Best Taco Seasoning Recipe

This homemade taco seasoning recipe is quick, easy, pantry friendly, versatile, inexpensive and lasts for months! Its perfectly spiced proportions elevate everything from meat to vegetables with its aromatic robust, earthy, spiciness. Best of all, DIY taco seasoning gives you complete control over its flavor, eliminates sugar, MSG, anti-caking agents, and other additives and tastes so much better than store-bought!

Watch How to Make taco seasoning

up close of adding taco seasoning to an airtight container


 

The perfect DIY Taco Seasoning

  • QUICK, EASY, PANRY FRIENDLY.  Make tasty recipes with pantry friendly spices any time.  All you need is a handful of spices and 5 minutes. 
  • ELEVATES ALL YOUR TEX-MEX DISHES!  If you’re ready to take your everyday culinary creations from ordinary to extraordinary, this taco seasoning mix recipe is for you.  It’s bursting with complex flavor and infuses every dish with its symphony of herbs and spices so every bite is dripping with deliciousness.  
  • USE IT ON MORE THAN TACO MEAT!  Use it as a spice rub for chicken, shrimp, veggies, to flavor Mexican rice, black, beans, soup and more.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE.  This taco seasoning mix recipe is 100% customizable so adjust the ingredients and proportions to your taste.  Don’t like heat – reduce the cayenne, watching your sodium?  Reduce the salt.  Make this the best recipe for YOU!
  • ZERO FILLERS. You get the best taco 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, DIY taco seasoning can actually be less expensive than buying a store-bought packet!  This is especially true if you purchase bulk spices from Costco.
diy taco seasoning in a bowl stirring it together
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Taco Seasoning ingredients

This homemade taco seasoning recipe is made with chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, ground coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Each herb and spice adds character to the seasoning. Here’s the breakdown (measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Chili powder:  Made from a blend chili peppers and other spices including cumin, onion, and garlic powder.  INTERNATIONAL WARNING: American chili powder is a blend of chilies and herbs with a ratio of one-part cayenne to seven parts other spices.  Chili powders sold in other parts of the world, however, are 100% chile pepper and 8X hotter than US 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.
  • Coriander: Earthy, tart, and sweet. If you don’t keep it stocked, you may skip it.
  • Cayenne pepper: Boasts a fiery, pungent flavor with a lingering heat and subtle hints of sweetness and fruitiness. A little goes a long way!
  • Salt:  Enhance all the flavors.
showing how to make taco seasoning by adding chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne to a bowl

How to Make Taco Seasoning

Let’s take at just how easy taco seasoning is to make (measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Gather seasonings.  Measure 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 until thoroughly combined.   
showing how to make taco seasoning by whisking spices together in a bowl
  • Store or use!  Proceed to use in your favorite recipe or transfer to an airtight container.
showing how to make taco seasoning by adding to an airtight container

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe variations

  • Adjust Measurements:  Make this DIY taco seasoning your own by playing with the measurements to suite your personal preferences. You may want to reduce the salt, up the heat or up the garlic/onion powder if nit using fresh garlic and onion in a recipe.  You can even amp up the oregano to give it a sweeter, more herbal profile.
  • Mexican Oregano: Use Mexican oregano instead of traditional oregano for a more authentic Mexican flavor. Mexican oregano has a slightly different taste profile, with hints of citrus and licorice.
  • Citrusy Lime: Incorporate dried lime zest or lime powder into the seasoning mix for a bright and citrusy twist.
  • Sweet and Spicy: Balance the heat with a touch of sweetness by adding a pinch of brown sugar to the seasoning mix. If adding brown sugar, you may need to add additional cayenne pepper.
  • Garlic and Onion: Boost the savory flavors by increasing the garlic and onion powder in the taco seasoning.
  • Fiery Habanero: For those who enjoy extra heat, include ground habanero pepper or habanero powder in the seasoning mix instead of cayenne.
  • Dark Chili Powder: Regular chili powder typically contains a blend of various chili pepper varieties, whereas, dark chili powder is made specifically from dried, smoked, and ground ancho chilies (ripe poblano peppers that have been smoked and dried). Dark chili powder tends to have a deeper, richer flavor with notes of sweetness, compared to regular chili powder but is more mild in heat, so you may need to increase the cayenne pepper.
  • Cocoa Powder + Sugar + Cinnamon:  Use ¼ teaspoon each to mimic Mexican chocolate. It adds an enticing mole-ish depth of flavor.
up close of homemade taco seasoning recipe showing all the seasonings in a bowl

