Homemade Taco Seasoning is a mild, kid-friendly, easy and flavorful spice blend that comes together in less than 5 minutes. It's a great, clean spice mix that can be used in tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas and other Mexican inspired recipes - the possibilities are endless.
Taco Tuesday is everyone's favorite dinner at our house. We love all kinds of tacos, fajitas, burritos and enchiladas - basically anything you wrap into a tortilla. To keep things interesting, we rotate between different proteins but whether we use ground meat, shredded chicken, fish, shrimp or vegetarian options, such as cauliflower or sweet potatoes, a good homemade taco spice blend is the foundation of great taco flavor.
Taco seasoning packets are full of starch and mystery ingredients and to be honest, I usually don't like the taste of it. Making your own seasoning is not only healthier, but also fast, cheap and more flavorful.
For this recipe, I am using staple spices that most of us have on hand. The foundation of this blend is good chili powder and paprika. I love the bright red color of this blend and the taste cannot be beat by any store bought taco spice packet.
Looking for more easy Mexican-inspired recipes? Try this refreshing Mango Pico de Gallo. Great on fish or shrimp tacos!
Kid-friendly taco seasoning ingredients
- Chili powder: use good quality chili powder, preferably fresh and organic. A good indication of chili powder's quality is color - brighter red usually means it is fresh and tastes great.
- Paprika: I like using Hungarian paprika such as this one because it is just the best but any paprika will work. If you like smoky flavor, you can also use smoked paprika or swap one tablespoon of regular paprika for smoked.
- Cumin: cumin is a staple Mexican flavor with a wonderful earthy flavor.
- Oregano: though typically associated with Italian and Greek cuisine, oregano is also widely used in Mexican dishes and most taco and chili blends contain dried oregano.
- Garlic & Onion Powder: make sure to use powdered garlic and onion, NOT the coarser dried garlic or onion, such as garlic or onion flakes.
- Salt: fine salt will work best for this seasoning mix as its powdery texture will blend well with the rest of the spices
- Cayenne: the amount of cayenne pepper will depend on your preferences. Since I have a toddler and young kids, I only use about ¼ teaspoon because the kids are not fond of spicy foods. However, feel free to increase the amount to ½ teaspoon or more if you're into heat in your Mexican dishes.
How to make DIY taco seasoning
All you need to do is place all dry spices into a bowl, give it a stir and transfer to an airtight container or a small jar. This recipe yields a little less than ½ cup of seasoning. If you'd like to make a bigger batch, simply double or triple the recipe.
HOW TO USE THIS SPICE MIX VS. STORE BOUGHT PACKET
Since the store bought packets usually contain a lot of starch that thicken the ground meat mixture and make it somewhat saucy, you will want to use about half of the amount of homemade seasoning. A typical taco packet contains 2 tablespoons of spice, so for 1 lb of ground meat, start with 1 tablespoon of the DIY seasoning. For shredded chicken, fish, shrimp and veggie "proteins" such as cauliflower or sweet potatoes, I use the mix as it. Just toss with the protein and cook it in your favorite way. For ground meat or plant-based equivalent, I like it to be a little more saucy so I recommend adding a splash of water and 2 tablespoons or so of tomato sauce or puree. If you like more intense flavors, feel free to increase the amount of seasoning.
Why make your own taco seasoning
Most store bought taco or fajitas seasoning has a myriad of not-so-great ingredients. If you follow a clean diet, it's almost always better to make your own version.
Top reasons why homemade is better:
- It is cheaper! Those store bought taco packets are not expensive but they are enough to make one batch of taco protein. If you make tacos a lot, it all adds up!
- No Preservatives or Iffy Ingredients. Since you are only using dried spices, you know exactly what's going into your seasoning.
- It Will Save You Time. As long as you have all 8 ingredients on hand, it will only take a couple minutes to make. No need to get in the car to buy a packet because you just ran out.
- It's Food Allergies Friendly. If you, a family member or a guest has any food allergies or sensitivities, the taco packets can be a hazard. Homemade taco seasoning will give you peace of mind because you know what's in it. Just be mindful to check the label on your chili spice because it's a blend and ingredients may vary.
More Mexican-inspired recipes
This post contains affiliate links.
Kid-Friendly Taco Seasoning
- Place all 8 ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
- Transfer to an airtight container or spice jar and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.