Tangerine Sorbet

Tangerine sorbet recipe

There are a lot of desserts in my repertoire, but the one that I always have room for – and crave – is Tangerine Sorbet. Come winter, when the markets are loaded up with citrus, Parisians rifle through the piles on the market stands and buy ’em by the kilo. (About 2 pounds.) I do too, never failing to come home with a sack bulging with the orange beauties. In fact, I’ve been toting my wheeled shopping cart along, rather than a shopping basket, during the last few weeks to bring as many of them home as possible.

Minneola tangelos

Unlike apples and pears, tangerines and other citrus aren’t usually sold by their varieties in France, like they are back in California. They’re sold by provenance: clementines from Corsica, oranges from Malta, lemons from Menton or Sicily, and pink grapefruits via Florida. So you don’t see Pixie, Fairchild, Dancy or Satsuma tangerines labeled as such.

Tangerine sorbet recipe

Minneola tangelos aren’t all that common to come across. So when I saw them, which were labeled as such, I filled a bag with them. The vendor proudly told me they were a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit, to which I replied, “Yes, I know…and I love them!”

Then I added “Come to papa…” which he didn’t quite understand, and filled a second bag full of them.

Tangerine sorbet recipe

I don’t just love them because of their abundant juices or their protruding nipples. But also because the juice of Minneola Tangelos is sweet yet tangy, and that contrast makes an exceptionally refreshing sorbet. Yet any tangerine (or mandarin) will do for this vibrant sorbet.

Tangerine sorbet recipe

I’m still patiently waiting for composting to come to Paris and dislike throwing away bagfuls of food scraps. Faced with a cutting board-full of tangerine halves, I candied the leftover peels (using the recipe in Ready for Dessert), which was nice to serve alongside the sorbet.

Tangerine sorbet recipe

I’ve got this on board to serve for dessert tonight along with a big container of candied tangerine peel, which I’ve been snacking on even since it came out of the candying syrup. Due to my unrestrained snacking tendencies, I’ve made a serious dent in my supply, but reserved enough to share with guests this evening. As for the sorbet, I made two containers of it, although I’m heading back to the market this morning to restock my supply of tangerines.

Tangerine sorbet recipe

Tangerine Sorbet
Print Recipe
About 1 quart (1L)
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop You can use any kind of tangerine that’s available for this sorbet. Minneola tangelos make excellent sorbet as they are full of luscious juice, and that juice has a tangy edge, which I like. For best yield, juice fruits that are at room temperature and roll them on the counter firmly with your hand to break open the juice sacs inside before you slice them in half. I don’t strain out the pulp but if there are any seeds, you can either remove them by hand, or strain them out. I’m often asked about the difference between sorbet and sherbet. Sorbet has no dairy in it whereas sherbet often has milk, egg whites, or even buttermilk added. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I’ve included a link after the recipe to a post about making ice cream and sorbet without a machine. Because citrus is mostly water, the sorbet will freeze quite hard after being stored in the freezer. I added a pour of Cointreau to the sorbet mix and a bit of corn syrup (both are optional), but you can follow some of my Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer, or remove it from the freeze five minutes or so before serving, so it’s at the right temperature for scooping and serving.
4 cups (950ml) freshly squeezed tangerine juice (about 10 to 14 citrus fruits, depending on size),
1 cup (200g) or 3/4 cup sugar (150g) and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup sugar,
zest of one or two tangerines
optional: 2 teaspoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1. Mix 1 cup (250ml) of the juice with the sugar, or sugar and corn syrup, and heat – stirring occasionally – until the sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and pour the mixture back into the tangerine juice. Add the zest and the orange liqueur (if using). Chill the mixture thoroughly, at least 8 hours, or overnight.
3. Freeze the tangerine sorbet mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Related Posts and Recipes

Blood Orange Sorbet

Buying an Ice Cream Machine

How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine

What’s the Difference Between Tangerines, Clementines, and Mandarins? (Fooducate)

Mandarines and their hybrids (University of California)

How long does ice cream last?

