Skip to Content

How To Tell If Mandarin Oranges Are Bad – 3 Signs

Mandarin oranges are a small fruit that’s known for its sweet flavor. In addition to being delicious, the fruit is a fantastic source of vitamin C and fiber.

Of course, you won’t be able to enjoy those health benefits if you bite into a fruit that’s gone off. Like all produce, mandarin oranges should be eaten before they spoil.

How To Tell If Mandarin Oranges Are Bad?

When a mandarin orange starts to spoil, it softens, eventually becoming mushy. White or green mold may appear on the rind of the orange. Fresh mandarin oranges smell like citrus, but a rotten orange is likely to have a sour, unpleasant odor.

How To Tell If Mandarin Oranges Are Bad?
How To Tell If Mandarin Oranges Are Bad?

Once mandarins go soft, it’s best to throw them away immediately. You should also discard your fruit at the first sign of mold.

If you’re not sure if a mandarin orange has spoiled, try giving it a squeeze. Get rid of any oranges that are mushy or have started to dry out.

How Long Do Mandarin Oranges Last?

The amount of time that mandarin oranges last will vary based on how your oranges are stored. Even though mandarin oranges have thin skin, they can keep for quite a while under the right conditions.

Mandarin oranges have thin skin but can keep for a while when stored properly.
Mandarin oranges have thin skin but can keep for a while when stored properly.

Room Temperature

You can store your mandarin oranges at room temperature, but it will significantly cut into their lifespan. Under these conditions, you can expect your mandarins to last somewhere between four days and a week.


The refrigerator is the most common place to store mandarin oranges. When stored in the fridge, mandarins are likely to last somewhere between two and three weeks.

Mandarin oranges are likely to keep for longer if you store them in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Crisper drawers have a different humidity level from the rest of the fridge and are specifically designed to extend the lifespan of produce.

The best place to store mandarin oranges is in the refrigerator.
The best place to store mandarin oranges is in the refrigerator.


If you’re not sure that you’ll be able to eat mandarin oranges before they go bad, try storing them in the freezer. Frozen, mandarin oranges can last for months.

The easiest way to store mandarins in the fridge is to place the oranges in a freezer bag. Make sure you wash the fruit with tap water before tossing it in the freezer.

Freezing mandarin oranges will keep them fresh, but the fruit may take on a mushy texture when it’s defrosted. Because of this, it’s best not to thaw your fruit and use it in recipes or smoothies instead.

Peeled Oranges

Once a mandarin orange has been peeled, it shouldn’t be kept at room temperature for long. Without its peel, mandarins won’t have protection against bacteria.

Instead, mandarin orange slices should be kept in an airtight storage container. The slices will usually keep for about three to four days.

You can also keep mandarin orange slices in the freezer. Place the slices on a baking sheet and store the sheet in the freezer until the slices freeze.

After the slices have frozen, they can be transferred to a freezer-safe bag. The frozen fruit can last for months!

Peeled oranges should be consumed right away or stored in the freezer as they do not last very long without their protective peel.
Peeled oranges should be consumed right away or stored in the freezer as they do not last very long without their protective peel.

What Happens If You Eat a Bad Mandarin Orange?

If you bite into a mandarin that’s gone bad, you’ll usually notice right away. When mandarins spoil, they lose their sweetness and take on a sour flavor.

With that said, if you do eat a rotten mandarin orange, it could make you sick. Spoiled and improperly handled fruits are a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria that can cause symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.

In some cases, a mandarin orange may develop mold on its peel before the fruit has started to spoil. Eating a mandarin with a slightly moldy peel is unlikely to make you sick, but that doesn’t mean you should chow down on fruit that’s just started to form mold.

Even though the mold spores are on the rind of the orange, the rest of the fruit may be contaminated as well. Some types of mold that are found on fruit can make you very ill.

If you have eaten a spoiled mandarin orange, watch out for adverse health symptoms. Contact a healthcare provider if you start vomiting or develop a fever.

How Can You Keep Mandarin Oranges Fresh for Longer?

While it’s important to avoid spoiled fruit for safety reasons, it can be frustrating to have to toss out fruit that you wanted to eat. If your produce goes bad before you can eat it, there are a few steps you can take to keep it fresh.

1. Don’t Wash Fruit Before It’s Stored

Unless you’re freezing mandarin oranges, your fruit shouldn’t be washed before it’s stored. Instead, you should store your produce as-is and wash it when you’re ready to eat it.

If you prefer to wash your produce, or if you’ve bought mandarin oranges that are very dirty, they should be dried thoroughly before it’s stored. When you store mandarin oranges that are still wet, your fruit is more likely to develop mold.

Don't wash oranges until you are ready to consume them. Washing them might promote the development of fruit mold.
Don’t wash oranges until you are ready to consume them. Washing them might promote the development of fruit mold.

2. Keep Mandarin Oranges In Their Original Packaging

Mandarin oranges are frequently sold in mesh bags. These bags are designed to release moisture, which can keep your fruit fresh.

If possible, you should store the mandarins in the packaging. Even after you’ve opened the packaging to remove fruit, it will provide the produce with extra protection.

Alternatively, you can keep mandarins in a storage container that’s designed for fruit. You should avoid storing unpeeled mandarins in containers that are completely airtight.

3. Don’t Store Mandarins at Room Temperature

It’s fine to keep mandarins at room temperature if you plan on eating them in the next two days, but if you want them to last longer than that, they should be stored at a cooler temperature. Bacteria develop quickly at room temperature, which can cause mandarins to rot.

Ideally, you should store mandarin oranges in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Any mandarin oranges that are stored at room temperature should be kept in a cool, dry location.

4. Freeze Mandarin Oranges You Won’t Have Time to Eat

Have you ever bought produce because it was on sale, only to realize that you won’t have a chance to eat it for a few weeks? If you know you won’t be able to eat mandarin oranges right away, you can store them in the freezer to keep them from spoiling.

While freezing mandarins changes the texture of the fruit, it still gives you a chance to enjoy your oranges before they spoil. Frozen oranges are delicious in smoothies, mousses, and baked goods.

Frequently Asked Questions to How to Tell If Mandarin Oranges Are Bad

What’s the Difference Between Oranges and Mandarin Oranges?

Both oranges and mandarins are citrus fruits, but oranges are larger and have a thicker skin. Mandarins have a very thin skin, which makes them easy to peel.

Are Tangerines Mandarin Oranges?

Yes, tangerines are a type of mandarin orange. Other mandarin oranges include tangelos and satsumas.

Conclusion On How To Tell if Mandarin Oranges Are Bad

You’ll be able to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of mandarin oranges if you eat them while they’re still fresh. Keep a close eye on your mandarins and make sure you don’t eat fruit that has gone bad.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.