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Smokey and packed with warm spices and subtle heat, this homemade taco seasoning recipe will have you questioning why you ever bought a pre-made packet in the past! It’s so quick and easy to toss together. Plus, you likely have many or all ingredients in your pantry.

a wooden spoon in a bowl of taco seasoning and spices.

Even better, this recipe is perfect for personalizing according to your family’s taste. Do you prefer a spicy taco mix? If so, increase the spicy ingredients.

You may want your seasoning mix to be less salty. In that case, omit the salt or lessen the measurement. The possibilities are endless!

Not only is this homemade taco seasoning ideal for making according to your family’s tastes, but you can make it completely gluten-free!

I have a friend that is a Celiac, and she told me how difficult it is to locate gluten-free taco seasonings. No worries! Just mix up your own version using spice jars that are labeled GF, and enjoy!

My taco seasoning recipe makes enough to season 2 pounds of ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, or whatever taco meat is your favorite. I always make a little extra to store for our next taco night!

Hungry for more homemade essentials? Try my Italian Seasoning Substitute, this irresistible Grilled Pork Chop Marinade, or my delicious Homemade Greek Salad Dressing.

spices for taco seasoning in a bowl on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper | Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper add a base that enhances the other taco seasoning ingredients.
  • Spicy seasonings | Turn up the heat by adding chili powder and red pepper flakes to the recipe. If you prefer milder taco seasoning, you can decrease the spicy ingredients you use or omit them entirely.
  • Savory seasonings | Bring savory notes to the seasoning mix with ground cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Oregano | Sprinkle in some dried oregano for a strong herby taste. 
  • Smoked paprika | Give your homemade taco seasoning that classic smoky flavor by using smoked paprika.
  • Cornstarch | Cornstarch is not required for this recipe. However, I suggest including it in the mix because it helps the spices stick to the taco meat. 

How to make DIY Taco Seasoning Recipe

Who knew it only takes less than five minutes to throw together a homemade taco seasoning? Complete the simple step below to see how effortless this DIY alternative is.

whisking together spices for taco seasoning in a bowl.

STEP 1 | Combine ingredients and store the seasoning

Are you ready to make homemade taco seasoning in minutes? Start by grabbing a small bowl, the ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, and a sealable container to store the finished taco seasoning. 

Next, add the spices and cornstarch to the bowl. Stir the ingredients until all are fully incorporated. And that’s it! How easy is that? 

Finally, use the seasoning to add delicious flavor to taco meat or store it for later. Carefully pour the taco mix into a tightly sealed container, like a spice jar. The seasoning will keep for up to 1 month at room temperature. 

tips

  • Adding cornstarch is optional but definitely helps the seasoning “stick” to the meat when you cook ground beef tacos.
  • Adjust the salt measurement by adding more or less to the recipe based on your preference and dietary needs. 
  • Omit the chili powder and red pepper flakes for a milder taco seasoning. Similarly, cut the suggested measurements of these spicy ingredients to match your taste.
  • On the other hand, add more red pepper and chili powder if you like your tacos with some extra heat.

adding cornstarch to taco seasoning in a bowl.

STEP 2 | Seasoning ground beef

If you’re going the classic route by using this taco mix to season ground beef, here’s how you use your from-scratch seasoning. 

First, brown the ground beef. Then, add three tablespoons of the taco seasoning and 1/3 cup of water to the cooked meat. The cornstarch and water will help the spices stick to the ground beef. 

All that’s left to do is assemble your tasty tacos, quesadillas, and burritos and dig in!

taco seasoning in a glass jar with a label attached.

Now you know how easy it is to make your own, will you ever buy store-bought taco seasoning again? I don’t see why you would need to.

Making the homemade version instead of using a taco seasoning packet can save you some cash. Plus, it tastes more authentic and flavorful than processed product.

Not to mention, you can control the amounts of each ingredient to make it fit your family’s taste. Now, that’s something a grocery store taco mix cannot do! 

Frequently asked questions

How do you season taco meat with this DIY seasoning mix?

First, choose the meat you want to stuff inside the taco. Next, thoroughly cook the chicken, turkey, pork, or beef. Then, measure out about three to five tablespoons of your seasoning mix. 

Finally, add about 1/3 cup of water and the seasoning to the cooked meat and stir until all is thoroughly combined.

Suppose you’re following a recipe that calls for one taco seasoning packet. In that case, use about three tablespoons of the homemade mix as instructed. The amount of seasoning in a store-bought packet varies from brand to brand. However, most products contain around three tablespoons of taco seasoning.

What is taco seasoning used for?

You can use taco seasoning to add smoky and spicy notes to many dishes, not only tacos. Taco seasoning is perfect for adding to soups, casseroles, dips, rice, and more. Try sprinkling your DIY taco seasoning on veggies, creamy pasta, or even fresh buttery popcorn!

How should you store homemade taco mix?

Store the freshly-made taco seasoning in an airtight container in a dry and cool place, like the kitchen pantry. If you prefer to leave the container of taco mix out on the kitchen counter, it may not last as long as if it were in a dark closet or cabinet. 

When this recipe is kept in a location like a pantry, it can last up to five or six months. However, if you’re storing it on the counter where it may be exposed to the sun and heat, it will keep for about a month.

Serving suggestions

Get inspired to make delicious dishes using your customized homemade taco seasoning with the following ideas. Add the seasoning to this Layered Taco Dip, a Taco Salad, or this refreshing and flavorful Fish Taco Bowl with Mango Salsa.

Behind the recipe: Taco Seasoning Mix

Tacos have been around for longer than you may know. The tacos we know today are very different from the ones initially consumed by people living in Mexico well before Spanish exploration. Modern tacos are heavily influenced by various cultures and cuisines all over the globe.

Originally, tacos were a regular and reliable meal for workers in Mexico, like miners. They did not include all the delicious toppings we love, like sour cream, cheese, and tomatoes.

Instead, tacos were small round corn tortillas filled with fish or animal organs. It was a filling and nutritious meal that got miners and other workers through the exhausting days.

Tacos were introduced to America when Mexicans migrated to work on the new and emerging railroads in 1905. The hard-working people brought with them their tasty and familiar tacos. 

Soon, tacos became a cheap and portable street food. From then on, tacos have been a staple comfort food in nations all over the world.

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a wooden spoon in a bowl of taco seasoning and spices.

Taco Seasoning

Smokey and packed with warm spices and subtle heat, this homemade taco seasoning recipe will have you questioning why you ever bought a pre-made packet in the past!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 tablespoons
Calories 20 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

Instructions
 

  • Add the spices and cornstarch to a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 month at room temperature.
  • To season ground beef for tacos, add 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning to browned beef with 1/3 cup water.

Notes

  • Adding cornstarch is optional but definitely helps the seasoning “stick” to the meat when you cook ground beef tacos.
  • Adjust the salt measurement by adding more or less to the recipe based on your preference and dietary needs. 
  • Omit the chili powder and red pepper flakes for a milder taco seasoning. Similarly, cut the suggested measurements of these spicy ingredients to match your taste.
  • On the other hand, add more red pepper and chili powder if you like your tacos with some extra heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 3tablespoonsCalories: 20kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 437mgPotassium: 104mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 1187IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Keyword seasoning blend, tacos
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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