like key limes and kumquat, too!

I am using these sweet reusable jars with attached lids to create beautiful gifts of Candied Lemon Peels. They’re inexpensive and lovely, don’t you agree? I will embellish with ribbons and tag.


Think of an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker, steamer, fry pan, yogurt maker, egg cooker, timer and warming drawer all rolled into one programmed and programmable (meaning it is also a tiny computer) kitchen appliance. That’s it—Instant Pot. And boy has this thing become one of the most popular modern day phenomena, bringing home cooking back into vogue. And no wonder, because it’s just that awesome!

Instant Pot is a brand name for a multi-tasking electric pressure cooker appliance, and there are many competitors. Instant Pot remains number one, in my opinion (millions agree with me, too).

While there are several models and sizes of Instant Pot—the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 is my favorite because it is most versatile. If you can find it for under $100, that’s a good deal! The size (6 qt.) is perfect for a small meal but also handles a whole chicken with no problem. And the “7-in-1” means it includes the yogurt maker, which is quite amazing because it turns out the best yogurt.

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3 replies
  1. Heather Shover says:

    Mary, I am hoping you will soon be sharing your instant pot homemade vanilla extract and the bacon onion jam very soon. Pretty please!

  2. yourfaceislikethesunshine says:

    Hi Mary, I’m sold! My neighbor offered me some of her lemons from her Meyer lemon tree. Can you, or someone, point me in the direction of how to make these without an instant pot? I’d be so grateful 🙂


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