A homemade taco seasoning without packaged preservatives and artificial ingredients. Make your own in just 5 minutes with regular pantry ingredients and keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around!

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

[This post was updated in June 2019 with new photos.]

After posting about my taco night dinner plans on Facebook this week, I guess I had forgotten how much people love tacos!

Of the 9 people who responded to my question, 4 of them were also having tacos that night!  Is it safe to assume that an exponential number of people in the U.S. eat tacos on any given night for dinner? 

Are you eating tacos? OK so because I’m writing this post, I’m going to assume that you are eating tacos at some point so my bigger question should be, how are you making them?

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

There are of course, enough versions of tacos to come out of my ears but our most basic and favorite are the traditional American tacos grew up on. Except now we use ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. (I won that battle.) 

Browned meat with taco seasoning (formerly from a packet), diced up fresh tomatoes, a mound of leafy green lettuce, shredded Monterrey jack and/or sharp cheddar cheese, a powerful hit of red onions, and a few dollops of cool heaven…errhmm…sour cream are what you’ll find in our house on taco night. 

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

As far as the vessel goes, we’re split down the middle. Kyle loves crunchy corn taco shells while I lean more towards high-fiber soft flour tortillas.

But what really makes tacos tacos is the seasoning, right? And up until 2 or 3 years ago, we were using the packets from the spice aisle at the grocery store. When I actually looked at the sodium content on the package, I almost had a figurative stroke. 

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

We immediately switched over to a salt-free mix from Penzeys which was ok but it was missing something – ummm, salt? – and I found that I was just adding too much to achieve the right taste. 

This taco seasoning recipe was conveniently attached to the creamy taco mac that we adore and it was only natural for us to use the seasoning on regular tacos since the taco mac is such a big hit around here. 

Taco Pasta Salad: With a creamy taco ranch dressing, this no-mayo pasta salad is an easy vegetarian meal that is the perfect marriage of tacos and pasta! #tacopastasalad #easy #vegetarian #tacoranchdressing #pastasalad

The recipe below yields enough for four batches of tacos (using 1lb ground meat per batch) but you can easily double or triple the amounts to save yourself some time in the future.

You can find all of the ingredients in your local grocery store but I highly recommend checking out places like Penzeys or The Spice House to arm yourself with larger quantities at MUCH lower prices than you’ll find in the grocery store.

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

What is Taco Seasoning Made Of

Homemade taco seasoning has minimal ingredients. All of the 7 ingredients in this recipe are spices. You’ll add some salt and pepper too but aside from the salt, there are no preservatives in homemade taco seasoning. That’s what makes this recipe so appealing to me!

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make homemade taco seasoning:

  • ancho chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • dried oregano
  • sweet smoked paprika
  • ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

How to Make Taco Seasoning

If you’ve been zipping through the grocery store for years and snagging those taco seasoning packets for your tacos, you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is to make your own taco seasoning.

There’s 1 step to making taco seasoning! Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Talk about an easy taco seasoning recipe, right?!

You can scale the recipe up too so that you almost always have it on hand whenever the taco urge arises. This recipe doubles really easily and the extra seasoning will keep well in the pantry for ages.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

What Can you Make with Taco Seasoning aside from Tacos?

  • taco lasagna: layered tacos with layers of refried beans, corn salsa, taco-seasoned beef, tortillas, and a ton of melted cheese (see photo above!)
  • southwest chicken chopped salad with chipotle honey dressing: grilled chicken seasoned with taco seasoning chopped up with lettuce, corn, peppers, black beans, avocado, and drizzled with an incredible spicy honey dressing
  • shredded chicken nachos: shred the meat from a rotisserie chicken, sprinkle with taco seasoning and make nachos!
  • taco dip: mix 2 tablespoons taco seasoning into ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup ranch dressing
  • taco pasta salad: a mayo-free, vegetarian pasta salad full of grilled corn, avocado, black beans, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and the BEST taco ranch dressing ever made with this taco seasoning (see photo above!).