Ice cream making FAQs

Tips for Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer

Candied Citron

Grapefruit Campari Sorbet 

Chocolate Sherbet

Tangerine sorbet recipe

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  • February 12, 2016 7:13am

    I bought a 3 lb bag of tangerines 1.5 weeks ago, and they’re so good that they’re almost gone (not even sure how many I’ve been having per day). will have to try this sorbet for my next batch of them (I believe in diversifying my consumption habits, especially when there’s sorbet involved)!

  • February 12, 2016 7:20am

    Ooh there’s a large domestic composter called Clo-ey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MdYSNU-yGg
    you never know – you might be able to get one shipped to you!

  • Nadia@maisontravers
    February 12, 2016 11:06am

    Thanks for including the link for people, like me, who do not have an ice cream maker. Love your idea of making the candied peel, my favorite. I could snack on that all day, dipped in dark chocolate is even better.

  • February 12, 2016 12:38pm

    I love sorbet, mango is one of my favourite flavours. I’ll have to try tangerines though, all of the tips will come in very handy. When it comes to eating sorbet, I’m very skilled :-) but I’m a novice at making this.

  • February 12, 2016 1:24pm

    I find that come winter, I’m not in much of a sorbet mood myself…. But if I were, the promise of usable scraps (those candied peels!) and your raving endorsement of the flavour would definitely win me over.

  • February 12, 2016 2:18pm

    This recipe looks like a perfect way to finish your dinner. Light, sweet and refreshing :) Your idea with the candied peel is a very very good one as well. Yum! And makes an amazing decoration as well:) I just like to drizzle it on top of a chocolate orange cake. I will be trying this but without an ice cream maker.
    Thank you for the recipe! :)


  • Jeannette.
    February 12, 2016 4:02pm

    I always wonder what temperature other people’s kitchens are when I see in ice-cream recipes to take it out of the freezer 5mins before you need it for it to come to room temp. Mine usually takes about 20mins. at least before I can get the scoop in it!

  • February 12, 2016 5:25pm

    This looks positively divine, and as luck would have it I just bought Minneolas! (I love them too.) Thanks for the recipe.

  • February 12, 2016 5:31pm

    Gorgeous looking sorbet; love winter citrus. I’m gorging on sweet California oranges this week…saving some for gelato.

  • SanFran
    February 12, 2016 6:27pm

    Looks fab. Now, how do you make the candied peel? Thank you!

    • February 12, 2016 6:34pm
      David Lebovitz

      The rinds are cooked in water until tender, then the white pith is removed with a paring knife, then the peel is sliced into strips. The strips are cooked in a sugar syrup until about 225ºF, drained and tossed in sugar. (The exact recipe and proportions are in my book Ready for Dessert, but that’s the general method if you want to try them yourself.)

      • Mia
        February 12, 2016 11:07pm

        Or you can purchase them from Market Hall Foods out of Oakland. I have always been very satisfied with their products.

  • Colleen
    February 12, 2016 6:43pm

    I do not have an ice cream maker (as it would be dangerous), so when I make sorbet, I pour it into a pan so it is maybe 2 inches (5 cm) thick, cut it into cubes, and then pulse the cubes in batches. I do the same with the fresh peach ice cream in Alice Mederich’s Sinfully Easy Desserts book. It can be served out of the food processor or be put back in the freezer to firm up if that is your preference.

    I am making cassoulet from My Paris Kitchen for dinner tomorrow night. I think that this might be the perfect dessert.

  • February 12, 2016 7:05pm

    What a brilliant idea to candy the peels and serve them with the sorbet. Citrus in any form is most welcome during these cold, dark days of February, and tangerine sorbet would be doubly welcomed.

  • Isabella
    February 12, 2016 7:54pm

    I never thought I liked tangelos — too sour and not flavorful enough — and then I finally had some that were properly tree ripened and they were AMAZING. I don’t know why they’re never available fully ripe (I’m in California), because the difference is profound!

  • February 13, 2016 1:54am

    I’m impressed you can keep up with the different names of citrus in French, let alone how they’re marketed/labeled differently in Parisian markets. I’m always googling to check if a satsuma is a mandarin, etc. This sorbet looks wonderful! Nothing is better than a really refreshing sorbet.

