Make this Easy and Delicious Tangerine Syrup!

This delicious and easy to make tangerine syrup is great to have on hand for adding instant flavor to recipes and drinks. Keep it refrigerated, or for longer storage, can it using a water bath process. 

If you’ve got plenty of tangerines, make up a batch of this marmalade, too!

orange tangerine syrup in flip top bottles and a small canning jar

This easy simple syrup calls for just two ingredients — three, if you count the water required. It’s a perfect way to stretch the flavor of citrus season. 

Making Tangerine Syrup

You have two options when making this syrup. You can simply store it in the refrigerator and use it as you need it; it will last a couple months in the fridge. Or you can process it using the water bath canning method. This allows you to store the tangerine syrup at room temperature in your pantry. It will be shelf stable for up to a year. You’ll find full instructions for both in the recipe card below. 

tangerine juice in a half-gallon glass jar, with cut tangerines behind

Ingredients

Tangerine juice The number of tangerines required to make 6 cups of juice will vary a bit based on the juiciness of the fruit you use. You’ll need about 5-7 pounds of fresh tangerines. 

Sugar — Use your favorite brand of granulated cane sugar. I prefer organic. 


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Start by heating the sugar with water until it boils, then add the tangerine juice to the hot sugar mixture. Return the liquid to a boil and boil for one minute. 

The mixture will foam a bit on the surface; use a spoon to skim that off.

collage of cooking process, showing sugar mixture in pan.

If you’ll store this simple syrup in the refrigerator, allow it to cool and transfer to an airtight container. 

If you’d like to make a shelf stable product, transfer the hot syrup immediately to canning jars and follow the process outlined below.

Tangerines sliced in half on a cutting board

Canning tangerine syrup

You’ll need special canning jars, lids, and rings (read more about canning equipment here) to make this syrup shelf-stable, but the process isn’t difficult.

Once the jars are filled, you’ll process them in a water bath. What this means is you’ll put the filled and sealed jars of simple syrup into boiling water and heat them for ten minutes. This assures that the jars will seal well.

Hot tip: Boil some extra water in a saucepan or electric kettle as you’re working. If you need to top off the water in the canner, you won’t cool down the water too much.

Remove the jars to a towel-covered countertop and allow to cool fully. As they cool, you’ll hear the little “tink” sound of the jars sealing. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge and use those first. (This is unusual, but it does happen once in awhile.)

Safety First!

Canning is an excellent way to preserve food for the pantry, but there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind. 

  • Know the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning. Low acid items must be pressure canned for safety. 
  • Altering ingredients may change the recipe’s pH, posing a safety issue. I highly recommend investing in pH paper to test your products for acidity level when canning. Note: The Hawaii Master Food Preservers suggest a pH of 4.2 or lower in the tropics. In other regions, the recommended pH is 4.6 or lower.
  • Use the proper jars and lids. Never reuse lids, with the exception of the Tattler lids that are intended for such a purpose.
  • For more on canning equipment, please go here
  • The recipes on this site have been made following safe canning procedures by a certified Master Food Preserver.

Remove the ring from each sealed jar, rinse to remove any residue, and store (without the ring) in the pantry.

How to use homemade tangerine syrup:

  • Add it to sparkling water for a citrus-y soda
  • Make a marinade
  • Sweeten granola
  • Stir some into salad dressing (this would be especially good in an Asian sesame dressing)
  • Mix into sugar cookie dough in place of vanilla

Related: Homemade Triple Sec: Indulging in Citrus Season

swing top bottles with tangerine syrup.

★ Did you love this recipe? Be sure to give it a star rating below! ★

orange tangerine syrup in flip top bottles and a small canning jar

Tangerine Syrup

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This tangerine syrup recipe calls for fresh tangerines. Make up a batch when citrus is in season and you can enjoy it for months!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 cups tangerine juice

Instructions

How to make simple syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy sauce pan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. 
  2. Raise heat to medium and bring syrup to a boil. 
  3. Once the liquid boils, reduce heat and maintain the liquid at a low boil for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
  4. Add the tangerine juice and return to a boil.
  5. The mixture will foam a bit on the surface; use a spoon to skim that off.
  6. Remove pot from heat. Cool syrup and ladle into airtight containers.
  7. Store in the refrigerator for up to three months, or process as follows.

CANNING TANGERINE SYRUP

PREP FOR CANNING

  1. Fill a canning pot with water, set the lid in place, and heat on high heat until boiling. It can take awhile for the water to come to a boil, so get it started before you begin making the jam.
  2. Gather the jars you'll use, making sure each is clean and free of nicks in the rim, which could impede sealing.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer and turn off the heat. Drop the rings and lids into the water and leave them there until you're ready to screw them onto the filled jars.

