Homemade Taco Seasoning

I used to be a “packet seasoning” junkie. It just seemed so easy. But really, if you have a decently stocked spice cabinet, making your own homemade taco seasoning 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 ten cents for every teaspoon of an herb or spice, unless it’s a particularly expensive item. For salt I generally estimate half that. So, take the cost of this recipe with a grain of salt (pun intended).

Originally posted 2-19-12, updated 7-27-18

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Individual ingredients for homemade taco seasoning in a small wooden bowl, surrounded by chips, limes, cilantro, and garlic.

How to Use Taco Seasoning:

This taco seasoning will season approximately one pound ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken) or about 3 cups of cooked beans. I like to brown my ground meat first, then add the taco seasoning and continue to sauté for about two minutes more to toast the spices. For beans, simply add the spices and heat through.

Here are some recipes that use this taco seasoning:

What is In Taco Seasoning? Just seven ingredients!

  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Options and Add-ins:

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

Garlic Powder and Onion Powder – When I make taco meat I generally am also adding a diced onion and a clove or two of minced garlic, so I didn’t include any garlic powder or onion powder in this mix. If you prefer not to use fresh onion and garlic, you can add 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp onion powder to the recipe below.

Cornstarch – If you like your taco meat to have a slightly saucy consistency, add 1/2 tsp of cornstarch to your spice mix and add 1/3 cup water to your taco meat or beans when you add the spices. The water and cornstarch will create a nice taco flavored sauce to coat the meat or beans.

This homemade taco seasoning is quick, easy, inexpensive, full of flavor, and can be made with just a few basic spice cabinet staples. Budgetbytes.com
Print Recipe
4.77 from 17 votes

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This homemade taco seasoning is quick, easy, inexpensive, full of flavor, and can be made with just a few basic spice cabinet staples. 
Total Cost: $0.67 per batch
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp 15 cranks fresh black pepper ($0.05)

Instructions

  • Combine everything in a small bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Use immediately, or store in an air-tight container, away from heat and sunlight, until ready to use.

Notes

Optional add-ins: 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder (either or both, depending on if you are using fresh garlic or onion); 1/2 tsp cornstarch (add 1/3 cup water to your meat or beans to create a saucy consistency).
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Individual spices used for homemade taco seasoning in a small wooden bowl.