  • Alex
    February 13, 2016 5:34am

    Can you recommend a cookie (or similar) to go with?

    • February 13, 2016 2:31pm
      David Lebovitz

      These Coconut Macaroons (dipped in chocolate, or not) are terrific with this sorbet!

      • Alex
        February 19, 2016 5:22am

        Lovely match. Made for a lovely finish to a progressive dinner. Merci beaucoup.

  • Gavrielle
    February 13, 2016 1:23pm

    Tangelos are a very common winter fruit here in New Zealand, so I will look forward to making this in August. I wish they were in season right now, although if they were I might be tempted to flollop around in a bath of sorbet to combat the heat, and that would be a waste.

    • Jason G
      February 23, 2016 11:31pm

      We (NZ) should be getting the Minneola Tangelos from the USA about now…. My local Countdown has some at the moment…. New World has some other sort of Tangelo (NZ grown) but I find the Minneola from the USA to be far superior in taste. The Minneola really do make a fantastic sorbet, it’s one of my absolute favourites!

  • berit
    February 13, 2016 7:25pm

    Such a shame that the mandarines here are already dry inside :(

  • February 14, 2016 2:48am

    Yes, please!

  • Laura by the Bay
    February 15, 2016 12:55am

    David- thank you for this post. I found the Minneola tangerines at my local market here in the Marina District of SF. Their taste and juiciness are terrific. This evening I am bringing the sorbet with financiers to a dinner party. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Laura
    February 15, 2016 3:39am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Found these tangerines at our organic market in Baltimore and made the sorbet for our Valentine’s dinner. It was the perfect pairing with the “steak frites au beurre de moutarde” from My Paris Kitchen. Best Valentine’s dinner ever!! Merci

  • Elle
    February 15, 2016 8:17pm

    Do you know how freezing then putting in food processor and refreezing compares to freezing in an ice cream maker?

  • Penny
    February 16, 2016 3:41pm

    I made this last night for a Grammy’s Party. It was absolutely delicious. I used my tree ripened tangerines, 1/2 c sugar 2 t of grand marnier. I did not heat it and my sugar dissolved just fine. Very fresh flavor. Delicious.

  • Logan Geeslin
    February 17, 2016 4:29am

    Is this the same recipe that is with your
    delicious orange cake a la Ottolenghi, where you cook the orange slices separately? Logan

    • February 17, 2016 8:27am
      David Lebovitz

      Those are soft-candied whole slices of oranges, whereas the candied peels are just the peels. Those candied oranges would be good with this sorbet though, too!

  • Alison
    February 17, 2016 9:50pm

    This was the first sorbet my husband made after I gave him an ice cream maker (ICE 21) and your book for his Xmas birthday several years ago. It was heavenly and remains my favorite to this day. One word of warning, though: hubs made some a couple of weeks ago with a bag of minneolas that I picked up. Neither of us tasted the fruit before he juiced it for the sorbet and we should have. The end result was strangely woody tasting. Lessons learned!

  • Tara
    February 19, 2016 12:55am

    This was delicious. First time using my new ice cream maker. Didn’t buy organic fruit, so I was scared to make the peel. I’ve apparently been poisoning my closest family and friends according to “the Internet”.

  • February 21, 2016 4:10pm

    This would’ve been perfect for the Lunar New Year that just passed! What a nice twist to an oriental fruit.

  • Alex
    February 22, 2016 5:44am

    I made some of this a while ago, using the perfect scoop recipe, after skinning a bunch of mandarins for mandarin-cello.
    It was the best ice cream I’ve ever had (probably helped that the mandarins were amazing too).

  • February 25, 2016 5:49pm

    David, this is going straight to the top of my must-make list!

  • February 26, 2016 3:36am

    I love this simple desert idea. I want to try putting the sorbet back in the orange peal then serve it like that. Fancy fancy!!!
    Great recipe!!


  • Leora
    February 29, 2016 1:03pm

    thank you for the tangerine sorbet recipe. Just got an ice cream machine so for my first try I made it and it was delicious.