Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2024)

Homemade taco seasoning without MSG or additives is 100% natural and delicious. Make extra to keep on hand! It’s not only for tacos — you can use it in so many recipes!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Read the comments! This recipe is a huge hit with readers!

How long it takes: 5 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: measuring spoons, small jar or bowl
Servings: 8, depending on how much you add to your recipe

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (1)

Table of Contents close

  • 1 Recipe Overview
  • 2 Why make homemade taco seasoning?
  • 3 About This Recipe
  • 4 What You’ll Need
  • 5 How to make taco seasoning
  • 6 FAQs
  • 7 How to make tacos
  • 8 How To Use Taco Seasoning
  • 9 Gift Idea
  • 10 More Easy to Make Spice Blends
  • 11 Get the Recipe: Homemade Taco Seasoning

I’ve made about a bazillion batches of this homemade taco seasoning. It includes great spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic, red pepper flakes, and paprika and it’sdefinitely not only for tacos – keep on reading to see all the places I use it.

This homemade seasoning is 10,000 times better than the seasoning that comes in a packet labeled “taco seasoning.” And if you’re watching your sodium intake, this is the only way to go.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2)

Why make homemade taco seasoning?

  • Know What’s In Your Food: I searched for a popular brand of taco seasoning (most brands are similar) and found that it contains these ingredients:Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).Most other brands have similar ingredients. “Natural flavor”? Yeah, I’m sure. There’s nothing really natural about natural flavorings. They’re often highly processed and contain additives (Healthline).
  • Less Sodium: I’m also passing on 430 mg of sodium per serving (1/6 of the package). When you make your own copycat blend, you’re in control of how much salt you add. Check out the nutrition information at the end of the post. This homemade blend only has 164 mg of sodium and you can easily decrease that if you want.
  • Make it Your Own: Make it spicier, less spicier, saltier, less salty, or make it without cumin. We give lots of ideas at the end of this post!
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About This Recipe

Whether you make your tacos with ground beef, ground turkey, pulled chicken, ground chicken, or tofu–this spice mixture is a winner. I also use it for fajitas and other dishes that need a quick pinch of Mexican flavor (see the end of this post for a lot of really great uses of this homemade taco seasoning!).

Spice blends are really easy to make. Raid your spice cabinet and find a little bowl or jar. You’ll need a few measuring spoons, too.

This blend is also Whole30 compliant and is also Paleo. It works if you’re on a keto diet, too!

You’ll find the printable recipe at the end of the post. It has complete directions with measurements and nutrition information.

What You’ll Need

You might find you have all you need on hand already, right inside your spice cabinet or drawer. Here’s what you need, with a few tips.

  • Chili Powder: Chili powder varies greatly from brand to brand. Pick a brand you like, and keep in mind that many chili powder blends contain salt, so you might not need as much salt in this recipe if yours has salt in it.
  • Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika: These are spices we use in so many of our recipes, and hopefully you do too! Make sure you’re choosing garlic and onion powder, not garlic or onion salt. We use sweet paprika, but try using smoked paprika for a smoky twist on tacos.
  • Salt: We prefer coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt. If you use a finer salt such as table salt, you won’t need as much.
  • Black Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes: Depending on what type of chili powder you use, most of your spice will come from these two ingredients. A coarse ground or freshly ground black pepper will pack less of a punch than a fine ground pepper. If you only have fine ground black pepper, make sure to use less. If you don’t like spice, leave out the red pepper flakes. You can also substitute cayenne powder for the red pepper flakes, but may want to use lesser amount.
  • Oregano: Use Mexican oregano if you can get your hands on it, but I’ve made this spice blend countless times with Italian oregano and it always tastes great.
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How to make taco seasoning

All you need to do is mix all the ingredients in a small jar or bowl. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

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How to make mild taco seasoning

To make this mixture more mild, leave out the red pepper flakes and reduce the amount of black pepper.

How to make it spicier

To make hot and spicy taco seasoning, add more red pepper flakes, and/or add cayenne powder.

For low-sodium spice mix

To make this low-sodium or salt-free, leave out the salt and look for a chili powder that is low in sodium or salt-free.

Cumin-Free Tacos

Not a cumin fan? You can make this taco seasoning without cumin. Itwill not taste exactly like traditional tacos so I highly recommend adding the cumin.

Cumin has a very distinctive flavor that is hard to replicate. Some folks think that because cumin and caraway seeds look similar, they can substitute caraway for cumin. That’s just not true. They have a very different flavor.

If you don’t have cumin or don’t like it, I would say just omit it in the taco seasoning. Don’t substitute anything else for the cumin.

