How many Cal are in a small Mandarin?

A small mandarin orange contains around 40-50 calories. The exact calorie count can vary depending on the size of the mandarin and other factors.

Determining Calorie Counts

The calorie content of mandarin oranges is mainly dependent on their size. Larger mandarins contain more calories because they have more flesh and juice. Smaller mandarins have fewer calories in comparison.

According to the USDA, one small (86g) mandarin contains 45 calories. Medium mandarins (131g) contain around 65 calories. Large mandarins (184g) contain approximately 90 calories.

Calories in mandarins also depend on whether you eat the membranes and seeds. The flesh contains the majority of calories, while membranes and seeds are very low in calories.

Finally, different varieties of mandarins can have slightly different calorie counts. For example, clementines are typically smaller and may contain around 35-40 calories per fruit.

Calories from Macronutrients

The calories in mandarin oranges come from the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Carbohydrates make up most of the calories. A small mandarin contains about 11 grams of carbohydrate, providing around 44 calories.

Mandarins also contain a small amount of protein. A small mandarin provides 0.6 grams of protein, contributing around 2 calories.

There is very little fat in mandarins. A small mandarin contains just 0.1 grams of fat, providing negligible calories.


The carbohydrates in mandarins occur naturally in the form of sugars. The main sugar is sucrose, which makes up around two-thirds of the total sugar content.

Mandarins also contain smaller amounts of glucose, fructose, and other sugars. These sugars provide a sweet flavor and supply mandarins with most of their calories.


Mandarins contain small amounts of protein in their flesh and membranes. The protein is complete, meaning it provides all the essential amino acids.

However, the protein content is too low for mandarins to be considered a significant source of protein in the diet.


There are trace amounts of fat in the flesh and membranes of mandarins. This fat is mostly in the form of various plant compounds like sterols.

The small quantity of fat does not add substantially to the calorie content.

Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to calories, mandarins provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds:

  • Vitamin C: An excellent source, with one small mandarin providing around 35% of the RDI.
  • Thiamin: 5% of the RDI per small mandarin.
  • Vitamin B6: 5% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 5% of the RDI.
  • Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 2% of the RDI.
  • Copper: 2% of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 2% of the RDI.

They also contain phytochemicals like anthocyanins, polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), carotenoids, and essential oils that may benefit health.

Calories in Different Serving Sizes

Based on average nutrition data, here are the typical calories for different serving sizes of mandarin oranges:

Serving Calories
1 small mandarin (86g) 45
1 medium mandarin (131g) 65
1 large mandarin (184g) 90
1 cup, sections (190g) 90

Comparing Calorie Counts of Mandarins and Other Fruits

Mandarins are relatively low in calories compared to many other fruits. Here is how they compare calorie-wise to some other fruits:

Fruit Serving Size Calories
Mandarin 1 medium (131g) 65
Apple 1 medium (182g) 95
Banana 1 medium (118g) 105
Grapes 1 cup (151g) 104
Orange 1 medium (154g) 86
Strawberries 1 cup, halves (152g) 49

As you can see, mandarins are lower in calories than most other fresh fruits. Strawberries are the only fresh fruit with significantly fewer calories per typical serving.

Tips for Eating Mandarins

Here are some tips for selecting, preparing, and eating mandarins:


  • Choose mandarins that feel heavy for their size, which indicates freshness.
  • Avoid soft, shriveled, or bruised fruit.
  • Mandarins with green leaves attached may be fresher.
  • Pick loose mandarins over pre-packed ones to choose each piece.


  • Wash mandarins under cool water before peeling.
  • Peel using your fingers or a paring knife.
  • Remove the membranes before eating sections.
  • Squeeze juice and use zest from peels.


  • Eat mandarins on their own as a snack or dessert.
  • Add segments to fruit salads, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  • Include diced mandarins in salsas.
  • Use mandarin juice and zest to flavor drinks, dressings, and baked goods.

Health Benefits of Mandarins

Mandarins provide many health benefits. Here are some of the main reasons to include them in your diet:

  • Vitamin C: One mandarin supplies over a third of the recommended daily vitamin C, which supports immunity and skin health.
  • Fiber: Mandarins contain fiber that promotes good digestion and helps lower cholesterol.
  • Potassium: An electrolyte involved in heart function and controlling blood pressure.
  • Antioxidants: Compounds in mandarins help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Low glycemic index: Mandarins have a low effect on blood sugar levels.

Research shows that people who eat citrus fruits like mandarins tend to have lower risks of conditions like heart disease, kidney stones, digestive issues, and certain cancers.

Risks and Downsides

Mandarins are very healthy, but there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Pesticide residues: Choose organic when possible and wash well.
  • Dental erosion: Citric acid can damage tooth enamel if consumed excessively.
  • Citrus allergy: Some people are allergic to citrus fruits.
  • Drug interactions: Compounds in mandarins may interact with certain medications.