TIPS for MAking homemade taco seasoning

  • Scale Up or Down: This best taco seasoning recipe is ideal to make in bulk because it lasts for so long.  Double triple, quadruple, the recipe!
  • Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality spices and herbs for the best flavor. Opt for fresh spices whenever possible, see below.
  • Check for Freshness: You can determine if spices are fresh by examining their appearance, aroma, and taste. Fresh spices should have vibrant colors, without any signs of discoloration or dullness. They should emit a strong and aromatic fragrance when you open the container, indicating that the essential oils are still intact. Lastly, when tasted, fresh spices should have a potent and flavorful taste, without any bitterness or staleness. If your spices lack these characteristics, it’s time to replace them with fresh ones for optimal flavor.
  • Customize Heat Level: Control the spiciness of your taco seasoning by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper. Omit completely or start with ⅛ teaspoon if you family doesn’t like heat. When cooking with the taco seasoning, season the dish with additional cayenne if desired.
  • Customize While Cooking: If your dish tastes like it’s missing something, it either needs more taco seasoning, or additional salt and/or cayenne pepper.
  • Consistency: Ensure the taco seasoning is well-mixed and evenly distributed.
  • Store Properly: Store your homemade taco seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to maintain its freshness and flavor. Consider making a larger batch and storing it in a spice jar for future use.
  • Experiment and Adjust: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spice combinations and adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences. Homemade taco seasoning allows for flexibility and customization, so have fun and get creative with it!
up close of a spoonful of taco seasoning mix recipe

How to use Taco Seasoning

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

  • Tacos: Use 2 ½ tablespoons per one pound of ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken. I also like to add salsa and green chilies! Recipe coming soon.
  • 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 seasoning and 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 taco seasoning mix and cooking in a cast-iron skillet. This method takes just minutes and creates, tender, flavorful bite-size morsels for any of your favorite Mexican dishes.
  • Soup: Use in chili, taco soup, enchilada soup, chicken tortilla soup, fajita chicken soupcaldo de pollo, black bean soup or albigdonas soup.
  • Mexican sides:  Stir some seasoning into cilantro lime rice, Mexican rice, black beans, refried beans, corn saladguacamole, cornbread or even corn casserole.
  • Veggies:  This taco seasoning recipe is fabulous sprinkled on sautéed peppers and onions or 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 favorite roasted vegetable recipes.  Use it in roasted broccoli, roasted potatoes, roasted cauliflower, roasted butternut squash, etc. for instant YUM. 

Best Taco Seasoning Recipe FAQs

How much Taco Seasoning per pound of meat?

You will use one recipe Taco Seasoning, which is 2 ½ tablespoons, per pound of meat. However, you can adjust the amount based on your taste preferences and the intensity of flavor you desire. Start with a smaller amount and taste as you go, adding more seasoning if needed to achieve the desired flavor. Keep in mind, some taco seasoning blends may be more concentrated than others, so it’s always a good idea to adjust based on personal preference.

Is Taco Seasoning gluten free?

Homemade taco seasoning is gluten-free as most individual spices and herbs are naturally gluten-free, but as always, it’s essential to check labels. By using pure, unadulterated spices and avoiding any potential sources of gluten contamination, you can ensure that your homemade taco seasoning is gluten-free.

How do you cut the spice in taco seasoning?

To cut the spice in taco seasoning, reduce or omit the amount of cayenne pepper. For milder overall flavor, reduce the chili powder and increase the ratios of milder spices such as cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.

What’s 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:

1. 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. 
2. Taco seasoning contains ground coriander for hints of earthy, tart, and sweet notes; fajita seasoning does not.
3. Fajita seasoning contains sugar because it’s expected to be combined with an acidic marinade; taco seasoning does not.
4. 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.

showing how to serve taco seasoning in taco meat in a taco

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up close of homemade taco seasoning recipe showing all the seasonings in a bowl

Taco Seasoning Mix Recipe

This homemade taco seasoning recipe is quick, easy, pantry friendly, versatile, inexpensive and lasts for months! Its perfectly spiced proportions elevate everything from meat to vegetables with its aromatic robust, earthy, spiciness. Best of all, DIY taco seasoning gives you complete control over its flavor, eliminates sugar, MSG, anti-caking agents, and other additives and tastes so much better than store-bought!
Servings: 1 recipe for 1 pound ground taco meat
Total Time: 5 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder. dried oregano, ground coriander, salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 6 months.
  • Taco Meat: Use 1 recipe (2 ½ tablespoons) per 1 pound of ground beef, turkey or chicken.

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