Tangerine vs. Clementine: What’s the Difference? (2022)

When citrus fruits are in season and the produce department is bursting with various types, it’s easy to get confused about the different varieties.

They each have their own characteristics, so if you’re looking for a specific flavor, texture, or peel, it’s worth knowing which is which.

This article explains the key differences and similarities between two popular types of citrus fruits — tangerines and clementines.

Tangerine vs. Clementine: What’s the Difference? (1)Share on Pinterest

Tangerines and clementines are both hybrids of the small-sized mandarin. They’re the second largest cultivated group of citrus fruit after sweet oranges, which include larger sized varieties like navel and blood oranges (1).

They share many of the same characteristics as other mandarins, such as a smaller size compared with navel oranges, few to no seeds, a sweet flavor, and a thin, soft skin that’s very easy to peel (2).

Tangerines and clementines have a similar appearance, so it’s easy to get them confused or think they’re one and the same.

Tangerines

Tangerines (Citrus tangerina) are thought to be native to Southeast Asia (3).

They’re named because they were exported by traveling through the port of Tangier in Morocco.

In the United States, tangerines are often called mandarins. However, while all tangerines are mandarins, not all mandarins are tangerines.

(Video) What's the difference between a Mandarin, a tangerine, a clementine and a satsuma

Grown in warm weather climates across the globe, tangerines are a bit more cold-weather tolerant, compared with larger varieties of sweet oranges. You can find them in stores from November through April.

They’re sweeter than navel oranges but still a bit tart. Tangerines also have a darker reddish-orange, soft, pebbly skin that’s easy to peel.

Clementines

The clementine (Citrus clementina) is another variety of mandarin. Like the tangerine, it’s a sweet, easy to peel citrus fruit (2).

You can distinguish it from a tangerine by its slightly smaller size, brighter orange color, and smoother, shinier skin. It’s also even easier to peel than a tangerine because the skin is thinner.

Clementines tend to be slightly more oval in shape than tangerines, with a flat spot on the top and bottom.

You often find them sold in packages and labeled as “Halos” or “Cuties.” However, these are marketing names, not varieties.

Just like tangerines, clementines are more cold tolerant than larger orange varieties, and they, too, are available from November through April (2).

summary

Tangerines and clementines are two varieties of mandarins. They’re both prized for their sweet flavor and soft, easy to peel skins. Of the two, clementines are sweeter and easiest to peel.

Because they’re so closely related, it’s no surprise that tangerines and clementines have a very similar nutritional profile. As with other citrus fruits, both provide carbs but minimal amounts of protein and fats.

Here are the major nutrients in an average sized (75-gram) piece of each fruit (4, 5):

(Video) MANDARINS are Different Things - Comparing Clementines, Tangerines & Satsumas- Weird Fruit Explorer


TangerineClementine
Calories4040
Protein1 gram1 gram
Fatless than 1 gramless than 1 gram
Carbs10 grams9 grams
Fiber1 gram1 gram
Vitamin C20 mg, 34% of the Daily Value (DV)36 mg, 60% of the DV

Even though they’re small in size, both tangerines and clementines are packed with vitamin C, an essential vitamin that supports your immune system by stimulating white blood cell function (6).

Vitamin C is also needed for many other functions throughout your body, including producing collagen to strengthen skin, joints, and bones, and for iron metabolism (6).

While both fruits are good sources of vitamin C, if you want the most bang for your buck, choose a clementine over a tangerine. Eating two of them will supply more than a full day’s worth of vitamin C (5).

In addition to vitamin C, both fruits are known to contain carotenoid compounds (3, 6).

These are orange and yellow pigments in plants that act as vitamin A precursors, which means they’re converted into vitamin A in your body. They also act as antioxidants and protect cells and DNA from oxidative damage (3, 6, 7).

The major carotenoid in mandarin oranges is beta-cryptoxanthin. Additionally, there are small amounts of both alpha- and beta-carotene. You get more carotenoids if you eat the whole fruit rather than drinking the juice from mandarins (3, 6, 8).

summary

Tangerines and clementines provide nearly identical amounts of calories, macronutrients, and fiber. Both also supply provitamin A carotenoid compounds, but clementines have significantly more vitamin C.

