Authentic Taco Seasoning Spice

5 from 11 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This homemade taco seasoning mix is smoky, savory, spicy, ready in 2 minutes, easy to tweak, and works well with tacos, veggies, seafood, grains, soups, and more!

A spoonful of taco seasoning in a bowl

A few years ago, I never would have thought to make homemade spice mixes. I mean, the convenience of pre-made spice mixes is undeniable. But sodium levels and chemicals of store-bought taco seasoning are not so impressive.

Since then, I’ve shared recipes for homemade Lebanese 7 spice, Garam Masala, and Mexican seasoning. Now, it’s time for this home made taco seasoning recipe. With just one quick and easy step, you will have your own taco spice mix recipe – the perfect seasoning for Mexican-inspired dishes.

What Is Taco Seasoning

It is a spice mix most commonly used, unsurprisingly, when making tacos, to season the meat (or meat alternative/tofu). However, it’s a very versatile blend with plenty of other uses (keep reading for my top suggestions below). It’s earthy, savory, smoky, and spicy, thanks to classic Mexican flavors like cumin and chili.

Taco seasoning in a jar

So, Why Make Homemade Taco Spice?

  1. You can be 100% in control of the ingredients. That means your desired spice level, sodium level, and ingredient ratio to suit your taste.
  2. Plus, no MSG or additives! Store-bought taco spice is loaded with “natural flavorings,” colors, and other additives. However, this homemade taco seasoning mix recipe contains only all-natural spices and salt.
  3. Tweak the recipe to suit your flavor preferences. More smokiness? Sure. Less spice? Absolutely.
  4. This is diet-friendly. It’s gluten-free, vegan, Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 approved.
  5. It can even work out cheaper in the long run. Especially if you already have the spices in your store cupboard!

Plus, it takes just a couple of minutes to make your own taco spice and will easily store for 6+ months. I recommend preparing a big batch – a triple or even quadruple batch. Especially if you eat tacos regularly.

Looking for more taco inspiration? You might enjoy my recipes for vegan Birria tacos, easy mushroom tacos, and the best taco recipe!

What Spices are in Taco Seasoning

A typical taco spice is usually fairly earthy, smoky, and spicy, mixing warming spices with aromatics (garlic and onion). So, what is in taco spice mix exactly? While the blends can vary, this is my favorite combination of taco seasoning ingredients:

Ingredients for taco seasoning
  • The Spices: This DIY taco spice mix contains fairly typical ingredients, including:
    • Chili powder – Mild, medium, or hot.
    • Red pepper flakes – For added spice and color. Substitute cayenne if preferred, or omit it to make the taco seasoning recipe mild.
    • Paprika – Smoked paprika adds smokiness. Sweet paprika will also work.
    • Ground cumin – Warm, earthy, and packed with flavor.
    • Garlic powder – Highly aromatic and flavorful.
    • Onion powder – Ditto the above.
    • Dried oregano – Robust, slightly peppery, and sweet.
  • Salt & black pepper: I recommend using kosher salt or sea salt for the best flavor. If using regular table salt, you’ll want to use slightly less. Feel free to make this recipe as low sodium as you’d like.

You could also try adding a small amount of bouillon powder (or a crushed-up bouillon cube), either vegetable or beef-based to the spice blend.

How to Make Taco Seasoning

  1. Simply combine all the above taco seasoning spices in a small bowl or jar and mix/whisk.
  2. Give the taco spice a taste and adjust any of the spices or salt as desired.
  3. Then store the combined spice mix in an airtight container!

And that’s it – a great recipe that’s quick and easy!

A bowl with taco seasoning spices

How to Store Taco Seasoning

Store the taco spice in an airtight glass container (like a spice jar or mason jar). Keep it in a cool, dark, dry location like a pantry or kitchen cupboard.

How Long Does Taco Seasoning Mix Last?

When stored correctly, this taco spice will last for up to 6 months with optimal flavor and freshness.

For the most extended shelf life, use new and fresh spices. Avoid old spices that have lost their flavor, or the balance of flavor will be off in this seasoning recipe.

Homemade taco seasoning in a bowl

How To Use Taco Spice Mix

Along with using this homemade Mexican spice mix for seasoning your protein for fajitas and tacos (think of it as your usual ground beef taco seasoning), why not try it with:

  • Soups and casseroles like this taco casserole
  • Sauteed or roasted veggies
  • Sweet potato fries
  • As a meat or seafood rub
  • To season grains (like Mexican rice and Mexican stuffed peppers)
  • In dips
  • In salad dressings

Let me know in the comments your favorite ways of enjoying this taco spice!

Jar of homemade taco seasoning

FAQs

How much taco seasoning equals one packet?

While the results between brands can differ, most small taco seasoning packets are around 2 tablespoons (up to 3 tablespoons). Larger ones are between 25-35g (3-5 tbsp).
I recommend using around 2 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning mix per pound of ground beef (or a pound of ground meat or other protein). Optionally add ½ cup of water for moister meat. However, adjust this amount to personal taste.

Can you use taco seasoning after the expiration date?

The date is more of a “best before” label than “use by”, meaning it’s at its best flavor before then. However, it’s safe to consume afterward if the package is unopened. Just note that the flavor of the spices will have mellowed.

Is taco seasoning gluten-free?

Most name-brand options I’ve found are labeled as gluten-free, and this homemade version is gluten-free, too.

How to season ground beef for tacos?

You can enjoy this taco meat seasoning recipe as a general seasoning to add after browning the beef. Alternatively, make it more into a sauce with water (1/2- 1 cup) and optionally some cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
You can also use this as a chicken taco seasoning, with tofu, and more.

More Easy Spice Blends

If you try this easy homemade taco seasoning recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Authentic Taco Seasoning Spice

5 from 11 votes
By: Samira
This homemade taco seasoning mix is smoky, savory, spicy, ready in 2 minutes, easy to tweak, and works well with tacos, veggies, seafood, grains, soups, and more!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 3

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tbsp chili powder mild, medium, or hot
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt kosher or sea salt is best; adjust to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes optional – omit for milder seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

This will yield about 1/3 cup taco seasoning – note that you can adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.

Instructions 

  • Simply combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl or jar and mix/whisk.
    Give the taco spice a taste and adjust any of the spices or salt as desired. Enjoy!

Storage Instructions

  • Store the taco seasoning spices in an airtight glass container (like a spice jar or mason jar). Keep it in a cool, dark, dry location like a pantry or kitchen cupboard for up to 6 months for optimal flavor and freshness.
    For the most extended shelf life, use new and fresh spices. Avoid old spices that have lost their flavor, or the balance of flavor will be off in this taco seasoning recipe.

Notes

You could also try adding a small amount of bouillon powder (or a crushed-up bouillon cube), either vegetable or beef-based to the spice blend.
How much taco seasoning equals one packet? While the results between brands can differ, most small taco seasoning packets are around 2 tablespoons (up to 3 tablespoons). Larger ones are between 25-35g (3-5 tbsp).
I recommend using around 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix per pound of ground beef (or other protein). Optionally add ½ cup of water for moister meat. However, adjust this amount to personal taste. 
How to season ground beef for tacos? You can enjoy this taco seasoning recipe as a general seasoning to add after browning the beef. Alternatively, make it more into a sauce with water (1/2- 1 cup) and optionally some cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
You can also use this as a chicken taco seasoning, with tofu, and more.
 
Check the blog post for serving recommendations and answers to top FAQs!
Course: DIYs
Cuisine: Mexican
Shelf life: 6 Months (airtight container)

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp, Calories: 36kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Sodium: 1279mg, Potassium: 202mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2068IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating