How to Can Oranges

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I hadn’t canned oranges until recently, but I thought they’d be a nice treat for when citrus fruits aren’t in season. I used small jelly jars or quarter-pint jars for the perfect snack size, but these can be canned in pints or quarts instead. These instructions also work for grapefruit.

How did I like the end result? Read on below the recipe to find out. (Hint…I’m not sure I’ll do this again or not. Haven’t ruled it out…but not real eager either.)

Jars of orange segments sitting on a steam canner rack.

This Page Includes:

Canning Oranges: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions



  • oranges (I used mandarin oranges.)
  • sugar for syrup

Make your sugar syrup first.

Simply mix water and sugar and heat to boiling until sugar dissolves. You want this hot when you pack your jars. I used a light syrup but it is all up to your taste, so you can add more if you prefer.

  • Light syrup – 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water
  • Medium syrup – 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water

You can also make a syrup with honey if you don’t want to use processed sugar. I have not tried this, but it is safe to do.

  • Light honey syrup – 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
  • Medium honey syrup – 2 cups honey to 4 cups water

Preparing the oranges.

Wash and peel oranges, removing white from sections. The pith will leave a bitter taste, so take off as much as you can.

I used mandarin oranges because they are easy to peel and they also don’t have a lot of pith…the white stuff you pick off. You can use any orange you prefer. You can also use grapefruit. If you have larger seeds in your oranges, pick those out as well.

(Save the peels and make a homemade citrus cleaner.)

Pack jar with orange sections, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Then cover with hot syrup, again leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rim clean, and place on seal and ring. Put the jars in the canner as you fill them. Keep doing this until all your jars are filled and in the canner.

Three jars of orange segments sitting in the sunshine.

Then process according to waterbath or steam canning directions for the time indicated on the chart in the recipe card below, adjusting for altitude. (Read more about adjusting for altitude here.)

If you need more specific steps on how to use a waterbath canner check this page…

If you want more specific steps on how to use a steam canner check this page…

Pinnable Recipe Card

Canning Oranges

Learn how to can oranges. (These instructions also work for canning grapefruit.)
Print Recipe
Jars of orange segments sitting on a steam canner rack.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):10 minutes
Total Time:40 minutes


  • Oranges I used mandarin oranges 
  • Sugar for syrup


  • Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating.You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  

For Raw Pack

  • Wash and peel oranges. 
  • Remove white from sections. 
  • Pack jar with oranges. leave a 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Cover with hot syrup, leaving 1/2” headspace. 
  • Remove air bubbles, wipe the rim clean, and place on seal and ring. 
  • Place jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. 
  • Process according to steam or water bath canning instructions.
  • Process according to the time chart below. 


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude. 
 After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours.  
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away! 
Processing Time for Pints in Water Bath (Raw Pack)
  • 0-1,000 ft – 10 minutes
  • 1,001-6,000 ft – 15 minutes
  • Above 6,000 ft – 20 minutes
Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Canning Oranges Tips & FAQs

Sugar Syrup 

Sugar is optional in this recipe. You can also substitute honey. I used a light syrup. Check this page for syrup options for canning fruit.

Tips for Filling Jars

The white part of oranges will cause bitterness, so be sure and spend a little time getting that off your orange pieces. When you fill your jars with the oranges, fill them tightly, but do not smash your orange sections down. You’ll just end up with mushy, smashed oranges when you open the jar.

Wiping the rim of a jar of oranges with a wet paper towel.

How Many Oranges? 

The number of oranges required will largely depend on the size of your citrus. I used mandarin oranges, which are smaller than many oranges.

Approximate Amounts Required:

  • 5 mandarin oranges = 4 quarter-pint jars
  • 10 mandarin oranges = 4 half pint jars
  • 20 mandarin oranges = 4 pint jars
  • 40 mandarin oranges = 4 quart jars 

How Long Do Canned Oranges Last?

Just like most home-canned foods, the general recommended shelf life is one year. But don’t throw your food away at a year. The quality will start to deteriorate more quickly after this so make a plan to use it up soon. But they will actually last on the shelf for several years, as long as they have been properly canned.

What to Do with Canned Oranges

You can use home canned oranges just as you would any canned oranges from the store. Simply eat them out of the jar, toss them in a fruit salad, add them to a dessert.

Can You Home Can Orange Juice?

