Spicy-sweet Mango Paletas with Tajin & Chamoy are a refreshing Mexican treat that’s easy to make and perfect for summer!

Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy

This recipe for Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy comes from missing these exquisite Mexican flavors and wanting to taste them again.  While I can’t recreate a Sunday evening in Coyoacán, sitting on a park bench, the flavors definitely help with the reminiscing. 

The recipe is easy, but the result is anything but a simple flavor. Sweet and refreshing, this paleta also brings the heat, salt, and acid. It’s a complex little pop that’s so delicious that you’ll make it all summer long.

Central Coyocan, CDMX, street fair scene at night with crowds getting snacks

Evenings in Coyoacán 

Head to central Coyoacán in Mexico City on any given evening during the dry season, and you’ll find most of the residents and tourists in the parks and streets. And they’re getting snacks. To say that Mexico’s snack game is strong is an understatement. This is snacking on a whole other level.

And one of the great snacks is cut up mango sprinkled with Tajin, a chili lime salt.

Paletas

Another great Mexican snack? Paletas, or Mexico’s fruit-based popsicles, with mango being one of the most popular flavors. The paleta gets its name from the popsicle stick, but these are no ordinary popsicles. These Mexican frozen treats are often fruit based and can be creamy, often with sweetened condensed milk as the dairy. Chocolate and pistachio are popular non-fruit paleta flavors.

With the fruit-based paletas, as we are making here, you’ll find chunks of fruit interspersed with the fruit purée. Paletas will often have herbs or spices to accentuate the main ingredients, as we’re doing with lime, Tajin and chamoy.

Ingredients for mango paletas with tajin and chamoy. The image shows Tajin lime chili sauce, a lime, and several mangos in a bowl

What is Tajin?

A chili lime salt with outstanding flavor, you’ll find yourself sprinkling Tajin on everything from mango paletas to avocado toast. Rim your glass with it for Micheladas. Pronounced “tah-heen,” Tajin gets its name from a Veracruz site known as “El Tajin.” Tajin is a brand name and has been around since the mid-1980s when Horacio Fernández blessed us with this blend. Found in some grocery stores (mine carries it), it’s more reliably found at Mexican markets or online.

A small-batch recipe

This recipe will make four, maybe five, Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy. Typical recipes often make upwards of ten or more. I find that this amount is plenty to enjoy my paletas while they’re still fresh as a single person. If you need more, you can simply double or even triple the recipe by clicking on the multiplier on the card.

Making Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy

To make Mango Paletas with Tjain and Chamoy, you’ll follow four basic steps: flavor building, puréeing the fruit, assembly, and freezing. There’s really nothing to it. Patience is the hardest part.

Flavor building

Mango Paletas with Tajin & Chamoy start with sugar 

We start with granulated cane sugar. Please do not attempt to reduce the sugar. If anything, you might want to add a little more, especially if you do not use mango nectar called for in the recipe. Sugar is essential for getting the texture right, and the sweetness is more authentic.

As my guide for a food tour in Mexico joked as we stood outside a traditional candy shop, “We’ll start with something sweet. And then we’ll add a little sugar. And then a little more. Maybe some sweetened condensed milk. And then a little more sugar.” In other words, go with the sweet.

Add the lime zest

Add the lime zest to the sugar and  use your hands to rub the zest into the sugar. This distributes the oils and really brings out the lime flavor. Let your lime sugar rest while you cut up your mangos. I don’t think that this is a traditional step, but I really liked what it did to the mangos.

Cut up your mangos

We’re puréeing most of the fruit here, so no need to bring your A game for chopping, but there is a trick with the pit. If it’s been a while or you haven’t done it before, this video should help. You’ll want a few pieces of mango set aside to add to the paletas.

A lemon yellow citrus juicer juicing a lime above a bowl of cut up mango for Mango Paletas

Macerate the mangos

Add your mangos to the lime sugar. Add the mango nectar and the juice of half a lime. If you don’t use mango nectar, consider a little more sugar. Give everything a good stir and set it aside for 20–25 minutes to macerate. The mangos will sweeten and the lime will work its way through, giving you a fantastic flavor base for your paletas.

Tip!

If you use the mango nectar, which I highly recommend, you can freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays and use to make more paletas!

Purée the mango for Mango Paletas with Tajin & Chamoy

The next step is super simple. Add the macerated mango to your blender and purée until smooth. The only trick is that you want to have a pourable consistency, and you might find that the initial purée is a bit thick. To thin it, simply add a tablespoon or so of cold water. If it’s still a bit too thick, add another teaspoon and try again. You should be set, but you can add another teaspoon. Don’t add more than 2 tablespoons, or your texture will be off.

While you can pour directly from your blender into the popsicle molds, I find that transferring the mango purée to a liquid measuring cup gives me more control.

Chamoy sauce

What is Chamoy?

In a word, chamoy is a flavor explosion. At once sour, spicy, and sweet, chamoy is a Mexican take on Asian sauces. It comes in a variety of consistencies (I used a paste form to rim a glass of a Michelada ). Regardless of the consistency, the main components are a fruit base like mango, apricot, or plum; lime juice; and chilis. Chamoy goes fabulously with fruit and makes a great marinade for barbecued meats. Mexicans use it in candies, too. I put some on a salad the other day, and I will do it again. If you have a Mexican grocery, you’ll definitely find varieties of chamoy there, but you can also get it online. Can’t find it there? You can make it yourself.