Homemade taco seasoning: Made wiithout artificial preservatives and ingredients you can make your own taco seasoning in just 5 minutes with just 7 regular pantry ingredients! Keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around! #tacoseasoning #tacos #homemade #glutenfree #tacotuesday

DIY: Taco Seasoning

DIY: Taco Seasoning

Yield: about ½ cup (enough for approx. 20 servings of tacos)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A homemade taco seasoning without packaged preservatives and artificial ingredients. Make your own in just 5 minutes with regular pantry ingredients and keep it on hand for when Taco Tuesdays roll around!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small jar or airtight container.
  2. To use: Use 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons of taco seasoning in place of a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1 cup cold water and stir to dissolve cornstarch. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, brown 1lb ground beef, turkey or chicken, add seasoning and cornstarch-water mixture, and simmer over low heat until liquid has thickened.

Notes

adapted from Allrecipes

we love to see what you make!

tag what you make with #smellslikehomeblog on Instagram and follow along with me in my New England kitchen!

@smellslikehomeblog
  • June 16, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    What a great idea!!! These would make cute little gifts as well. Definitely will be making!

  • June 16, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    I love making my own taco seasoning. I can reduce the sodium content compared to store-bought packages and it’s so easy to make!

  • June 16, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    It is such a great idea to make a big batch of this to always have on hand. I usually season my tacos with my own spices but making one big batch would speed up prep time on taco night!

  • June 16, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Taco’s…yum! We had Tostada’s tonight, that is kind of like tacos. I have never made my own seasoning, not sure why. This looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  • June 17, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Just made a batch of tacos last night using those overpriced packets. I’m filing your version away to use next time. Thanks for the post!

  • June 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Definitely a good blend to have on hand. Your photos are awesome too!

  • Nell
    June 19, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Great recipe! I used it to make tacos tonight and they were the best homemade tacos I’ve ever had!

  • June 25, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Thanks for this! I’ve been wanting to put together a better homemade taco seasoning, so this is very handy for me. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  • anna maria
    July 5, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    love this idea! where did you get the cool container?

  • September 27, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    thank you thank you… I was looking for a taco seasoning that would be “Dan Safe” (my nephew who’s allergic to so many things) and I think I found it!!!

  • Amanda Hermansen
    October 6, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Yes! Where did you get the little spice jar?

  • Curious
    October 8, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Sounds awesome – I live overseas and there’s a severe lack of good Mexican food around here. Just a question – is there any reason why you couldn’t add the cornstarch to the mixture and store it – just adding water when you’re ready to cook?

    • October 8, 2011 at 9:16 AM

      Curious: I’ve thought about adding the cornstarch to the spice mix but I just haven’t done it before. If you try it, let me know how it works out!

  • Katherine
    October 15, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    What is the cornstarch for? Is that already in the packaged mix? I’m definitely going to try this mix!

    • October 15, 2011 at 10:23 PM

      Katherine: The cornstarch will help to thicken the taco sauce. I’m not sure if cornstarch specifically is in packaged mixes but they do include some sort of thickener.

  • October 17, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    this came out perfect!! thank you.

  • shannon
    October 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    I have been making my own taxi seasoning for a few months now,one bc of the salt content but mostly bc if you look, they slop have MSG which is where the high salt content actually comes from… I have had to go to mostly making my own seasonings bc most have msg, or even some basic things like yellow rice too, anyways may I suggest something in place of the cornstarch and water..I actually got this from my mother in law who surprisingly has to have a recipe for everything but veered a little in one and uses tomato sauce instead of just plain water, it gives you the thickness that you need and get w cornstarch but more flavor. I also will add in a tiny bit of salsa and have been putting in red or black beans or both. Also instead of ground turkey, try ground chicken breast, make sure its not the pursue ground chicken, as that is a mix of all the pieces, if you can, get your butcher or meat market or grocer to ground up boneless, skinless breasts, I have replaced almost all of my ground beef with ground chicken. I however still occassionally need the red meat as my blood type requires me to eat plenty of red meat to get my iron and protein. You can always do a half and half as well…which gives it a whole diff flavor.

  • Spring
    October 27, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    We had tacos last night and my taco seasoning mix is nearly the same as yours. I haven’t tried red pepper flakes in it before but it sounds like a good addition. I also don’t use cornstarch.

    And now I’m hungry for left overs. 🙂

  • November 4, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    I just posted a blog about this because I tried the recipe! 🙂

  • Melissa Cada
    November 7, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    I have a child who does not like spicy food but loves good flavor. How spicy is this recipe? Thanks!

