Taco seasoning is easy to make at home with common spices you may already have!
Are you a die-hard Taco Tuesday fan? If you make tacos often and find yourself reaching for those taco kits time and time again, you’re probably better off making your own.
Taco seasoning is easy to make at home with common spices you might already have in your pantry, like cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder, to name a few.
Why Should I Make My Own?
This seasoning blend tastes just like the taco packet you get in the store-bought taco kits, but without the additives! (What does “Natural Flavor” mean, anyways?) Plus, it usually ends up being more cost effective and has the added benefit of being customizable.
It takes just a few minutes to make and yields the perfect amount for a standard 4-oz. spice jar.
What’s In Taco Seasoning?
The main flavor profile is cumin, so if you don’t have everything on the ingredient list, you can still make a great-tasting taco seasoning with just cumin and any of the other spices in the list that you do have.
In addition to the cumin, I use onion and garlic powders, oregano, chili powder, and paprika. Chili powders can vary by brand in terms of heat and salt content, so use one you like. You can use either sweet or smoked paprika depending on your taste and what you’ve got on hand. Of course, the beauty of making your own is that you can customize your personal blend. If you want some extra heat, try adding a bit of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
Because the recipe does not contain salt, it can easily be doubled or tripled without worrying about balancing the salt content, however if you’d like to create a mix with salt, add one half of a teaspoon.
Why Is There Cornstarch?
Some taco seasoning packets also contain cornstarch with directions to add a little bit of water to whatever the packet is added to, to help create a thickened sauce. The cornstarch in this recipe is optional, but can be added if you like a little bit of the same thickening power.
Depending on how you’re using it, you may or may not need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to activate the cornstarch. This is my favorite thing about this recipe and many other recipes online don’t call for it. So, if you’re used to taco seasoning mixes and want it to thicken when you add water just like the packet, then do this, otherwise leave it out.
Making Your Own Taco Seasoning
To make, simply whisk all of the ingredients together until well combined and then transfer to an air-tight container, preferably glass or ceramic. A funnel can be helpful for transferring the spice blend into a smaller container. Aromas and colors will transfer into plastic containers and are almost impossible to remove once it sets in, so I don’t suggest plastic.
Another easy way to mix everything is by placing all of the ingredients into a glass jar and simply shaking until everything is combined.
Keep the spice mix in a cool, dry, dark place, like inside a cabinet or pantry and it will last up to three months.
Using Your Seasoning Blend
Most taco seasoning packets contain about two tablespoons. You’ll need the same amount of your homemade seasoning mix to season one pound of ground beef, turkey, chicken, shrimp, or vegetables.
Once the protein or vegetables are well browned, add the two tablespoons of seasoning and, if using the version with cornstarch, add two to three tablespoons of water or stock to blend the liquid and pan juices together into a sauce. Seasoning packets often call for up to ¾ cup of water to be added, but since my recipe contains less cornstarch, you’ll only need a few tablespoons of water.
Without the cornstarch, this taco seasoning can also be sprinkled on popcorn, chips, or crackers. With or without the cornstarch, the seasoning can be used as a rub or spice blend for chicken, fish, beef, and vegetables. It also makes a flavorful taco dip when mixed with cream cheese or sour cream.
Try it in these recipes as well:Print
- 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. ground chili powder
- 2 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
- In a medium bowl whisk together cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, paprika, and cornstarch until well combined.
- Transfer mixture to an air-tight container. Store up to 3 months in a cool, dry, dark, place.