As long as you eat them in moderation as part of a healthy diet, mandarins are a nutritious food for most people.

Recipes and Serving Ideas

Mandarins are versatile fruits that work well in both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some recipe ideas:


  • Fruit salad with mandarins, berries, and yogurt.
  • Overnight oats with mandarins and almonds.
  • Mandarin pancakes or muffins.


  • Mandarin chicken salad.
  • Citrus shrimp salad with mandarin sections.
  • Mandarin slices in a spinach salad.


  • Glazed mandarin salmon.
  • Stir fry with mandarins and chicken or tofu.
  • Mandarins in a green salad or slaw.


  • Mandarins on their own.
  • Trail mix with mandarins, nuts, and seeds.
  • Smoothies with mandarin juice and Greek yogurt.


  • Ambrosia salad with mandarins, coconut, and marshmallows.
  • Broiled grapefruit with mandarin segments.
  • Mandarin sorbet or pudding.

The sweet, bright taste of mandarins works well in both sweet and savory preparations. Let your creativity guide you when using them in recipes.

Storing Mandarins

Properly storing mandarins will help them last longer and retain nutrients and flavor:

  • Keep at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  • Refrigerate in a plastic bag for 2-3 weeks.
  • Freeze peeled sections in an airtight container for 4-6 months.
  • Store juice in the refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for 4-6 months.
  • Place cut fruit in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Avoid leaving mandarins at room temperature for more than a few days. The key is storing them in a cool place to slow ripening and prevent mold growth.

Dried Mandarins

In addition to fresh mandarins, you can purchase dried mandarin oranges. These are often simply called dried tangerines.

To make dried mandarins, fresh mandarins are peeled and dried either naturally or through a machine drying process. The dehydration concentrates flavors and gives the mandarins a chewy, candy-like texture.

Dried mandarins contain more calories and sugar compared to fresh. A 1-ounce serving of dried mandarins contains around 130 calories and 33 grams of sugar.

While higher in calories than fresh fruit, dried mandarins can still be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. They provide fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and other beneficial plant compounds.

Uses for Dried Mandarins

Here are some popular ways to enjoy dried mandarin oranges:

  • Eat them as a snack on their own or mixed with nuts and seeds.
  • Add to trail mixes, granola, cereal or oatmeal.
  • Chop and use in cookies, energy bars, and baked goods.
  • Add to yogurt, cottage cheese, or desserts.
  • Make DIY mandarin orange tea.

Mandarin Juice

Another way to enjoy mandarins is in juice form. Freshly squeezed mandarin juice contains similar nutrition to the whole fruit.

A 3.5 ounce (100 ml) portion of mandarin juice provides around 50 calories. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 70% of the RDI.

You can make homemade mandarin juice by squeezing the juice from peeled mandarins. A citrus juicer makes it easy to extract maximum juice.

For convenience, you can also find commercial mandarin juice. Choose 100% juice versions without added sugars.

Mandarin juice makes a great base for smoothies, dressings, marinades, and cocktails. The juice also works well on its own served chilled or over ice.

Mandarin Orange vs. Tangerine

Mandarins and tangerines are types of citrus fruits that belong to the same genus. However, there are some differences between them.

Tangerines are a specific variety of mandarin oranges. There are over 200 different cultivars of mandarins, with tangerines being one of them.

While all tangerines are mandarins, not all mandarins are tangerines. Other common mandarin varieties include clementines, satsumas, and tangors.

In general, tangerines tend to be larger and sweeter than other mandarin varieties. However, mandarins and tangerines are very closely related and share similar properties and nutrition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are mandarins healthy?

Yes, mandarins are very healthy. They are low in calories, contain no fat, and provide fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and beneficial plant compounds. Eating mandarins is linked to improved heart health, digestion, immunity, and more.

Are mandarins good for weight loss?

Mandarins can be an excellent food for weight loss diets. They are low in calories and high in fiber and water, which helps increase fullness. Eating mandarins as a snack can curb appetite and sugar cravings.

Can you eat mandarin peels?

Mandarin peels are not toxic, but they are not normally eaten. The outer peel is tough and bitter. However, the inner peel has fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial oils, so you can consume small amounts if it is thoroughly washed.

Are mandarins acidic?

Yes, mandarins have a moderately acidic pH around 2.5-3.5. This acidity comes from the citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) content. The acidity gives mandarins their tangy, tart flavor.


A small mandarin orange contains around 40-50 calories, with the exact amount depending on its size. Mandarins are fairly low in calories and provide important nutrients like vitamin C.

Enjoy mandarins as a snack, in salads, stir fries, yogurt, oatmeal, and more. Select fresh, in-season mandarins and store them properly to get the most benefits and flavor.

In moderation, mandarins can be part of a healthy and balanced diet due to their great nutrition profile.

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