If there’s one condiment that triggers mania here in Arizona, it’s chamoy. We pour it over mango, snow cones (aka chamoyada), and lace our cocktails with it. With 25 cents in hand, I’d chase down the ice cream truck as a kid to buy a mini bottle of chamoy. I’d suck that bottle dry by dinner time and have the red stained tongue to prove it.
If you’re searching for chamoy, it can mean only one thing. You’re probably hooked for life, which means you need your spicy candy sauce fix pronto. No matter where you are in the world, you can make authentic chamoy in 5 minutes with a few simple ingredients.
With your diy bottle of chamoy, I’m sure you’ll be making your own swirly chamoy popsicles and supremely refreshing mangonadas all summer long or enjoying with beer and jicama!
What’s in chamoy?
Chamoy is made up of chili, salt, sugar, and citric acid. Sometimes it contains fruit and is like a hot sauce candy.
Why This Recipe Works
Chamoy has a uniquely loud flavor profile. A true chamoy must be equally salty and sour, then spicy, and a little sweet. It should hit your tongue and instantly make you want some more. To get the signature flavor profile, this chamoy is made of ancho chili peppers, lime juice, apricot jam, salt, sugar, and water. That’s it.
Homemade chamoy is easy to make in a blender, and there’s nothing artificial about it.
What do you do with chamoy?
There are many variations when it comes to chamoy. Taste it by itself so you can adjustment the profile to your preferences (e.g. extra lime juice or salt). A popular street food is chamoy sauce with fresh mango, lime or Tajin – a salty, spicy Mexican seasoning. If you want the ultimate chamoy experience, check out these mangonada smoothies, where chamoy is used to coat the inside of a glass or make mango chamoy fruit roll ups (a total blast of flavor).
Which pepper is best for chamoy?
I recommend dried ancho chile peppers that have a reddish hue. However, if you are sensitive to spicy food, try using the milder New Mexico dried chile peppers instead. Both of these peppers have a pleasant fruity flavor.
I’m curious to know — where did you first try chamoy? I was introduced to it by a neighbor kid when I was 8. While it’s readily available in Arizona, I’ve seen it as far north as New York City. For those of you in-the-know, I think you’ll find this is the chamoy recipe you’ve been looking for.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and comment below!
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 dried ancho chili peppers
- 1 cup apricot jam 10 oz jar
- 1/2 cup lime juice from 4-5 large limes
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Add the water to the blender. Wipe the chili peppers to remove any dust. Pull off the stem and shake out the seeds. Place the whole pepper in the blender along with the apricot jam, lime juice, sugar, and salt.
- Blend on high speed until extremely smooth. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Use chamoy with fresh mangos for a fun snack.
Selecting the Best Ancho Chile (Chili) PeppersYou can identify the best ancho chiles by the color. Look for red tones in the dried peppers because that is a signal for a fresher, more flavorful ancho.
Selecting the Best Apricot JamRead the ingredients on the jar of apricot jam. I like Crofter’s organic apricot jam (red label or blue are both 8 grams of sugar and work interchangeably) because the flavor of the apricot is pure and there’s no artificial ingredients or preservatives. Plus, it comes in a 10 oz jar, so you can just use the whole jar in this recipe.
Possible VariationsI really like this recipe because it tastes authentic, but you may consider adding a bit of citric acid powder (start with 1/4 teaspoon). Another idea to get that extra tangy oomph would be to add extra lime juice or a teaspoon of tamarind paste (just concentrated tangy tamarind) or any brand tamarind candy (tamarind and chile with sugar added). Just start by adding a little bit at a time (a small pinch or teaspoon), then add more to get it just right.
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Just made this! I used a jar of peach jam that I had left over from last year’s harvest & Dried New Mexico chilis as that’s what I had on hand. AMAZING!!! I NEVER really how easy it was to make & my husband is just giddy because we tend to do no sugar, so spicy Mexican candies aren’t allowed in the house ? ( also because when we DID have them around my husband could easily polish off a pound a week) I had used erythritol in my peach jam when I made it & monkfruit for the sweetener… Read more »
Thanks Cynthia! I love hearing that you both loved the chamoy. So funny you mentioned those dried mangos with the chili powder. I literally passed on buying a box last night because of the added sugar (and because I can easily eat a pound in a couple of days). I think the New Mexico chiles were a great substitution.
Do you know how I could preserve this so that it does not need to be refrigerated ?
What a great thought Kay. Chamoy would be a great candidate for canning because it’s just jam, sugar, chile, and citric acid. By the way, it lasts an entire month in the fridge no problem. To keep at room temperature, I would suggest either pressure canning to 240 degrees F to remove any risk of pathogens and create an airtight vacuum. Water bath canning could also be used though since chamoy is similar in composition to jam or salsa. Here’s a site that provides step-by-step tutorials on canning if you want to pursue. I’d love to see what you come… Read more »
I’m curious as to why you don’t cook your chiles first?
Cooking the chiles can be done by toasting or simmering in hot water. I don’t toast them in this recipe because I want a vibrant red hue and no toasty flavor. As for simmering, years ago I sort of removed that step from recipes that involve blending because I couldn’t discern a difference in flavor. Of course, you could still do it if you want to (just be sure to include the water the chile was cooked in and measure accordingly).
I love mangonadas and yours looks so yummy and refreshing! Cheers! I love everything about this, from the mango to the tajin!
Great instructions and a very thorough post! I really enjoyed making this recipe!
Thanks for the feedback!
Very addicting sauce! Thanks for this super easy recipe. I used honey instead of sugar and added a couple more chili’s along with some seeds for more of a kick.
Happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for the honey tip. I’ll give it a try.
My sister and I made this chamoy and we are OBSESSED!! We bought a pre-made bottle from the store to compare and there is no comparison. The homemade one is WAY better obviously. We currently have multiple bags of different candies coated in the chamoy sitting in the refrigerator. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Oh wow! So glad you both had such high opinions. Love getting feedback:)
I have ground ancho chili already, is there a way to sub for the dried whole chili?
Yes! You can use ground ancho or New Mexico chile powder. You want to make sure it’s super fresh (less than 3 months old). Start with 1 tablespoon and follow the recipe as written. Taste and add more chile powder to taste, depending on how spicy you like it.
ummm what if you cant find the ingredientsany were
Which ingredients are you unable to find?
What ingredients are you having trouble finding?
It’s looks so yummy and refreshing! Cheers! I love everything about this, from the mango to the tajin!
Whew. It is spicy. Burned the back of my tongue. Mouth still on fire. Maybe I got the wrong peppers. Pasilla ancho. Maybe the fruit will cool it off. The first time I found this at a food truck I was licking the sauce off the plate.
It sounds like you got some strong peppers. Did you include the seeds?