CANNING THE SYRUP

  1. Ladle hot syrup into quarter-pint, half-pint, or pint sized canning jars, leaving 1/4" head space. A canning funnel makes this easy.
  2. Wipe jar rims to remove any syrup that may have spilled. A clean rim is essential to a good seal.
  3. Set jar lids in place. Screw bands on finger tight.
  4. Use a jar lifter to gently submerge jars into hot water in the canning pot. Water should cover the top of the jars by two inches. The water will cool somewhat in reaction to the addition of the jars. Return the water to a boil and then set the timer.
  5. Process for 10 minutes 0-1,000 feet altitude; 15 minutes 1,001'-6,000' altitude; 20 minutes over 6,000'.
  6. Remove jars from water using the jar lifter and transfer to a solid, towel-covered surface. Allow to cool for 24 hours.
  7. Check seals. Lids should be solid and pulled down tight. (if they flex and pop, the jar didn’t seal; put unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use those first).
  8. Remove rings and wash outsides of jars. Store in a cool, dry place.

Notes

The number of tangerines required to make 6 cups of juice will vary a bit based on the juiciness of the fruit you use. You'll need about 5-7 pounds of fresh tangerines. 

This recipe tested at 4.0 pH, making it safe for water bath canning.

The syrup may separate in storage; simply shake it before pouring it.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 30 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 71Unsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 18gSugar: 18g

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Originally published December 2011; this post has been updated.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She’s a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.

16 comments… add one
  • Alex Ribeiro Nov 20, 2020 @ 4:06

    Too many sugar in this recipe, I suggest you to use 1:1 proportion to sugar:juice and the zest from 2 fruits to bright up the fruit scent and flavour, just strain it in the end… Cheers!

    • Bryan Starliper Jan 21, 2022 @ 9:10

      the recipe is 6 c sugar and 3 water & 6 c juice that’s less sugar than 1:1
      but yes your right the peels with their oils brighten & heighten.

      • AttainableSustainable Jan 25, 2022 @ 8:04

        In the recipe notes I mention how to make it less sweet, you could try that! 🙂

  • Trish Feb 17, 2014 @ 14:19

    I have 60 year old citrus trees that ripen just when the season is completely over and anything remotely connected to citrus is coming out of everyone’s ears.   Still, I do a lot of preserving: Moroccan spiced lemons in olive oil, qumquat chutney which is great with chicken and lamb, limoncello, lemon curd, lots of marmalades with whiskey or rum and ginger and a brilliant dessert made of eggs, lemons, sugar and gelatine (that’s not a preserve.  How did it get in here?) – even if I don’t use it all they’re great for gifts.   I’ve been meaning to buy a soda maker for a while.  Your idea of clementine syrup is great.   I’ll go for more fruit vs. sugar and add a lemon for some zing.   If you’re interested in Middle Eastern citrus recipies, let me know!  
    I love your blog.  Thank you so much.

  • Brenda Feb 17, 2014 @ 2:19

    “Little House Living” has a great recipe for canning all those surplus oranges!

  • christy Feb 16, 2014 @ 20:21

    try using tangerine peel instead of the “go-to” orange peel in recipes..it outshines orange peel by a mile. i made some waffles with chopped tangerine peel, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts and they were out of this world….

  • Andi Dec 3, 2013 @ 11:09

    Two of our citrus trees are already dripping with fruit. We make a lot of orange juice- we even bought an electric citrus juicer- because it uses up a LOT of fruit in a short amount of time. I’ll have to try some of this syrup, too!

  • sarah henry Dec 21, 2011 @ 14:55

    Tangerine-grapefruit does sound good, Casey. Just rediscovering the joys of ruby red grapefruits at this time of year

  • merr Dec 21, 2011 @ 6:04

    That looks like a lovely gift, Kris. I am picturing it with a pretty bow!

  • Jane Boursaw Dec 19, 2011 @ 7:42

    Very cool! Growing up and living in northern Michigan, citrus preserves are not my usual m.o. But I could probably come up with an apple or cherry preserve recipe or two.

  • Alexandra Dec 17, 2011 @ 5:10

    Thinking of all the crates of tangerines I’d need to buy to make this. How fortunate to be able to use the neighbor’s surplus! I would make this in a minute if I could. Love tangerine flavor. We also celebrate the holiday with the joy of tangerines.

  • MyKidsEatSquid Dec 17, 2011 @ 4:18

    This sounds like a simple syrup recipe, right? There are so many possibilities with this. What about watermelon–do you think that would work? Or grapefruit. I’m with you–I like things on the tart/sour side.

  • Living Large Dec 16, 2011 @ 14:23

    This looks absolutely wonderful. I wish we had citrus here.

  • I made mint jelly one and we didn’t eat it either. We don’t eat lamb and I just couldn’t find anything to put it on. I tried it once as the center in chocolate thumbprint cookies, but found it too sweet and not minty enough. I’ve never canned citrus. We used to live in FL and had citrus trees. My favorite way to keep them was to just straight-up juice them and freeze the juice in portion sized bags.

  • Sue Cellini Dec 12, 2011 @ 16:24

    This really sounds wonderful! We are craving citrus out here this time of year!

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