Spiced Candied Kumquats and a DIY Gift Round-up

Winter seems to have dug its heels in…it’s very cold, and it will be for a while.

kumquats photo

When the temperature dips, I find myself reveling in the enjoyment of seasonal citrus: in my opinion, these fruits are one of the bright spots during the darkest, chilliest time of the year.

I never tasted a kumquat before I was a blogger, though: I tried my first ones last year, when I turned them into this marmalade.

Kumquats are like small oranges, only they are oval-shaped and the peel and seeds are edible. They have a similar nutritional profile to oranges, as well: they’re quite high in vitamin C. I don’t love them raw because they are a bit bitter (interestingly enough, the skin is sweeter than the flesh), but when they are cooked in a sweet syrup (aka candied), they are transformed into something pretty heavenly.

Candied kumquats can be eaten alone, spooned into champagne (Martha Stewart’s idea), used to top Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream or cheesecake, or turned into other desserts.

spiced candied kumquats

Making them can be as simple as combining the kumquats with sugar and water, but in this version I’ve added some warming spices as well as Grand Marnier, a liqueur with its own hint of citrus. You can leave the alcohol out and just use more water, if you like, or make your kumquats even boozier by topping off the finished product with even more of the liqueur.

Ladled into small decorative jars, I think these candied kumquats would make a great homemade holiday gift: it’s not too late to make some, plus this recipe is very simple.

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spiced candied kumquats

In addition to these candied kumquats, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the gift-appropriate recipes I’ve made here at Healthy Green Kitchen, as well as some ideas from other blogs that will also make fabulous gifts:

From My Archives:

Healthy Homemade Granola
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
Caramel Popcorn with Rosemary
Preserved Meyer Lemons
Homemade Body Scrub

From the Blogosphere:

Sweet Treats:
Homemade Candy Canes from The Knead 4 Speed
Raspberry Swirl Marshmallows from Mowielicious
Peppermint Marshmallows from Jun-Blog
Christmas Present Box Macarons from Raspberricupcakes
Candied Orange Peel from Cook Snap Repeat
Candied Nuts from In Jennies Kitchen
Homemade Truffles from Not Without Salt

Gifts in Jars:
Cranberry Cocktail Mixer from Whisk Write Repeat
Favorite Spice Blends from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cranberry Orange Scone Mix in a Jar by Food in Jars
Apple Pie Jam from Mrs. Wheelbarrow (this one is amazing and is pictured in my collage above)
Meyer Lemon Curd from Sprouted Kitchen

Homemade All Natural Body Products:
DIY Foot Balm from Elana’s Pantry
Vanilla Butter Lip Balm from Elana’s Pantry
Natural Moisturizer at ReadyMade

Other Round-Ups I Love:
Edible gifts from Food52– I’ve made many of these recipes and they are all terrific; the boozy fruit- mine has amaretto- is also pictured in the collage above
Edible gifts from The Urban Baker
Edible gifts from Sassy Radish
Holiday Baking Round Up from The Parsley Thief

If you have an edible gift idea on your blog, please leave me a comment with the link below…I’d love to check it out!

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Candied Kumquats with Spices and Grand Marnier

Makes about 1 pint


  • * 1 pint 2 cups kumquats, sliced in halve and pitted (if some pits remain, it's okay...these can be removed later or left in)
  • * 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
  • * 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • * 1/4-1/2 cup honey depending on how sweet you want the candied kumquats to be
  • * 1/2 cup water
  • * 5 whole star anise
  • * 1 cinnamon stick
  • * 1 vanilla bean split down the middle (or use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)


  • 1. Place all ingredients except vanilla bean in a small heavy bottomed pot on the stove. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds and the pod to the mixture. Bring to a boil.
  • 2. Reduce the heat slightly, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the syrup thickens and the kumquats are very soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • 3. Remove and discard the cinnamon and vanilla bean. Discard the star anise, if you like (I personally like to keep it in the jar with the kumquats as it looks so pretty- just make sure you don't eat it). Optionally, you may discard any kumquats seeds that remain.
  • 4. Ladle the kumquats into a pint size jar and top off with the syrup. You may add additional Grand Marnier for a "boozier" finished product, if you like. Refrigerate and consume within a week or two.

