The One Thing You Must Do with Citrus Before the Season’s Over

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Elizabeth Stark)

Despite how much I truly dislike winter, there’s always been one big silver lining: all the amazing citrus. I basically stuff myself with in-season oranges, grapefruit, and lemons from January through March in an effort to bring a bit of sunshine to these cold, dark days.

I typically just eat citrus fruits as is, simply peeled or segmented, but this winter I’ve discovered a new way to enjoy it that almost has me a little less eager for spring to arrive: I’ve been roasting it for breakfast, dessert, and even in savory dishes, and I can’t get enough.

Roasted Citrus Is the Best Cure for Winter Blues

While in-season citrus is pretty amazing as is, roasting it only intensifies its deliciousness. I first started doing this in January when I found myself stuck with the sweet tooth left behind from eating a few too many holiday cookies but wanting something that was more wholesome. I’d roast oranges with a bit of cinnamon and sugar, top them with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and call it dessert.

Soon, I was spooning leftovers onto my morning oatmeal and weekend pancakes. Now, I am so in love with roasted citrus that I am incorporating it into dinner, too. I’ve starting throwing segments on the same tray as whatever vegetable I am roasting, tossing it all with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cooking it all together for an easy but unique side dish.

Whether going the sweet or savory route, roasting oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and even limes draws out their sugars to lightly caramelize them and concentrates their juices. The result is citrus that is deeper flavored and even more itself.

How to Roast Citrus

You don’t really even need a real recipe to roast citrus. Simply cut oranges, grapefruit, lemons, or limes into segments or thick or thin slices, depending on your preference. I typically trim the peel off unless I am cutting my citrus really thin, in which case the peel will roast enough to be tender and pretty much edible, although it will still be a bit bitter.

I toss the citrus with a little olive oil and, if I am going to the sweet route (which is best with oranges and grapefruit), I’ll add a nice sprinkling of ground cinnamon (it pairs so well with citrus!) and either a bit of sugar or a drizzle of honey. Roast at 425°F until some of the juices have escaped and the fruit is lightly caramelized.

You can enjoy the citrus warm, room temperature, or even cold, with a dollop of something creamy (whipped cream, yogurt, ricotta, crème fraîche, or even sour cream) for dessert or with your yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles at breakfast. I like to make a big batch on Sunday or Monday and keep it in the fridge to reach for all week.

If you go the savory direction, all four types of citrus are great. I’ll toss them with winter vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, or even add them to a sheet pan of chicken or fish. They don’t need much more than olive oil, salt, and pepper, but herbs such as thyme or rosemary are nice additions, too. Roast at 425°F until the vegetables, chicken, or fish are cooked through and the fruit is caramelized.

3 Roasted Citrus Recipes to Try