Mexican Tajín Seasoning Packs Major Anti-Inflammatory Benefits (and We Have Yet To Find a Dish We Don’t Want To Shower It On)

Photo: Stocksy/Jeff Wasserman
IYKYK: Everything tastes 100 times better with just a little sprinkle of Tajín. This Mexican seasoning—made from a perfectly-balanced blend of dried red chilis, salt, and dehydrated lime juice—adds the perfect amount of saltiness, zestiness, and spiciness to anything from fresh fruit and corn to tacos, ice pops, tortilla chips, and margaritas.

By the way, in addition to its ability to instantly transform a bland dish into something that’ll tantalize every single one of your taste buds, Tajín also packs major anti-inflammatory benefits. If you're ready to learn more about the rich history of Tajín, its many health benefits, and how to use it in every dish you serve, read on.

What is Tajín, and where did it come from?

The story goes that Tajín was born on December 23, 1985 in Guadalajara, a western city in Mexico. The product had a humble start, with the owners selling the bottles one by one to local stores before expanding their business. After finding great success in the Mexican market, Tajín made its way to the United States in the early '90s. At the start of the 2000s, the product underwent some minor makeover adjustments and began exploring its worldwide potential in continents like Europe, Asia, and Africa. Today, the product can be found in more than 30 countries globally, and proudly represents some of the bold and delicious flavors of Mexican cuisine. According to the Tajín website, the product is now produced in Zapopan, Mexico, a neighboring city of Guadalajara.

Is Tajín spicy?

As mentioned, it's made from a simple blend of chili peppers, lime, and sea salt. BTW, don’t be fooled by the chili pepper base and the bright red hue that might make you think Tajín is ghost-pepper-level spicy—rest assured, it’s not. This Tajín seasoning spice is made with mild chili peppers that pack all the flavors with a modest amount of heat, perfect for flavoring just about anything.

What does Tajín taste like?

The ingredient list for the classic version of Tajín is simple: It consists of mainly sea salt, mild (emphasis on the mild) chili peppers, and lime. Although the recipe may sound rather basic, the combination of these flavors is like no other. Like the foundation of many of the best recipes, this popular condiment has it all: Namely, salt, acid, and heat.

Upon the first bite, you’ll get the umami richness of the sea salt mixed with the smokiness of the chilis. (There’s no denying that Tajín is rather salty, which should be taken into account when adding it to a recipe.) But what makes this staple even more enticing for the taste buds is the lime which adds the perfect level of acidity to balance out the richness of the chilis and the salinity of the sea salt. The combination of these three ingredients helps enhance just about anything it touches.

What makes Tajín anti-inflammatory?

One of the primary ingredients in this seasoning is chili pepper, which also happens to be one of the best anti-inflammatory spices out there; It's right up there with turmeric, black pepper, cloves, oregano, and rosemary. Chilis, which get their heat from an anti-inflammatory compound called capsaicin, can help with vascular and metabolic health, work to combat symptoms of free-radical damage in the body, and some findings suggest that they may have anti-carcinogenic properties as well. And according to the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions report that analyzed diet and mortality data from four large international studies, consumption of chili pepper may reduce one's relative risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 26 percent.

Oh, and did we mention it's one of those spices that make you poop? Can we love Tajín even more? I think not.

How to use Tajín

Although everyone has a different *favorite* way to use this condiment (mine is showered over fresh mango slices), know that Tajín can be used to season both sweet and savory dishes alike. Ahead we share several ways to incorporate Tajín into your cooking. And believe us when we say it's nearly impossible to go wrong with it.

1. Serve Tajín on fruit

For starters, it can make fruits like oranges, watermelon, mangoes, and pineapples taste even more vibrant and tangy. In Mexico, it's common to find small, pop-up stands selling fruit cups filled with mango, watermelon, pineapple, and jícama, to name a few, garnished with loads of Tajín. And for even more spice and tanginess, folks will also drizzle Chamoy sauce, which is also a popular, bright-red Mexican condiment made of dried chilies, lime juice, and fruit—usually mangos, apricots, or plums. The sauce's sweet, tangy, tart, and spicy taste pairs perfectly with the acidity and saltiness of the Tajín; together, they're the ideal umami-rich pair. Okay, we're officially drooling. 

2. Top fresh veggies with Tajín

We also recommend adding Tajín to vegetables like corn on the cob, potatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and carrots to entice the picky eater in the family. Have guests coming over? Up the ante by loading up a would-be-basic crudités platter featuring cuts of carrot, jícama, cucumber, and celery with Tajín that can quickly transform a bland veggie into a party-ready snack. To help balance the tang and spice of the seasoning, pair the veggies with a creamy dip to temper down the heat or a heaping bowl of mild guacamole.

For a more traditional approach, you can also make esquites or elotes (grilled Mexican street corn) with a schmear of something creamy like mayo, sour cream, or crema, served with Mexican cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkling of Tajín. Does that sound good or what?

3. Season your proteins with Tajín

Contrary to popular belief, Tajín isn't solely meant for sprucing up a bowl of fruit. Instead, we're strong advocates for getting highly creative with this seasoning and using it to flavor your favorite forms of protein. How to use Tajín seasoning on chicken, you may ask? Well, swap it out for your go-to condiments on the spice rack (your Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper could really use a break) and use it in the same way you would any other spice blend. The only thing to keep in mind is that Tajín has salt, which means you won't need to add too much, if any at all, in addition to it. Aside from chicken, you can also add a dash of it to grilled burgers (why not?!), pan-seared fish, or even grilled shrimp. Yum, yum, and yum.

What food is Tajín good on?

Truly, the choice is yours. No matter the combination, it's nearly impossible to go wrong with Tajín.  Whether it's a dash of it on grilled chicken, fish, sour cream, guacamole, or as a topping on soup, it always adds a little je ne sais quoi. Plus, if you're in the mood for something a little hotter, you may be pleased to learn that the popular seasoning comes in other (spicier, ooh la la) flavors too. Say hellooo to Tajín Habanero Seasoning, made with habanero peppers that certainly pack the hot, hot, heat. Or their Tajín Clásico Seasoning Reduced Sodium, made with 37 percent less salt than their OG recipe, so you can take full control over the saltiness of your dish. (Not to mention the perfect excuse to add it to desserts.)

Tajín plus these gut-friendly black bean tostadas? Talk about a match made in heaven:

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