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What goes well with mandarin oranges?

Mandarin oranges, also known as clementines or tangerines, are a delicious and nutritious citrus fruit that can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or incorporated into a variety of recipes. Their sweet, tart flavor pairs well with both savory and sweet ingredients. When cooking with mandarin oranges, there are many complimentary foods and flavors that will enhance the mandarin taste without overpowering it. In this article, we will explore what goes well with mandarin oranges and provide recipe ideas to help you get the most out of this vibrant citrus fruit.

Savory Pairings

While mandarin oranges have a sweet taste, their citrus tang also makes them a nice addition to savory dishes. Mandarins can add brightness and acidity to balance out richer, heavier flavors. Here are some savory pairings that work well with mandarins:


– Chicken – Add mandarin segments to a chicken salad or stir fry. The sweetness pairs nicely with the lean protein.

– Pork – Mandarins are a traditional complement to richer meats like pork. They cut through the fat and add moisture.

– Fish – Try coating fish in mandarin juice and zest before baking or steaming. Lovely with mild white fish.

– Duck – The bold flavor of duck is softened by the fruity mandarin taste. Use mandarin slices in duck sauces or salads.

– Tofu – For a vegetarian option, mandarins add sweetness to tofu. Marinate or bake tofu with mandarin segments.


– Rice – Stir mandarin segments into rice pilafs and salads for a pop of color and flavor.

– Barley – Cooked barley salads gain brightness from mandarin oranges. Toss together with fresh herbs.

– Farro – The chewy texture of farro pairs nicely with the juicy mandarin oranges. Use in a vegetarian grain bowl.

– Quinoa – For a superfood side, mix mandarin segments into quinoa along with sliced almonds and green onions.


– Spinach – Fresh spinach salad greens are complemented by the sweet citrus mandarin taste. Add sliced oranges over spinach salads.

– Beets – Roast beets and mandarins together to blend the earthy and sweet flavors. Lovely paired with goat cheese.

– Sweet potatoes – Mandarin juice softens the sweet potatoes’ starchiness. Use it to roast or puree sweet potatoes.

– Brussels sprouts – Char roasted Brussels sprouts and deglaze the pan with mandarin juice for a tasty side.

Herbs, Spices, and Condiments

– Mint – This fresh herb’s scent and taste pairs perfectly with mandarin oranges. Use chopped mint in mandarin salads.

– Basil – The licorice notes of basil balance the sweet citrus nicely. Add basil to fish or chicken dishes with mandarins.

– Rosemary – Hearty rosemary can stand up to the strong citrus flavor. Skewer chicken and mandarins with rosemint sprigs.

– Thyme – For another robust herb, use thyme with mandarins in savory recipes like stuffing and pilafs.

– Curry powder – Spice up a mandarin glaze for pork or chicken with the addition of aromatic curry powder.

– Ginger – The spicy ginger flavor cuts through the sweetness of mandarins for an exciting flavor pairing.

– Balsamic vinegar – A splash of syrupy balsamic vinegar takes the edge off the tartness of mandarin oranges.

Sweet Pairings

In desserts and other sweet recipes, mandarin oranges also combine tastily with a number of ingredients. Their citrus flavor provides tartness to complement sugary foods. Here are some options for sweet pairings:


– Pomegranate – The juicy seeds offer a crunchy texture contrast and the tart taste balances the mandarin sweetness.

– Persimmons – These fruits have a mild, sweet flavor that allows the mandarin orange tang to shine. Toss them together in a salad.

– Berries – Mix mandarins with berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries for a vitamin C powerhouse.

– Bananas – Banana’s starchiness pairs well with juicy mandarin slices. Use in fruit salads or smoothies.

– Kiwi – Combine kiwi and mandarins for a tropical twist. The kiwi seeds add texture against the mandarin flesh.

Nuts and Seeds

– Almonds – Salty, crunchy almonds contrast with the mandarin sweetness. Use slivered almonds in mandarin salads.

– Walnuts – Toast walnuts and sprinkle over mandarin segments for a simple, healthy snack or salad topper.

– Pistachios – Chopped pistachios pair nicely with mandarins both flavorwise and colorwise. Toss together in a trail mix.

– Sunflower seeds – These slightly nutty seeds add creaminess to mandarin recipes like yogurt parfaits.