I have not tried to can my own orange juice. I did a quick search and didn’t find any resources that I’d recommend that have tested recipes. A few people mentioned a recipe in a Ball Book but didn’t say which one. I don’t have it available. The thing that stood out to me is people mentioning that they ended up with bitter-tasting juice. Maybe that’s why it is not on any of the usual sites I use as a resource? The quality is just not good. I’ll have to do some more research and if I ever do try it myself…I’ll let you know!

So What Did Sharon Think of the End Result

True confessions here. I didn’t care for them. The texture of the oranges was chewy. They tasted good…but that texture wasn’t appealing. I may try this project again and see if maybe I needed to get more of the pith off…or use a different type of orange. They were sure easy to peel. Maybe the oranges I used were just tough?? Can oranges be tough?

There are very few things I’ve canned that I didn’t like. Greens was another one that I don’t care for. It could be just personal preference. So if you try this project and like the results, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Bright orange segments sitting on a cutting board.

Related Pages

Steam Canner: Ever Heard of Steam Canning? Learn How to Use One Here. Benefits: less water, less time, and it has been proven to be safe when the directions are properly followed.

Water Bath Canning: The Gateway to Processing Food at Home – Water bath canning is where most newbies begin on their food preservation journey, and with good reason! Water bath canning is fun and easy! walks you through the steps.

Canning Fruits The perfect place for beginners to learn how to can food at home. Save money and fill your shelves with delicious and healthy fruit that is shelf-stable, all at

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How to Can Oranges or Grapefruit

Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Page last updated: 7/6/2021

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3 months ago

Why not just use orange juice as the liquid rather than flavors that aren’t the same. You could also use water.

1 year ago

I’m canning some extra oranges today. But I am going to use a grapefruit spoon to scoop them out. I do not want any pith on them. Reading on here, it makes the oranges bitter. Nit sure how they will turn out, but I could always use them just for juice.

1 year ago

I used the pectinase on the oranges I recently canned. I rinsed them well but they have a strange aftertaste that I am contributing to the pectinase. I wasn’t impressed with the pith removal and still had to do most of it by hand. (I soaked them overnight.) It may be the brand of pectinase that I used. The membranes on each segment was tough and inedible. If I would do this again I would try to remove that also. That might be more work than these are worth to me. My mandarins weren’t the nicest either-some were dried out… Read more »

1 year ago

5 stars
The regular oranges even with honey or sugar syrup tasted like grapefruit! But I loved them. The more expensive cara cara oranges were sweeter. It so nice to have oranges/citrus and Del monte now sells a 14 oz can of oranges and grapefruit for $2.85!😱

1 year ago

4 stars
So we just opened a jar of these I put up in spring. The texture was fine, but the flavor was so bitter. Just tasted like pith. I spent so much time peeling every little string I could. If I ever do oranges again, I might try to use that membrane dissolver. But now I’m wondering what to do with all the jars that won’t get eaten.

Teresa Trettin
Teresa Trettin
1 year ago
Reply to  Valerie

Try making marmalade or using them in salads.

2 years ago

4 stars
I had done this but I peel the inside skins off as well they find to be softer this way.

Paula Sansom
Paula Sansom
2 years ago

4 stars
For the record, I don’t like store-bought canned mandarin oranges either, though I occasionally buy them to use in fruit salad. Somehow these sound better. Strangely, I do like canned grapefruit sections, though most of them are too sweet.

Ashley Symons
Ashley Symons
2 years ago

5 stars
I never thought to can my own mandarins, but now I’m super excited to try! My son loves canned mandarins, but I can only find them “Made in China”, which I don’t love. I’m going to buy a big box when they are in season and less expensive, and try and make my own. Thank you so much for the idea and the directions!

Diane Harroff
Diane Harroff
2 years ago
Reply to  Ashley Symons

I have read about aa product called pectinex that you can soak segments in to remove membranes. I have not tried this.

2 years ago

RE: canning greens Use a good recipe for Cajun style greens, or– I add a couple cloves of garlic, a small chopped yellow onion, a little fresh thyme if available, dried if not, a small dash each of sage, chile powder, black pepper, and soy sauce, some chopped turkey ham, and a dollop of apple cider vinegar. The absolute best way to preserve oranges is in orange marmalade. My late great-aunt made hers from a recipe in a 1923 Franklin Sugar pamphlet which probably will be available on a college website somewhere or on Gutenberg. This recipe comes out tasting… Read more »