Sweet, spicy, tangy, salty and crispy – chamoy popcorn is an explosion of flavor in your mouth! Making your own chamoy is easy and definitely worth it. Fruity, tangy and spicy homemade chamoy drizzled over warm, crisp popcorn is easy to make and so delicious! It makes a great snack, a fun treat for Cinco de Mayo or even something to nosh on during movie night.
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What Is Chamoy?
Chamoy is a very popular Mexican condiment made from dried fruit, dried chilis, hibiscus flowers, salt and lime. It can be a sauce, a powder and even a paste. It touches all the flavor profiles – sweet, salty, tangy and spice. You’ll find it drizzled over fruit, mixed in drinks, on the rim of beer cans and in candies.
History of Chamoy
The origins of chamoy are a bit cloudy, but it’s believed that its roots are Chinese.
Chinese immigrants brought crack seed, a preserved fruit that has been split or cracked to partially expose the seed, to Mexico. Crack seed is typically made from the fruits of Prunus mume, often called a plum, but is closer to an apricot.
The Cantonese name for crack seed is “see mui”, is pronounced see-moy, and may have evolved into “chamoy”.
In the 1950s, Japanese immigrant Teikichi Iwadare began producing see-moy from umeboshi (a Japanese plum that’s actually a variety of apricot) and called it chamoy. This might be the origin of chamoy’s popularity in Mexico.
In the 1970s, the company Dulces Miguelito began mass producing chamoy. Chamoy’s popularity and growth really didn’t take off until the 1990’s.
What Does Chamoy Taste Like?
Chamoy covers the entire taste spectrum. It’s sweet, spicy, tangy and salty. Chamoy has a truly unique flavor that’s difficult to describe.
You can play around with the ingredients to suit your own tastes.
- Use different fruits like prunes or dried mangos.
- Use different chilis like pasilla or ancho.
- Switch out the hibiscus flowers for tamarind or dried cranberries.
I highly encourage you to make your own so you can experience this incredible mix of flavors!
How To Store Chamoy
Pro Tip: Freeze the chamoy in ice cube trays. It makes it easy when you only need a little bit!
What Do You Eat Chamoy With?
- Drizzle on fruits or vegetables like mangos, pineapple, jicama, coconut, cucumbers, or grilled corn.
- Line the rim of your beer can or cocktail glass.
- Cover sour gummies or other candies.
- Mix in drinks like mangonadas, micheladas or margaritas.
- Dip your tortilla chips or pork rinds in it.
- Add to savory dishes like quesadillas or tacos.
- On popcorn of course!
- Guajillo peppers – A mild to medium pepper so it has a mild spiciness to it. It has a fruity, berry-like flavor with a hint of smokiness.
- Chiles de arbol – A medium pepper so it can be pretty spicy. Comparable to a serrano or cayenne pepper.
- Sugar – I used white sugar.
- Tajín seasoning – A Mexican seasoning blend of dried mild chili peppers, dehydrated lime and sea salt. The taste is tangy, salty and mildly spicy.
- Lime juice – Adds a tangy freshness to brighten the chamoy.
MAKE THE CHAMOY
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, combine apricots, chili peppers, hibiscus flowers and water and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. The apricots will be plump and the water will be a beautiful deep red from the hibiscus.
Step 4: Once cooled, transfer mixture to a blender.
Step 5: Add sugar, Tajín, and lime, and blend until completely smooth.
Pro Tip: Use a powerful blender to thoroughly blend the ingredients together. Don’t use a food processor.
PREPARE THE POPCORN
Step 6: Prepare 8 cups of popcorn. I prefer stovetop popcorn (see my recipe for perfect stovetop popcorn here), but you can use air-popped or unseasoned microwave popcorn. Use 1/4 cup popcorn kernels to make 8 cups of popcorn.
Step 7: Make sure to remove all un-popped kernels.
Step 8: Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
THIN OUT THE CHAMOY
Step 9: Thin out the chamoy by combining 1 Tbsp water to 2 Tbsp chamoy. This will make it a bit runnier and easier to pour on and mix into the popcorn.
MAKE THE CHAMOY POPCORN
Step 10: Drizzle chamoy over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
Step 11: (optional) Sprinkle with Tajín.
Tips & Tricks
- Adjust the spice level. Add more spicy peppers to increase heat. Use less spicy peppers or no peppers to decrease heat.
- Make your chamoy. Store bought chamoy is full of artificial flavors and colors. Homemade is healthier and tastes so much better than anything you buy in the store!
- Adjust the liquidity. Add more water if you want a thinner sauce. Reduce the amount of water if you want to make it thicker.
- Customize it! If you want it sweeter, add more sugar. If you want it spicier, add more chili peppers. Change up the fruit for a different flavor. Make it your own!
- Make it crispy. Because chamoy is a wet sauce, your popcorn can become soggy. I personally don’t mind this because the popcorn becomes saturated with the chamoy flavor. Plus I get to lick my fingers! If you want to crisp it up, spread the chamoy popcorn on a baking sheet and bake at 250ºF for 15-20 mins.
Can I Use Store Bought Chamoy?
Absolutely! Just drizzle as little or as much store bought chamoy that you want on your popcorn and toss to coat.
The flavor will be different as some store bought chamoys are very sweet, made with artificial colors and flavors, and/or not sweet at all. It all depends on your taste preference. I prefer homemade, but store bought will do in a pinch!
Where To Buy Chamoy
You can find chamoy in your local supermarket in the Mexican or International food section, at a Mexican grocery store, or even online.
Is Chamoy Bad for You?
Most of the store bought chamoys are full of artificial flavors and ingredients. It’s hard to find one that is made from actual food! I prefer to eat real food as much as possible, which is why I make my own. Plus the taste is so fresh and full of flavor!
I found a store bought chamoy that has better ingredients than most. Tajín chamoy (pictured below) does have some artificial flavoring, but the first ingredients list are water, chili peppers, sea salt, citric acid, dehydrated lime juice. Not too bad.
Note: Tajín chamoy is not sweet and contains no sugar.
How to Store Chamoy Popcorn
Chamoy popcorn is best eaten fresh, and I wouldn’t recommend storing it. Chamoy is a wet sauce. The popcorn will continue to soak up the moisture in the chamoy and become soggy. It’s best to make just enough to eat in one sitting!
OTHER POPCORN RECIPES
- For the Chamoy:
- 6 oz (a scant cup) dried apricots
- 1/2 oz hibiscus flowers
- 2 dried guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 2 arbol chilis, stems and seeds removed
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp Tajín seasoning
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- For the Chamoy Popcorn:
- 8 cups popcorn
- 2 Tbsp chamoy
- 1 Tbsp water
Make the Chamoy:
- In a medium saucepan, combine apricots, chili peppers, hibiscus flowers and water, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, transfer mixture to blender.
- Add sugar, Tajín and lime, and blend until completely smooth.
Make the Chamoy Popcorn:
- Prepare 8 cups of popcorn using ¼ cup of popcorn kernels (see my recipe for perfect stovetop popcorn here).
- Remove all unpopped kernels and place popcorn in a large bowl.
- Combine 2 Tbsp chamoy and 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl.
- Drizzle chamoy over popcorn and toss to coat evenly.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
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