Homemade Taco Seasoning

4.95 from 17 votes
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This homemade taco seasoning recipe is a quick way to add savory Mexican-inspired flavors to meat and vegetables. A blend of dried spices and seasonings instantly improves any meal. Make a big batch so you can just grab and sprinkle whenever a dish needs a boost!

Homemade taco seasoning recipe that's far better than the store bought packet.

Instead of grabbing a store-bought packet of taco seasoning, make your own homemade version! Using simple pantry items, you can design a spice blend that turns bland proteins into a flavorful fiesta. A home creation allows more control over the ratios of each ingredient. With this ability, you can cut the salt and make it healthier.

I found the perfect taco seasoning mix after testing various blends. This is a great recipe base for Taco Tuesday when your craving for chicken tacos or beef tacos hits. Use as little or as much as you like. I’ve designed it to make double the amount needed for 1 pound of protein or vegetables.

What is taco seasoning made of?

Ingredients to make your own taco seasoning.

This recipe uses kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to add the salty notes. Ground cumin, dried oregano, and coriander are the earthy and Latin elements. Paprika adds rich red color. I recommend using smoked paprika for a grilled taste. Chili powder adds a hint of heat.

How would I bump up the heat?

This is a mild homemade seasoning mixture, so if you like spicy food, the recipe can easily be bumped up with more capsicum. Add small amounts of dried cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder to make the taco seasoning spicier.

Is taco seasoning the same as fajita seasoning?

No. The two are very similar in spices but with slightly different ratios of each. Fajita seasoning uses citric acid to impart a lightly tart flavor that helps tenderize tougher cuts of meat. This is similar to adding lime to a carne asada marinade to boost the citrusy flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

How do I make a thicker sauce?

Store-bought taco seasoning packets often have flour, cornstarch or potato starch added to create a gravy-like sauce. It requires adding water to the mixture, and the sauce boiled for a few minutes to thicken.

This recipe does not have flour, but it can be modified. Just add 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, or 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder. You will also need to add ¾ cup of water and half of the seasoning blend with the thickening agent for every 1 pound of meat.

How to use taco seasoning

Simply add the seasoning at the end of cooking the food. Once the proteins are browned, or vegetables have been sauteed, sprinkle, stir, and cook the spices for 1 to 2 minutes. This recipe has been formulated to use 4 teaspoons of seasoning for every 1 pound of taco meat or vegetables.

What dishes can you add taco seasoning to?

Taco seasoning and a wooden spoon in a small bowl.

Recipe Science

How do you maximize the taste of the spices?

Lightly toast the spices in a pan over warm heat for a few minutes. This technique will enhance the aromatics of the cumin and coriander before adding them to food. When the taco seasoning is placed in hot cooking oil, the fat-soluble spices bloom and release stronger flavor compounds.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade taco seasoning allows you to control the flavors and adjust the heat level to your liking. Plus, most store-bought taco seasoning packets contain additives and preservatives, which you can avoid.
4.95 from 17 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time7 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 teaspoons paprika, sweet or smoked
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Instructions 

  • Mix the Ingredients – In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.
  • When Cooking – Use 4 teaspoons of taco seasoning (13 grams) for every 1 pound (454 grams) of meat, vegetables, or seafood. Add the taco seasoning after fully cooking the proteins or tenderizing the vegetables. Sprinkle onto the food and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: Makes 8 teaspoons (26 grams) of seasoning, enough for 2 pounds of meat, vegetables, or seafood.
  • Storing: Taco seasoning can be stored for up to 1 month in an airtight mason jar for maximum flavor.
  • For a Thicker Seasoning Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, or 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder to the seasoning blend. Once the meat is browned, add the seasoning and water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens. For every 1 pound of meat or vegetable use half the amount of seasoning blend and ¾ cups of water. If using flour, add 7 teaspoons per 1 pound of food. For cornstarch or arrowroot powder, add 5 ½ teaspoons per 1 pound of food.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 4kcalSodium 439mg (18%)Potassium 18mg (1%)Vitamin A 285IU (6%)Calcium 3mgIron 0.4mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating




11 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can use either Mexican or Italian oregano. Using Mexican oregano will give stronger citrus and licorice notes for a more exciting taste to the taco seasoning.

  1. Natasha says

    This is the best recipe I’ve made for taco seasoning, and I’ve been making my own for years. Often recipes are mostly just chili powder but this one, having much more paprika in it, is great. Also, coriander is a must for my taco spice. I made it in Tablespoons, not Teaspoons, so I have enough for awhile. I cut the salt a bit and would cut it a bit more next time. But that’s just me.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for your feedback! Great idea to make a large batch. How much coriander did you add?

      • Natasha says

        I used half a tablespoon (or as written in the recipe), measured kind of roughly. As you have written the recipe in all teaspoons, it’s super easy to scale up to whatever unit you want! I make taco meat about once a week and world rather not fiddle around with 9 different spice bottles that often 🙂

  2. Sowmya C says

    This is fabulous as I love how I can customize it to make it more spicy or garlicky. Thanks Jessica.
    Do you have a fajita mix recipe? Or Can I use this same mix for the veggies fajita? TIA

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can use the taco seasoning recipe for fajitas. I also have separate recipes for chicken, steak, and shrimp fajitas.

  3. LMG says

    When the recipe calls for chili powder, it is not clear if I am using a single ingredient chili pepper powder or a premade chili powder spice mix. I find this confusing for many recipes that call for chili powder (the kind with many spices already added) but then list the additional spices to add to the recipe anyway. I wish the two had separate names instead of having to guess which one I should be using. Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      For my recipes, it’s a chili powder spice mix. I will call out specifically if it’s cayenne or chipotle. Those tend to be a lot spicier.

  4. Sandra Corrales-Potts says

    No where is there tomato puree or paste? Just wondering. I’m new at homemade taco sauce
    Thank uou

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Sandra! This is just taco seasoning for the meat, no sauce. But you can certainly add some tomato sauce to make a thicker seasoning coating.