11 vegan Mexican sweets and treats you must try

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In the United States, candy is often synonymous with “sweet”. Chewy airheads, sweet and sour smarties and strawberry and licorice twists are guaranteed to satisfy the inevitable craving for sugar at lunchtime. Even the accidentally vegan Sour Patch Kids promises a sweet kick after its signature sour taste melts away. Despite the spread of sugary treats in the USA, a visit to our southern neighbor quickly shows that sweets don’t always have to be sweet.

All over Mexico, sweets are known for their complex flavor profile, ranging from sweet to salty to sour and even spicy (often with multiple flavors). Delving into the country’s rich history explains the popularity of fruit and chili fortified treats. Before the Spanish conquest and the introduction of sugar, the indigenous people enjoyed sweets made from fruit sweetened with honey. While most sweets today are made with sugar, Mexico’s signature confectionery remains mostly fruity. The practice of infusing chilli into food also has roots in Mexico’s pre-colonial history. During the reign of the Aztec Emperor Montezuma, chili was poured into drinking chocolate. These days, spices are poured into treats to provide a warming boost.

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

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@ dulceriaestrella / Instagram

1 Tamarind spoon

A stroll through the candy section of a Mexican grocery store quickly reveals the importance of the tamarind in the country’s confectionery. Tamarind is native to parts of Africa and Asia, but was introduced to the region by Spanish merchant ships that sailed between what is now Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco in Mexico. Today the sour-sweet fruit is used in Aguas Frescas, chocolate, Palaces, and yes, candy. These sweet and spicy delicacies mix the fleshy fruits with chillies to a paste before they are packed in spoons for enjoyment on the go.
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VegNews.PelonPeloRico@ sugarthingspty / Instagram

2 Pelon Pelo Rico

A favorite in piñatas and party goodie bags, it’s easy to see why these tamarind-flavored candies are so popular with kids. Twist the cap off, place your thumbs on the handy nubs and press down to watch your Pelon Pelo Rico hair grow right in front of your eyes. Medusa who?
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VegNews.Accirico@ candycratesco / Instagram

3 Acirrico

Sour patch lovers, rejoice! This sour-hot powder candy is made with fresh lemon for a face-twisting fake. Enjoy pure or sprinkle on chips or fruit for a touch of citrus and spice.
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VegNews.Pulparindo@ heycandy.ec / Instagram

4th Pulparindo

Pulparindo is widespread in the United States and is one of the most popular delicacies in Mexico. This sweet, salty and spicy confection is made from freshly ground chillies and tamarind pulp and is available in the flavors original, watermelon, extra hot, mango and chamoy. Our favorite part? They are all vegan friendly!
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VegNews.ChilitoSiriloChamoyChilito Sirilo

5 Chamoy

This chili and lemon-based paste is often dripped onto fruits, chips, and even drinks and can be enjoyed on its own. Chilito Sirilos Chamoy is made with alternative sweeteners and is also keto-friendly. Now please give us the cucumbers and the chamoy!
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6th Saladitos

Don’t have a sweet tooth? Look no further than saladitos for hearty enjoyment. This meaty candy is made from dried plums and has a salty flavor to it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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VegNews.DeLaRosaMazapan@ eddiespicture / Instagram

7th Mazapan

In contrast to marzipan, which is made from almond flour and sweetened with honey, the popular Mazapan is made from peanuts and sugar. Perfect for anyone who just wants a touch of sweetness, this crumbly treat will make you want to come back again. Make sure to avoid the chocolate-coated variety as it contains dairy products.
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VegNews.Obleas@ soytachirense / Instagram

8th Obleas

Not crazy about tamarind or spices? These thin wheat-based wafers are the ideal snack. Stay away from filled obleas as these often feature a milk-based caramel or dulce de leche center. Buy a pack of these unfilled waffles and design them yourself with vegan Nutella, non-dairy whipped cream or jam.
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VegNews.SugarfinaMangoGummiesZuckerfina

9 Spicy mango gums

No sweet roundup is complete without gummies. To make your own gelatin-free treats, mix five tablespoons of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of Chamoy and whisk everything until smooth. Drizzle over vegan-friendly mango gums (we’re obsessed with Sugarfina’s Magic Mangoes!), Toss until coated, add tajín as you like, and toss again. For even more warmth, combine Tajín with Pico de Gallo Powder.
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10 Limes filled with coconut

For the aversion to spices, coconut candies promise to satisfy sugar cravings without any heat. These coconut-filled candied limes are a Frida Khalo favorite and can be found in confectionery products across Mexico. Prepare these unique treats using this simple recipe from The Splendid Table.
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VegNews.CandiedSquash@ wiicho_reyes / Instagram

11 Candied pumpkin

Candied fruits and vegetables are popular sweets. Often enjoyed after dinner, dulces de mesa can be easily prepared at home. A favorite in Mexico is candied chilacayote, a watermelon-sized pumpkin. Check out this four ingredient recipe to make your own after-dinner treat.
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For more vegan Mexican food and goodies, check out:
6 tips for cooking vegan Mexican food at home
14 vegan Mexican desserts you will need
Mexican street snacks, veganized!

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