* If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

11 BEST Tajin Seasoning Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of tajin seasoning substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.

The best substitutes for Tajin seasoning are the homemade version and pico de gallo seasoning. You can also blend dried chili Piquin peppers with salt for a spicier twist. For an unusual but tasty substitute, try shichimi togarashi. If you don’t like the heat, go with smoked paprika, salt, and lime.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The Experiment

I prepared fruit cups with ripe pineapples, papayas, and mangoes to try 11 tajin seasoning substitutes. 

Tajin is a Mexican spice blend made of ground chili peppers, dehydrated lime, and salt. These ingredients make for a citrusy seasoning blend with a touch of heat. 

I was looking for a substitute that could deliver a similar moreish flavor.

Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesHow to SubstituteVerdict
Homemade Tajin SeasoningReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Pico de gallo seasoningReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Regular chili powder + salt + lime zest/lime juiceReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Smoked paprika + salt + lime zestReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Dried piquin chiliesReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Shichimi togarashiReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Cholula chili lime hot sauce1 tsp Tajin seasoning = 1 tbsp Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce8/10

Common uses of tajin and the best substitutes

Here are some popular ways to use Tajin seasoning and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • Fruit, vegetable, and snack seasoning: Try using homemade tajin seasoning, dried Piquin chilies (for more heat), or shichimi togarashi (for an Asian twist).
  • Marinades and vinaigrettes: Try using homemade tajin seasoning, Cholula chili lime hot sauce, or pico de gallo seasoning. Or in a pinch, use any hot sauce and a splash of lime.
  • Cocktails: Try using homemade Tajin seasoning, a mixture of chili powder, salt and lime zest, or Cholula chili lime hot sauce.

Homemade tajin seasoning

Whipping up your own Tajin seasoning is easier than you think! 

There are lots of recipes out there, but I always stick with a simple blend of guajillo and cayenne peppers for heat, and crystallized lime for a zesty citrus punch. 

If you don’t have crystallized lime you can use dried lime zest.

You can also try Mikel Anthony’s recipe (video below) if you want a ramped up version of Tajin.

The beauty of crafting a homemade Tajin blend lies in its versatility. 

You have the freedom to personalize the seasoning to suit your taste buds. As someone who loves heat, I often add a bit more cayenne pepper than called for.

This homemade blend tasted terrific with my sweet and juicy fruit cups! 

How to substitute: Replace Tajin seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with this homemade version. Check the recipe card at the bottom of this article for the full recipe.

Pico de gallo seasoning

This vibrant blend is typically crafted from dried chili peppers and salt, but there are some brands that also include lime to bring a similar zing like Tajin.

As the name suggests, this seasoning is primarily used to create the classic Mexican salsa pico de gallo, but its versatility doesn’t end there!

This tasted phenomenal with my fruit cups. And you can definitely sprinkle it over salads, popsicles, and more to elevate your dishes,

How to substitute: Replace Tajin seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with pico de gallo seasoning.

Regular chili powder + salt + lime zest/lime juice

A quick and easy substitute for tajin is a mixture of chili powder, salt, and lime or lemon zest. 

This simple mixture is a bit more savory than tajin, thanks to the added spices in chili powder, but it still works fabulously. 

Pssst…  if you’re avoiding citrus fruits, try using Sumac instead. 

This Middle Eastern spice has a bright, sour flavor often compared to lemons, which will bring the same acidity as citrus fruit.

How to substitute: Replace Tajin seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with this zesty mixture.

Smoked paprika + salt + lime zest

This combination is an excellent option for those who can’t deal with any trace of heat.

The smoked paprika gives this mixture the same eye-catching red color as Tajin and introduces a delightful smoky flavor. 

This smoky note mixed with the fresh lime zest tasted SO GOOD. You can also use regular paprika if it’s all you have.

How to substitute: Replace Tajin seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with this zesty mixture.

Dried piquin chilies

Can’t get enough of heat? Dried Piquin chilies are the Tajin substitute you’ve been waiting for. 

Boasting a Scoville rating of 40,000 – 60,000, these chilies pack a fiery punch that will leave you sweating.

But it doesn’t end there – the piquin chilies also have a fruity, nutty flair with a subtle citrus undertone similar to Tajin.

Blitz them up with salt to craft your very own piquin chili powder and sprinkle it over whatever you want!

How to substitute: Replace Tajin seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with piquin chili powder.

Shichimi togarashi

This Japanese spice blend may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tajin, but it’s a surprisingly good substitute.

It’s normally used to flavor meat, fish, rice, or ramen. But it’s not limited to Asian dishes.

Togarashi is tad spicier than tajin and has a similar citrus note, but it also comes with delicious umami goodness courtesy of crumbled nori.

You can buy this condiment in most big-name grocery stores nowadays, or you can try making it from scratch.

How to substitute: Replace Tajin seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with shichimi togarashi. 

Cholula chili lime hot sauce

Cholula chili lime hot sauce is another convenient substitute for Tajin seasoning. 

It has Tajin’s spicy, zesty notes down to a tee.

The only downside is it is in liquid form, so you can’t use it to decorate your cocktail glasses like with Tajin. 

But you can still drizzle it over anything – from fruits to crispy French fries. You can even mix it straight into your cocktails for a fiery twist. 

Psst… you can also stick with regular Cholula hot sauce if it’s all you can find – just mix it with a bit of lime juice! 

How to substitute: 1 tsp tajin seasoning = 1 tbsp Cholula chili lime hot sauce 

Other substitutes to consider

The options listed above are my go-to substitutes for tajin seasoning, but here are other alternatives you can try: 

  • Chamoy sauce – this is a saucy condiment made with dried chilis, lime juice, and fruit (usually apricots or mangoes). It’s not as spicy as Tajin, but it more than makes up for it with its fruity, tangy flavor. Plus, you can always turn up the heat but adding a dash of chili powder to your chamoy. 
  • Aji amarillo powder – if you want to switch things up, this is a solid substitute. It’s spicier than tajin but comes with fruity tropical notes that keep it from being overwhelming. It can be difficult to find though.
  • Lemon pepper seasoning + salt – this is a good substitute if you only want the zesty, citrusy kick tajin seasoning brings. The black pepper will bring the slightest hint of heat, but nothing crazy.
  • Straight lemon or lime juice – if you’re in a real bind a few drops of lime juice is better than nothing at all! It can really brighten up a dish.

Avoid using za’atar

This Middle Eastern spice blend is tasty, but I find its earthy, nutty flavors stray too far from Tajin seasoning.

You can still use this over your fresh fruits, like Tajin, but expect the flavor to be pretty different.

10 BEST Tajin Substitutes [+ Homemade Version]

I tested loads of Tajin substitutes to find the best one.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: substitutes for tajin, tajin substitutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 4kcal


  • 2 tbsp crytalized lime powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp guajillo powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a spice container and use as desired.


other options: pico de gallo powder, regular chili powder + salt + lime zest, smoked paprika + salt + lime zest, dried piquin chilies, shichimi togarashi, cholula hot sauce, chamoy, aji amarillo powder, lemon pepper seasoning 


Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 4kcal

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating