Fajita Seasoning

Fajita seasoning is quick and easy to make at home and will instantly elevate all of your Tex-Mex dishes!

Homemade Fajita Seasoning is my favorite Mexican herb and spice blend whisked together in perfect proportions that I use ALL THE TIME!  In my book, it’s a pantry essential that adds robust, earthy, spicy flavor to anything it touches.  It can be used a million different ways from chicken fajitas, shrimp fajitas and steak fajitas to tacos, taco salads, chili, casseroles, soups, veggies, beans, rice, seafood and more!  This fajita seasoning recipe takes minutes to make with pantry staples but stays fresh for months!  It gives you complete control over its flavor, eliminates sugar, MSG, anti-caking agents, and other additives and tastes so much better than store-bought. You will love having this homemade fajita seasoning on hand!

This fajita seasoning recipe helps you whip up an easy main course, now round out your menu with Mexican rice, guacamole, corn salsa and tres leches cake!

top view of sliced chicken on a white cutting board seasoned with fajita seasoning

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WHY HOMEMADE FAJITA SEASONING IS THE BEST

Homemade is always best, and you’re in luck because homemade fajita seasoning is delicious, quick, easy, pantry friendly, versatile and inexpensive!

DELICIOUS!  If you’re ready to take your everyday culinary creations from ordinary to extraordinary, this fajita seasoning recipe is for you.  It’s bursting with complex flavor from the robust chili powder, smokey paprika, kicking chipotle chile powder, earthy cumin, and aromatic oregano, garlic and onion powder. It infuses every dish with its symphony of herbs and spices so every bite is dripping with deliciousness.  

QUICK, EASY, PANRY FRIENDLY.  This homemade fajita seasoning recipe allows you to make super tasty recipes with pantry friendly spices any time.  All you need is a handful of spices you likely already have in your spice rack and 5 minutes. 

MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER. I love to whip up easy recipes with a Mexican flair – but easy doesn’t have to mean boring and flavorless!  I use this fajita seasoning recipe as a spice rub for chicken thighs, shrimp, veggies, to flavor Mexican rice or a side of black beans; or even add it to ground beef (yes, it’s different than taco seasoning, I’ll explain below).  In short, this recipe isn’t just for fajitas and will make everything better!

CUSTOMIZABLE.  Aside from being pantry friendly, quick, easy and delicious, you will love that this homemade fajita seasoning is 100% customizable so you can adjust the ingredients and proportions according to your taste.  Don’t like heat – reduce the chipotle chile pepper.  Watching your sodium?  Reduce the salt.  Make this fajita seasoning perfect for YOU!

AVOIDS FILLERS.  You get to make YOUR best homemade fajita seasoning all while avoiding unnecessary fillers and additives in store-bought versions such as commonly included corn maltodextrin, modified corn starch, caramel coloring, and lecithin.

LESS EXPENSIVE.  Tablespoon for tablespoon, homemade fajita seasoning can actually be less expensive than buying a store-bought packet!  This is especially true if you purchase bulk spices from Costco.

I’m excited to share this homemade fajita recipe with you, let’s get whisking! You can read on or use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page to skip to the recipe.

What is fajita seasoning made of?

Fajita seasoning is one of the most flavorful seasonings out there made of chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and either chipotle chile pepper or cayenne pepper.  Each herb and spice adds character to the seasoning. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Chili powder:  made from a blend chili peppers and other spices including cumin, onion, garlic powder.   INTERNATIONAL WARNING: American chili powder is a blend of chilies and herbs with a ratio of one-part cayenne to seven parts the other spices.  Chili powders sold in other parts of the world, however, are 100% chile pepper and 8X hotter than chili powder! So, please use American-style chili powder or your mouth will be on FIRE!
  • Cumin:  warm, earthy, nutty, with a hint of both sweet and bitter.
  • Smoked paprika: rich, mild, sweet, and smoky made from smoked pimento peppers dried over oak fires.
  • Garlic powder:  dehydrated garlic for better distribution; is pungent, aromatic, and spicy.
  • Onion powder:  aromatic with a spicy bite. 
  • Oregano: aromatic, earthy, minty notes.
  • Salt and pepper:  enhance all of the flavors.
  • chipotle chile powder: is made of dried, smoked jalapeño peppers crushed into a powder.  It boasts smokey moderate heat with fruity undertones as opposed to pure heat like cayenne pepper.  It is easy to find at your grocery store under any of the following names: “chipotle chile pepper,” “ground chipotle chile,” or “chipotle powder.” 
Ingredients for homemade fajita seasoning in bowls o a white wood board: chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Fajita Seasoning Recipe Variations

