How to dry oranges for decorations with an air fryer, microwave or oven

Create your own decorations and make your home smell ultra festive

marble mantelpiece with dried orange slice decorations
(Image credit: Future PLC / Tim Young)

Dried oranges bring a beautifully rustic feel to your Christmas decor, whether you use them to make a garland, weave them into a wreath, or hang them up on the tree. They're one of our favourite budget Christmas decorating ideas because not only do they look lovely, but they also fill your home with a zesty, festive aroma.

If you're tempted to make yours at home we've found a super easy hack for how to dry oranges for decorations. Drying oranges can be a laborious and lengthy four-hour process when done using an oven. However, you can cut that drying time with the help of a handy microwave hack. Or, you can go for the energy-saving option and use your air fryer...

How to dry orange slices for decorations in an air fryer

Drying orange slices in your best air fryer is easy, but it can take a long time. Cut up three or four oranges into slices of similar sizes (or as many as you can squeeze in) and place them in your air fryer drawer. You'll need to use the dehydrator setting if you want the best results, and leave it on for around 4 hours. When we tried it with an Instant Brands air fryer, it took several hours, but we were really pleased with the results.

orange slices in instant air fryer

The oranges go in...

(Image credit: Future)

How to dry oranges for decorations in the microwave

dried orange slice christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Before we share this next simple hack for making decorations, bear in mind this method is best used for sliced oranges. If you're looking to dry whole oranges, we'd recommend sticking to the oven. It is also important to note that the kitchen towel is crucial to this method, so stock up.

You will need:

  • Knife
  • Chopping Board
  • Microwaveable Plate
  • Microwave
  • Wire Cooling Rack
  • Tongs
  • Orange slices (Lemon and lime also work well)
  • Kitchen paper towel

christmas decoration dry oranges and lights

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Maxwell Attenborough)


  1. Prepare the orange slices, by cutting off the ends. Then cut into 1/2 cm slices.
  2. Lay five sheets of paper kitchen towel on a plate that is microwave safe. Place your oranges slices on the plate. Make sure that none of the slices overlap.
  3. Place five more sheets of paper towel on top of the orange slices.
  4. Put the plate in the microwave. Put the microwave on the defrost setting for seven minutes.
  5. Take the plate out of the microwave and put the top paper towels to one side. Then using the tongs transfer the orange slices from the plate to the wire rack, and get rid of the bottom layer of paper towel.
  6. Place five new sheets of paper towel on the plate, before putting the orange slice back on top. Place the top sheet of paper towel back on top.
  7. Put the slices back in the microwave for a further five minutes on defrost. When the slices are done they should be soft and jelly-like. If they're not quite there, turn them over using the tongs and microwave for a further two minutes.
  8. Once all the slices are jelly-like, leave for about 45 minutes to cool and firm up, before making your decorations.

christmas decoration with dry oranges and flower in pot

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Richard Gadsby)

How to dry oranges for decorations in the oven

white wall with wooden hanger and plant sweater on it

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)

This is the more traditional method of drying out oranges. Instead of putting your slices in the microwave simply layout your slices of oranges on a wire rack. Pop them in the oven for four hours at the lowest setting possible, about 65 degrees.

When done, remove them from the oven to try on a cooling rack. They will feel slightly tacky at first, but don't worry they will continue to dry out after you've decorated the tree with them or used them as part of your Christmas wreath ideas.

If you're running short on time, you can go for the lazy option and pick up some shop-bought orange slices. Personally, we can vouch for these packs of dried oranges, £1.25 at Wilko, which are wonderful for making homemade Christmas tree decorations with brown string. 

Alternatively, you could browse the many orange slice options at Amazon, but you won't, of course, get such a lovely festive scent filling your home this way. Will you be creating your own orange slice decorations this year?

How long do dried oranges last on a Christmas tree?

Dried orange slices should last around two years, and might even last longer if stored away in a cool dry place. If there is any moisture left in the oranges when you hang them up, there's a chance that they'll develop mould, so make sure they're totally dry first.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.