Assemble your Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy

To assemble your Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy, you’ll need your puréed mango, your mango chunks, Tajin, chamoy, and popsicle molds. I use these cute vintage-looking stainless steel popsicle molds, but you can get a more traditional paleta mold online.

Start layering

To begin, add a thin layer of chamoy in your popsicle mold. I would take care to use enough chamoy to give flavor interest but perhaps not so much to overpower. You can get a nice layering effect with these, but I would go more for the flavor than the look.

Next, sprinkle in a bit of Tajin. Then fill about half the mold with mango purée. You’ll then add a few chunks of mango. Cover with another layer of chamoy and Tajin, and then fill the mold with mango purée, taking care to leave a little room for expansion.

Tip!

If you’re not sure about how much Tajin and chamoy to use, add a little of each to a piece of macerated mango and taste it. If it's not for you, you can still make tasty paletas. Just add a little salt to the mango purée.

Give it a little stir

To distribute the mango and to swirl the chamoy and tajin a bit, take a popsicle stick and give things a gentle stir—don’t over do it. Then add the stick to the mold, leaving enough room for a handle, and cap the mold (if you have a set of molds with a single cover, add the sticks at the end).

Repeat the process. You should get four Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy, maybe five. You will likely have a little leftover fruit and purée. I highly recommend adding a little chamoy, sprinkling with a bit of Tajin and having yourself a little preview of your creation. Good luck with waiting for your paletas to freeze after that!

Freeze the paletas

Now comes the hard part. Waiting. Frozen treats, especially homemade ones, take time to freeze properly. You need to give your paletas at least four hours in the freezer, but it’s going to be a lot better if you can wait overnight. I promise you, it’s worth it.

Image shows a mango paleta with Tajin and Chamoy, sprinkled with more Tajin. The paleta is held in a hand in a backyard looking at a fence and maple trees, with a barn visible in the background

Serve Mango Paletas with Tajin & Chamoy

To serve, unmold (for my molds, I dip the paleta into a glass of warm water for a few seconds). Give it a few seconds, and then sprinkle with more Tajin if desired (both tasty and pretty).

While these are best eaten on a park bench in Mexico City, we do what we can. Enjoy!

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Image shows a mango paleta with Tajin and Chamoy, sprinkled with more Tajin. The paleta is held in a hand in a backyard looking at a fence and maple trees, with a barn visible in the background

Mango Paletas with Tajin & Chamoy

These Mexican-style paletas are at once spicy, tart, and sweet, You can find Tajin at grocery stores (mine carries it), but you might need to go online for chamoy if you aren't near a Mexican grocery store.
Tajin and chamoy are more flavorful than hot, but if spicy food isn't for you then you can omit it. Just add a small pinch of kosher salt to the purée.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Freeze time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 paletas

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 340 grams mango, cut up into chunks, plus a few cut pieces to add to the paletas, kept separate ¾ lb
  • 34 grams granulated sugar 2 tbsp, plus 2 tsp
  • ½ lime, finely zested and juiced
  • 35 ml mango nectar 2 tbsp, plus 2 tsp
  • 2 tbsp cold water, if necessary to help thin the mango pureé
  • chamoy, to taste
  • tajin, to taste, plus extra for sprinkling

Instructions
 

Macerate the Mangos

  • In a bowl large enough to hold the mangos, add the granulated sugar and the lime zest. Using your fingers rub the lime zest into the sugar. Set aside for a few minutes (this is a good time to cut your mangos)
    34 grams granulated sugar, ½ lime, finely zested and juiced
    Sugar in a bowl with lime zest. The zest is being pinched in between my fingers in order to extract the lime oils. The stainless steel bowl with the lime sugar is on a wooden table
  • Add the mangos, less the reserved pieces, to the bowl with the lime sugar. Add the mango nectar and lime juice. Mix to combine and set aside for 20–25 minutes to macerate
    340 grams mango, cut up into chunks, plus a few cut pieces to add to the paletas, kept separate, 35 ml mango nectar
    A lemon yellow citrus juicer juicing a lime above a bowl of cut up mango for Mango Paletas

Purée

  • Transfer the macerated mangos to a blender and pureé until smooth. The purée should be pourable without too much effort (in other words, you aren't risking a clump coming all at once). If it isn't, add a tablespoon of cold water and stir, repeat with a bit more water if necessary
    2 tbsp cold water, if necessary
    Image shows mangos in a blender and a stainless steel bowl. Visible is a portrait of a woman and a curtain beyond the wooden table

Assemble the Paletas

  • In one of the popsicle molds, add a thin layer of Chamoy. Follow with a sprinkle of Tajin. Fill the popsicle mold about halfway with mango purée. Drop a couple of mango chunks, follow with another layer of Chamoy and Tajin and fill the remainder with mango ppurée, taking care to leave a little room at the top.
    Stir gently to distribute the mango pieces. Add a popsicle stick in the center, leaving enough sticking out to make a handle and cover.
    Repeat the process. You should get four paletas, maybe five
    chamoy, to taste, tajin, to taste, plus extra for sprinkling
    Sprinkling Tajin into a popsicle mold with visible cut up mango pieces and chamoy for Mango Paletas with Tajin and Chamoy

Freeze and Serve

  • Transfer the popsicle molds to the freezer and freeze for at least four hours, preferably overnight
  • To serve, unmold the paleta (I dip in warm water for a few seconds) and sprinkle with more Tajin, if desired
    Image shows a mango paleta with Tajin and Chamoy, sprinkled with more Tajin. The paleta is held in a hand in a backyard looking at a fence and maple trees, with a barn visible in the background

Video

Keyword Mango, Paleta
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

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