  • Adjust measurements.  Make this fajita seasoning your own by playing with the measurements to suite your personal preferences. You may want to reduce the salt, up the heat or tone down the garlic/onion powder if using fresh garlic and onion in a recipe.  You can even amp up the oregano to give it a sweeter, more herbal profile.
  • Scale up or down. This fajita seasoning recipe is perfect to make in bulk because it lasts for so long.  Double triple, quadruple, the recipe!
  • Chipotle chile pepper: might be the only seasoning you don’t keep stocked.  I use it ALL the time in my Mexican recipes, so I highly suggest purchasing it.  If you don’t have it handy, you may substitute with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  • Cocoa Powder + sugar + cinnamon:  use ¼ teaspoon each to mimic Mexican chocolate. It adds an enticing mole-ish depth of flavor.
  • Kosher salt:  you may substitute the table salt with half the amount of kosher salt. 
  • Coriander: add ½ teaspoon coriander for earthy, tart, and sweet
  • Mexican oregano:  swap traditional (Mediterranean) oregano with Mexican oregano.  Mexican oregano has a stronger, more intensely earthy flavor with hints of citrus and lime notes.
  • Sugar:  is not necessary for fajita seasoning, but you can add 1 teaspoon brown sugar if you amp up the heat for a sweet and spicy balance.
  • Paleo:  this recipe is paleo as written but if you want to add sugar, use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar.

Is Fajita Seasoning Gluten-Free? 

This mix is gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar free, paleo, vegan, and Whole30 friendly.

DO YOU NEED SUGAR IN FAJITA SEASONING?

Store-bought fajita seasoning packets contain sugar as do many homemade fajita seasoning recipes, but it is not necessary.  Sugar is added to balance the acidity of the presumed citrus marinade, but when you’re using the seasoning in other applications, it is not necessary.  If using in a marinade, you can add sugar directly to the marinade.

top view showing how to make fajita seasoning recipe by adding chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to a tan dish.

What is the difference between taco seasoning and fajita seasoning?

Taco seasoning and fajita seasoning are extremely similar with almost identical ingredients, but the proportions vary. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Taco seasoning only contains trace amounts of onion powder and garlic powder (about 75% less) because it’s expected to be cooked with fresh onions and fresh garlic.  This is one of the reasons I love fajita seasoning for lazy days – no chopping but all the flavor!
  • Taco seasoning contains ground coriander for hints of earthy, tart, and sweet notes; fajita seasoning does not.
  • Fajita seasoning contains sugar because it’s expected to be combined with an acidic marinade; taco seasoning does not.
  • Store bought fajita seasoning typically contains citric acid to mimic freshly squeezed lime juice; taco seasoning does not. You can achieve this same fresh pop with a fresh squeeze of lime juice at the end of cooking to avoid any additives.

How to Make Fajita Seasoning

Homemade fajita seasoning couldn’t be any easier!  You simply:

  • Gather seasonings.  Measure out the seasonings and add them to a small bowl. This is the step when you can double or triple the recipe – measure once and enjoy many times over!
  • Mix the seasonings.  Whisk the seasonings together with a fork or wire whisk.   
  • Store or use!  Proceed to use in your favorite recipe or transfer to an airtight container.

How to Store Fajita Seasoning

Store homemade fajita seasoning in any airtight container.  If you’re making a single batch, then a plastic sealable bag will suffice, if you’re quadrupling the recipe, store tightly sealed in your favorite glass spice jars.  Once your seasoning is secure, label and store it in a cool, dry place like the pantry.

side view of making fajita seasoning recipe by adding chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to a tan dish.

How Long Does Fajita Seasoning Last?

Fajita seasoning does not spoil, but the spices will lose their potency over time.  If you make fajita seasoning with fresh spices, it can last up to a year; if you make fajita seasoning with spices that have been sitting in your pantry for a while, it will last closer to 6 months.

How to Tell If Your Spices Are Still Fresh

To see if your fajita seasoning is still fresh, you’ll want to pay attention to the appearance and smell.  The spices should be as vibrant as when it was whisked together. If they are starting to fade and look dull, your seasoning may be starting to go stale.

If you suspect your blend is going stale, it’s time for the sniff-test.  Rub a tiny bit of fajita seasoning in the palm of your hand.  Give it a big sniff, it should smell bright and fragrant.  If it smells dull, then you’ll know the seasoning has expired.  

showing how to make homemade fajita seasoning recipe stirring together chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to a tan dish with a fork.

HOW MUCH FAJITA SEASONING DO I NEED FOR 1 POUND OF MEAT?

This recipe makes approximately 3 tablespoons which will season approximately 1 ½ pounds of protein. You will need 2 tablespoons for 1 pound of protien. Of course, you can always use more or less to taste.

