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Tangerine Orange vs. Mandarin Orange: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 22, 2024
Tangerine oranges are smaller, sweeter, and less rounded than mandarin oranges, which are a larger, milder, and diverse citrus fruit category.

Key Differences

Tangerine oranges, a citrus fruit, are known for their deep orange color and sweet taste. On the other hand, mandarin oranges are a larger category of citrus fruits, which include tangerines, and are recognized for their variety in sweetness and size.
The skin of tangerine oranges is notably thin and peels away easily, making them a convenient snack. Mandarin oranges, however, encompass a range of fruits with varying skin thickness, though generally, they are also known for their easy-to-peel nature.
Tangerine oranges are often smaller and less rounded compared to their mandarin counterparts. Mandarin oranges can vary significantly in size and shape, reflecting the diversity within this citrus category.
In terms of flavor, tangerine oranges are distinctively sweet with a robust citrus aroma. Mandarin oranges, while also sweet, can range from very sweet to slightly tart, depending on the specific variety.
Cultivation-wise, tangerine oranges are a specific type of mandarin, often grown for their sweet flavor and attractive appearance. Mandarin oranges include a broader range of species and hybrids, offering a wider spectrum of tastes and uses.

Comparison Chart


Smaller and less rounded
Varied, often larger


Sweeter and robust aroma
Range from sweet to slightly tart

Skin Thickness

Thin and easy to peel
Generally thin, varies among types


Specific type within mandarins
Includes a wide range of species

Usage in Culinary

Commonly eaten raw, in desserts
Used both raw and in varied recipes

Tangerine Orange and Mandarin Orange Definitions

Tangerine Orange

A variety of mandarin orange, known for its thin skin.
The tangerine orange's skin peeled off effortlessly.

Mandarin Orange

A fruit that varies in sweetness and acidity.
This mandarin orange has a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Tangerine Orange

A fruit often associated with Christmas in Western culture.
Tangerine oranges filled the stockings on Christmas Eve.

Mandarin Orange

A common ingredient in fruit salads and desserts.
The fruit salad was colorful with chunks of mandarin orange.

Tangerine Orange

A small, sweet citrus fruit with a deep orange color.
She enjoyed a juicy tangerine orange after her meal.

Mandarin Orange

A category of small, usually sweet citrus fruits.
He added segments of mandarin orange to his salad.

Tangerine Orange

A symbol of good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture.
They gifted tangerine oranges during the Lunar New Year.

Mandarin Orange

A fruit known for being easy to peel and segment.
The children enjoyed peeling the mandarin orange by themselves.

Tangerine Orange

A citrus fruit used in desserts for its sweet flavor.
She topped the cake with slices of tangerine orange.

Mandarin Orange

A versatile fruit used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Mandarin oranges added a tangy flavor to the chicken stir-fry.


How is a mandarin orange different from a tangerine?

Mandarin orange is a broader category of citrus fruits that includes tangerines, which are a specific type within this group.

Can I substitute tangerine for mandarin in recipes?

Yes, tangerines can often be substituted for mandarins, though the flavor may be slightly sweeter.

Are tangerine oranges easy to peel?

Yes, tangerine oranges are known for their thin, easy-to-peel skin.

Why are tangerine oranges associated with Christmas?

Tangerine oranges are a traditional Christmas stocking stuffer in many Western cultures.

What is a tangerine orange?

A small, sweet citrus fruit with a distinct deep orange color, known for its thin peel.

Do mandarin oranges come in different varieties?

Yes, there are many varieties of mandarin oranges, each with unique characteristics.

Is there a taste difference between tangerines and mandarins?

Yes, tangerines are typically sweeter, while mandarins can range from sweet to slightly tart.

Are tangerine oranges seedless?

Some varieties of tangerine oranges are seedless, while others have seeds.

Is the tangerine orange skin edible?

Yes, the skin of tangerine oranges can be eaten, often used as zest in recipes.

Are mandarin oranges good for health?

Yes, mandarin oranges are rich in vitamins and nutrients, beneficial for health.

How should I store mandarin oranges?

Mandarin oranges can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

What's the best way to eat a mandarin orange?

Mandarin oranges can be eaten raw, added to salads, or used in cooking.

Can mandarin oranges be canned or preserved?

Yes, mandarin oranges can be canned, often found in light syrup or juice.

Are mandarin oranges available year-round?

While peak season is winter, some varieties of mandarin oranges are available year-round.

How do I select the best tangerine oranges at the store?

Look for tangerines that are firm, heavy for their size, and have a vibrant orange color.

Are tangerine oranges good for weight loss?

Tangerine oranges are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a good choice for weight loss diets.

Can mandarin oranges be used in cooking?

Yes, mandarin oranges are versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Can I grow tangerine oranges at home?

Yes, with the right climate and care, tangerine oranges can be grown at home.

What dishes are mandarin oranges commonly used in?

They are used in salads, desserts, drinks, and Asian cuisines.

What are the health benefits of mandarin oranges?

They are a good source of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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