How to Dehydrate Oranges Two Ways: Oven Method & Dehydrator

One of my favorite holiday traditions is to dry orange slices! They look beautiful as a garland on the Christmas tree, hanging in the window, or even tied to your handmade gifts. Once you know how to dehydrate oranges, you’ll want to make them every year, too!

vintage enamel tin full of dried orange slices.

I grew up reading lots of books about life in the past, especially the Dear America and American Girl books. They always showed Christmas trees decorated with dry orange slices, and I loved how the pop of orange contrasts the rich reds and greens.

Dried orange slices are an iconic part of the holidays as a traditional decoration, but they can also be added to teas or used to decorate Christmas cakes! Once you have a batch on hand, you’ll find so many fun ways to use them all seasonal long.

Love dehydrating? Me too! Learn how to dry jalapenos for spicy soups all winter long or make a big batch of these maple-sweetened cinnamon dried apple slices for a delicious snack. They can be added to your homemade garland and holiday decor, too!

Can you dehydrate oranges?

Absolutely! Drying orange slices is a long-standing holiday tradition, and they’re quite easy to make. In most situations, the dried orange slices are used as a garnish or decoration. However, you can also add them to your favorite tea mixes for a pop of citrus flavor! They’re also delicious dipped in a little chocolate with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios or almonds. 

You can either use a food dehydrator or your oven, and I’ll share tips for both methods below. Plus, you can use this technique for any type of citrus fruits, including blood oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and more!

Why you’ll love these dehydrated orange slices


  • SO EASY TO MAKE – If you can slice oranges into thin pieces, you can make dehydrated orange slices. They’re seriously easy to make!
  • SURPRISINGLY QUICK – Although many dehydrating projects take a long time, this one is quite quick. In the oven, the slices will dry in just a few hours. You can dry them in the morning, then make your garlands and decorations that afternoon!
  • CLASSIC HOLIDAY DECORATIONS – These slices are beautiful on their own, tucked away in vintage mason jars in your kitchen window. It’s traditional to add a piece of twine (and maybe a cinnamon stick) to turn them into vintage-style Christmas tree ornaments! They add a touch of the past to any display.
  • Incredibly useful – There are so many ways to use these little slices. I like to tie them with twine to my handmade sugar scrubs and cranberry simple syrup, or use them as a decoration during gift wrapping. They can also be strung together as a garland, used to add some holiday charm to your winter bakes, or as cocktail garnishes! 

Equipment

This can be a very low-tech project. You just need these common supplies!

  • Cutting board and sharp knife (preferably a carving knife or sharp serrated knife)
  • Food dehydrator with dehydrator trays or a baking sheet and silicone mats or parchment paper
  • Airtight container (mason jars are great)
  • Twine (optional)
  • Additional decorations, like cranberries, dried apple slices, cinnamon sticks, or greenery (optional)

Tip: Although a mandolin slicer is a wonderful way to cut anything consistently, I found that mine had a challenging time cutting through the thick rind consistently. I prefer to use a sharp carving knife. 

dehydrated slices of orange next to cranberries.

Ingredients

  • Fresh oranges: There’s just one ingredient for this project! You can use any type of oranges, but make sure they are very fresh and firm. I also prefer to use thinner-skinned varieties when possible. For this batch, I used seedless navel oranges and had fantastic results.

How to Dehydrate Oranges in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it can reach (usually between 150-200 F). 
  2. Rinse and dry the oranges.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut the oranges into thin slices (approximately 1/4 of an inch).
  4. Place the orange slices in an even layer on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  5. Place the oranges in the oven and let them dry for 3-5 hours until completely dry to the touch. Flip the orange slices halfway through drying.
  6. Allow the oranges to cool, then store or decorate

How to Dehydrate Oranges in a Dehydrator

  1. Arrange the orange slices in a single layer on your dehydrator trays.
  2. Set the dehydrator temperature to 135 degrees F. Dry for 6-10 hours or until fully dried.
  3. Remove from the dehydrator and either store or use for decoration.

