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!
[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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is Taco Seasoning Made Of
If you’re wondering what’s in taco seasoning packets from the grocery store, I honestly can’t tell you since I can’t pronounce many of the ingredients on the label.
Homemade taco seasoning, however, 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!
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
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.
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 this taco seasoning mix and make nachos!
- instant pot shredded chicken: fall apart taco chicken that’s perfect to serve on its own or mix into dips, enchiladas, and other recipes
- 7 layer taco dip: hot and cheesy taco dip made with shredded taco chicken (see photo above!)
- chicken tamale pie: shredded taco chicken mixed with corn, black beans, cheese, and tomatoes under a lid of cornbread
- 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!)
- cold taco dip: mix 2 tablespoons taco seasoning into ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup ranch dressing
- 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
- Combine all ingredients in a small jar or airtight container.
- 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.
adapted from Allrecipes