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How to zest an orange

How to Zest an Orange

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 3 tablespoons 1x


Here’s how to zest an orange: 3 ways! You’ll need a microplane, box grater, or vegetable peeler to make orange zest to use in all your recipes.

Note: This method yields fine zest for using in recipes (not cocktail garnishes). **Want to zest an orange for a cocktail garnish? Go to How to Make a Lemon Twist — it works for oranges, too!


  • 1 orange
  • 1 coarse microplane, fine grater, or vegetable peeler


  1. Wash the orange and dry it. Then use one of the zesting methods below:
  2. Microplane: Hold the microplane in one hand, place one end on a flat surface and hold it at an angle. Hold the orange in the other hand, and drag it down over the microplane holes. Remove the orange part of the skin only (not the pith). Gradually turn the orange until all sides are zested.
  3. Fine grater: Do the same as the microplane, using the finest holes on your box grater.
  4. Peeler: Use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel off large pieces of the colored part of the skin only, dragging from the top to the bottom (not the pith). Then use a knife to mince the peel into very small pieces.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Zested
  • Cuisine: Citrus