Homemade taco seasoning is simple to make and chances are you already have everything you need to make it in your spice cabinet. It costs a fraction of the store bought packet, and it tastes like the taco seasoning packet, but better, and without any questionable ingredients. The added benefit of making it yourself is that you can adjust everything to suit your personal preferences.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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What makes this recipe different
This easy taco seasoning comes together in less than 5 minutes, and you can make as much, or as little, as you like.
- Make ahead – You can mix up a double batch of this taco spice blend and stash it in the cupboard for up to 6 months.
- Fast & easy – All that is required of you to make this seasoning is about 5 minutes to measure out a handful of spices and whisk them together. That’s it.
- Cocoa powder – I know some will think that is an odd ingredient to add, but trust me. It will not taste of cocoa, but it will give your taco meat another layer of flavor.
Homemade taco seasoning recipe
This homemade taco seasoning mix for ground beef is perfect for not only taco night, but nachos, quesadillas, gorditas, or anything else your little heart desires. It’s great with any kind of ground meat, not just beef, and it is an easy way to spice up roasted vegetables.
Making your own taco seasoning mix is easy, and it’s a great way to use up the spices in your cabinet, which reduces waste.
- Chili powder – Basic chili powder, nothing fancy. You can grind your own dried chilies, if you want to use specific chilies.
- Ground cumin – Earthy and fragrant, this gives the taco seasoning wonderful flavor.
- Garlic powder – I used granulated garlic, which is a little coarser than garlic powder. They are interchangeable. Not the same as garlic salt.
- Onion powder – I used granulated onion, which is a little coarser than onion powder. They are interchangeable.
- Dried oregano – Not ground, you’ll want the tiny bits of dried oregano.
- Paprika – This provides flavor, but also bright color.
- Salt – Adjust to your tastes.
- Black pepper – Black or white pepper, adjust to your personal tastes.
- Cocoa powder – Here’s the surprise ingredient. It might seem unexpected, but trust me, it works. You can leave it out if you wish.
This mix of taco spices has no questionable ingredients, nothing to make it more shelf stable, and nothing that you don’t recognize. I can’t say that for the store-bought packet.
How to make
Here’s a quick summary of how to make homemade taco seasoning. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Measure out all of your ingredients and add to a bowl, plate, or jar. Give it a good mix to incorporate everything. Pour it into a glass jar. Label it, so you know what it is, and write the date on the label. You now have homemade taco seasoning for the next 6 months.
Homemade taco seasoning FAQ’s
If stored properly in an airtight glass jar, it will keep for up to 6 months.
You’ll need 2 – 3 tbsp. of seasoning per pound of ground meat.
The yellow envelope of taco seasoning contains roughly 3 tbsp., or 1 ounce.
Variations and substitutions
- Extra spicy – Add in a pinch of chipotle or ancho chili powder to give it a spicy, smoky kick, or 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper to give it more heat.
- Cornstarch – Add in 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch to help thicken the sauce for your ground meat.
Use this DIY taco seasoning on your favorite taco recipes, or for a nacho seasoning! Here are a few of our favorite taco recipes:
Helpful tools and equipment
- Glass spice jars with a hinged lid are perfect for storing your homemade taco seasoning. These are 4 oz. jars that come with a funnel, making them really easy to fill.
- Glass spice jars with shaker lids are super convenient and this set comes with a funnel and blank labels so you can easily fill and customize your jars.
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- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 - 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (*see notes)
- 1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic / garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. granulated onion / onion powder
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cocoa powder, optional
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsps. cornstarch to thicken, optional
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, or jar.
- Whisk together to combine.
- Pour into a shaker jar, or a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for storage.
- Recipes make roughly 5 1/2 tbsps. That is enough for 2 - 2 1/2 pounds of ground meat.
- To make this homemade taco seasoning like the store bought packet, add in a teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half of cornstarch to the spice mixture. The cornstarch will thicken the mixture.
- There is roughly 1 ounce, or 3 tbsps. in a store-bought packet, this recipe makes double that amount.
- You can customize every ingredient in this seasoning. If you don't like cumin, reduce the amount. If you like it spicier, add in more chili powder. You like it really hot? Add in cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
- To make this blend salt-free, simply omit the salt. You can bump up the other ingredients, if you like to account for the 1/2 tsp. of salt in the recipe. If you find it isn't salty enough for you, add in a pinch at a time. You can always add more, but taking it out is a lot more difficult.
- You can use ground white pepper instead of black pepper, if you prefer. White pepper is milder than black pepper, it has an earthy flavor, and can be bright and fruity.
- Don't limit yourself to tacos with this spice blend. You can use it on nachos, quesadillas, etc. But, it is also a tasty way to season up a grilled chicken breast or roasted vegetables.
- Homemade seasonings made a fantastic housewarming gift, or bridal shower gift. You can easily put together a basket of your favorite spice blends in pretty jars with cute handmade labels.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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