The Trader Joe's Seasoning That Unexpectedly Upgrades Vanilla Ice Cream

Wondering if sweet and savory flavor pairings are still on-trend? The answer is a pretty unequivocal yes if social media is anything to go by (and in this day and age, it's everything to go by). While some sweet and savory recipes focus on the latter half of the equation by sugaring up a main dish, others are more about adding some type of salty seasoning to a dessert. In this latter category, we find the idea of using Trader Joe's seasonings — specifically, the chile-lime seasoning — on vanilla ice cream, something that came (unsurprisingly) from a TJ's employee and was featured on episode 49 of the company's podcast.

The chile lime seasoning is actually a three-for-one flavor combo as it combines salt with sourness from powdered lime juice and citric acid and a hint of heat from some type of unspecified dried chile pepper, with this last-named being toned down by the addition of dried bell peppers and rice concentrate. The one thing it lacks is sweetness, but that's where the vanilla ice cream comes in. Your dessert will be firing on all four cylinders with the only flavor missing being bitter. If you really want to redress the balance, though, you could always make it into an ice cream float by using either grapefruit juice or an IPA.

A similar seasoning has already expanded into the dessert market

Trader Joe's is known for producing its own take on name-brand bestsellers, including the now-discontinued knockoff Takis and several varieties of copycat Girl Scout cookies. Its chile lime seasoning is no different, as it's basically TJ's take on Tajín, a Mexican seasoning known for its ability to change food flavors. It makes them tangier and a little bit spicier. (More so than the chile lime seasoning, according to many who've tried it, although some do prefer Trader Joe's more toned-down version.) Tajín, it seems, is also way ahead of Trader Joe's when it comes to marketing its product as a dessert seasoning.

In Mexico, Tajín fruit sorbets are available in mango and lime versions. While we've yet to see these in U.S. supermarkets, Outshine markets frozen mango bars seasoned with Tajín, and even Baskin-Robbins uses the seasoning blend for its mangonadas (as does just about every food truck and street vendor offering this drink), The Tajín website also includes a selection of dessert recipes including one for avocado ice cream. The seasoning has even found its way into candies such as white chocolate-Tajín strawberries sold by H-E-B and Tajín-passionfruit candies from gourmet chocolatier Cacao & Cardamom. Even if you can't find or don't want to shell out big bucks for any of these products, you may take this as a license to use Tajín (or, by extension, the TJ's knockoff) in desserts that range far beyond vanilla ice cream.