Candied Key Limes and Lime Syrup

I picked up a 16-ounce package of key limes at Central Market. Not wanting to make the ubiquitous key lime pie, I opted instead to candy the key limes for use in various recipes, starting with panna cotta. With this recipe, you’ll also end up with a quart of key lime syrup, which can be used in salad dressings, cocktails, and drizzled over fresh fruit.

candied key limes
Candied key limes in syrup


16 ounces key limes, cut into thin wheels (seeds discarded; about 6 slices per lime)
5 cups warm water
2-1/2 cups organic sugar
4 dried keffir lime leafs or 1 lemongrass shoot


Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lime wheels and keffir leafs; reduce the heat to medium and cook for ten minutes (barely bubbling). Remove from the heat.

Transfer the lime wheels and their syrup to a container and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the keffir leafs. Transfer the lime wheels to a separate container. The syrup itself can be refrigerated for up to one month, and the candied lime wheels can be refrigerated in syrup for for up to one month.

key lime juice
Key lime syrup

Note: if you can’t use a quart of fresh key lime syrup in a month, freeze the key lime syrup in ice cube trays for later use to chill a cocktail, lemonade, limeade or sparkling water, or thaw out for use in salad dressings, drizzled over fresh fruit or vanilla bean ice cream.

Vodka martini with candied key lime and key lime syrup
Vodka martini with candied key lime and key lime syrup
Fresh fruit with key lime syrup
Fresh fruit with key lime syrup



If you make this recipe, snap a pic of your dish and hashtag it #kellylenihancooks. I'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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