You might choose to eat them for your taste buds, but adding more tangerines and clementines to your diet may also provide important health benefits for your entire body.

Research on beta-cryptoxanthin, which is concentrated in both fruits, indicates that it’s more easily absorbed in your body than other carotene compounds, including beta-carotene (9).

(Video) What's the difference between tangerines, clementines and satsumas?

As a vitamin A precursor, beta-cryptoxanthin helps boost vitamin A levels even more than the other carotene compounds. Vitamin A is essential for healthy immune function, vision, and cell development and growth (9, 10).

Both tangerines and clementines are rich in health-promoting phytocompounds called flavonoids. Two that have been well researched are naringin and hesperidin (3).

Studies have found that these flavonoids extracted from citrus fruits have the ability to reduce inflammation markers in the body, improve blood flow through the arteries, increase bone density, and reduce asthma risk (3, 6).

Additionally, 65–70% of the fiber in both tangerines and clementines is in the form of soluble fiber. It has benefits for your digestive tract and may also help to reduce cholesterol levels (3, 6).

summary

Eating either or both fruits can help boost your vitamin A levels and provide a healthy dose of flavonoids and soluble fiber to support heart, digestive tract, and bone health.

The easiest way to get your fill of tangerines and clementines is to pack one, or a few, and eat them as a snack. They travel well, don’t require refrigeration, and their soft, easy to peel skins make them a great choice for adults and children alike.

Both are also equally delicious in a salad. Toss the segments with fresh greens, some toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese for a blend of sweet and savory flavors.

If you’re lucky enough to grow either variety and have more than you can eat, juice them. Although you won’t get the fiber or quite as much of the beta-cryptoxanthin, you’ll enjoy a healthy dose of vitamin C and flavonoids.

The outer peel and spongy white pith just under the peel of both fruits are not commonly eaten, but they can be. Just make sure you wash the outside well before eating the peel.

Citrus peels contain essential oils, flavonoids, and other compounds with antioxidant properties. You can zest the peel and use it along with your favorite herbs in cooking (11).

(Video) MANDARIN COMPARISON (Owari Satsuma VS Vietnamese Flying Saucer VS Clementine)- Weird Fruit Explorer

Additionally, try drying the peels and adding a piece when you steep a cup of tea. It adds a subtle orange flavor and aroma.

The white pith, located just under the peel, is where you find much of the pectin. It can be used to make jams or jellies (11).

To make tangerine or clementine marmalade:

  • Cut 3 whole pieces of either fruit into very thin slices and then coarsely chop them.
  • Place the fruit in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water and 1/2 cup (32 grams) sugar.
  • Simmer the mixture for 30–40 minutes or until the fruit is soft and it starts to darken a bit.
  • When it thickens, pour the marmalade into a jar and refrigerate.

As it cools, the natural pectin will help thicken the cooked fruit and form jam.

One important tip that applies to both fruits is to use them quickly. Because of their soft peels, they’re more perishable compared with larger oranges.

Mandarins may begin to develop off-flavors in as little as 3 weeks after harvest, and more significantly after 6 weeks, so it’s best to eat them quickly after you buy them. You can extend their freshness for a week or two if you refrigerate them (2, 12).

summary

Both fruits are delicious and easy to eat as a snack or added to a salad. Rather than tossing the peels, try drying some to use in tea or with spices. If you have more than you can eat, you can juice them or make marmalade.

Tangerines and clementines are closely related members of the mandarin family.

These small citrus fruits are packed with compounds that may help reduce your risk of heart disease, strengthen your bones, and keep your digestive tract in tip-top condition.

Clementines are slightly smaller, sweeter, and easier to peel than tangerines, but both are a sweet and healthy treat.

(Video) Tangerine vs Oranges | Key Differences and Similarities

Enjoy them all winter long as an easy to peel snack, tossed into a salad, or for a special treat, make homemade marmalade.

FAQs

What is the difference between tangerines and Clementine? ›

You can distinguish it from a tangerine by its slightly smaller size, brighter orange color, and smoother, shinier skin. It's also even easier to peel than a tangerine because the skin is thinner. Clementines tend to be slightly more oval in shape than tangerines, with a flat spot on the top and bottom.

