Pineapple caramel popcorn with Tajín is a sweet, bright, tangy, crispy treat with a hint of spiciness. The dried pineapple adds another layer of pineapple flavor along with a chewy contrast to the crispness of the caramel popcorn. Enjoy this with a Michelada rimmed with Tajín, at an outdoor movie on a warm summer night, or just have it as a snack!
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What Is Tajín?
Tajín is a very popular Mexican seasoning made with mild chili peppers, lime and sea salt.
Pronounced ta-HEEN, Tajín was created in 1985 and first exported to the US in 1994. It’s popularity in the US really started to take off in 2012. Now it’s sold in over 35 countries.
Tajín is actually the name of the company, and the name of the seasoning is Tajín Clasico. It’s gluten free, Kosher, sugar free and has not artificial colors or flavors.
What Does Tajín Taste Like?
Tajín is tangy and citrusy with a mild spiciness. Chili and lime are one of those perfect flavor combinations. The tartness of the lime compliments the mild spiciness of the chili. Throw in a little salt to enhance the flavors, and you get an addicting condiment that can be used in many different ways.
How To Use Tajín
Tajín is one of those versatile seasonings that is great on so many foods and dishes. Here is a small list of foods that you can enjoy Tajín on:
- Sprinkle on fruits – mangoes, watermelon, oranges, pineapple.
- Sprinkle on vegetables – jicama, cucumbers, carrots, corn.
- Use as a marinade or spice rub for chicken, fish, shrimp and steak.
- Add it to your guacamole.
- Use it as a tabletop condiment as an alternative to salt.
- Micheladas – one of the most popular uses for Tajín.
- On the rim of your bloody mary or margarita.
- On popcorn of course!
Where To Buy Tajín
Is Tajín Healthy?
A ¼ tsp serving of Tajín has no sugar, calories or fat. It does have 190mg of salt, but they make a low-sodium version for those watching their salt intake.
PINEAPPLE CARAMEL POPCORN WITH TAJĺN INGREDIENTS
- Popcorn: You can use air-popped, unflavored microwave popcorn, or stovetop popcorn (see here for how to make perfect stovetop popcorn).
- Butter: This recipe calls for unsalted butter. There is enought salt in the Tajín so you don’t want to add any more to this recipe.
- Brown Sugar: I used light brown sugar dark brown sugar would also work.
- Pineapple Juice – I used one 6oz can of Dole pineapple juice. I like this juice because it’s 100% juice with no added sugar, but any pineapple juice will do.
- Light corn syrup: Prevents the sugar from crystalizing and becoming grainy.
- Baking soda: Gives the caramel a soft and airy texture.
- Dried Pineapple: I used Trader Joe’s Dried Baby Pineapple. They look like cute little flowers! But you can use any dried pineapple you like.
- Tajín: Gives this sweet popcorn a tangy, salty and mildly spicy kick!
PREPARE THE POPCORN
Step 1: 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 2: Make sure to remove all un-popped kernels. Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Step 4: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat baking mat.
REDUCE THE PINEAPPLE JUICE
Step 5: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the pineapple juice to a simmer. Continue simmering until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. This will take about 5-6 minutes.
Pro Tip: Pour the liquid into a glass measuring cup to measure then add back to saucepan.
MAKE THE CARAMEL
Step 6: Add in butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Stir occasionally until butter melts and sugar dissolves, and mixture begins to boil.
Step 7: Let boil for 4 minutes. Do not stir! Stirring can cause sugar crystals to stick to the sides of the pan. If those sugar crystals get into the caramel mixture, it will cause the whole thing to crystallize.
Step 8: Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. The mixture will foam up and become lighter in color.
Click here for my caramel popcorn recipe where I go more in-depth into how to make caramel popcorn.
COMBINE POPCORN AND CARAMEL
Step 9: Pour pineapple caramel over popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently mix together until popcorn is well coated. Do not use your hands! The caramel is screaming hot. Hot sugar can stick to your skin and cause 2nd or 3rd degree burns.
Step 10: Spread pineapple caramel popcorn mixture in an even layer on baking sheets. Don’t worry if popcorn isn’t completely coated with caramel. The warmth of the oven will remelt the caramel, making it easier to coat the popcorn.
Step 11: Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to get the caramel to evenly coat the popcorn.
Step 12: Remove from oven.
Step 13: Sprinkle Tajín and pineapple pieces over popcorn while it’s still warm.
Step 14: Break apart and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- Reduce the juice – reducing the pineapple juice concentrates the flavor so it can shine through the caramel.
- Using corn syrup – adding corn syrup to the caramel helps stop the sugar from crystalizing.
- Don’t stir the pot – not stirring the caramel during the boiling phase is another way to prevent sugar from crystalizing.
- Foam it up – adding baking soda will make the caramel foam and gives it a soft, fluffy texture.
- Bake the popcorn – baking the caramel corn remelts the caramel and makes it easier to coat every piece of popcorn with the delicious caramel.
How Long Does Pineapple Caramel Popcorn with Tajín Last?
If stored properly, pineapple caramel popcorn can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
How To Store Pineapple Caramel Popcorn with Tajín?
For the best results, make sure the caramel popcorn has completely cooled, store it in an air-tight container and keep it in a cool, dry place. There’s not usually much left to store when I make this, but when there is, I put it in a glass storage container. You can also put it in a Ziploc bag and store it in the freezer.
Read my article here for more information on the shelf-life of popcorn.
OTHER POPCORN RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (either light or dark)
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 can (6oz) pineapple juice
- 1-2 tsp Tajín
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup dried pineapple, diced
- Prepare popcorn, put in bowl and set aside (see my recipe for the perfect stovetop popcorn here).
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In a medium saucepan, bring pineapple juice to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. It takes about 6 minutes.
- Add in butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a gentle boil.
- Let boil over medium heat for 4 minutes. Do not stir!
- Remove from heat and carefully stir in baking soda. The mixture will get foamy and bubble up.
- Pour pineapple caramel mixture over popcorn and gently stir together until popcorn is evenly coated.
- Using a spatula, spread pineapple caramel popcorn in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to get the caramel to evenly coat the popcorn.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle Tajín and dried pineapple pieces over popcorn.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.