Use pantry spices to make Homemade Taco Seasoning and never have to buy it from the store again. This simple taco seasoning recipe is full of flavor and comes together in under 5 minutes.
Too often I used to find myself thinking I had everything for tacos or nachos for a quick dinner only to realize I was missing that essential packet of taco seasoning! And I hate to run to the store for just one thing! Enter this homemade taco seasoning, which is a lifesaver and tastes even better than store-bought anyway.
We tested many combinations of Mexican spices to come up with just the right savory DIY taco seasoning recipe that is the perfect balance for our weekly taco night.
Those store-bought packages of taco seasoning are loaded with fillers and often only taste like cumin and salt, so we added chili powder and smoked paprika for a more dimensional smoky flavor. Regular paprika works too, if that's all you have on hand.
Add this to ground turkey, ground beef, or a plant-based beef substitute for some delicious tacos that don't have all the preservatives of a store bought package of taco seasoning.
Why you should make homemade taco seasoning
- Adjust to your tastes. You can control the levels of heat for the perfect balance for your family.
- You control the salt. Need to cut back on sodium levels? It's no problem to dial down the amount of salt in this recipe for low sodium taco seasoning.
- It's cost-effective. Those little packets may be handy, but they add up. Instead, make a bulk batch of homemade taco seasoning and save.
- So many uses! Think beyond the shell and use your taco seasoning for casseroles, soups, pasta, and more!
Here's a list of what you'll need to make this recipe. See the printable recipe card below for exact amounts and full instructions. You can increase or decrease the amounts of each spice to suit your tastes as needed.
- Chili powder: A good red chili powder is a staple in Tex-Mex cooking that adds mild heat.
- Cumin: This spice packs a punch and gives that classic taco seasoning packet flavor.
- Smoked paprika: Most taco seasoning recipes just use regular paprika, but smoked paprika adds something extra that makes this version the best we've tried.
- Dried oregano: Oregano actually has a mild sweetness to it.
- Onion powder: You can still chop up half an onion to add to your taco meat, but don't skip the onion powder in the seasoning.
- Garlic powder: This pantry staple lets you add garlic flavor without having to chop fresh garlic.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: Want to bring the heat for spicy tacos? Consider doubling the amount of red pepper flakes. If you prefer mild tacos, just leave this out entirely.
- Salt & pepper: Without these ingredients, your taco meat would turn out pretty bland. You can cut back on the salt if you are trying to reduce your sodium-intake.
How to Make Taco Seasoning
Taco seasoning is super easy to make, whether you just need enough for one batch or you plan to quadruple the recipe and make it in bulk! It comes together quickly and can be stored for months so you always have it on hand for an easy taco dinner for your family.
- Combine spices together. The hardest part of this recipe is finding the spices in your spice cupboard. But other than that it's just a matter of measuring everything into a bowl or resealable jar and stirring or shaking until combined.
- Storage. Homemade taco seasoning will last for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place like the cupboard or pantry. Store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
If you want a silkier texture to your taco meat, try adding 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the recipe. It will thicken any liquid added along with the seasoning for more of a silky coating that many people enjoy.
A typical packet from the store is about 1 ounce and usually has 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning and ½ cup of water to 1 to 1 ¼ pounds of cooked ground beef. Stir well, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes before serving.
- If using with ground turkey or ground chicken, you might want to decrease the amount used to 2 tablespoons so the spices aren't overpowering.
- Use a resealable glass jar with a lid to store if you are making this taco seasoning recipe in bulk. Sometimes the odors or flavor plastic containers, where glass contains them better.
- Use this as a rub for chicken, steak, pork chops, shrimp, or fish on the grill or in the air fryer!
Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
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Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl or jar. Whisk or shake together before using.
- How to use: Add 2-3 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning and ½ cup of water to 1 to 1 ¼ pounds of cooked ground beef. Stir well, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes before serving. If using with ground turkey or ground chicken, you might want to decrease the amount used to 2 tablespoons so the spices aren't overpowering.
- Storage: Keeps for 6 months in an airtight container in the pantry. Use a resealable glass jar with a lid to store if you are making this taco seasoning recipe in bulk. Sometimes the odors or flavor plastic containers, where glass contains them better.
- Adding cornstarch: If you want a silkier texture to your taco meat, try adding 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the recipe. It will thicken any liquid added along with the seasoning for more of a silky coating that many people enjoy.