Which is better tangerine or Clementine? ›

Clementines have a slightly sweeter taste than tangerines, are a brighter orange colour, and have a smoother skin, which is easier to peel. Tangerines are larger and flatter in shape, with an uneven 'pebbly' texture. The easiest way to tell the difference is to hold the fruit in your hand.

What's the difference between a tangerine Satsuma and Clementine? ›

Tangerines are a type of mandarin that have a loose, thin skin that's easy to peel, and a sweet flavour. They are distinctly larger than satsumas or clementines, but are still smaller than an orange. They typically have a few seeds in each fruit.

Is a cutie a clementine or tangerine? ›

A: CUTIES® are actually two varieties of mandarins: Clementine mandarins, available November through January; and W. Murcott mandarins, available February through April. CUTIES® have several distinct characteristics that make them the perfect anytime, anywhere snack.

What is the sweetest mandarin? ›

The Honey Murcott has a high juice and sugar content, making it the sweetest of all the mandarin varieties.

What is difference between mandarins and clementines? ›

The biggest difference is that clementines are a type of mandarin, a hybrid crossing mandarins with sweet oranges, while mandarins are a group of several different fruits that include not only clementines but satsumas, tangerines, and other varieties as well.

Which is sweeter clementines or tangerines? ›

In short, clementines are sweet and easy to peel, whereas tangerines are a bit more tart and have tougher skin, which doesn't always allow for a flawless peel. You can easily tell the difference between a clementine and tangerine by just holding one in each hand.

What does Clementine taste like? ›

In terms of taste, clementines are famous for being very sweet. For some people, this sweetness is a refreshing taste in comparison to the tartness of other orange varieties.

What are clementines good for? ›

Clementines contain high levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which play an important role in reducing inflammation. Research links excessive inflammation to several types of cancer. Diets high in anti-inflammatory foods, like clementines, may reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.

What is a mandarin called in England? ›

In UK the term is used more loosely, though it is the lesser known clementines and hybrid varieties that are usually so named. Other Names: There are many other names given to mandarin types, such as Sweetclem, Easy-peeler, Clemgold, Clemcott, and so on.

Which is sweeter tangerine or mandarin? ›

Tangerine – Tangerines have a bright orange color. Their flavor is less sweet and a bit more tart than most mandarins. Their skin is slightly tougher and harder to peel, which makes them a hardier fruit that's less likely to bruise.

Are Cuties tangerines? ›

Cuties are either murcott mandarins, also known as tangerines, or clemenules. Whichever variety is reprented by the Cuties® name is dependent upon the season. Clementines are early maturing and start off the season and the murcott mandarins are late maturing, and round out the season.

What are tiny oranges called? ›

The answer: A clementine is a type of mandarin orange, which are classified as a family of small-sized, easy to peel, segmented citrus with a tendency towards lower acid content. Clementines are the most popular of the mandarin varieties, being adorably small, seedless, sweet, and easy to peel.

Are Halos and Cuties the same thing? ›

🏷️ Different Brand Names

What the name "Cuties" and "Halos" comes down to is marketing names from different companies. They are not actual varieties. The name "Cuties" is owned by Sun Pacific. The name "Halos" is owned by Paramount Citrus, who also has the trademark POM Wonderful.

Are Halos clementines or mandarins? ›

Clementines — commonly known by the brand names Cuties or Halos — are a hybrid of mandarin and sweet oranges. These tiny fruits are bright orange, easy to peel, sweeter than most other citrus fruits, and typically seedless.

Should I refrigerate mandarin oranges? ›

How to store mandarin oranges. Store mandarin oranges in a cool, dark place (like the fridge). At room temperature they'll last about 1 week. Refrigerated in a bag they should last 2 weeks to 1 month.

What is the best eating mandarin? ›

Afourer mandarins are easy to spot because of their darker orange-red hue. They have a thinner rind, and are very juicy with fewer seeds. Honey Murcott mandarins have a lot of seeds, but Mr Truong says they have "excellent flavour and juice". The name comes from their honey-like sweetness.

Can you store mandarins in the fridge? ›

Store whole mandarins in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Or, place mandarins in a bowl and cover loosely with Glad® Press'n Seal® wrap. Store in the refrigerator.

