Homemade Taco Seasoning

$0.34 batch

I used to be a “packet seasoning” junkie. It just seemed so easy. But really, how difficult is it to measure out a few spices? It takes five minutes, max. So, I’ve experimented with different combinations of spices for taco seasoning over the past year, and I think today I found the winner! One batch of this is roughly equal to one of those packets that you can get at the grocery store and it’s 10 times more flavorful. You can even mix up big batches of it and store it pre-mixed in an air-tight container.

I use a flat cost estimate for herbs and spices because they’re just too hard to measure/weigh, so this cost is purely an estimate. I generally estimate five cents for every teaspoon, unless it’s a particularly expensive herb. For salt I generally estimate half that. So, take the cost of this recipe with a grain of salt (har har har).

I really think the smoked paprika made the flavor of this seasoning pop, but if you can’t get it, use regular paprika in place of it.

It’s also worth noting that I usually use fresh garlic and onions in whatever I’m making with my taco seasoning, so there is no garlic or onion powder in this mix. If you won’t be using fresh, you’ll probably want to add some powdered.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

5.0 from 3 reviews
taco seasoning
Prep time
Total time
Total Cost: $0.34
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.15
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1 tsp cumin $0.05
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • ½ tsp oregano $0.03
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ tsp (15 cranks) fresh black pepper $0.05
  • ½ tsp corn starch (optional) $0.02
  1. Combine everything in a small bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Corn starch is optional but it will help thicken any sauce or absorb excess moisture in whatever you add the taco seasoning to (commercial taco seasoning packets contain corn starch).


Step By Step Photos

taco seasoningCombine the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, freshly cracked black pepper, and salt in a bowl. I would say this mix is “medium” spicy. Adjust the cayenne to make it more or less spicy.

stirStir until evenly mixed.

corn starchAdd corn starch to help thicken whatever you’re adding the taco seasoning to. It also helps prevent sogginess from moisture that may seep out of vegetables or other ingredients.

done taco seasoningStore the taco seasoning in an air-tight container in a cool dark place until ready to use.


  1. Christina says:

    Is the measured amount of seasoning in the recipe for 1 lb of beef? Also, when do you add the seasoning? Thanks!

    • It should be enough for one pound of beef. I usually brown the beef in a skillet first, then drain fat off if needed. Then add the seasoning and maybe a few tablespoons of water and simmer for a couple minutes more.

  2. Nathan says:

    Does this seasoning mix work well with chicken? I usually see packages of taco seasoning separated for chicken and beef… so I was curious.

  3. Mari says:

    Thank you – this is a great seasoning to have in the cupboard.

  4. Heidi says:

    Do you add water to the seasoned ground beef when you make tacos?

    • You can add a little to help rehydrate the spices, if you wish, but I usually don’t. If you do, add about 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup and make sure it cooks long enough to evaporate off. I find that beef has enough moisture in it to help rehydrate the spices, so I don’t add any more.

  5. Leslie says:

    I love this recipe! How much fresh garlic and onion would you recommend to compliment this recipe for 1 lb. of ground beef, for say, tacos, etc.?


  6. acoustic_alchemy says:

    Sorry to necro an old thread, but I just made a batch (minus the salt), added half a jar of chunky medium salsa, and after simmering the whole lot, dumped a cup of leftover Kraft mac n’ cheese I made the other day. Ta-da- spicy macaroni! Granted, it turned out to be “kinda like chili with some macaroni tossed in”, so I’ll make this with a whole box next time…or add garlic and beans to make a proper vegetarian chili. Thanks Beth!

  7. SO GOOD. This can be so easily tweaked for preference (we like our seasoning really hot) and the spices you like best. We use this ALL the time now! Thank you!!

  8. Mary says:

    I use ancho chile powder for the chile powder. I always make my tacos with ground turkey.
    I also used this as a spice rub for grilled pork chops and they came out great.

  9. Anony says:

    Hi Beth,

    I know you posted this recipe over a year ago, but any chance you could cover briefly what the ingredients are in the “chili powder” you used? I don’t think we have anything exactly like it over here, and some stuff online suggests the American “chili powder blend” (which is what you seem to mean) typically contains garlic and onion powder?


    • Well, the label isn’t too specific (unfortunately). It says: chili pepper, spices, salt, silicon dioxide, and garlic. I think the bulk of it is mild red chiles and that’s what gives it that deep red color. I’m surprised it says salt, because it doesn’t taste salty at all. If you can find mild chili powder (made of just mild chiles), I think that would be a reasonable substitute.

      • Anony says:

        Thanks, that’s very helpful.

      • Jon Parker says:

        I make my own chili powder by toasting dried chiles (some combo of anchos, pasillas, and chipotle moritas). Then I grind them in a coffee grinder. It’s much better than the commercial stuff.

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