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The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning

Is there a more multi-purpose seasoning blend than homemade taco seasoning? Making your own batch is a delicious and healthy alternative to packets from the store with added or unwanted ingredients. Gather your spices and create a savory mix that can be used in tacos, soups, casseroles, salads, dips, and oh so much more!

glass jar filled with homemade taco seasoning and a measuring spoon

Why Should You Make Your Own Taco Seasoning? 

At times, it may seem more convenient to grab a taco seasoning packet off the shelf at the grocery store, but in the long run, there are so many more benefits to making homemade taco seasoning from scratch! A few reasons why:

  • Easy – Once you gather all your ingredients, simply measure, mix, and store! If you double or triple your batches, you’ll have plenty in time for the next low-prep meal.
  • Affordable – Most taco seasoning packets range from $1-$2 each. For roughly 2 tablespoons of seasoning, that price can start to add up quickly if you love to cook Mexican-inspired meals. Buying spices individually and mixing them at home can help cut costs per meal.
  • Healthy – Leave out the added preservatives such as maltodextrin or cornstarch, and keep just the spices since they’ll be freshly mixed in your own home. Additionally, you won’t need to check labels for things like wheat flour or MSG which are common in many store-bought spice blends.
  • Customizable – Prefer a little more kick? Add a little extra spice! Or, if you happen to be short on an ingredient at home, simply customize based on your pantry provisions.

Ingredients Needed

The ingredients for this homemade taco seasoning recipe yield a mild to medium flavor which can easily be used for a wide range of meals. You may wish to experiment with some of the ratios to find the flavor that is perfect for you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chili powder – Not to be confused with chile powder or chili seasoning! Chili powder (used in this recipe) is a blend of ground chili peppers and a few other seasonings but doesn’t have the thickeners and other additives that chili seasoning does. Chile powder, on the other hand, is more pure and only consists of ground chili peppers.
  • Garlic powder – Specifically use garlic powder, which is dehydrated and ground garlic. 
  • Onion powder – Dehydrated ground onion
  • Kosher salt – Coarsely ground salt usually without additives
  • Cumin – A powder made from toasted and ground cumin seeds that adds a sweet warm flavor
  • Oregano – Dried, choose either a ground or powder variety
  • Paprika –Ground from dried red peppers
  • Pepper – Regular ground black pepper
tiny bowls of seasoning to make homemade taco seasoning

A note on your spices:

  • Before mixing, be sure your spices are not so old that the flavor has diminished (i.e. it’s been sitting on the shelf in your pantry for months or years), and also that the spices haven’t been exposed to humidity or other conditions that can compromise their quality.
  • Consider whether budget or quality is most important to you. I have made this taco seasoning with many types of spices, and it turns out well either way. Use the spices that are accessible to you.

How To Make Homemade Taco Seasoning

It is so simple to make amazingly well-seasoned foods with your own blends at home, and even easier if you already have a batch of seasoning mixed in your pantry. This recipe will take you from spices in the cabinet to restaurant-quality tacos at home in no time! 

First, gather your spices. Measure out each ingredient and mix together in a bowl.

Store the seasoning in a labeled jar or other container with an airtight lid for best results. 

As long as you have the measuring spoons and spices out, I highly suggest making a double or triple batch of this recipe to have on hand for other quick and easy meals. Use 2 tablespoons of this mix to replace 1 packet of store-bought seasoning and adjust more or less to taste.

glass jar filled with homemade taco seasoning

Tip – Be sure that all mixing and storing dishes are completely clean and dry so that you don’t compromise the spice quality.

Homemade Taco Seasoning FAQs

  • What is the best way to store homemade taco seasoning? Keep homemade taco seasoning (as well as other individual spices) in a cool, dry location where they will not be impacted by heat from appliances or other sources of moisture. It is best to store it in an airtight container or jar.
  • How long does homemade taco seasoning last? This seasoning will last as long as the individual expiration dates on the spices used for the blend. When stored correctly, you should be able to keep it for several months at least!
  • Can taco seasoning be used as a rub? Yes, taco seasoning can be used as a rub for any meat needing a Mexican or Tex-Mex flavor. 
  • How much homemade taco seasoning is equivalent to 1 store-bought packet? For this homemade mix, use 2 tablespoons of seasoning to replace one traditional store-bought packet. Adjust to taste.
black tablespoon filled with taco seasoning on blue backdrop

Best Ways To Use Homemade Taco Seasoning 

So many delicious meals utilize some variation of a taco-flavored blend of spices! A few ways to use this mix are with ground meat for tacos or taco salad. With ground meat like turkey or beef, I like to add 2 tablespoons per pound of meat.

scooping a tablespoon of taco seasoning out of a glass jar

For most recipes such as soups, casseroles, or dips, you can substitute one store-bought packet for approximately 2 tablespoons as well. For other uses such as beans, tofu, or veggies, 1-2 tablespoons will typically be enough to spice up most dishes. 

