It's so easy to make the BEST homemade taco seasoning with spices you likely already have on hand. Forget about store-bought packets and add just enough salt or heat to make this your own. It's great for cooking beef, turkey, or chicken tacos, roasted vegetables, and more.
Needless to say I've gotten a lot of practice tweaking the spices in this DIY taco seasoning blend. This not-too-salty and not-too-spicy mix features a slightly smoky note and does all the heavy lifting when it comes to flavoring tacos.
Reasons to Make Your Own Taco Seasoning
- You never need to make sure you have store-bought packets on hand when prepping for tacos.
- And speaking of, you're in the driver's seat when it comes to what's in this taco meat seasoning. Store-bought taco seasoning often contains thickeners like cornstarch, and can be a little much when it comes to sodium and spice.
- Dry spice mixes keep well, so it can be made in bulk to streamline future dinner prep.
- Think beyond tacos - this spice blend is SO good on potatoes and other roasted veggies.
- Chili Powder: This isn't a singular spice, rather is a blend itself of generic ground chili, salt, and herbs/spices. To those outside of the U.S., this is very mild and is not the same thing as a spicy ground chili like chipotle or cayenne.
- Cumin: A classic zippy, earthy flavor that differentiates taco seasoning from chili seasoning.
- Garlic Powder: I add one-and-a-half teaspoons to this blend to season one pound of meat, but measure this with your heart.
- Onion Powder: Also goes by granulated onion.
- Oregano: Standard supermarket oregano in the U.S. is usually Greek and works just fine here, but Mexican oregano would give your DIY taco seasoning extra Tex-Mex oomph.
- Salt: Adjust to taste or omit if needed.
- Pepper: Freshly-cracked will provide the punchiest flavor.
- Smoked Paprika: This has a wonderfully deep and smoky flavor compared to regular paprika. It really makes a difference!
- Ground Cayenne: Adding one-quarter teaspoon of ground cayenne will result in a relatively mild taco seasoning recipe, so do use more to fit your tastes. If you don't have cayenne, feel free to use crushed red pepper flakes instead.
Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Simple as that!
As written in the recipe card below, one batch of this DIY taco spice mix yields just shy of three tablespoons in total. This will flavor one pound of meat. See this post on cooking ground meat for tacos to see the full steps on how to get a super juicy and flavorful result.
Tips and Tricks
- Have fun with the ingredients! Use this recipe as a guide and fit it to your tastes. Consider switching things up and using dried roasted garlic, different varieties of red pepper flakes, smoky ground ancho chile pepper, Mexican oregano, etc.
- Storage. When scaling up this recipe, I prefer to store it in a glass jar with tight-fitting lid instead of a plastic bag. This blend is quite pungent and the aroma (while nice!) can permeate the bag even when sealed. Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months for the freshest flavor.
How to Use Homemade Taco Seasoning
This seasoning has lots of uses beyond tacos, and is a really versatile spice mix to have on hand. If using this in place of another spice blend in a recipe, take note if there's separately added salt and consider reducing or omitting it entirely in line with your tastes as this blend contains it.
- Tacos - the obvious. I've used this spice mix for beef, chicken, turkey, ground meat alternatives (such as Beyond or Impossible), or and even tempeh tacos and it works for anything.
- Dry Rub - great on chicken and salmon.
- Potatoes - these are good, and may be my very favorite seasoning for roasted potatoes.
- Broccoli and Other Veggies - Sprinkle this seasoning on vegetables before roasting for all the flavor you need. It's hard to beat the method of roasting broccoli florets from frozen, with no thawing necessary. It's also nice on traditional or air fryer kale chips.
- Popcorn - Yum! I like to use refined coconut oil when making stovetop popcorn as it has a high smoke point and is flavorless. Give it a squeeze of lime (like in this lime popcorn) for a perfectly Southwestern twist.
- Croutons - A bold seasoning mix is an easy way to jazz up homemade croutons.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
The Best Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 2 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Use right away, or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
- Yield - This recipe yields just shy of three tablespoons in total. This will season one pound of meat.
- Cayenne - One-quarter teaspoon adds a mild heat, but omit or add more/less to taste. Crushed red pepper flakes can be substituted in an equal amount.
- Preparing Tacos - This linked post details how to prepare juicy taco meat using this blend.
- Other Uses - Consider using this blend as a dry rub on chicken or salmon, to season roasted potatoes and vegetables, popcorn, croutons, etc.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer