This homemade chamoy sauce embodies all of the incredible flavors of Mexican cuisine. The spicy, tangy, sweet, and salty flavors work perfectly with fruit, drinks, snacks, and more!
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If you've ever been to Mexico, you've likely come across this infamous condiment. In one form or the other, it's sold everywhere!
Seriously, chamoy is found in so many different Mexican foods. Spot it on the outside of fruit, in candies, or as a sauce in drinks like mangonadas.
We're making chamoy sauce today, which typically consists of pickled fruits like apricots, plums, or mangoes mixed with chiles, lime, sugar, and sometimes hibiscus flowers or tamarind.
The end result of spicy, tangy, salty, and sweet flavors is like nothing you've ever experienced before!
Believe us when we tell you the unique ingredient combination of chamoy sauce just works. It's one of those foods you need to taste to understand!
Related post: Check out our detailed guide on chamoy.
The timeframe of chamoy making its way into Mexican cuisine is fairly grey, but some food historians believe it was around the 16th century with the arrival of other Asian ingredients.
Countries in Asia such as China, Japan, and the Philippines had all been making their own versions of this pickled fruit snack for some time before then.
During the colonial period, Spanish trade routes from the Philippines introduced new ingredients to Mexico including tamarind, mangoes, and umeboshi. It was umeboshi, a type of pickled Japanese plum, that became the inspiration for Mexican chamoy sauce.
As you can probably tell, chamoy has taken many different forms since its origins. Nowadays, it is becoming much more mass-produced in Mexico. A lot of brands are full of preservatives and don't even contain real fruit.
🌱 Is it vegan?
Rest assured, chamoy sauce is completely vegan. If you are buying it in other forms, just watch out for a few things:
- Gelatin: Candy is a common form to find chamoy in, so just make sure the ingredient list doesn't contain gelatin.
- Alcohol: If your chamoy is served in a drink, ensure the alcohol is vegan-friendly. The barnivore app is an easy way to check this.
🍲 Ingredients & substitutions
For complete ingredient measurements and instructions, see our recipe card.
- Fruit: We use dried apricots and plums in this recipe, but mangoes or peaches work too. Stonefruits are high in nutrients like vitamin A, C, and potassium.
- Chiles: For spice, we use ancho chiles and cayenne powder. You can try guajillo, pasilla, or arbol chiles for varying flavors and heat levels.
- Lime juice: Provides a characteristic tart and tangy taste.
- Flor de Jamaica: Adds a beautiful red colour and even more tartness.
- Cane sugar: To balance out the intense flavors in this sauce.
- Salt: To emulate the pickled fruit brine found in traditional chamoy sauces.
Step 1: Stem and seed the ancho chiles. Add both of them along with the dried fruit, flor de Jamaica, cane sugar, salt, and water to a medium saucepan.
Step 2: Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce it to simmer for about half an hour. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes to prevent any blender accidents. Then, blend everything until it's smooth.
Step 3: Squeeze in the lime juice, then taste and adjust any seasonings to your preferences. Add more lime for tang, cane sugar for sweetness, or water until it reaches your desired consistency.
Step 4: We add cayenne powder at this point for more heat, but the extra spice is optional. We'll leave it up to you!
Step 5: Serve your chamoy sauce over fruits, vegetables, in drinks, or with chips. Transfer the rest to a mason jar or airtight container for later. Happy eating!
🥗 Serving suggestions
When we first tried chamoy, we were overwhelmed with all of the foods it can be paired with. To help you avoid this confusion, here are some ideas:
- Fruits: Mangoes, apples, strawberries, pineapple, papaya, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, and plums.
- Vegetables: Cucumbers, jicama, carrots, celery, potatoes, or sweet potatoes.
- Drinks: Use chamoy sauce to rim micheladas and Caesars, or drizzle it on mangonadas.
- Candies: Make dulces enchilados by covering vegan-friendly candies like skittles, gummy bears, or dried mangoes in chamoy and Tajin.
- Chips: Try your sauce on chicharrones de harina or tostilocos.
Not only is chamoy easy to make, but it's also fridge and freezer-friendly. Keep these storage times in mind for your recipe.
- Fridge: Chamoy will last up to 2 months in an airtight glass container or jar.
- Freezer: Freeze your chamoy in ice cube trays, then transfer it to a freezer-safe bag for up to 6 months. Thaw the cubes on an individual basis.
The great thing about chamoy sauce is how customizable it is! Here are a few ways to make it your own:
- Try fresh fruit. For a different taste and texture, use fresh fruit in place of the dried apricots and plums.
- Add tamarind. While optional, we love adding tamarind paste to impart a unique flavor in our chamoy sauce.
- Don't forget Tajin. Add Tajin (Mexican chile-lime spice) directly into your chamoy sauce, or serve it on top.
🧑🍳 Top tips
- Add spice at the end. We recommend tasting your chamoy sauce once it's blended, then adding cayenne powder to your preferred spice level.
- Thin it out. We sometimes prefer a thicker sauce, but other times we thin it out. The nice thing about making your own chamoy sauce is you get to decide the final consistency!
- Hold the lime. Squeeze it in once your chamoy is blended so it's fresh!
Yes, this chamoy sauce is gluten-free.
You can most likely find chamoy at your local Mexican supermarket. If not, you can order it online. We recommend making your own though, especially if you have the ingredients!
Our personal favorite is ancho for rich, earthy, complex flavors. But, other dried chiles like pasilla, guajillo, or mulato work too.
- Kitchen shears
- 2 ancho chiles ($0.10)
- 1 cup dried apricots ($2.73)
- ½ cup dried plums, pitted ($0.68)
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste optional
- ½ cup flor de Jamaica ($0.20)
- ¼ cup cane sugar ($0.02)
- 2 teaspoons salt ($0.01)
- 4 cups water ($0.01)
- ¼ cup lime juice ($0.24)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder optional
- Stem and seed the ancho chiles. Add both of them along with the dried fruit, flor de Jamaica, cane sugar, salt, and water to a saucepan. If you are using it, add in the tamarind paste at this point (make sure there are no seeds).
- Bring the mixture to a light boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool for ~10 minutes.
- Once cooled, transfer everything to your blender and squeeze in the lime juice. Mix on high until you reach a smooth consistency.
- Taste your sauce and adjust seasonings as needed, adding cayenne powder for more spice, lime for tang, cane sugar for sweetness, or water until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Serve your chamoy over fruits, vegetables, in drinks, or with chips. Transfer the rest to a mason jar or airtight container for storage. Happy eating!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
🍴 Similar recipes
If you love this chamoy sauce, check out our other top-rated Mexican salsas:
- Mexican crema: A creamy, rich, cashew-based cream sauce.
- Chili garlic aioli: Rich, creamy, and spicy chipotle mayo made vegan.
- Mole poblano: An intricate sauce made from toasted chiles, nuts, chocolate, dried fruits, tortillas, and more.
- Salsa taquera: Made from a base of arbol chiles, this sauce will elevate any taco.
Note: We've updated this post to include new information and helpful tips about the recipe.