What You Need to Know About Tajín, the Mexican Seasoning That Goes with Everything
This salty, spicy, citrusy mix inspires devoted fans—here's how to use it to add zing to vegetables, corn, fruit, avocado toast and much more.
Pictured recipe: Mexican Street Corn
For those of us who love chile and lime, fresh fruit or wedges of crunchy jicama seem almost naked without an extra pop of salt and heat. That's where Tajín Clásico Seasoning comes in.
A mix of mild chile powder, dehydrated lime and salt, Tajín (pronounced Tah-HEEN) adds oomph to fruit and almost anything else it touches. Think of it like a lemon-pepper or Mrs. Dash-style seasoning, but zippier, tangier and with a headier chile aroma.
Tajín isn't new-it was invented in Mexico in 1985, and it entered the U.S. market in 1993. Mexican-American communities in the U.S. have loved it for years, as salty, sour and spicy flavors are particularly prized in Mexican cooking. In my own house growing up, we sprinkled a precursor to Tajín (known as pico de gallo seasoning) on jicama and cucumber slices, for a burst of tangy-spicy-saltiness.
People who love Tajín really, really love it. I have a friend who carries a bottle in her purse. (Tajín makes tiny purse-sized bottles, because they know.) Other brands have gotten into the mix too-Trader Joe's makes a chile lime seasoning blend, and Penzeys has a version called Pico Fruta with chile, lemon, sugar and cilantro.
The difference between Tajín and regular chile powder is that Tajín is saltier and more acidic from the lime. Tajín doesn't overpower a dish like a vinegary hot sauce might, though. You reach for Tajín when you don't want to smother your dish in heat, but just add a little zing.
Here are some more ideas for how to use Tajín. (Once you start using it, you might find yourself wanting to put it on everything.)
9 Ways to Use Tajín
Corn on the Cob
If you've ever sprinkled Old Bay on your corn on the cob, you're just a few steps removed from sprinkling on Tajín-the latter adds a more acidic, aromatic twist.
Related: How to Grill Corn on the Cob
Nearly any sweet fruit (including, but not limited to, mango, pineapple, watermelon and cantaloupe) is made for Tajín, because the result captures so many flavors at once: sweet, spicy, tangy and salty.
Sprinkle Tajín on top of unsalted steamed broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini. You won't miss butter or anything else.
Pictured recipe: Egg-in-a-Hole Avocado Toast
Toast bread. Add avocado slices or lightly mashed avocado. Drizzle on a little olive oil, if you're so inclined. Sprinkle on Tajín and enjoy.
Tajín pops over any delicate, mild white fish, adding a burst of citrus and chile aroma.
Plain cooked shrimp works well with Tajín-the spice blend plays nicely with shrimp's underlying sweetness. Or go one step further and sauté the shrimp in butter and garlic before you sprinkle on the spices.
Remember my lemon-pepper seasoning comment above? It's the same sort of idea here. Tajín adds a layer of saltiness and fun to what can be a somewhat-plain sandwich filling.
Pictured recipe: Lime & Parmesan Popcorn
This is one of the easiest ways to dress popcorn, because you don't need to add extra salt.
Rim a frosted beer glass with Tajín and add an ice-cold lager.