Taco seasoning packets are convenient, but they're loaded with preservatives and salt. Making your own taco seasoning is easy, affordable and much healthier than the store-bought kind. Plus you can customize it to suit your tastes (and what's in the pantry).
I've got a delicious recipe that will help you make restaurant quality tacos at home in no time! Here's how to make it...
What you need to make taco seasoning
To make this taco seasoning, you'll need a variety of spices. I've tested out various ratios, and find the measurements listed in the recipe to provide the best results, but feel free to experiment with them to find the flavor that's perfect for you.
- chili powder - this is typically the more confusing one. There is a difference between chili powder, chile powder and chili seasoning. The chili powder that we are using is a blend of ground chili peppers and other seasonings, but doesn't have as many ingredients as chili seasoning and doesn't include the thickeners. Chile powder is more pure and only consists of ground chili peppers.
- garlic powder - dehydrated and ground garlic, not to be confused with garlic salt which also contains salt
- onion powder - dehydrated ground onion
- kosher salt - coarsely ground salt usually without additives
- cumin - toasted and ground cumin seeds that adds a sweet warm flavor
- oregano - dried
- paprika - ground from red peppers
- pepper - regular ground black pepper
How to Make Taco Seasoning
To make the taco seasoning, you'll simply measure out the spices and add them to a bowl. Mix everything well to combine.
Store them in a jar with an airtight lid for best results. Ensure the jar is completely dry before adding the spices so that you don't end up ruining the spice blend.
A Few Notes on Buying Spices
When you choose spices for this recipe, make sure they're not too old (if it's been sitting on the shelf in your pantry for months or years, it will have lost its flavor), and that they haven't been exposed to humidity or other conditions that can compromise their quality.
You'll want to consider whether budget or quality is most important to you. I've made this taco seasoning with many types of spices, and it turns out well either way. Higher quality spices will often have better flavor and may even be organic, but the difference in taste is small so use whichever you have access to.
How Do You Use Taco Seasoning?
When we make taco seasoning, I like to add 2 tablespoons per pound of meat if cooking ground meat.
For other uses, 1 -2 tablespoons is typically enough to spice up most dishes and is particularly delicious when mixed with beans, tofu and veggies.
There are tons of possibilities for how you can use this tasty taco mix!
How long does taco seasoning last?
Well, I've never made a batch that didn't get used up pretty quickly! It's best if you use this taco seasoning within 3 months.
However, as long as you store it properly, it will last as long as the expiration of the individual spices you've added.
How do you store homemade seasoning?
The most important thing is to store the taco seasoning in a completely dry container with an air-tight lid. I prefer either a
How much homemade taco seasoning equals one packet?
For this taco seasoning, I replace one packet of traditional store bought with 2 tablespoons homemade. Adjust to taste.
Recipes using Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Slow Cooker Verde Chicken Tacos
- Slow Cooker Healthy Taco Casserole
The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning
- ½ cup chili powder
- 3 tablespoons garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons onion powder
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- Mix all ingredients together
- Store in a dry, airtight container
- Use 2 tablespoons to replace 1 packet of store bought seasoning, adjust to taste
- be sure to store in a completely dry and clean container that is air-tight
- best to consume within 3 months, but seasoning will last as long as the expiration of the individual spices used
- use 2 tablespoons per pound of ground meat
Donna L. Weible says
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!
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!
Do you still have to add 1/2 or 3/4 cup water and let simmer for 5 minutes like the packaged taco seasoning?
Yes, for best results. I usually add 2 tablespoons or so to one pound of ground beef. Simmer with 1/4-1/2 cup of water.
His is a great recipe thank you for sharing it.
Nancy Coley Wilson says
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?
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.
I left out the salt, and it was good without it
SHEILA LININGER says
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.)
Rachelle Nowobielski says
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?
You could add some cayenne, crushed red pepper or chipotle chili powder to taste.
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.
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.
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????
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?!
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.
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.
Is that the amount of salt for one serving?
Is this a mild, medium, or hot mix? I only use mild.
Prudy Blank says
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! 🙂
That's awesome! How did it turn out for you?