– Chia seeds -Mix chia into mandarin orange juice to make a hydrating drink full of fiber.


– Oats – Cooked oatmeal gets a tangy twist from the addition of mandarin oranges.

– Granola – Homemade granola with nuts, oats, honey or maple syrup tastes delicious when mandarins are mixed in.

– Couscous – Fluff up couscous with some mandarin segments for a Mediterranean flavor.

– Quinoa – Rinse quinoa and stir in mandarin oranges, nuts and honey for a sweet breakfast treat.


– Yogurt – Top yogurt with mandarin slices and nuts or granola for a vitamin C boost.

– Ricotta – Sweet ricotta cheese pairs heavenly with mandarins in crepes, tarts, or cannoli filling.

– Mascarpone – Mix mascarpone into whipped cream then use as a topping for mandarin desserts.

– Ice cream – Swirl mandarin sorbet or jam into vanilla ice cream for a creamsicle taste.

Recipe Ideas

Now that we’ve covered a variety of ingredients that complement mandarin oranges, here are some recipe ideas that incorporate these tasty pairings:

Savory Mandarin Recipes

Recipe Name Ingredients
Mandarin Chicken Salad Chicken, mandarins, spinach, almonds, poppyseed dressing
Mandarin Pork Stir Fry Pork, mandarins, peppers, broccoli, ginger, soy sauce
Mandarin Quinoa Salad Quinoa, mandarins, cucumber, feta, parsley, lemon juice
Mandarin Barley Risotto Barley, mandarin juice, parmesan, parsley, lemon, thyme

Sweet Mandarin Recipes

Recipe Name Ingredients
Mandarin Oatmeal Oats, mandarins, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts
Mandarin Yogurt Parfait Yogurt, mandarins, granola, honey
Mandarin Fruit Salad Mandarins, berries, banana, persimmons, honey
Mandarin Cream Puffs Puff pastry, mascarpone filling with mandarins, powdered sugar


Beyond being a tasty addition to recipes, mandarin oranges provide plenty of nutritional value. Here are some of the key vitamins, minerals, and compounds found in these sweet citrus fruits:

– Vitamin C – One serving provides over 50% of your daily vitamin C needs, boosting immunity.

– Vitamin A – Mandarins contain beta carotene that your body converts into vitamin A for healthy eyes and skin.

– Folate – The citrus fruit is a good source of folate, important for cell growth and pregnant women.

– Potassium – With over 200mg potassium per serving, mandarins help maintain fluid balance.

– Dietary fiber – The pith of mandarin oranges contains soluble and insoluble fiber for digestive and heart health.

– Antioxidants – Phytochemicals like carotenoids, flavonoids, and limonoids act as antioxidants that reduce disease risk.

– Low calorie – With only 60 calories per mandarin, they make a great low calorie snack.

Potential Health Benefits

Research on mandarin oranges suggest they may provide additional health benefits:

– Reduce inflammation
– Lower cholesterol
– Support heart health
– Soothe digestion
– Prevent certain cancers
– Strengthen immunity
– Aid weight loss

So by enjoying mandarin oranges, you can satisfy your tastebuds and support your overall wellbeing at the same time!

Selection and Storage

Follow these tips to select ripe, juicy mandarins and store them properly:

– Choose mandarins that feel heavy for their size with smooth, bright orange rinds. Avoid soft or dull looking fruit.

– Select fruit with the stem attached, which indicates freshness.

– Mandarins will last 1-2 weeks at room temperature. For longer storage, refrigerate in plastic bags.

– Wash mandarins just before eating. The rind can get moldy when stored wet.

– Peel using your fingers rather than a knife. The peel is thin so knives remove too much flesh.

– Remove the white pith which can be bitter. The segments can then be easily pulled apart.

– Squeeze leftover juice and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


With their sweet, tart flavor and impressive nutrition, mandarin oranges are a fantastic citrus fruit to keep on hand. When cooking with mandarins, complement their taste by pairing them with ingredients like chicken, spinach, ginger, berries, nuts, yogurt and more. Incorporate sliced mandarins or mandarin juice into salads, main dishes, breakfasts and desserts. Select fresh, ripe fruit and store properly to enjoy their juicy goodness. With so many possibilities, mandarin oranges will quickly become a staple in your kitchen.