Taco Seasoning

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Easy perfect taco seasoning that is simple to mix and loaded with Tex Mex flavor, perfect for chicken and beef tacos with a ton more flavor than store bought!

taco seasoning in a bowl on a spoon
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taco seasoning in a wooden bowl

Homemade Taco Mix

So, you know those little store-bought taco seasoning packets that have been chilling in the back of your pantry? Let’s shake things up a bit and introduce the wonderland of homemade taco seasoning! Imagine having the power to craft the flavor of your tacos like a seasoned (pun intended) chef right at home. Yep, that’s the kind of magic we’re talking about!

Why Bother with Homemade? Well, my flavor-seeking friends, let’s get real. Homemade taco seasoning is like a flavor bomb that you control. No more mysterious ingredients or labels you need a magnifying glass to read. You’re the master here, blending together spices that tickle your taste buds just the right way. Plus, it’s a high-five to your health-conscious side. No funky additives or extra sodium sneaking in – just pure, unadulterated goodness.

Spice It Your Way: Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all flavor. With homemade taco seasoning, you’re the Picasso of spices. Feeling bold? Toss in a little extra chili powder for a feisty kick. Want to embrace a smoky vibe? Hello, smoked paprika! Feeling wild? Experiment with a dash of cocoa powder for an intriguing twist. The point is, your taste journey is in your hands. So, why not make it an adventure?

Beyond Tacos: It’s not just for tacos; it’s the VIP pass to Flavor Town! Think beyond the taco shell – sprinkle it on roasted veggies, jazz up that plain ol’ chicken, or stir it into a pot of bubbling chili. Your kitchen, your rules! The versatility of this homemade magic means you can whip up a tasty fiesta every night of the week without feeling like you’re on taco overload.

Homemade taco seasoning isn’t just about taste – it’s about embracing the joy of crafting flavors and making your kitchen your personal playground. Let’s sprinkle, mix, and sizzle our way to taco perfection, one dash at a time!

taco seasoning in a bowl on a table

How to Make Taco Seasoning

To make this recipe, we will use the following ingredients:

  • Chili Powder: Chili powder is a blend of ground dried chilies and other spices. It provides a warm, earthy flavor and a mild to moderate level of spiciness, adding a foundational kick to the seasoning mix.
  • Cumin: Cumin offers a distinct smoky, nutty, and slightly citrusy flavor. It’s a key ingredient in many Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, and in taco seasoning, it contributes depth and complexity.
  • Dried Oregano: Dried oregano brings a fragrant and herbaceous note to the mix. It complements the other spices and provides a characteristic aroma often associated with Mexican cuisine.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic powder adds a savory and slightly pungent flavor reminiscent of fresh garlic. It enhances the overall savory profile of the seasoning.
  • Onion Powder: Similar to garlic powder, onion powder contributes a savory and slightly sweet onion flavor without the need for chopping and sautéing fresh onions.
  • Salt: Salt is a basic seasoning that enhances the flavors of all the other ingredients. It helps balance the spiciness and brings out the natural tastes in the dish.
  • Black Pepper: Black pepper adds a mild heat and a subtle complexity to the seasoning. It works in harmony with the other spices to create a well-rounded taste.
  • Ground Coriander: Ground coriander offers a citrusy, slightly nutty flavor with a hint of warmth. It complements cumin and adds another layer of complexity to the mix.
  • Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika contributes a smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor. It adds depth and a hint of smokiness that enhances the overall profile of the seasoning.
  • Chipotle Chili Pepper Powder: Chipotle chili pepper powder comes from smoked and dried jalapeño peppers. It brings a distinct smokiness and a moderate level of heat to the mix, adding a unique kick to the seasoning.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

  1. In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
  2. Mix well until all the spices are evenly combined.
  3. Taste the seasoning blend and adjust the amount of cayenne pepper according to your preferred level of spiciness. Add more for extra heat or reduce for a milder flavor.
  4. Use the taco seasoning immediately or store it in an airtight container for later use.
taco seasoning on a spoon in a bowl of taco seasoning

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Taco Seasoning

Start with Fresh Spices: Fresh spices have more vibrant flavors. If your spices have been sitting in your pantry for a while, they might have lost some of their potency. Consider replenishing your spice collection for better results.

