This homemade taco seasoning recipe is designed to keep you away from the dreaded seasoning pack that most of us grew up with.
It's also an easy way to avoid MSG and any other additives that go by the name of why-is-this-in-here?!!
You'll get greater control over the sodium level too and that alone is reason to come up with a version you can always default to when there are mouths to feed and tacos are on the menu.
Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
Most likely you already have all the spices you need to whip up this impromptu seasoning.
Here's what we're using:
A few things to mention about these ingredients...
Try to start with some pure chili powder. Unfortunately if you look at the label on most store-bought chili powders it will look something like this:
So yes, most chili powders are already a blend and you'll get an instant upgrade in flavor if you start with pure chili powder. I use these chili powders but you can find a good equivalent in most grocery stores these days -- just check out the ingredient list and confirm it isn't loaded with other ingredients. You can also use some homemade chili powder if you have dried chilis on hand.
I know some of you out there aren't big cumin fans. As proportioned, the final mix does have a healthy burst of cumin. Feel free to lower the amount if you want the cumin to slowly exit stage left.
And most importantly, the salt level is designed to be on the threshold of 'just barely enough'. Depending on the fat content of the meat you're using, you'll be well served to give a final taste for salt level. I usually add a bit more.
If you're taking the time to gather all the ingredients, I think it's easiest to make a big batch so you'll have plenty of leftovers for next time. You can store it in an airtight container along with your other spices.
So if you quadruple the above pic you'll end up with a heaping half cup of lively taco seasoning (approx. 10 tablespoons).
1/4 cup pure chili powder
4 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
You'll need about 3 tablespoons of this taco seasoning for a single pound of ground beef.
I used a half pound of ground beef for this batch, so after browning the beef over medium heat and draining out the fat I added 1. 5 tablespoons of seasoning along with a healthy splash of water (approx. 1/3 cup).
Mix well and simmer over low heat.
Once combined, take a taste for salt level. I added another generous pinch to this batch.
You're left with a fiery batch of meat that you can use in all sorts of tacos and burritos. And the best part? You know what's in it!
Keep in mind that this seasoning will likely develop an inferiority complex when compared to the seasoning in our chipotle bomb Ground Beef Tacos.
That version uses fresh ingredients and it's hard for spices alone to develop a similar flavor.
But you'll be pleasantly surprised how much flavor you can get just by combining a few key spices that are sitting around in your pantry waiting to jump to life.
Try coming up with a version that suits your taste buds and you'll forever sever the link to those dreaded seasoning packs. Finally!
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1/4 cup pure chili powder
- 4 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well.
- Use immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container.
- For one pound of ground beef, you'll need 3 tablespoons of the seasoning mix. After browning the ground beef, drain the fat. Add 3 tablespoons seasoning along with a heaping half cup of water. Mix well and simmer over low heat. Taste for salt level, adding another pinch if necessary.
You could also use this recipe for some Ground Beef Nachos.