Add a smoky flavor

If you want to add smoky flavor, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika instead of the paprika. Ground chipotle adds a smoky flavor, too.

Large Batch Taco Seasoning

You can use the recipe yield adjuster in the recipe card below, but we also added a note for an easy large batch recipe. It’s great to stock your pantry or for gifting.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (6)

FAQs

Do you drain meat before adding taco seasoning?

The answer to that depends on the meat and your preference. If there is a lot of grease in the pan after browning the meat, you may want to drain it. If it’s just juicy but doesn’t seem greasy, go ahead and just leave it in. As the taco meat simmers, the juice will evaporate, leaving lots of great flavor behind. If the meat still seems like it has too much liquid, sprinkle a tablespoon of cornmeal or masa harina over the meat and stir well.

Is there a difference between taco seasoning and fajita seasoning?

Yes, you’ll notice some differences. Fajita seasoning is usually a little more subtle than taco seasoning, not quite as spicy. I add brown sugar to my fajita seasoning to help caramelize the meat and give it a subtle sweetness. However, when you make your own, as most Mexican cooks do, your spice blend will be uniquely personalized, just the way you like it best! There’s really no right or wrong way.

How to make tacos

Making tacos with homemade seasoning is so easy!

  1. Add 1-2 tablespoons (or up to the full amount if you like it spicier) of this mixtureplus 1/2 to 3/4 cup of waterto one pound of cooked meat of your choice. If desired, add a tablespoon of all-purpose flour, corn meal or masa harina to the cooked meat when you add the spice mixture, to thicken up the mixture a bit.
  2. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until there is very little liquid left in the pan.
  3. Serve the taco meat in warm tortillas or crisp taco shells with your favorite taco toppings. I recommend sour cream, fresh restaurant style salsa or pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, and tomato.
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How To Use Taco Seasoning

The options are really endless! If you’re looking for ideas outside of traditional taco meat, try these:

  • Chicken: Use your homemade taco seasoning to make everything from easy slow cooker shredded chicken, to flavorful taco chicken tenders.
  • Turkey: Try it in taco turkey burgers or southwestern mini meatloaves.
  • Pasta: You can even use taco seasoning to add flavor to mac and cheese like in this southwestern mac and cheese.
  • Sides: Taco seasoning isn’t just for main dishes! I also love to use it in quinoa stuffed peppers and southwestern orzo salad.

Gift Idea

Hmemade spice blends make a great gift. It’s fun to give put all the spices in a small jar, layered like sand art, so the recipient can mix it up themselves. Tie a ribbon around the top with a recipe or two attached.

More Easy to Make Spice Blends

Love the idea of making your own spice blends? See my whole list of homemade spice blends for inspiration! These are a few of my favorites:

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
  • Apple Pie Spice Recipe
  • Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix (Buttermilk)
  • Beef Stew Seasoning
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Mild Curry Powder

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

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Recipe

Get the Recipe: Homemade Taco Seasoning

4.57 from 162 votes

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Total Time: 5 minutes mins

8 servings

Print Rate Recipe

Homemade taco seasoning without MSG or additives is 100% natural and delicious. Make extra to keep on hand, it's not just for tacos!

Ingredients

Instructions

Taco Seasoning

  • In small bowl, mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. Or you can mix it together in the container you are going to store it in. Just give it a shake!

How to Make Taco Meat

  • Add 1-2 tablespoons (or up to the full amount if you like it spicier) of this mixture plus 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water to one pound of cooked meat of your choice. If desired, add a tablespoon of all-purpose flour, corn meal or masa harina to the cooked meat when you add the spice mixture, to thicken up the mixture a bit.

  • Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until there is very little liquid left in the pan.

  • Serve the taco meat in warm tortillas or crisp taco shells with your favorite taco toppings. I recommend sour cream, fresh salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, and tomato.

Notes

  • Nutrition information is based on 2 tablespoons spice mix, serving 4 persons.
  • Add a tablespoon of all-purpose flour, corn meal or masa harina to the cooked meat when you add the spice mixture, to thicken up the mixture a bit.
  • I’ve had some comments that this is quite spicy. If you’re not a huge spicy food fan, I’d cut down on the amount used per pound of meat — start with one tablespoon and add more to taste. Alternatively, you could leave the red pepper flakes out to decrease the heat.
  • If you find yourself using this taco seasoning often, make a big batch which yields about 1 ½ cups of seasoning. Use these measurements:
    • ½ cup chili powder
    • 2 tablespoons plus plus 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 1 -2 tablespoons kosher salt (more to taste)
    • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
    • 4 teaspoons paprika
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

Nutrition Information

Calories: 6kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 164mg, Potassium: 34mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 332IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

© Author: Rachel Gurk

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2024)
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