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Fresh orange slices bathed in caramel sauce — simple, bright, and bold.
Milk Street Bowtie Caramel Oranges

Caramel Oranges

40 minutes

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Caramel Oranges

Free

Fresh orange slices bathed in caramel sauce — simple, bright, and bold. Similar desserts were all the rage on London dessert carts during the ’80s. Known as “aranci caramellizzati” in Italy, it was first introduced by food writer Elizabeth David in her 1954 work, Italian Food. Nigella Lawson offers a similar recipe in Forever Summer and suggests serving the oranges with yogurt, an idea we were happy to adapt here. If two oranges don’t yield enough juice in the first step, add water to measure ¾ cup total. To switch up the flavor, replace the cinnamon sticks with two star anise (our favorite) or six cardamom pods (lightly crushed). Use granulated white sugar, not a “natural” sugar, since the latter will make the color of the caramel hard to judge. Unsalted butter and a pinch of salt replaces salted butter. You also can serve the oranges with ice cream, pound cake or topped with a handful of toasted and chopped nuts.

6

Servings

Tip

Don’t think about the caramel’s color for the first few minutes. The sugar mixture will melt, froth furiously as the heat increases (and moisture evaporates), and finally subside into larger, shinier bubbles before coloring. If the sugar browns too quickly, slide the pan off heat and whisk steadily to incorporate cooling air.

40 minutes

8 medium navel or Cara Cara oranges, or a combination (about 4½ pounds)
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons salted butter
Ingredients
  • 8

    medium navel or Cara Cara oranges, or a combination (about 4½ pounds)

  • 1

    cup (7 ounces) sugar

  • 2

    cinnamon sticks

  • 2

    tablespoons salted butter

Directions
  1. 01
    Juice 2 of the oranges to yield ¾ cup juice. Cut the top and bottom ½ inch off of the remaining 6 oranges. Stand each orange on one of its flat ends and use a sharp knife to cut down and around the fruit, peeling away all the skin and pith. Thinly slice the oranges crosswise and shingle evenly in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    Combine the sugar, ¼ cup of the orange juice, and the cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (this should take 2 to 3 minutes) and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar begins to color around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. (The bubbles should go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny.) Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery-brown, 1 to 3 minutes.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add a splash of the remaining orange juice and whisk until smooth (the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously), then add the remaining orange juice and whisk until fully incorporated. If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves. Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer the oranges to a serving platter or individual plates. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and whisk the caramel to recombine. Pour the caramel over the oranges and serve.
    See Demo
Tip: Don’t think about the caramel’s color for the first few minutes. The sugar mixture will melt, froth furiously as the heat increases (and moisture evaporates), and finally subside into larger, shinier bubbles before coloring. If the sugar browns too quickly, slide the pan off heat and whisk steadily to incorporate cooling air.
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Reviews
Helen H.
June 18, 2022
Adding butter to the caramel
I have been making this recipe for years, I first found it i a Cordon Blue cooking series fromn my time in England in the 70's. I tried your recipe adding butter to the caramel. In my opinion the addition of butter spoils the brightness of the dish. The butter detracts from the flavor and appearance of the sauce.
Michele R.

Used the tip to replace cinnamon stick with star anise. Used Cara Cara oranges. Served with Greek yogurt and pistachios per photo. Very pretty at service. Enjoyed the flavors but we thought this more delicious before the dish was refrigerated. If we make it again we'd serve the warm caramel over the oranges absent the refrigeration step as flavors seemed less 'orange delicious' to us then.

Lynda S.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Scott P.

An easy dessert to make. I'm sure it would go well with cake and ice cream, but Greek yogurt's tanginess ideally balances the sweetness of the fruit and caramel.


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Caramel Oranges

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

40 minutes

Tip

Don’t think about the caramel’s color for the first few minutes. The sugar mixture will melt, froth furiously as the heat increases (and moisture evaporates), and finally subside into larger, shinier bubbles before coloring. If the sugar browns too quickly, slide the pan off heat and whisk steadily to incorporate cooling air.

Ingredients
  • 8

    medium navel or Cara Cara oranges, or a combination (about 4½ pounds)

  • 1

    cup (7 ounces) sugar

  • 2

    cinnamon sticks

  • 2

    tablespoons salted butter

Step 1 of 4

Prepare the Oranges

8
medium navel or Cara Cara oranges, or a combination (about 4½ pounds)

Juice 2 of the oranges to yield ¾ cup juice. Cut the top and bottom ½ inch off of the remaining 6 oranges.


Stand each orange on one of its flat ends and use a sharp knife to cut down and around the fruit, peeling away all the skin and pith.


Thinly slice the oranges crosswise and shingle evenly in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

Step 2 of 4

Make the Caramel

1
cup (7 ounces) sugar
2
cinnamon sticks
​¼
cup orange juice

Combine the sugar, ¼ cup of the orange juice, and the cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (this should take 2 to 3 minutes) and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar begins to color around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. (The bubbles should go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny.)


Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery-brown, 1 to 3 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Finish the Caramel

2
tablespoons salted butter
remaining orange juice

Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted.


Add a splash of the remaining orange juice and whisk until smooth (the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously), then add the remaining orange juice and whisk until fully incorporated. If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves.


Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Step 4 of 4

Pour Caramel over Oranges, Serve

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the oranges to a serving platter or individual plates.


Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and whisk the caramel to recombine.


Pour the caramel over the oranges and serve.

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