Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Homemade taco seasoning is the unexpected pantry staple you probably didn't even know you needed. This recipe is something you can whip up in minutes, and there's a good chance you already have a lot of the ingredients (salt and an assortment of other spices) already on hand. In fact, there's really no excuse NOT to make your own taco seasoning at home when it's this easy.

"It's a great idea to make your own taco seasoning for a number of reasons," says Maren Epstein, the certified chef and blogger behind Eating Works. She created this taco seasoning recipe to use in lots of her home-cooked meals. "First of all, you get to control the flavor and vary the blend to your tastes. Not to mention taco seasoning packets from the store are filled with tons of sodium, mystery ingredients, and preservatives," she explains.

Keep reading for more details on successfully prepping (all prepping, no actual cooking!) this very versatile taco seasoning recipe.

Gather the ingredients for the taco seasoning

The first step is to line up all the ingredients for this taco seasoning recipe. As previously mentioned, you might already have a lot of them in your cabinet. This taco seasoning recipe calls for oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, and kosher salt. You'll also need measuring spoons, and a long toothpick or a whisk for mixing, if you're going to combine everything on a plate or in a bowl.

If any of these spices rub (no pun intended) you the wrong way, or you're just out of one of the ingredients and are eager to make this without having to make a trip to the store, feel free to eliminate it. According to Epstein, this taco seasoning "...is pretty good with or without each spice. If you don't have chili powder you can use cayenne. If you don't have cumin, swap it out for coriander. Don't be afraid to get creative. You really can't mess up taco seasoning." Good to know!

Combine the taco seasoning spices on a plate or in a jar

Now all you have to do is combine the spices for this taco seasoning recipe with the instructed measurements. You can mix the spices together on a plate or in a bowl, or put them all in a mason jar then tightly put on the lid and shake it until they're thoroughly combined. If you go the jar route, here's a pro tip from Epstein: "I would use a small mason jar, like eight ounces, to mix the seasonings. They don't take up much room."

If you put the spices on a plate, you can use a small whisk or even a larger-sized toothpick to carefully combine them. The skinny toothpick will give you more control with keeping everything on the plate. 

Store fully mixed taco seasoning in an airtight container

After the seasoning is all mixed up, all you have to do is enjoy it right away, or store it in an airtight container in a cool dry place. The seasoning will stay fresh this way for up to one year. Now that you know how longs it lasts, you might decide to make even more. Good news is, per Epstein, "If you want to double or triple the recipe all you have to do is just double the ingredients. The flavor profile will taste exactly the same."

And although you are free to choose any airtight container, Epstein praises the merits of glass and the simple mason jar for storage. She claims, "I love storing my seasonings in mason jars because I love the way they look. But you can buy any kind of glass seasoning storage containers from a store. I keep my seasonings in a cabinet where they will stay cool and dry."

Use the taco seasoning for beef or chicken tacos

Feel free to get straight down to business with this taco seasoning recipe and whip up beef or chicken tacos with the following suggestions: 

For beef tacos, use 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of beef. Add extra salt to your liking. This ratio yields six beef tacos. For chicken tacos, use 4 tablespoons to rub the outside of four chicken breasts. Season with extra salt, drizzle with oil, and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Once cooled, shred the chicken with a knife and fork.

Please note, it doesn't have to be beef or chicken tacos on the menu. Per Epstein, "Beef and chicken work well with this seasoning but my personal favorite is to use them on fish tacos or vegetable tacos. The smoky, spicy flavor of this seasoning pairs amazingly with sweet vegetables like corn carrots and caramelized onions." There's no excuse to not eat your vegetables now.

Get creative using this taco seasoning in non-taco recipes

You'll be happy to learn this taco seasoning recipe isn't just applicable to tacos (although we certainly wouldn't judge you if it was Taco Tuesday in your house every day of the week). This spice rub is delicious for a number of dishes. Epstein reassures us, "This taco seasoning benefit doesn't end with tacos! I love using it on roasted corn salsa ... it tastes so good when roasted in the oven with veggies. I also use it as a spice rub for salmon and roast that in the oven too! You can also use it to season salad dressings using cilantro."

Maybe even use it as seasoning to make your own tortilla chips? Take that, Doritos. The possibilities are endless here. Don't think of it just as "taco seasoning" — think of it as an all-purpose, multicolored spice that can jazz up a rotation of multiple lunches and dinners.

Tailor the homemade taco seasoning to your liking

Making this taco seasoning recipe is just the first step. It will give you an idea of how good the homemade stuff really is. Then you're at liberty to really make the seasoning your own. Epstein insists, "You can make the seasoning spicier by adding another half tablespoon of chili powder or some cayenne pepper." Be mindful if you do decide to doctor the spices though. "Just add 1/4 teaspoon at a time so you don't make it too spicy by accident. You can always add but you can never take away!"

Any chance you want Peruvian taco seasoning and only Peruvian taco seasoning until the day you die? You're in luck there too. Epstein advises that, "...to make this recipe more Peruvian you can add 1/4 cup of paprika!" That's all you gotta do and you can basically feel like you're in South America every night.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
4.8 from 25 ratings
Skip the sodium-packed store bought taco seasoning. Making your own is going to taste way better. Plus, you can customize the spices to your liking!
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
16
teaspoons
taco seasoning on plate with spoon
Total time: 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
Directions
  1. In a mason jar or on a plate, combine paprika, onion powder, chili powder, salt, cumin, and oregano. Shake or stir until combined.
  2. For beef tacos: Use 2 tablespoon per 1 pound of beef. Add extra salt to your liking yields 6 tacos.
  3. For chicken tacos: Use 4 tablespoons to rub the outside of 4 chicken breasts. Season with extra salt, drizzle with oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Once cooled shred the chicken with a knife and fork.
  4. Store in a tight lidded container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
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