What to Use Fajita Seasoning For

This fajita seasoning is my go-to seasoning mix for just about any Mexican or Tex-Mex recipe. Here are just a few was to use it:

  • Fajitas:  of course, this fajita seasonings is fabulous for fajitas chicken fajitas, steak fajitas, shrimp fajitas and even salmon fajitas!  You’ll want to combine the seasoning with citrus and brown sugar to create a marinade for the full fajita flavor.  Check out any of the aforementioned recipes for details.
  • Protein rub:  creates a quick and flavorful rub for any protein.  Drizzle your chicken thighs, steak, pork, shrimp or fish with olive oil then rub with fajita seasoning let rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperate.  Finish off your protein with a nice squeeze of lime after cooking.
  • Skillet protein (for tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, etc.)  create explosively flavorful quick and easy protein by seasoning ground beef, chopped chicken (breasts or thighs), chopped steak (top sirloin), or chopped pork tenderloin with fajita seasoning and cooking in a cast-iron skillet. This method takes just minutes and creates, tender, flavorful bite-size morsels. I recommend this method if you aren’t marinating your protein.  From here, the protein can be made into tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, etc.
  • Mexican sides:  stir some fajita seasoning into cilantro lime rice, Mexican rice, black beans, refried beans, corn salad, guacamole, cornbread or even corn casserole! 
  • Veggies:  this fajita seasoning is fabulous sprinkled on sautéed peppers and onions or it can be added to any of your favorite skillet veggies.  You can even mix it with butter for corn on the cob.  It also can be swapped for the seasonings in any of your favorite roasted vegetable recipes.  Use it in roasted broccoli, roasted potatoes, roasted cauliflower, roasted butternut squash, etc. for instant YUM. 
  • Soup: use this fajita seasoning in chili, taco soup, enchilada soup, chicken tortilla soup, fajita chicken soup, caldo de pollo or albigdonas soup.
top view of chicken seasoned with homemade fajita seasoning sliced in a tan bowl

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Fajita Seasoning

Homemade Fajita Seasoning is my favorite Mexican herb and spice blend whisked together in perfect proportions that I use ALL THE TIME! In my book, it’s a pantry essential that adds robust, earthy, spicy flavor to anything it touches. It can be used a million different ways from shrimp fajitas, chicken fajitas and steak fajitas to tacos, taco salads, chili, casseroles, soups, veggies, beans, rice, seafood and more! This fajita seasoning recipe takes minutes to make with pantry staples but stays fresh for months! It gives you complete control over its flavor, eliminates sugar, MSG, anti-caking agents, and other additives and tastes so much better than store-bought. You will love having this homemade fajita seasoning on hand!
Servings: 3 tablespoons
Total Time: 5 mins
Prep Time: 5 mins

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 6 months.

Notes

Yield

One recipe (3 tablespoons) seasons 1 ½ pounds of meat. Use 2 tablespoons for 1 pound of meat.   

Uses

Fajita seasoning can be sprinkled onto ground/chopped meat, on vegetables while cooking or stirred into rice or beans. It can also be used as a meat rub. Drizzle meat with olive oil then rub with seasoning; let rest 30 minutes before cooking. See post for full list of serving ideas.

Chicken Fajitas

To make chicken fajitas, use it in this recipe.

Tips and Tricks 

  • Adjust measurements.  Make this fajita seasoning your own by playing with the measurements to suite your personal preferences. You may want to reduce the salt, up the heat or tone down the garlic/onion powder if using fresh garlic and onion in a recipe.  You can even amp up the oregano to give it a sweeter, more herbal profile.
  • Scale up or down. This fajita seasoning recipe is perfect to make in bulk because it lasts for so long.  Double triple, quadruple, the recipe!
  • Chipotle chile pepper: might be the only seasoning you don’t keep stocked.  I use it ALL the time in my Mexican recipes, so I highly suggest purchasing it.  If you don’t have it handy, you may substitute with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

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8 Comments

  1. Katherine Dietz says

    Was salt supposed to be in the ingredients twice? What is the total amount used?
    Thanks
    Katherine

    • Jen says

      Definitely not, thanks so much for catching that! It should be 1 teaspoon salt total. Thanks!

  2. LINDA says

    Do you have a cookbook published? Your recipes I’ve seen so far are out of this world

    • Jen says

      You are so thoughtful Linda! I don’t have any plans for a cookbook, but I appreciate you making my recipes!

  3. Brenda says

    I used this on chicken fajitas last night and it was delicious! I never liked the way my husband made fajitas in the past when he used the pre-packaged fajita seasoning. But now when he says he wants fajitas, I’ll be excited if we use this recipe. The recipes on your website are always keepers! Thanks!

    • Jen says

      That is awesome Brenda, thank you! I’m so happy this fajita seasoning was a win and that can now look forward to fajita night!

  4. Michelle says

    How spicy is this? My husband does not like very spicy food, but I have had good luck with many of your recipes! Is there a way to make it sweeter? Thank you so much for sharing such great food with us!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Michelle, it is not very spicy but has a little kick – you can reduce the chipotle chile pepper to 1/4 teaspoon or omit it altogether. If you want to make it sweeter, I would add 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Enjoy!

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