What the Heck Is a Satsuma?

When you hear "satsuma" is your automatic response to say "gesundheit"? Learn all about this strangely-named, but delicious, fruit!

Ever try a satsuma? Chances are, you have, but you may not have realized it.

Satsumas, which take their name from the region in Japan where they were traditionally grown, are small, sweet, seedless citrus fruits. They are members of the mandarin orange family, along with clementines, tangerines, and other popular varieties. In fact, they can be hard to distinguish from the others, aside from the fact that, unlike tangerines, satsumas are always seedless.

The fruit features a thin, leathery skin that is relatively easy to peel, compared to other citrus fruits. This makes them a popular on-the-go snack, because they are portable and produce less mess than a traditional orange.

Satsumas are also the type of fruit most commonly used to make canned mandarin orange slices. They are also often found in salads, usually paired with blue cheese or other bold flavors.

Though small in size, satsumas are big in nutritional value. An average satsuma contains only 50 calories, but provides more than 100% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C. It is also high in calcium, fiber, thiamine, and folate.

Here are some recipes to help you enjoy these sweet, tangy fruits!

Raw Organic Satsuma Oranges.

Grilled Shrimp & Satsuma Salad

4 from 1 vote
Course Salad
Cuisine American


  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 fresh satsumas, peeled and separated into segments
  • 3 fresh satsumas, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1/2 sweet yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups arugula or spring mix
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and grilled or broiled
  • fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh satsuma juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • In large bowl, whisk together satsuma juice, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, black pepper, olive oil, and cilantro.
  • Gently toss beans, satsumas, peppers, and onion into the dressing.
  • Place a cup of greens on each of four dinner plates and spoon bean mixture over top of the greens.
  • Top each plate with grilled shrimp, garnish with cilantro, and serve.
Keyword grilled shrimp & satsuma salad dressing
Healthy and simple food, light summer lunch, fragrant salad with couscous and oranges.

Middle Eastern Couscous with Satsumas

4 from 1 vote
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle East


  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 satsumas
  • 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 12 large green olives pitted and quartered
  • 6 dates, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped


  • Bring broth to boil in small saucepan.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together couscous, salt, and olive oil.
  • Add boiling broth to couscous mixture.
  • Stir and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • Peel and section satsumas, and cut sections into quarters.
  • Pour chickpeas into a medium saucepan, liquid and all, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 3 minutes.
  • Drain chickpeas.
  • Add chickpeas, olives, dates, mint, and satsumas to couscous.
  • Stir gently, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Keyword couscous recipes, satsuma with couscous
Closeup of orange satsuma mandarins with green leaves.

Satsuma Sticky Bread

4 from 1 vote
Course Side Dish


Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp satsuma zest
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp self-rising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp satsuma juice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a standard loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place all the bread ingredients in a food processor and blend about 2 minutes, until the ingredients are smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the bread is baking, whisk together the satsuma juice and confectioner’s sugar until smooth.
  • When the loaf is done, run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan.
  • Pierce the top of the loaf several times with a skewer and slowly drizzle the glaze over the loaf.
  • Once the glaze is absorbed, remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a cooling rack.
Keyword satsuma bread, satsuma sticky bread, sticky bread
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Farmers' Almanac - Itch
Jaime McLeod

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

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Fran McFall

4 stars
N the Middle Eastern recipe, there are no tomatoes in the ingredient list but there are clearly tomatoes in the picture !
I have noticed this omission in other recipes from this page.
What’s up with this ?

Buck Buchanan

Every satsuma that I’ve eaten has had a shape that is more like a tomato than a navel orange as depicted in the photo. Is the photo actually two satsumas and if so, what is the variety?

Jaime McLeod

Hi Buck,
This photo is of two satsumas according to the photographer, who labeled it as such. I couldn’t say what the variety is. We purchase all of our images from a stock photography service.

Lisa Turner

I have grown up with satsumas all my life in Louisiana and was so glad to find them in Florida when I moved here. The recipes are great. Thank you

Deborah Tukua

Growing up in north Florida, we picked juicy Satsuma tangerines from our yard trees. Informative article, can’t wait to try these recipes Jaime, sounds delicious!
Deborah Tukua, author of Citrus Morning, Noon & Night: A Citrus Cookbook.

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