​Storing Dried Orange Slices

Technically, it’s always best to store dehydrated food in an airtight container, as this helps preserve freshness. There is moisture in the air and that can cause the orange slices to become slightly soft. However, I only find this to be true if I haven’t completely dried the slices. 

If they are fully dry to the touch, they tend to stay quite dry, even at room temperature, for an extended period of time. I’ve used the same dried orange slices for years! This is the case here in damp western Washington, but it may differ depending on where you live.

If your goal is to use these dried slices for food, let them cool down to room temperature then store them in an airtight jar or container to preserve the shelf life. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight for approximately 1 year.

dried orange slices in vintage mason jar with cinnamon stick and twine.

Tips for Dehydrating Oranges

  • Go slow. It’s really important to get the right thickness. I prefer the slices to be very thin. The bits at the ends just won’t quite as smoothly, and that’s okay. They’ll still look nice!
  • Use the right knife. I wish every single home cook had a carving knife at home! Although known as a Granton edge knife, they’re the very best for slicing breads, cakes, hams, and yes, oranges into perfectly thin slices with minimal effort. It’s truly a must-have in every kitchen.
  • Don’t crush the oranges. This is part of why it’s so important to have the right knife! If you press the oranges, you’ll burst those beautiful little droplets inside, which can affect what the slices look like at the end.
  • Be patient. Dehydrating is one of those things that takes as long as it takes. You have to go by how the orange slices feel, not the timer! If the slices still feel tacky, keep going. I prefer to bake until they feel dry and can crumble in my hands.
  • Use thin oranges. Have you noticed how some oranges have super thick pith? The thicker the pith, the more the slices will curl up on the edges. I prefer to use thinner-skinned oranges whenever possible. These usually don’t have quite so many dimples and feel rather heavy in your hand.
  • Crack the oven. Most conventional ovens can’t go as low as dehydrators. One trick is to place the stick of a wooden into the oven opening to prop it oven while you dry. This drops the temperature a bit more.
  • Flip the slices. The sliced oranges won’t get nearly as much air circulation in the oven as the dehydrator and if you don’t flip them, they can curl up. I like to flip them at least once at about an hour in. 
  • Use seedless oranges. Although you can pluck the seeds out of the slices, they will leave large holes that become quite obvious after drying. This isn’t as important if you’re drying for tea.
vintage enamelware bowl with dried oranges and a garland made with twine.

How to Use Dehydrated Oranges

This is the fun part! Once you have a heap of dry orange slices, you can do so much with them! Here are some of my favorite ways to use my dehydrated orange slices during the holiday season.

Make a Christmas garland

I like to keep it very simple. Use a paring knife to poke a small hole into the top of each orange slice, then string them through with some twine. Tie a not on each one if you want them to keep their distance. Once your garland is complete, wrap it around your tree, over your mantle, in your kitchen window, etc.

You can easily make your garland way fancier by tying on cedar boughs and dried cinnamon sticks, too. 

Make Christmas ornaments

Instead of tying the slices into a dried orange slice garland, tie each one with some twine to hang directly on the tree. Tie on some fresh greenery or a cinnamon stick for a little extra flair. They can also be added to Christmas wreaths!

Add to gift tags

One of my favorite ways to use these dried oranges is to tie them to jars of homemade vanilla sugar scrub, a bottle of lavender sugar, a bottle of spiced cranberry simple syrup, or a homemade beeswax candle. They make any gift look extra special!

Decorate your home

I’m a big fan of displaying these slices in vintage glass jars. There are currently jars in my kitchen window, on my front entryway table and there are orange slices displayed in a beautiful vintage bowl under a glass cloche on my buffet table. They can either be clustered together or displayed individually to add a pop of color to your table arrangement!

