Chamoy sauce is a Mexican condiment that has the perfect mix of tangy, sweet, and spicy flavors. Made with a blend of dried fruits, chiles, citrus, and hibiscus, it’s a staple in Mexican cuisine and a tasty way to add flavor to both sweet and savory foods.
Of course, you could grab a bottle of store-bought chamoy if your local grocer carries it. But this chamoy recipe is super simple. And the shelf life is long — up to 2 months if you keep it in the fridge.
Fruity, floral, and a tad spicy, this is about to be your new favorite condiment for everything from topping citrus or apples to pork tenderloin or chicken.
What is Chamoy Sauce?
This simultaneously sweet and savory sauce is a blend of fruits like prunes and apricots with spicy chiles and zesty lime juice. It also incorporates hibiscus, which imparts floral undertones.
Chamoy is a popular condiment in Mexico where it’s sprinkled onto anything from sliced fruit to savory street foods like tacos or nachos. It’s also used to make a sweet and tangy candy.
Food historians have different theories on the origins of chamoy. Some say that chamoy was likely first created by a Japanese immigrant in Mexico in the early 1920’s while others believe that Chinese immigrants are responsible for first producing the sauce somewhere between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Why You’ll Love Chamoy Sauce
There’s a reason this sauce is so popular — you’re bound to fall in love with it, too.
- Unique – The blend of fruits, hibiscus, and chiles results in a distinctive flavor unlike any other sauce.
- Easy – It takes a little time to simmer the sauce on the stove, but other than that, the prep is quick. Plus, you only need some basic kitchen tools to make it.
- Versatile – You can splash this tasty sauce on both sweet and savory dishes.
Most of the ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store, but if your local grocer doesn’t carry them, you can always find them online.
- Water – Water is used as the base into which the other ingredients’ flavors are infused.
- Dried red chiles – The chiles add a spicy kick to the sauce.
- Dried apricots – Apricots add fruity sweetness.
- Dried prunes – Prunes also impart a sweet flavor and contribute to the consistency.
- Dried hibiscus flowers – Hibiscus gives the sauce a floral flavor and aroma.
- Raisins – Raisins add unique flavor to the sauce, building the complex flavor profile.
- Sugar – Sugar sweetens the sauce even more.
- Coarse kosher salt – Salt brings out the flavors of the fruits, hibiscus flower, and chiles. You can also use sea salt if you prefer.
- Fresh lime juice – Citrus imparts bright flavor.
What To Serve Chamoy Sauce With
You can serve chamoy sauce on all sorts of sweet and savory foods. Use it as a dipping sauce for your favorite fruit, veggie sticks, or tortilla chips. You can also add a few dashes to a homemade fruit salad or jazz up store-bought fruit cups.
And don’t sleep on using it to rim cocktail glasses — dip it into tajin seasoning, too, for a truly elevated martini or margarita.
How to Make Homemade Chamoy Sauce
You can make this delicious sauce in just a few easy steps.
- Boil ingredients. Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for the recommended time.
- Add to blender. Pour the mixture into a high-powered blender or food processor.
- Puree. Puree the mixture until thick and slightly smooth, with some small chunks remaining.
- Enjoy! Serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature. The sauce can also be served chilled.
Variations on Mexican Chamoy
There are a bunch of ways to change up the flavor profile of chamoy.
- Fruit – Incorporate different fruit flavors like fresh mango or watermelon.
- Heat – Spice it up (or tone it down) by adjusting the amount of chile peppers you use. You can also add chili powder.
- Herbs – Use fresh herbs from your garden, like basil or mint, to change the sauce up.
- Smokiness – Add a touch of smoked paprika or liquid smoke for a smoky-flavored sauce.
- Sugar – Instead of cane sugar, use brown sugar or honey to sweeten the sauce.
Storage and Freezing
Chamoy sauce retains its flavor and consistency best when refrigerated.
Make Ahead: You can make the sauce ahead and heat (if choosing to serve warm) when you’re ready to serve.
Refrigerator: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or mason jar for up to 2 months.
Freezer: Freeze chamoy in a freezer-safe container or a freezer-safe bag for up to 6 months. You can also store it in ice cube trays for single-size servings.
Commonly Asked Questions About Chamoy
No, although the two sauces are used in the same manner, they have different base ingredients, and tajin is sometimes even used in chamoy sauce recipes. Chamoy has the base of dried fruits, while tajin is chile and lime.
Chamoy is a complex sauce that has a combination of sweet and salty flavors, with a slight spiciness and a touch of tanginess.
Chamoy is a condiment that’s often used on fresh fruit and veggies. Melons, pineapples, apples, and jicama are all popular pairings.
Chamoy is also used to make candy, and it’s spooned onto savory foods, as well.
Other Savory Sauces
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 3-5 dried red chiles
- 3/4 cup dried apricots
- 3/4 cup dried prunes
- 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flor de Jamaica
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- Add the water, chiles, apricots, prunes, hibiscus, raisons, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil making sure all of the dried chiles are submerged in order to reconstitute. Simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the whole mixture to a high powered blender (you might have to work in batches) or a food processor. Blend until large pieces are pureed, but the sauce still has good body and texture. It will not be fully smooth and should be thick.
- Use hot, warm or room temperature.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!