Use High-Quality Ingredients: Quality matters. Opt for good-quality chili powder, cumin, and other spices to ensure a robust and authentic flavor.

Customize Heat Levels: Adjust the amounts of chili powder and chipotle chili pepper powder to control the spiciness of your seasoning. Taste as you go and add a little at a time until you achieve your desired level of heat.

Balance Flavors: The key to a great taco seasoning is balance. Ensure that no single flavor overwhelms the others. Taste and adjust until you find the right proportions.

Experiment with Ratios: Start with the provided ratios as a base, but don’t hesitate to experiment. You might find that you prefer a bit more cumin or a touch less salt, for example.

Toast Whole Spices: If you have whole cumin or coriander seeds, consider toasting them in a dry pan before grinding. This releases their oils and enhances their flavors.

Grind Fresh Spices: Whenever possible, grind whole spices just before using them. This intensifies their flavors and ensures they’re evenly distributed in the seasoning.

Store Properly: Store your homemade taco seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help preserve its flavor and potency.

Make Ahead: Prepare a larger batch of taco seasoning and keep it on hand for easy and quick use. This can save you time during busy cooking sessions.

Add Umami: For an extra layer of depth, consider adding a pinch of cocoa powder or a small amount of dried mushroom powder. These ingredients can enhance the umami flavor of your seasoning.

Be Mindful of Salt: Remember that some dishes might already contain salt from other ingredients, such as canned beans or processed cheeses. Adjust the amount of salt in your seasoning accordingly.

Label and Date: If you make a larger batch of taco seasoning, be sure to label the container with the date it was made. Spices can lose their potency over time.

Sample on a Dish: Before seasoning a whole batch of meat or vegetables, cook a small portion and apply your taco seasoning. This way, you can taste the seasoning’s impact and adjust if needed.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tweak: Taco seasoning is versatile. Feel free to adjust the mix to match your preferences. You’re not limited to the ingredients listed—add a pinch of cinnamon for warmth or a touch of paprika for color, for example.

Keep Notes: As you experiment with your taco seasoning, keep notes about what you liked or didn’t like. This way, you can refine your recipe over time.

FAQs

Why should I make homemade taco seasoning?

Making homemade taco seasoning allows you to control the ingredients, flavors, and spice levels according to your taste preferences. It also allows you to avoid unnecessary additives, preservatives, and excess salt found in some store-bought versions.

How do I store homemade taco sesaoning?

Store your homemade taco seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help preserve its flavor and potency. Proper storage can extend its shelf life for several months.

Can I adjust the heat of homemade seasoning?

Absolutely! You can customize the spiciness of your taco seasoning by adjusting the amounts of chili powder and chipotle chili pepper powder. Add more or less of these ingredients to achieve your desired heat level.

Can I make a big batch of taco seasoning and save it for later?

Yes, you can make a larger batch of taco seasoning and store it for later use. Just be sure to label the container with the date it was made. Over time, spices may lose some of their potency, so it’s a good idea to use it within several months.

Can I use this seasoning for dishes other than tacos

Yes, definitely! This seasoning blend can enhance the flavor of various dishes beyond tacos. It works well in fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, soups, chili, and more.

Can I adjust the ingredients in taco seasoning?

Yes, the provided recipe is a base, but you can adjust the ratios and ingredients to match your taste preferences. Feel free to experiment with different spices or even add a touch of sweetness with a pinch of cinnamon or cocoa powder.

Is homemade taco seasoning better than store bought?

Homemade taco seasoning allows you to control the quality of ingredients, reducing the likelihood of added preservatives, artificial flavors, and excessive salt. However, the overall healthiness depends on the specific ingredients you use and your dietary needs.

How much taco seasoning should I use?

