Sweet Mandarin Orange Dessert Sauce Recipe

Ice cream with orange sauce
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  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 3 Cups (24 servings)

This sweet mandarin orange sauce recipe renders a beautiful and impressive dessert sauce, but it couldn't be easier. Mandarin oranges are sweeter and less tangy than their standard orange counterparts, which lends itself beautifully to desserts and other sweet treats. If you like things a bit more tangy, be sure to use the optional orange zest, which add a little extra citrusy bitterness and a beautifully fresh orange flavor.

Canned mandarin oranges and their canning liquid are combined with vanilla, orange zest, and sugar to make a versatile sweet and syrupy sauce. You can serve this mandarin orange sauce on any number of sweet treats and desserts from ice cream and pound cake to angel food cake and cheesecake. You can also bring it to breakfast or brunch by serving it in place of maple syrup on pancakes, waffles, crepes, or French toast.

What You'll Need

  • 1 can/11-ounces mandarin oranges (reserve juice)
  • 1 can/6-ounces orange juice concentrate (frozen)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

How to Make It

  1. Drain mandarin oranges and reserve the liquid. Measure ⅓ cup of the drained liquid and set aside. If you do not have enough liquid, add water to make ⅓ cup.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, bring the orange juice concentrate, sugar, ⅓ cup drained mandarin orange liquid, vanilla extract, grated orange rind, and corn syrup to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove sauce from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
  1. Once cooled, fold in drained mandarin oranges and refrigerate before use.

Serve this mandarin orange sauce cold or at room temperature over any number of sweet treats from over ice cream and pound cake to pancakes and waffles.

*Cook's Note: Mandarin oranges are available canned in a number of liquids from heavy syrup to juice. We recommend finding a canned product that does not contain any added sugars in the form of "heavy" or "light" syrup. But if you must use a syrup-based product, you may wish to decrease the granulated white sugar in this recipe.

About Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin oranges are actually a category of loose-skinned orange that includes the clementine, dancy, satsuma, and tangerine. When most home cooks think of mandarin oranges, they picture the jarred or canned small, peeled orange pieces that are most typically satsumas. Mandarin orange pieces can be purchased jarred or canned in a heavy syrup, light syrup, or juice. Though mandarins have become a favorite fruit snack and home cooking ingredient, they were historically also used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine).

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 36
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Carbohydrates 9 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 0 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)