    • November 7, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      Melissa: It isn’t all that spicy since ancho chile powder tends to be less spicy than regular chili powder. I would start out with a little less seasoning than the recipe calls for, taste, then adjust as you see fit. Alternatively you can increase the amounts of the other spices and reduce the ancho chile powder. It’s a really adaptable recipe for your family’s tastes. Hope that helps!

  • Faith Davis
    December 17, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    my question is how long would this last in the pantry? Not that I see it lasting long, but if I made a large amount what time frame should be used?

  • Rachel
    January 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Is there anything you can do besides corn starch? My son is allergic to corn. Could you just use this on the meat?

    • January 13, 2012 at 6:51 AM

      Rachel: Yes, you could leave out the cornstarch. I use it to thicken the mixture but it isn’t necessary. Alternatively, while I haven’t used it, I understand you could use arrow root as a thickener. I don’t believe it is a corn-based product and you can likely find it in your grocery store near the cornstarch – just check the label (as if you don’t do that already. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      • Elizabeth M.
        March 4, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        A tablespoon or two of tomato paste works great as well as a thickener and adds flavor.

  • April 18, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I was searching the internet for taco seasoning recipes and came across yours. It sounds perfect. Much better than some of the other ones I’ve come across. I’m going to give it a try sometime this week. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Kelli
    June 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    ha we had tacos last night for dinner. We have them, at least once a week.

  • August 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Just made it today and loved it! Thanks much!

  • Amanda
    October 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Thank you so much for this! I found it via Pinterest. Perfect timing since I was just put on a yeast free diet, and taco seasoning packets contain just that. I couldn’t live without tacos!

    • October 8, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      I’m sorry to hear about your new yeast restriction but I’m glad this recipe will keep you in the taco game! I actually just made a double batch this morning before work and I can’t wait for dinner tonight!

  • October 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    […] we were out. So I did a quick search online to find out if I could substitute anything and found this recipe. I did not have all of the ingredients on hand, so I used what I had and cut back on the […]

  • […] the little packets from the market, but better and without all the weird preservatives and stuff. This is the one that I’ve used and […]

  • November 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    […]  One recipe even made enough for me to freeze half!  The whole family loved it! 6.  DIY Taco Seasoning I love knowing what’s in it!  No MSG or other strange chemicals that I can’t […]

  • November 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    […] one day, I found this taco seasoning mix recipe on Smells Like Home and decided to give it a try.  I had also recently discovered Penzeys Spices at this point so I was […]

  • December 17, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    […] and started browning the meat.  Oops.  However, my brain saved me by reminding me of a recipe for taco seasoning that I had come across on a blog a long time ago, so I hunted it down.  It’s really easy to […]

  • January 12, 2015 at 12:01 AM

    […] Smells Like Home’s DIY Taco Seasoning: By now, you should be reading all your labels – and you’ve probably noticed that most seasoning blends contain sugar. This DIY version cuts out the crap but tastes just as good (if not better). […]

  • […] bags before you fill them. If you want to make your own taco seasoning, try this.  We love it.  http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/06/diy-taco-seasoning/ Your own ranch mix, try this.  […]

  • August 28, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    Yes, the amount is correct. If you felt like 2 teaspoons were enough, nobody would argue with you.

  • January 18, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    […] of water (you may need more) and 3 packets of taco seasoning (or make your own with this recipe http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/06/diy-taco-seasoning/) to remaining 2/3 of beef. Once the seasoning is mixed well, divide the taco meat into 4ths.  Put […]

  • January 20, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    […] 1 packet of taco seasoning (I prefer homemade like this one:  http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/06/diy-taco-seasoning/  Only tweaks: use smoked paprika if you can find it and skip the directions about corn […]

  • […] bags before you fill them. If you want to make your own taco seasoning, try this.  We love it.  http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/06/diy-taco-seasoning/ Your own ranch mix, try this.  […]

  • January 18, 2017 at 5:36 PM

    […] date night where we can get one) Tuesday – Turkey Tacos! I was out of taco seasoning and used this DIY recipe – definitely a healthier alternative than store-bought. Wednesday – Slow cooker brown […]

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