Once you learn how to make chamoy, you'll understand why this delicious condiment is so popular in Mexico. Enjoy your sweet, tangy, spicy, and salty sauce with fruit, drinks, and more!
With a flavor profile that's so hard to explain, you're just going to have to try it for yourself!
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.
The taste of chamoy is like nothing you've ever experienced before. It's sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy all-in-one (talk about capturing the essence of Mexico in a sauce!).
What is it?
Chamoy is found in a wide variety of Mexican foods. Spot it on the outside of fruit, in candies, or as a sauce for your favorite meals and drinks (mangonadas anyone?).
We're talking chamoy sauce today, which is made from a base of either apricot, plums, mangos (or a combination of them all), chiles, citrus, sugar, and salt.
What do you end up with?
The taste is unbelievable (literally). Chamoy is made up of many different ingredients, but believe us when we say they just work. It's one of the most unique and delicious condiments you'll ever try!
The timeframe of chamoy making its way into Mexico is uncertain, but the best guess is somewhere between the 16th and 19th century with Chinese immigrants.
These immigrants brought many Asian ingredients like tamarind, mango, and see mui (a salted, dried apricot with a licorice flavor).
See mui became the inspiration for umeboshi (a pickled and salted japanese plum), and this eventually morphed into the Mexican version, chamoy.
Since its origins, chamoy has taken many different forms. Unfortunately, a lot of the bottles you can find at stores nowadays are processed, full of preservatives, and don't even contain real fruit!
You'll notice our recipe looks a lot darker than the bright red chamoy you can find at the store. This is because we don't use artificial colors or other nasty ingredients, which makes a huge difference.
We've yet to find a food we don't love chamoy with, so we'll share a few of our favorites:
Fruit: drizzle this over mangos, watermelon, pineapples, strawberries, and coconut (we even enjoy it on avocado toast).
Vegetables: dip your cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, or celery in this addicting sauce. We also love chamoy on roasted potatoes!
Drinks: use this chamoy recipe to rim your micheladas and Caesars, or drizzle it on the inside of your glass with chamoyadas (mangonadas).
Warning: if you're going to learn how to make chamoy, you'll want to invest in a bottle of Tajin. This Mexican chile-lime powder and chamoy are a match made in heaven.
One thing to note is there is no one right way to make or eat chamoy. If you travel around Mexico, you'll see many different (but equally tasty) recipes.
This chamoy recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and so easy to make. You won't want to go another minute without trying some for yourself!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: you wouldn't have chamoy without a sweet and tangy stonefruit component. We use both apricots and plums in this recipe to deepen the flavor, but it can be made with one or the other. It's also really tasty with mangoes!
Health: stonefruits come with a myriad of health benefits including high levels of vitamin A, C, and potassium. These fruits are jam-packed with antioxidants and should be eaten whenever you get the chance.
Taste: a spicy chile component is necessary to give chamoy its characteristic kick. We use a mix of dried ancho chiles and cayenne powder to achieve the perfect flavor.
Health: cayenne and ancho chiles contain the powerful antioxidant capsaicin (which is what gives peppers their spice). Surprisingly, this molecule has been shown to reduce hunger and increase metabolism.
Taste: limes provide a tart, acidic, and slightly sweet taste in this chamoy recipe. In order to achieve the perfect sour element, you don't want to skip this ingredient!
Health: containing over 20% of our daily needs for vitamin C in a serving, you can see why limes are important for the immune system! Not a bad food to consume during times of sickness.
Taste: one of the 5 universally recognized tastes is salt. In order to balance the last flavor in this dish, include a pinch!
Health: salt is extremely safe to consume for healthy individuals, so don't demonize this flavor-intensifying ingredient unless you're told otherwise by a physician.
If you have questions about this chamoy recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: de-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.
Note: you can also add in a few tablespoons of tamarind paste for more tang (make sure there are no seeds). For extra heat, you can try adding in some dried árbol chiles as well.
Step 2: bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce it and simmer for 25 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then blend together with the lime juice until you reach a smooth texture.
Step 3: taste and adjust the seasonings to your preferences. Add optional cayenne powder for more spice, lime for more tang, cane sugar for sweetness, or water until it reaches your desired consistency.
Step 4: serve your chamoy sauce over fruits, vegetables, in drinks, or with chips. Transfer the rest to a mason jar or airtight container for storage. Enjoy!
Not only is chamoy easy to make, but it also stores well in the fridge and freezer.
Don't worry about your efforts going to waste since this chamoy recipe will last up to 2 months in the fridge in an airtight jar or container.
A great way to keep your chamoy fresh for longer is to store it in the freezer. We freeze ours in ice cube trays so they thaw in smaller portions.
When you feel like some chamoy, thaw it in the fridge overnight before serving it the next day.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- Add spice at the end. If you like your chamoy recipe extra spicy, we recommend tasting it and adding in cayenne powder at the end.
- Thin it out. We prefer a thicker chamoy sauce, but it's extremely easy to thin it out by adding more water in a few tablespoons at a time.
- Use different fruit. Try using mango instead of apricot and plums, or use a combination of them.
- Use different chiles. If you want a different flavor, try guajillo or pasilla chiles. We sometimes add in árbol chiles for more of a kick!
- Don't forget Tajin. If you're looking for more tang, add Tajin (Mexican chile-lime spice) right into your chamoy sauce.
🍴 Tasting notes
We love making our own chamoy, and you're about to find out why! It's:
If you try this chamoy recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
How to Make Chamoy
- 2 dried ancho chiles ($0.10)
- 1 cup dried apricots ($2.73)
- ½ cup dried plums ($0.68)
- ½ cup flor de Jamaica ($0.20)
- ¼ cup cane sugar ($0.02)
- ¾ tsp salt ($0.01)
- 4 cups water ($0.01)
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste optional
- ¼ tsp cayenne powder optional
- ¼ cup lime juice ($0.24)
- De-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. You can also add in 1-2 tbsp of tamarind paste for more tang (make sure there are no seeds).
- Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool for 10-12 minutes before blending.
- Once cooled, transfer everything to your blender and add in the lime juice. Mix on high until you reach a smooth consistency.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preferences. Add optional cayenne powder for more spice, lime for more 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. Enjoy!
- If you prefer a spicier chamoy, add in more cayenne or árbol chiles for some kick.
- Use any combination of dried apricots, mangoes, or plums. They are all so delicious!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty Mexican sauce ideas, check out our:
- Salsa verde for a tangy, spicy, and zesty sauce to serve with all your favorite Mexican foods.
- Salsa roja to try an easy, 6-ingredient table salsa that will give any dish a little oomph.
- Chili garlic aioli for a rich, creamy, and spicy spread you can eat by the spoonful (we won't judge).
- Salsa fresca for a fresh and vibrant salsa to serve as a condiment or with tortilla chips.
Yes, this chamoy recipe is gluten-free.
Yes, chamoy is naturally vegan-friendly!
Serve your homemade chamoy with fruits like mango, veggies, in a mangonada, with chips, in popsicles, etc.
You can most likely find chamoy at your local Latin supermarket. If not, you can order it online. We recommend making your own though, especially if you have the ingredients!