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39 thoughts on “Spiced Candied Kumquats and a DIY Gift Round-up”

  1. Thank you for confirming the chewiness of candied kumquats. I made several more batches — all delicious — and resolved the issue by slicing the fruit into slivers. Used them, for one, under polenta cake, baked in a cast iron pan. Very, very good. Thank you!

  2. Hi. I made your candy kumquats last night and they taste very good, but the skin seems too chewy. I cooked them until they became translucent, which took about 45 minutes.

    Is the chewy skin to be expected?

    Thank you.

    • Yes the skin of citrus can be quite chewy! It’s been a long time since I made this recipe but I do think that might have been the case.

  3. Pingback: A Hot Toddy (and a last minute Holiday Gift Guide) | Healthy Green Kitchen
  4. Oh my gosh! I love your blog! I am participating in a weekly fresh market bag sponsored by a local grocer specializing in local products from small scale farmers and producers. I too have never had a kumquat until about a month ago! I used a recipe provided by the grocer for kumquat marmalade, and it was delicious! I topped a bagel with a local lemon quark cheese and kumquat marmalade for breakfast – yum! I will be trying this recipe soon, as we are getting another bunch of kumquats tomorrow!!

  5. I’ve never tried kumquats before (cooking or eating) – yours look fabulous! Kumquats don’t seem to be available in my area but I will keep an eye out for them now.

    Thanks for including my candied orange peel in your round up. You made my day!!

  6. Winnie, what a great round up of recipes and thanks for including my candied nuts in it too. Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday!


  7. This looks like a great gift idea. (I’m not sure I’ve even tasted kumquats!) Great round-up of gift ideas too. Thanks for the mention!

  8. I remember my grandmother always used kumquats as a garnish during special holidays when she would roast a turkey or some beef. Never tried to do anything with them myself, but your recipe actually looks good. Time to try candied kumquats!

  9. What a great post and such a perfect time for the holidays. I actually just finished canning marinated mushrooms and you have inspired me to create those kumquats. Happy Holidays!!

  10. Thanks for providing and rounding up such excellent ideas! I’m featuring a link to this post in a gift round-up going live later today.

  11. Spooned into champagne…wow…that sounds just amazing. Your post was beautiful. I loved seeing all of the fruit, the jars, the process. I’m always so impressed when I visit you! And I loved the different links you included. I can’t wait to explore. Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. Have a beauty-filled Tuesday!

  12. What a beautiful and well timed post! I see many things on your list I’d love to make just for myself. We only tried kumquats this year (not local to our area and we try to ‘eat local’) but I thought there must be some delicious things to make with them. Thanks for the inspiriation.

    • I get a kick out of finding them in the supermarket here in Dec., but kumquats are hardly local here either. Glad you did get a chance to try them!

  13. Winnie, these are all such great gift ideas! I was just thinking the other day about whether it was possible to make homemade candy canes, so thanks for sharing that and all of these other links, as well as your beautiful candied kumquats. I think you might also like my homemade vanilla extract, too – also a great holiday gift! Happy holidays to you!

  14. Gorgeous photos!

    I love kumquats, and have a couple pounds left from a 10# box I bought recently. You can bet I am going to use your recipe to turn them into something REALLY fabulous.
    I like to slice a kumquat in half and lightly squeeze them into a glass of Lillet & soda on the rocks. Then I drop the halves into the glass, because they look so lovely when suspended in a drink.
    At my house it seems like people are always thrilled (and sometimes surprised) to see a kumquat in their cocktail :)

    Here’s my kumquat blog post from a few days ago:

    Thanks for inspiring me to use kumquats even more ways than I already do!