November 28, 2021

11 vegan Mexican candies and treats you must try

In the United States, candy is often synonymous with “sweet.” Chewy Airheads, Sweet and Sour Smarties, and Strawberry Licorice Twists are guaranteed to satisfy the inevitable midday sugar craving. Even accidentally vegan, Sour Patch Kids promises a dose of sweetness after its signature sour flavor has melted. Despite the prevalence of sugary treats in the United States, a visit to our neighbor to the south quickly reveals that candy doesn’t always have to be synonymous with sweet.

All over Mexico, candies are known for their complex flavor profile, ranging from sweet and salty to sour and even spicy (often containing multiple flavor notes). A dive into the country’s rich history explains the popularity of fruit and chili treats. Before the Spanish conquest and the introduction of sugar, the indigenous populations appreciated sweets made from fruits and sweetened with honey. While most candy is now made with sugar, Mexico’s iconic confectionery remains mostly fruit-focused. The practice of infusing chili peppers in foods also has roots in pre-colonial history in Mexico. During the reign of Aztec Emperor Montezuma, chili pepper was infused into drinking chocolate. Today, the spices are infused into the treats to provide a boost.

From tamarind classics to spicy mango candy, here are the 11 vegan Mexican candies you need to spice up your candy game. (Bonus: all are free of added dyes.)

To buy

@ dulceriaestrella / Instagram

1 tamarind spoons

A stroll down the candy aisle at any Mexican convenience store quickly reveals the importance of tamarind in the country’s confectionery. The tamarind, although native to parts of Africa and Asia, was introduced to the region by Spanish merchant ships sailing between present-day Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco, Mexico. Today, the sweet and sour fruit is used in aguas frescas, chocolate, paletas, and yes, candy. These sweet and spicy treats mix the meaty fruit with chili peppers to form a paste before it’s wrapped in spoons for on-the-go pleasure.
Get them here

VegNews.PelonPeloRico@ sugarthingspty / Instagram

2 Pelo Rico Pelon

A favorite in piñatas and party gift bags, it’s easy to see why this tamarind candy is so popular among kids. Unscrew the cap, place your thumbs on the convenient buttons and press to watch your Pelon Pelo Rico grow hair right in front of your eyes. Jellyfish who?
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VegNews.Accirico@ candycratesco / Instagram

3 Acirrico

Sour Patch lovers, rejoice! This hot and sour powdered candy is made with fresh lemon for a twisted crease in the face. Enjoy on its own or sprinkle on crisps or fruit for a touch of citrus and spice.
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VegNews.Pulparindo@ heycandy.ec / Instagram

4 Pulparindo

Widely available in the United States, Pulparindo is among Mexico’s most popular treats. Made with freshly ground chili peppers and tamarind pulp, this sweet, savory and spicy confection is available in Original, Watermelon, Extra Hot, Mango and Chamoy flavors. Our favorite part? They are all vegans!
Get it here

VegNews.ChilitoSiriloChamoyChilito Sirilo

5 Chamoy

Often washed down with fruit, crisps and even drinks, this chili-lemon paste can be enjoyed on its own. Made with alternative sweeteners, Chilito Sirilo’s Chamoy is also keto-friendly. Now give us the cucumbers and chamoy, please!
Get it here

VegNews.SaladitosEl Super Leon

6 Saladitos

Don’t you have a sweet tooth? Look no further than Saladitos for a savory treat. Made with dried plums, this meaty candy packs a salty punch. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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VegNews.DeLaRosaMazapan@ eddiespicture / Instagram

7 Mazapan

Unlike marzipan, which is made with almond flour and sweetened with honey, the ever popular mazapan is made with peanuts and sugar. Perfect for those who just want a touch of sweetness, this crumbly treat will have you coming back for more. Make sure to avoid the chocolate coated varieties as they contain dairy.
Get it here

Make

VegNews.Obleas@ soytachirense / Instagram

8 Obleas

Not crazy about tamarind or spices? These thin, wheat-based wafers are the perfect snack. Stay away from filled obleas, as they often contain a center of caramel or dairy-based dulce de leche. Buy a pack of these unfilled wafers and personalize them yourself with vegan Nutella, dairy-free whipped cream, or jam.
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VegNews.SugarfinaMangoGummiesSugarfina

9 Spicy mango gummies

No candy drive is complete without gummies. To make your own treats without gelatin, mix five tablespoons of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of chamoy and whisk until smooth. Drizzle with vegan mango gums (we’re obsessed with Sugarfina’s magic mangoes!), Stir until coated, add Tajín to your liking, and mix again. For even more spice, combine Tajín with pico de gallo powder.
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VegNews.SplendidTableCoconutLimesSplendid Table

ten Coconut Stuffed Lemons

For spice showers, coconut candy promises to satisfy sugar cravings without any heat. A favorite of Frida Khalo, these candied limes filled with coconut can be found in confectionery stores across Mexico. Whip up these unique treats with this easy recipe from The Splendid Table.
Get the recipe here

VegNews.CandiedSquash@ wiicho_reyes / Instagram

11 Candied squash

Candied fruits and vegetables are popular sweets. Often enjoyed after dinner, dulces de mesa are easily prepared at home. A favorite in Mexico is the candied chilacayote, a squash the size of a watermelon. Check out this four-ingredient recipe for making your own after-dinner treat.
Get the recipe here

For more vegan Mexican food and treats, read:
6 tips for cooking vegan Mexican food at home
14 vegan Mexican desserts you need
Mexican street snacks, vegetalized!

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