Tangerines vs. Clementines—What’s the Big Difference?

citrus fruit on a tree

Tangerines vs. clementines—all citrus fruits are essentially the same…right? The answer is no…and yes! Citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, tangerines, and clementines are loaded with vitamin C tucked behind a vibrant peel. But each citrus fruit has a unique flavor profile. Some are more tart or sour and others more sweet and luscious.

The common traits of citrus fruits, besides their high vitamin C content, is that they contain healthy doses of dietary fiber and flavonoids, fall low on the glycemic index, and are incredibly versatile in the culinary realm. Let’s dive into the difference between tangerines and clementines.

Tangerines vs. Clementines

During the winter months, bags of small, juicy citrus fruits are available at every grocery store. Often, they are packaged with cute names—but what’s really behind all that sweetness?

Tangerines, clementines, mandarins, and satsumas are all small citrus fruits, about the size of a small child’s fist, that are ripe with flavor and nutrients. If you are trying to settle a debate, tangerines and clementines are both technically mandarins. They do differ in some ways.

Generally smaller Generally bigger
Seedless Have seeds, contributing to the slightly bitter flavor
Smooth, deep orange, glossy peel Light orange with a thin, pebbly, easy-to-peel skin
“accidental hybrid” of a sweet orange and mandarin Hybrid of a bitter orange and a mandarin
Intensely sweet More tart but still sweeter than an orange
Grown in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, and Algeria Grown across the world
Calories: 47 Calories: 53

Before you grab a bag of clementines—read this!

Tangerine and Clementine Recipes

Tangerines and clementines are closely related in flavor and nutrients, with clementines edging out tangerines in vitamin C and folate content. These two citrus fruits can be safely interchanged—use your favorite in any of these recipes.

My Darling Clementine Smoothie

Ooohhhh… are you ready for an eye-opening smoothie? This recipe is loaded with beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, and healthy phytonutrients. Enjoy this tangy smoothie first thing in the morning when you need a burst of energy or to boost your immune system.

Citrus, Pomegranate, and Honey with Toasted Coconut

Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with a delicious citrus fruit salad recipe loaded with vitamin C. This quick and easy salad includes grapefruit, clementines, Cara Cara orange, pomegranate seeds, and shredded coconut. Serve as a breakfast side dish or put on top of a salad for dinner.

Citrus & Roasted Beets Salad

Taste of Home has created a delectable salad loaded with vitamins and minerals. Here, citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines are partnered with roasted beets, goat cheese, spinach, and hearts of palm. This is a hearty vegetarian salad perfect for lunch, or as a side dish for dinner.

Dark Chocolate Coated Tangerines (or Clementines)

If you are trying to add more dark chocolate to your diet, this is the perfect way to do it! These little nuggets of flavor are loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients associated with improved brain function, vision, and healthy blood sugar levels. The texture and taste are surprising, and it will soon become a favorite in your home.


  • 2 tangerines, peeled and separated into sections
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts


  1. Put 1/4 cup orange marmalade in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on medium for 15 seconds, until it just melts, and stir well.
  2. Dip the tangerine sections in the marmalade and place on parchment paper. Refrigerate the tangerine sections for 30 minutes.
  3. Slowly melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate, a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil together in the top of a double boiler, stirring to combine.
  4. Allow the dark chocolate and coconut oil mixture to come to room temperature.
  5. Stir the dark chocolate, and then dip each tangerine section into the chocolate mixture using chopsticks to cover the sections entirely, and then place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped walnuts before the dark chocolate sets.
  7. Refrigerate until the dark chocolate is set. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve.

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