Homemade Taco Seasoning is so easy to make, you’ll want it to be Taco Tuesday all week long. It’s healthier than store-bought, you’ll save money making your own, and it tastes so much better without cheap fillers. All you need are some Crispy Taco Shells to go with it.
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Taco Seasoning Recipe
I’m all about convenience when it comes to cooking, but I also want to balance that with affordability and quality. Seasonings packets are definitely easy, but you’re paying more for something that’s not as good as homemade. After inspecting the labels on store-bought packets, I realized that corn meal was the main ingredient in the brand I used to buy. Say what?!
Corn meal is a cheap filler and it’s often a GMO ingredient. Why pay for that when you can skip the fillers and make your own taco seasoning with ingredients you probably already have on hand?
Best of all, when you don’t use those filler ingredients, the taco seasoning tastes better. We did a blind comparison between store-bought and homemade taco seasoning recipe and the homemade version won the taste test every single time.
Why DIY Taco Seasoning is Best?
- No MSG, no fillers, and no sugar – Yes, in addition to corn meal, store-bought often has MSG and sugar added.
- Keeps well – Store in a jar with a lid and it will last in the pantry for a few months, without the preservatives in taco seasoning packets.
- High-quality – You control the ingredients so you can buy quality spices.
- Easy – Combine the ingredients and you’re done.
What is taco seasoning? It’s essentially a blend of seasonings that work well together for seasoning Mexican or Tex-Mex foods.
- Chili powder – a blend of a few different varieties of dried chiles so the flavor can vary between brands.
- Ground cumin – Next to chili powder, cumin is the most important ingredient in taco seasoning. It adds an earthy flavor and aroma.
- Paprika – Use smoked paprika if you have it.
- Salt and Pepper – we use fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Garlic powder – Another key ingredient that adds garlic flavor.
- Onion powder – adds mild onion flavor to the seasoning.
- Dried oregano – any kind will work, but for more authentic flavor, if you have it, use Mexican oregano.
- Red pepper flakes – or substitute a dash of cayenne pepper.
Pro Tip: Smell your spices before making this recipe. It may sound strange, but this is the best way to know if herbs and spices are past their prime. If they don’t have much of an aroma, it’s time to replace them.
- Spicy Taco Seasoning – This is a pretty mild taco seasoning. To make it spicier, substitute chili powder with Mexican Hot Chili Powder or add more dried chili flakes
- Low sodium – you can use less salt in your taco seasoning if you are trying to reduce your salt intake.
- Gluten-free – the ingredients in this taco seasoning should be naturally gluten-free, but check the labels of your individual spices to ensure they are all gluten-free.
How to Make Taco Seasoning
Once you see how easy it is to make your own taco seasoning, you’ll always want the homemade version. The process is quick and so easy and you can easily double or triple the recipe.
- Gather the ingredients – Grab all the spices you need from your pantry.
- Combine – Measure each ingredient and place them all into a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Store – Transfer the seasoning to an airtight container and keep it on hand for all your future taco needs.
Pro Tip: Use a small kitchen funnel to help you transfer the taco seasoning to the storage jar without spilling.
How Much Taco Seasoning is in 1 packet?
We substitute DIY taco seasoning in the same amount as what is in a packet. Typically 2 Tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning is equal to 1 packet of storebought seasoning.
How to Use Taco Seasoning
In addition to using taco seasoning for Taco Recipes, you can use it for:
- Ground Beef – for a pound of ground beef, add two tablespoons of this seasoning, along with 1/2 cup of water. This seasoned ground beef is great for Taco Salad.
- Flavored Butter: Mash the seasoning into softened butter and spread onto Instant Pot Corn on the Cob or Grilled Corn.
- Seasoning – for Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries and of course Easy Taco Soup.
- Shelf-life: Homemade seasoning keeps really well. Depending on the freshness of the spices you use, you can count on it lasting at least 6 months.
- How to Store: I like to keep the seasoning in a jar with an airtight lid. Like other spices, it should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place, like your pantry. You can use spice jars or any small lidded container. See our Kitchen Organization post for how we set up our spice drawer.
This DIY taco seasoning recipe is easy to make, cheaper than store-bought packets, and it tastes better, too. Plus, when you make it yourself, you’re in control of the ingredients, which means no sugar, fillers, or preservatives.
More Tex-Mex Recipes to Try
If you love this taco seasoning, then you won’t want to miss these Tex-Mex recipes.
- Easy Homemade Salsa (Restaurant-Style)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Easy Tostada Recipe
- Guacamole Recipe
- Mexican Street Corn (Elote Recipe)
Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
- In a small bowl, add all of the taco seasoning ingredients. Stir to combine and store homemade taco seasoning in an airtight container for up to 6 months.