Mandarin Tea Buns, A Newfie Favorite

Peaceful, beautiful and scenic Newfoundland. With its rocky coast, icebergs and friendly, laid-back people. Mandarin Tea Buns, A Newfie Favorite, while Raisin Tea Buns seem to be the overall favorite and therefore reign supreme. I would love to visit someday but I’m sure that’s just a dream of mine. A tea bun is a staple in practically every home in Newfoundland. Made from a recipe that has been handed down through generations. Every family has their own family recipe for tea buns but I’ve found through my internet search, that the basic ingredient list is roughly the same; flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and eggs.

Mandarin Oranges

There were several things that caught my attention about this recipe. A) the recipe calls for using one 10 oz can of  mandarin oranges and B) I had never made tea buns before, let alone heard of them and the idea intrigued me. I have used a can of mandarin oranges in fruit salads or jello salads but I’ve never baked with mandarin oranges. So today is the day. This recipe also calls for 1 cup of unsweetened coconut. I used sweetened coconut because that’s what I had. In my humble culinary opinion, the coconut really made the tea buns pop. The mandarin oranges were very subtle, so I think the next time I make them, I’m going to add a teaspoon or two of orange zest.

Tea Buns

Tea buns are light, flaky and tender. Not too rich or too buttery but just the right blend of ingredients. Tea buns can be plain, sweet or savory. There are many variations; cheese, ham and cheese, raisin, coconut and just as many fruit and veggie combinations. Tea buns are not buns as most people know them, but Newfoundlanders (Newfies) of Canada call them buns. Although in many coffee shops, they are called by their English name, tea biscuits. Tea buns are similar to the English scones and of course, both go perfectly with tea. Where I hail from we have more of the coffee and donuts type mentality but I have learned to appreciate the simplicity of a good scone and a hot cup of tea.
Mandarin Tea Buns | Newfie Favorite

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Mandarin Tea Buns

A Newfoundland favorite.
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  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


  • In a large bowl add sifted flour and butter. Combine together with clean hands, rubbing the butter and flour together. Add unsweetened coconut, sugar and baking powder. Pour can of mandarin oranges in a bowl and chop into small pieces. Add to flour mixture, along with the juice. Crack eggs in a bowl and beat together, add to flour mixture. Mix all ingredients together with spoon or hands until all combined. Line baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the dough and place them 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake in a 350ºF pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
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The brand most associated with canned mandarin oranges is:Libbys. Recipe source: Bonita’s Kitchen.