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 that you can just grab and sprinkle whenever a dish needs a boost!
Instead of grabbing store-bought packaged taco seasoning, make your own homemade version! Using simple pantry items, you can design a spice blend that turns boring 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 a healthier option.
I found just the right taco seasoning mix after testing various blends. This is a great recipe base for when your craving for Mexican food 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?
This recipe uses kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to add the salty notes. Cumin, 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 seasoning mixture, so if you like spicy food, the recipe can easily be bumped up with more capsicum. To make the taco seasoning spicier, add small amounts of dried cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder.
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 light 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?
Often times store-bought taco seasoning packets have flour, cornstarch or potato starch added to create a gravy-like sauce. It requires water to be added 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 cups 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. I like to add it to ground beef tacos or sauteed shrimp.
What dishes can you add taco seasoning to?
- Ground turkey, chicken, or beef tacos
- Taco salad
- Add to beef or chicken fajitas
- Sprinkle some on butternut squash tacos
- Use for seafood like shrimp and mahi-mahi
- Add as an extra flavor boost to chicken enchiladas
- Spice up cauliflower rice
- A topper for elotes
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 to food. When the taco seasoning is placed in hot cooking oil, the fat-soluble spices bloom and release stronger flavor compounds.
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Homemade Taco Seasoning
- In a small bowl combine paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.
- 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.
- Add more seasoning to taste, or add more of the other spices to your liking.
- Taco seasoning can be stored for up to 1 month in an airtight container for maximum flavor.
- Recipe Yield: makes 8 teaspoons (26 grams) of seasoning, enough for 2 pounds of meat, vegetables, or seafood.
- For a thicker taco seasoning sauce: Add 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, or 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder to the taco seasoning blend. Once the meat is browned, add the seasoning and water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce 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 food. For cornstarch or arrowroot powder add 5 ½ teaspoons per 1 pound of food.
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