Taco Seasoning

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Our favorite Taco Seasoning blend is so simple to make and uses spices you probably already have in your cabinet! Ditch those store-bought packets; you’ll never want to use them again after seeing how easy and tasty making your own Taco Seasoning can be!

So many recipes give you a seasoning blend that will last a decade — today we’re sharing a taco seasoning mix recipe that perfectly replaces ONE packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Don’t worry — it’s very easy to double or triple!

Use this seasoning recipe in this crazy-popular Taco Bowl recipe, Baked Chicken Tacos, Turkey Tacos, or Beef Tacos!

Taco Seasoning in a bowl

Taco Seasoning

It’s no secret how obsessed we are with tacos around here — when categorizing types of recipes on this site, tacos got their own category because we’ve shared so many recipes throughout the years.

And while there are countless ways to enjoy tacos, we always come back to a pound of ground meat tossed with this homemade taco seasoning blend — there aren’t too many better meals that can be ready in about 15-20 minutes! 🙂 

Since we’re no stranger to tacos, we’ve truly perfected our taco seasoning blend and have plenty of tricks up our sleeves to teach you exactly how to infuse tacos with the best possible flavor (hint — don’t add water!). 

Process shots-- images of all the seasonings in a bowl compartmentalized

What Is Taco Seasoning Made Of?

Our blend combines chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper.

To add spice: Add in 1/8 up to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper.

And then for some extra flavor and seasoning power, you can choose to add in one other seasoning:

The “secret” (optional) ingredient: If you’re using ground turkey, add in 1-1/2 up to 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder to amp up the flavor and make the meat taste beefier. If you’re using ground chicken, add in 1-1/2 up to 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder to amp up the flavor. If you’re using ground beef, add in 1-1/2 up to 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder for a stronger beefy flavor. 

QUICK TIP

Be sure to use chili powder — not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We’re using American chili powder in this homemade taco seasoning. If your seasoning blend comes out too hot to enjoy, you probably used the wrong chili/chilli powder!

Process shots-- images of the seasoning blend being mixed together

How To Make Taco Seasoning

Simply measure out all the spices and whisk them together in a small bowl or add directly to the dish you’re preparing. Use immediately or store…more on this below!

STORAGE

Taco Seasoning Storage

  • Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place (like a cabinet or pantry). I like to store these homemade “packets” in small plastic bags or make a big batch to store in a jar or spice containers (we love these!)
  • As long as it is stored properly, homemade taco seasoning can last 6 months up to a year.
  • Seasoning blend make-ahead: I get it– taco seasoning packets are easy and convenient! And that’s why I’ve started making my own packets. When I make this recipe, I’ll typically make 5 or 6 more “packets” of the seasoning. Since all the spices are out and I’m measuring anyways, it takes just a few extra minutes. Measure out the spices, put them in labeled individual snack-size bags, and store those packets with your spices.

Overhead image of Taco Seasoning all mixed together

The Best Way To Use This Seasoning

A lot of seasoning packets recommend browning the meat and then adding in the seasoning with water.

Here’s how we do it to ensure a lot more flavor for the same amount of work:

  • Add ground meat and cook, breaking it up into small pieces as you go, until meat is no longer pink (but not fully cooked through).
  • If there is a lot of extra grease (from higher-fat meat), drain it off.
  • Add in the seasoning blend. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until meat is completely cooked through — adding at this stage will infuse the meat with loads of flavor and toast the spices which make them more flavorful.
  • Add in 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chicken stock (not water) to add plenty of flavor, and stir until thickened, another 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to slightly cool.

Image of a jar full of Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning FAQs

1What can I use if I don't have taco seasoning on hand?

You can make your own! This recipe is so simple to throw together and most likely you have the spices in your cabinet!

Other options:

  • For a less stocked spice rack: Use just 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon paprika (plus salt & pepper!).
  • Skip the spices: If you don’t have any spices, add some heat with hot sauce or Sriracha

2How much taco seasoning do I need for 1 pound of meat?

Use 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning for every 1 pound of meat.

This is of course up to personal preference, so if you like milder spices/flavors, use a little less and for better-seasoned meat, use 3 (or more) tablespoons.

