Skip the store bought seasoning next Taco Tuesday and make your own taco seasoning! It's great to use in authentic Mexican recipes and for those familiar flavors in scrambled eggs, soups and more.
Making your own spice blends is both easy and economical. As with our chili seasoning when it's in your pantry your options are limitless in how to season your food.
With this homemade taco seasoning recipe you can make traditional tacos and so much more with homemade seasoning. It tastes better than packets of taco seasoning mix too.
I'm fortunate to have friends in Mexico who are wonderful cooks and have shared many authentic family recipes with me. Some shared here too for Mexican Adobo Chicken and Salpicon.
When seeking an authentic taco seasoning blend they were happy to help out. Generally they would not use spice mixes from a packet and mix up the seasonings for a given dish at the time. However understanding the convenience of having a premade mix on the ready they shared their typical authentic spice blend for taco meat. Once you make your own homemade taco seasoning you'll be hooked!
The best thing is you'll never be held back from not having taco seasoning packets on hand. Homemade spice blends are fast to put together and taste so much better than a taco mix packet.
Why make homemade taco seasoning mix?
- Ingredient quality. If you look at the ingredients on a taco seasoning packet you'll find a number of fillers and non-spice ingredients. This home blend is just spices, all natural ingredients.
- Flavor. After you make your own you'll notice the difference with store bought blends mainly in the saltiness. With a home blend you can tweak it for your preference.
- Convenience. Mix it up, store it in a jar and it's always available.
- Cost. Over time mixing your own is more affordable than buying packets of seasoning.
If you've used packet of taco seasoning you'll notice they can be very salty. One packet usually contains sodium levels between 300-380mg.
Instead of adding salt to the taco seasoning mix, add it to the food you are making. Then you are in control of the salt level which may vary for each way you'd use the seasoning.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Chili powder. This is a blend of different chili peppers and spices. You can use it for a richer flavor, but if you don't have it on hand, use ground chili pepper of your choice OR a singular chile powder (ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, etc).
Ground cumin. Adds a lot of flavor and it's part of the traditional taco seasoning, but it can be omitted if you don't like it.
Ground smoked paprika. This gives a wonderful full bodied smoky flavor. Regular ground paprika (sweet paprika) can be used instead of the smoked paprika if desired.
Garlic powder. Adds garlic flavor.
Oregano. You'll use dried oregano. You can use regular or Mexican oregano if you can find it.
Red pepper flakes. Optional for a spicier blend.
Salt and pepper. See notes in Variations.
How to make authentic taco seasoning
Combine all the spices in a bowl (photo 1). Mix together well (photos 2-3).
Place in a glass jar (photos 4-5), seal (photo 6) and store in a dry location away from sunlight.
Cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper can bring a lot of heat when its used but if you love a spicy Mexican food a bit of cayenne pepper is an easy way to heat up this spice combination.
Adding salt. If you know you'll use the taco seasoning in dishes where you would rather not salt them separately you can add ½ teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt to the easy homemade taco seasoning. You can even add ½-1 teaspoon of black pepper too.
How to use
This homemade authentic taco seasoning can be substituted wherever taco seasoning is used in Mexican dishes. Here are some ideas:
- tacos (chicken tacos or ground beef tacos)
- marinara sauce
- sprinkle over roasted vegetables
- Mexican-themed bowl recipes and wraps
- taco salad
Frequently Asked Questions
Use around two tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of meat. You'll want more for a pound of ground beef than you will for ground turkey or chicken. Or sprinkle into other dishes as desired.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark location with other spices. Use within 3 months for best flavor.
Spices don't go 'bad' in the traditional sense but their flavors become dull if stored too long.
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Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper optional
- ½ teaspoon sea salt optional
- ½ teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
- Add all the ingredients to a shallow bowl or a plate.
- Mix to combine all the ingredients.
- Transfer to a closed glass jar/container and store away from direct sunlight in a cool temperature.