Two-ingredient Candied Citrus Lolipops

You HAVE to try these. Two-ingredient magic. Plump, juicy, citrus segments coated in thin, crunchy, sugar shells.

Two-ingredient Candied Citrus Lolipops

Get ready. These are my new favorite thing, and I suspect they might end up being your favorite thing too. Imagine plump, juicy, citrus segments coated in thin, crunchy, sugar shells. You bite through the crust, and the citrus explodes with a wave of sweetness. It's a concept I wish I'd thought of myself, but it's actually a recipe by Dirt Candy's Amanda Cohen, featured in Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook. Amanda was inspired by a street food vendor in Beijing. And, it's funny, there is a beautiful photo of her grapefruit pops in the book, but it was her description of the street vendor, and the way his slices lit up the entire street that charmed me into trying them.

Candied Citrus Pops

A couple things to note before making these. It's helpful to have a block of foam from a package, or the kind of foam you might use to arrange flowers. This helps your pops stay upright after you candy them. The other consideration is how hot to let the sugar get. Amanda recommends going to 275 - 300°F - or until the mixture is light brown. I like the pops that go a bit darker than that, you get a lot of caramel and molasses notes that play of the citrus in magical ways. The blood orange segments I did in the darkest sugar mixture were a complete revelation. But this is all personal preference, so experiment to figure out where you'd like to be on the spectrum. One last thing I'll mention, if your mixture doesn't get hot enough, the candy shell won't set.

Candied Citrus Pops

I found the easiest citrus to deal with was anything easy to peel, with minimal seeds, and small to medium in size. Some of the grapefruits were tricky to peel and keep intact. Kishu mandarins, on the other hand, are a dream to work with (pictured). Play around - this is peak citrus season and this make for a dramatic snack, treat, or dessert!

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Two-ingredient Candied Citrus Lolipops

3.91 from 11 votes

Amanda's recipe calls for 3 cups of granulated sugar and 3 cups of water, but I'm not likely going to need that much, it would make more pops than we could typically eat. I use 1 cup instead, just know if you want to make a larger batch, you can scale up 1:1.

  • 30 small-medium citrus segments
  • (mandarin, orange, grapefruit, blood orange, etc.)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  1. Place a piece of heavy styrofoam or floral foam on a platter or counter top to hold the skewers upright.
  2. Push a bamboo skewer through each citrus segment. Pour the sugar and 1 cup of water into a small-medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. heat the mixture, without stirring, over medium-high heat until it turns light brown and registers at least 275°F on a candy thermometer. Let the mixture go a bit darker if you prefer a stronger caramel-molasses flavor. Resist stirring.
  3. Very carefully dip each citrus segment into the hot syrup, coating thoroughly. The syrup will burn you on contact, so be extra careful and deliberate here. Repeat with the remaining skewers, sticking each skewer into the foam upright to allow to dry, forming a hard shell.

Makes 30.

Adapted from Amanda Cohen's Candied Grapefruit Pops recipe in Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook by Kerry Diamond & ‎ Claudia Wu, (Clarkson Potter 2017)

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
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I think the stickiness comes not from how long it's set but due to the moisture in the fruit. I see my question was answered below. Thank you and cook on!


I've been doing this with strawberries!


    That sounds perfect!

    Heidi Swanson

Just made these to use in Old Fashioneds. They are so pretty! Wish I could upload a photo! Wish I could figure out how to keep them. Only a few are weeping, and I think they are the ones that had slightly torn membranes.


    Oh, I love that idea Mary!

    Heidi Swanson

Hi Heidi! Do you leave the citrus membrane on the segments, or fully remove it? Seems like the sugar would stick better with it intact, but I'm sure the texture is better without. Thanks!


    I removed most of it, just so they would look nicest...

    Heidi Swanson

what a great idea - making these for our staff party - everyone can have these two ingredients!


How long did yours last? I found within 10 mins they became sticky like the citrus was sweating. Any advice on how to prevent this?

HS: Hi Ruth, I'd try letting the sugar mixture get more (deeper) golden - it makes for a harder set. But environment, humidity, etc can come into play...


I love this idea! How long can we keep them for? I would consider doing this a few days ahead for school treats instead of packing the usual candy or cookies to give out at parties.

HS: Hi Alexis - I would make them same-day, although if you get a really good set on them, you might have luck a day or so in advance.


This looks really good. I was wondering if there was a way that we could do something similar with honey?

HS: I haven't tried with this recipe, but I do make honey-sweetened caramels on occasion...and they set beautifully. You'd probably have to play around a bit.


Years and years ago, Gourmet magazine has directions for doing approximately this with slices of raw rhubarb. It was a fabulous contrast of flavors and textures; we put a few on vanilla ice cream and in custard sauce. My (then young) daughters and I prepared them several Springs; then we moved and I lost that issue of the magazine. I will try this (perhaps with a granddaughter) just as soon as rhubarb season arrives.

Hi Carol, love the rhubarb idea. Old issues of Gourmet are a treasure :)


Oh good lord.

Sarah Senter Luikart

:) These are good - and for once I'm ahead of the curve. I've made and eaten these type of treats all over. In Japan they do them with grapes. I also like to make pieces of fruit like this dipped in white chocolate with nuts..... its just good!

Hi Dana, LOVE the grape idea!


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