Using a chile lime salt sprinkled over fruits and vegetables as a snack is one of my favorite Mexican snacks. It is a standard on many Mexican street food offerings. Tajin is the brand name of this chile lime salt, but this DIY recipe makes one that is much fresher, allowing the simple ingredients to stand out. And it makes a “non-boring” low carb snack!Jump to Recipe
How is Chile Lime Salt different from “Tajin”
Tajin is a brand name for a popular salt that you will find in most grocery stores and on most Mexican tables. While the Tajin company does have some variations of the blend, the Tajin Clásico is the most popular and the easiest to find.
It is a blend of red chiles, sea salt and dehydrated lime juice/peels. It also includes some anti-caking agent so that it stays fresh on the grocery store shelves.
Because the seasoning is so simple, consisting of only 3 ingredients, it is easy to make your own. There are a lot of “recipes” that you can find by searching for chile lime salt or chile lime seasoning. While the ingredients do not vary that much the ratios most certainly do.
The recipe below is my favorite blend, after doing a “lot” of trials with different spices, different salts and different ratios. The recipe and the video below also shows how to use chile lime salt with fruits or vegetables, ala Mexican Street Food!
Variations and Ratios:
I tried a number of different variations of the salt, the chile powder and the dehydrated lime. The one I ended up favoring was 1 Tbsp pink himalayan salt, 2 tsp True Lime, and 1 1/2 tsp spicy chipotle powder.
If you want to try my version, you can purchase it from HeathGlen. Just know that my version is quite a bit spicier than commercial Tajin.
Here are some of the variables to be aware of if you make your own:
- The lime ingredient: I tried fresh lime zest that I then dehydrated, storebought lime zest from a reputable company in San Francisco, and with True Lime (powdered lime juice that you can buy at the grocery store). The “True Lime” definitely gave the salt the strongest flavor of lime;
- The chile powder: Tajin uses a blend of red chiles, but most of them are fairly mild. I prefer more heat so I used some of our hot chipotle powder and it was quite spicy. There are plenty of chile powders that you can try;
- The salt: I tried kosher salt and pink himalayan salt. They were both good with the kosher salt making it coarser if you use it for rimming cocktails, and the pink salt making a prettier blend.
- The ratios: I tried a number of different recipes available online, some of them quite salty! I wanted the lime flavor to be predominant so I ended up with the ration of: 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp lime, and 1 1/2 tsp chile powder.
Mexican Street Food & Other Popular Uses for Chile Lime Salt
There are so many wonderful uses for chile lime salt, but probably the most well-known is for the fruit cups you will see in cities and in Latin America, often referred to as Mexican street food.
This video shows you how to make the fruit/vegetable planks and the tajin spice:
The most popular fruit used in the fruit cups is watermelon or mangos and the typical vegetable cups include cucumbers or jicama. However, chile lime salt really goes well sprinkled over any of your favorite fruits or vegetables.
The fruit cups often include a sauce called chamoy, but in an effort to keep things low(er) carb, I would stick with the chile lime salt over cucumbers and jicama, and then maybe add a few spears of mango or watermelon.
Chamoy sauce tends to use fruit or fruit jam to sweeten things up more.
You can also use this seasoning mix in marinades or spice rubs for chicken, fish, or shrimp. Another favorite use is sprinkled over popcorn. For a recipe for chile lime aiole on a fish sandwich, click here.
Two other popular servings of Mexican street food that uses chile lime salt is grilled corn (or Elote) or fruit popcicles (Paletas)
And last, but not least is to use the chile lime salt as a rimming salt for Micheladas or margaritas (or to spice up non-alcoholic drinks). Click here for a video that shows you how to make an excellent Spice-rimmed Pineapple Margarita.
“Tajin” for Mexican street food
- Medium sized bowl
- Whisk or slotted spoon
- 1 Tbsp Salt Kosher salt or pink himalayan salt
- 2 Tsp True lime
- 1 ½ Tsp Chipotle spice Or other spicy chile powder
- 1 Small Jicama
- 1 Med Cucumber
- 1 Mango
- 1 Avocado, pineapple, papaya, etc. Your favorite fruit or vegetable
- For the seasoning blend: With a whisk or slotted spoon, thoroughly blend together the salt, True lime and the chile powder
- For the fruit: wash and peel the fruit you choose to use. Cut into planks or spears (see youtube video above for cutting illustration)
- Place fruit spears in a large bowl and sprinkle with the chile lime salt. Cut wedges of lime and serve fruit/vegetable spears on a plate with lime wedges for people to squeeze over the fruit/vegetables.
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