​Adorn desserts

If you’re making a fruit cake or any other seasonal cake this year, layer a few orange slices for a beautiful, traditional look! 

​Garnish drinks

The slices will bring a little festive charm to your drinks station, whether you add the slices as a decoration on the bar or add them directly to your cocktails.

Add to tea mixes

Although dried oranges are mostly decorative, they are edible! They can be added to homemade tea mixes or simply add a slice to your mug while your tea is steeping. 

Dip in chocolate

I love chocolate orange and these slices are delicious drizzled or dipped into melted chocolate! The slices have a nice crunchy texture that’s really satisfying. Sprinkle on some sea salt or chopped nuts for extra flavor.

Handmade Holiday Gifts

Whether you’re filling a stocking or looking for a sweet housewarming gift, these projects & recipes make great gifts!

FAQs

Is it better to dehydrate oranges in the oven or dehydrator?

I’ve tested both of these methods several times, and I have to say, I prefer drying in the oven. It’s so quick and convenient! Plus, I prefer the slightly darker color of the oranges in the oven. In the dehydrator, they really keep that bright orange color, which just looks off to me. They’re beautiful, but they aren’t quite as traditional. The darker shade just works for me!

However, if I were to eat these slices or use them for tea, I’d prefer to dehydrate them as that can preserve the flavor a bit better.

What’s the best way to slice oranges for dehydrating?

If you want really beautiful citrus slices, you need a good knife. I prefer to use a carving knife. These are long and very sharp. They make slicing through roasts, breads, and oranges look like nothing.

Just simply set the knife on top of the orange and gently saw through it. I get the best results with my carving knife or my husband’s super expensive Japanese chef’s knife. If you don’t have a really sharp slicing knife, use a long serrated knife instead.

Can you over-dehydrate oranges?

Yes, you can over-dehydrate anything. It’s really important to monitor how the orange slices feel. If you touch them and they are totally dry, they’re done. If you can crumble it into little pieces in your hands, they’re done.

However, I find it’s more common to overbake the oranges than to overdehydrate them. This usually happens if your oven temperature is too high. You can tell this is happening if your orange slices are really dark! It’s crucial to set your oven to the lowest temperature possible and crack the door if possible. You don’t want to bake them; you just want to dry them!

Related Recipes

bowl of dried orange slices spilling over.
bowl of dried orange slices with cranberries and twine.

Dehydrated Orange Slices

Once you know how to dehydrate oranges, you'll want to add these dried orange slices to everything! They are a beautiful holiday decoration, perfect for adding to garlands, ornaments, and gifts, but they can also be eaten. Make a big batch and have them on hand all winter long to elevate your drinks, cakes, gifts, and more!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Drying Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Cuisine American

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb fresh oranges, (or any amount)

Instructions
 

Prepare the oranges

  • Rinse and dry the oranges.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the oranges into thin slices (approximately 1/4 of an inch).

Oven Method

  • Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it can reach (usually between 150-200 F).
  • Place the orange slices in an even layer on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  • Set the oranges in the oven and let them dry for 3-5 hours until completely dry to the touch. Flip the orange slices halfway through drying.

Dehydrator Method

  • Arrange the orange slices in a single layer on your dehydrator trays.
  • Set the dehydrator temperature to 135 degrees F. Dry for 6-10 hours or until fully dried.

Storage

  • Allow the orange slices to cool, then store or use for decorations.

Notes

Since it takes so long to dry the oranges, it’s best to dry several at a time. I used 4-5 oranges for 2 baking sheets and got enough for one long garland.
If you plan on using these orange slices for food, I recommend using the dehydrator and selecting organic oranges.
If these are for decorations only, you can use any quality and either dehydrate or use the oven.
Be sure to choose firm oranges, preferably seedless. You can also use this method to dehydrate other citrus fruits, like limes, lemons, grapefruits, and more.
Keyword dehydrated orange slices, dried orange slices, how to dehydrate oranges without dehydrator
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