A good starting point is around 2 to 3 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning for a pound of meat. However, you can adjust this based on your taste preferences. It’s recommended to start with a smaller amount and add more if needed, as you can always adjust, but you can’t easily undo an overly seasoned dish.

Can I use this taco seasoning on vegan dishes?

Absolutely! This seasoning is versatile and can be used to flavor vegetarian or plant-based dishes as well. It can enhance the taste of beans, lentils, tofu, vegetables, and other meat alternatives. Check out our Paleo Vegan “Meaty” Taco Skillet or Air Fryer Tofu Tacos.

Can I make taco seasoning mild?

Certainly! To make a milder version, reduce the amounts of chili powder, chipotle chili pepper powder, and black pepper. This way, you can still enjoy the flavors without the intense heat.

taco seasoning in a wooden bowl

What to Serve with Tacos

Rice and Beans: A classic choice, serving rice and beans alongside tacos adds a hearty and nutritious element to the meal. You can go with plain rice, Mexican rice, or even cilantro-lime rice. Pair it with black beans, refried beans, or spicy garlicky beans for added protein and fiber.

Guacamole and Salsa: Fresh guacamole and salsa are perfect toppings for tacos. They provide a burst of flavor, freshness, and a creamy texture from the guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping as well.

Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: Creamy toppings like sour cream or Greek yogurt provide a cooling contrast to the heat and spices in the tacos. They can be drizzled on top or served on the side for dipping.

Cheese: Shredded cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or queso fresco, adds richness and a satisfying melt to tacos. Sprinkle it over the fillings or let diners add their preferred amount.

Lettuce and Fresh Vegetables: Crisp lettuce and other fresh vegetables like sliced tomatoes, diced onions, and shredded cabbage can add a crunchy and refreshing component to tacos.

Hot Sauce or Sliced Jalapeños: For those who enjoy extra heat, provide a selection of hot sauces or sliced jalapeños as condiments to customize the spice level of their tacos.

Lime Wedges: Lime wedges are a must-have accompaniment for squeezing over tacos. The citrusy tang adds brightness and a burst of flavor that complements the other ingredients.

Corn on the Cob: Grilled corn on the cob with a sprinkle of chili powder, cotija cheese, and a squeeze of lime makes a great side dish that complements the flavors of tacos.

Coleslaw: A tangy coleslaw with a vinaigrette or creamy dressing can add a refreshing and crunchy element to tacos, particularly if they are on the spicier side.

Fruit Salsa: Consider serving a fresh fruit salsa with ingredients like mango, pineapple, or peach. The sweetness of the fruit can balance the savory and spicy flavors of the tacos.

Tortilla Chips: Alongside your tacos, offer a bowl of tortilla chips for snacking or scooping up any leftover toppings.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote): If you’re looking for a more substantial side dish, serve Mexican street corn (elote) with a layer of mayo, chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime juice.

Salad: A simple green salad with a citrus or lime-based dressing can be a refreshing counterpart to the flavors of tacos.

Fried Plantains: For a touch of sweetness and crunch, serve fried or caramelized plantains as a side dish. Try our mofongo for a delicious spin on plantains!

Mexican-Inspired Slaw: Prepare a cabbage slaw with a zesty dressing that complements the flavors of the tacos. You can add elements like chopped cilantro and lime juice.

taco seasoning on a spoon

Taco Seasoning

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taco seasoning on a spoon
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Taco Seasoning

Easy taco seasoning that tastes better than the storebought packets!
Course Herb and Seasoning Mixes
Cuisine TexMex
Keyword cayenne pepper, gringo tacos, herb mix, seasoning mix, taco tuesday, tacos
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 /4 cup
Calories 60kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili pepper powder

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
  • Mix well until all the spices are evenly combined.
  • Taste the seasoning blend and adjust the amount of cayenne pepper according to your preferred level of spiciness. Add more for extra heat or reduce for a milder flavor.
  • Use the chicken taco seasoning immediately or store it in an airtight container for later use.

Nutrition

Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1299mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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