 

3What ingredients are in Old El Paso taco seasoning?

Most commercial taco seasonings contain the same ingredients: salt, onion powder, cornstarch, sea salt, garlic extract, high monounsaturated vegetable oil (canola, soybean and/or sunflower), silicon dioxide, citric acid, sugar, natural flavors.

While none of those ingredients are toxic, they sure don’t sound very appetizing. Making your own taco seasoning lets you add real ingredients that you know and trust.

4Is chili seasoning the same as taco seasoning?

No, but they can be similar. The primary difference between the two seasoning blends is that a chili seasoning mix will have more chili powder and paprika while taco seasoning usually has more cumin.

5What can you substitute for cumin in taco seasoning?

If you don’t have cumin, ground coriander is the next best substitute.

 

6How much seasoning is in a taco packet?

A typical package contains 1 ounce, which is about 2 tablespoons of a seasoning mix.

7Do you add taco seasoning before or after cooking?

We recommend adding it during the cooking process to ensure the best possible flavor!

8Do you need to add water to taco seasoning?

Most seasoning packets call for water to be added.

We recommend using chicken broth/stock or tomato sauce instead to infuse more flavor into the meat.

More Ways To Use Taco Seasoning

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Taco Seasoning

Our favorite Taco Seasoning blend is so simple to make and uses spices you probably already have in your cabinet! Ditch those store-bought packets, you'll never want to use them again after seeing how easy and tasty making your own Taco Seasoning can be!
Print Recipe

Taco Seasoning

Our favorite Taco Seasoning blend is so simple to make and uses spices you probably already have in your cabinet! Ditch those store-bought packets, you'll never want to use them again after seeing how easy and tasty making your own Taco Seasoning can be!
Course condiment
Cuisine American, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword homemade taco seasoning, taco seasoning, taco seasoning recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 tablespoons (equivalent of 1 taco seasoning packet)
Calories 23kcal

Ingredients

1 Taco Seasoning Packet:

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder Note 1
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

To Use for Tacos

  • 1/2 tablespoon chicken or beef bouillon powder, optional -- Note 2
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (132g) tomato sauce or chicken broth/stock

Instructions

  • TACO SEASONING: Measure out all the spices and stir them together in a small bowl or add directly to the dish you're preparing. Season to taste with salt and pepper; we typically add 1/2 teaspoon of each.
    Use immediately or store...more on this below:
  • TO MAKE TACOS: Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large skillet and heat to high heat. Add ground meat and cook, breaking it up into small pieces as you go, until meat is no longer pink (but not fully cooked through). If there is a lot of extra grease (from higher-fat meat), drain off. Add in the taco seasoning blend (here's a good place to add in 2 teaspoons minced garlic if you'd like!). If desired, add bouillon powder (Note 2). Stir in seasonings for 1-2 minutes or until meat is completely cooked through. Add in 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chicken stock (not water) and stir until thickened, another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to slightly cool.
  • STORAGE: Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place (like a cabinet or pantry). I like to store these homemade "packets" in small plastic bags or make a big batch to store in a jar or spice containers (we love these!) As long as it is stored properly, homemade taco seasoning can last 6 months up to a year.
  • MAKE AHEAD: I get it-- taco seasoning packets are easy and convenient! And that’s why I’ve started making my own packets. When I make this recipe, I’ll typically make 5 or 6 more “packets” of the seasoning. Since all the spices are out and I’m measuring anyways, it takes just a few extra minutes. Measure out the spices, put them in labeled individual snack-size bags, and store those packets with your spices.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chili powder: Not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We’re using American chili powder in this homemade taco seasoning.
Note 2: Bouillon powders: if you're using ground turkey, add in 1-1/2 up to 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder to amp up the flavor and make the meat taste beefier. If you're using ground chicken, add in 1-1/2 up to 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder to amp up the flavor. If you're using ground beef, add in 1-1/2 up to 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder for a stronger beefy flavor and seasoning. If using bouillon powders, use tomato sauce instead of stock/broth or it will be too salty.
If you are making vegetarian or vegan tacos, use vegetable bouillon and a vegetarian alternative for the ground meat.
Nutrition information is for the spice blend only. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2400IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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