What is the sweetest citrus fruit? ›

Satsuma Oranges

Part of the mandarin family, satsumas are known for being one of the sweetest citrus varieties. The peel can be pulled away easily from the tender interior, making them perfect for snacking on-the-go.

Which tangerine is the sweetest? ›

Honey tangelos are among the most popular tangerine varieties because they're the sweetest. The juice from honey tangerines is great for use in salad dressings, particularly vinaigrette dressings, because it provides the perfect complement to a strong flavor of vinegar.

What's healthier clementines or mandarin oranges? ›

Clementine contains more Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, and folate than mandarin orange. It is also lower in sodium, sugars, and saturated fat.

Which is the sweetest mandarin oranges? ›

Satsuma Mandarin

One of the main citrus species grown in Japan, the satsuma is regarded as the sweetest of all mandarins. Though also cultivated in the United States, the fruit's vulnerability to bruising can make it hard to find, so scoop up satsumas when you see them.

What is a tangerine a cross between? ›

It is a group of orange-colored citrus fruit consisting of hybrids of mandarin orange varieties, with some pomelo contribution.

Are mandarin and tangerine the same? ›

In fact, the words mandarins and tangerines are largely used interchangeably. The reason is that tangerines are actually a type of mandarin. So, how do you know whether you're eating a tangerine or just another regular mandarin? Well, you can identify a tangerine by the thinner-skin around the juicy bits inside.

Why is my clementine bitter? ›

Bitterness can come from underripe fruit (although a lot of times they'll just be sour or less flavorful), lack of juice is usually something that has been stored too long and dried out. A ripe mandarin or clementine should be firm but not hard with a good, bright citrusy fragrance.

Do clementines go bad? ›

Clementines last for up to a week at room temperature and for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Once you peel or section them, they keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container or freezer bag in the fridge.

Are clementine oranges good for diabetics? ›

Oranges, grapefruits, clementines - research suggests that consumption of citrus fruit has a positive, long-term effects on blood sugar, as well as cholesterol levels, thanks to the anti-inflammatory compound hesperidin and a healthy dose of soluble fiber.

Do clementines cause kidney stones? ›

Clementines are a great source of several nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. They may also help prevent kidney stones, combat cancer cell growth, boost immune function, increase weight loss and promote regularity.

Are clementines good for liver? ›

Liver protection

Another vitamin of the B family that clementine has is choline. It is essential for your liver function – and we all do stress our livers with a lot of food and drinks during the holiday seasons. To prevent deficiency of choline, add a bunch of clementines to your party table.

What fruit is highest in vitamin C? ›

Raw citrus fruits are very high in vitamin C. One medium orange provides 70 mg of Vitamin C, while one grapefruit provides about 56 mg. Citrus fruit juices contain even higher amounts of vitamin C, with a 225 mg glass of orange juice providing around 125 mg of vitamin C.

What do Americans call Satsumas? ›

Satsuma / sat-soo-muh/ .
...
Satsuma.
Citrus unshiu Marc.
Genus:Citrus
Species:C. unshiu
9 more rows

Can dogs eat mandarin? ›

Can Dogs Eat Tangerines, Clementines, and Mandarins? Dogs can eat tangerines and clementines. In fact, dogs can eat all kinds of oranges, including mandarins and Satsuma oranges.

Why are Satsumas called Satsumas? ›

One of the English names for the fruit, satsuma, is derived from the former Satsuma Province in Japan, from which these fruits were first exported to the West.

Are satsumas and tangerines the same thing? ›

Tangerines are a form of mandarin orange and are the hardest of these three to peel but have a richer, sweeter flavour than the others. Satsumas have an easy to peel skin due to a thick but loose albedo (the white layer under the orange skin) so the central segments can be freed readily from the peel.

Can dogs eat tangerines? ›

Are tangerines a fruit dogs can eat? Yes. Dogs can eat tangerines.

Do oranges and tangerines taste the same? ›

Their Flavors Vary Slightly

Both tangerines and oranges can be sweet or tart. However, most tangerines are less tart and sweeter than oranges. Tangerines also tend to have a stronger flavor profile than oranges and a shorter aftertaste.

Can dogs eat oranges? ›

Yes, dogs can eat oranges. Oranges are fine for dogs to eat, according to veterinarians, but they may not be fans of any strong-smelling citrus. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and in small quantities, the juicy flesh of an orange can be a tasty treat for your dog.