There are tons of possibilities for how you can use this tasty taco mix! Some of the best fusions of taco-inspired flavors are in recipes like Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken Tacos or Slow Cooker Taco Pasta. Also, try using this seasoning with grilled meats and veggies, or adding a sprinkle to appetizers and snacks like chips, crackers, or potatoes! 

The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning

Jennifer Draper
Is there a more multi-purpose seasoning blend than homemade taco seasoning? Making your own batch is a delicious and healthy alternative to packets from the store with added or unwanted ingredients. Gather your spices and create a savory mix that can be used in tacos, soups, casseroles, salads, dips, and oh so much more!
4.75 from 28 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Seasoning Blend
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 12 tablespoons
Calories 50 kcal


  • measuring spoons
  • airtight container



  • Measure and mix all ingredients together
  • Store in a dry, airtight container
  • Use 2 tablespoons of seasoning to replace 1 packet of store-bought seasoning, adjust to taste


  • If you like a more mild flavor, try leaving out some of the pepper or garlic powder. Counteract some spice in your meal by adding either an acid like lemon juice or a dairy product.
  • To make it spicier, add a bit of cayenne or crushed red pepper.
  • Use 2 tablespoons per pound of ground meat or when substituting for 1 standard packet.
  • Be sure to store in a completely dry and clean airtight container
  • Best to consume within a few months, but seasoning will last as long as the expiration of the individual spices used.


Calories: 50kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1911mgPotassium: 286mgFiber: 5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3239IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

Slow Cooker Recipes Using Homemade Taco Seasoning 


  1. 5 stars
    Debated whether to venture out during this pandemic to try to find taco seasoning. Then decided to look for a recipe for homemade. Had everything I needed in my cupboard already! (Which is good because the store shelves have been pretty empty.) Thanks for coming to the rescue!

    1. Yay! I never could have imagined this scenario when I created this recipe, but I’m so happy it’s helped so many avoid an extra trip to the store!

  2. Do you still have to add 1/2 or 3/4 cup water and let simmer for 5 minutes like the packaged taco seasoning?

  3. 5 stars
    I am interested in trying this taco seasoning recipe, Jennifer. It looks really good and I love the amount it makes. However, I am concerned about the amount of sodium in the nutritional information. Is this amount for the 2 tbsp. that are equal to a store bought package or for the entire amount that you mix to use?

    1. Hi Nancy! I hope you will try it! It’s so tasty. Yes, 2 tablespoons is equivalent to one package in general. You could certainly reduce the salt or use a substitute as needed and still have plenty of flavor.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love tacos, but cannot stand the packaged taco flavoring. I cannot wait to try this. I now have high hopes of being able to create tacos – and this recipe – so that it tastes fresh and vibrant! (Or whatever, those words just jumped out of my fingers.)

  5. If I’m trying to make a seasoning that’s not mild but a little hot do i just add more paprika or would I add red pepper?

      1. 4 stars
        I like this mix because of the amount it makes but found it disappointing. Too much salt, not enough kick. Will add red pepper and try to fine tune it. Thanks. I strated making my own mixes last summer. It’s so much cheaper and no preservatives.

        1. Hi Pam! Thanks for the feedback. It’s definitely not meant as a spicy mix as I want it to be kid friendly, but you could add some cayenne and chipotle if you want to spice it up.

  6. I’m so happy to hear that you’re a fan of making your own seasonings mixes. I’m living outside the US right now and am desperately seek a chili powder blend. I’ve found a lot of recipes for taco seasoning but all of them call for chili powder (which my research shows is a spice blend). Do you have a recipe for chili powder????

    1. From what I understand, there is chili seasoning (which has other stuff like cumin, etc. and is for making chili) and then there is chili powder, which should just be chili powder. That is what I use, and I know you can order it from Amazon too if that helps?!

      1. Jennifer, thanks so much for the prompt reply. I found this on the McCormick spice website… https://www.mccormick.com/spices-and-flavors/herbs-and-spices/spices/chili-powder
        “You might be surprised to know that chili powder is actually a blend of herbs and spices. Ours begins with whole, ripe chili peppers, toasted and mixed with ingredients including cumin, oregano, garlic and salt. ” So I’m back trying to get a basic “chili powder” recipe – and again chili powder, as it’s known in the US, is not available here.

        1. good to know and thanks for sharing this!! I think you’d be totally fine to use the blend. If needed you can adjust the additional herbs and spices to taste.

  7. Craziest…craziest thing. So, I’m sitting at my desk at work right now, debating whether I wanted to run to the store to grab taco seasoning, because I totally forgot to buy it when I picked up all of the ingredients for tacos for tonight’s dinner. I was just about to grab my purse to run out, when this email pops up. I am SOOOO trying this tonight! Hahaha! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

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