Should halos be refrigerated? ›

Regardless of whether or not you have bagged the clementines, you should place them inside the crisper drawer, also called the "fruit drawer" or "vegetable drawer," of your refrigerator.

Do clementines help lose weight? ›

For example, oranges, clementines and tangerines are fantastic for you. High in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and even helps you lose weight, oranges are also naturally low in calories.

Are tangerines and mandarins the same thing? ›

In fact, the words mandarins and tangerines are largely used interchangeably. The reason is that tangerines are actually a type of mandarin. So, how do you know whether you're eating a tangerine or just another regular mandarin? Well, you can identify a tangerine by the thinner-skin around the juicy bits inside.

Are Cuties tangerines? ›

Cuties are either murcott mandarins, also known as tangerines, or clemenules. Whichever variety is reprented by the Cuties® name is dependent upon the season. Clementines are early maturing and start off the season and the murcott mandarins are late maturing, and round out the season.

What is the difference between tangerines and cuties? ›

In short, clementines are sweet and easy to peel, whereas tangerines are a bit more tart and have tougher skin, which doesn't always allow for a flawless peel. You can easily tell the difference between a clementine and tangerine by just holding one in each hand.

Are Halos and Cuties the same thing? ›

🏷️ Different Brand Names

What the name "Cuties" and "Halos" comes down to is marketing names from different companies. They are not actual varieties. The name "Cuties" is owned by Sun Pacific. The name "Halos" is owned by Paramount Citrus, who also has the trademark POM Wonderful.

What is the sweetest citrus fruit? ›

Satsuma Oranges

Part of the mandarin family, satsumas are known for being one of the sweetest citrus varieties. The peel can be pulled away easily from the tender interior, making them perfect for snacking on-the-go.

Which is the sweetest tangerine? ›

Honey tangelos are among the most popular tangerine varieties because they're the sweetest. The juice from honey tangerines is great for use in salad dressings, particularly vinaigrette dressings, because it provides the perfect complement to a strong flavor of vinegar.

Are Halos clementines? ›

Clementines — commonly known by the brand names Cuties or Halos — are a hybrid of mandarin and sweet oranges. These tiny fruits are bright orange, easy to peel, sweeter than most other citrus fruits, and typically seedless.

Can dogs eat oranges? ›

Yes, dogs can eat oranges. Oranges are fine for dogs to eat, according to veterinarians, but they may not be fans of any strong-smelling citrus. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and in small quantities, the juicy flesh of an orange can be a tasty treat for your dog.

What are baby oranges called? ›

Clementines are the most popular of the mandarin varieties, being adorably small, seedless, sweet, and easy to peel. Tangerines are also a type of mandarin, and clementines are sometimes referred to as tangerines or mandarins.

Should halos be refrigerated? ›

Regardless of whether or not you have bagged the clementines, you should place them inside the crisper drawer, also called the "fruit drawer" or "vegetable drawer," of your refrigerator.

Do clementines help lose weight? ›

For example, oranges, clementines and tangerines are fantastic for you. High in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and even helps you lose weight, oranges are also naturally low in calories.

Which is sweeter mandarins or tangerines? ›

Mandarin – Mandarins are generally smaller than oranges and taste sweeter. Their skin is thinner and a little looser, which makes the fruit easier to peel. Tangerine – Tangerines have a bright orange color. Their flavor is less sweet and a bit more tart than most mandarins.

Which is sweeter mandarin or clementine? ›

What is this? Both of these citrus fruits are sweet and juicy, with less acid than oranges. Clementines are usually a bit sweeter than other types of mandarins.

What is the difference between cuties and clementines? ›

Clementines are the smallest type of mandarin orange. They are super sweet, seedless, and have red-orange skins that are smooth and shiny. The mandarins you see in grocery stores called Cuties and Sweeties are Clementines. They are easier to peel than tangerines, but not as easy to peel as Satsumas.

What are the sweetest clementines? ›

The mandarin, though, as the sweetest of the original four, is by far the most common.

Do cuties still exist? ›

In other words, Cuties is still available for streaming on Netflix. And there are no plans for its removal even though Netflix is facing an indictment over the film in Tyler County, Texas, about 115 miles away from Houston.

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