DIY Homemade Taco Seasoning

Taco night.

It happens in our family at least once a week, and more often in the summer. We love to make our own tacos! Each person gets to pile the ingredients they want on their plate while being unique.

finished taco seasoning
taco seasoning

My only issue with taco night is the taco seasoning you buy in the store is full of chemicals, and many things we don’t want.

The stuff in the packages from Aldi and Walmart also have wheat and since some of my family can’t have wheat, it just makes more sense to make your own.

Add in the fact that the spices they do use are so cheap, yet they can charge almost $1 per packet is just infuriating!

Learning how to make homemade taco seasoning isn’t that hard at all.

It just takes a few spices, a mason jar and some love! It can be done in bulk and extra frozen for another time, if you wish.

I like to make a big batch that would last us a year, and keep only 2 or 3 servings in my pantry. Freezing the rest helps to keep the seasonings more flavorful.

The spices I use can also be grown in your own herb garden and dried, making this even cheaper to make for yourself.

It’s kind of amazing what you can do with just a few spices mixed together, isn’t it?

What is Taco Seasoning Made Of?

taco seasoning ingredients
taco seasoning ingredients

If you don’t have taco seasoning, there are several other spices that you can use to achieve a similar flavor. For example, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and smoked paprika all work well.

Alternatively, you could also make your own taco seasoning with ingredients already in your pantry.

All you need is a teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and paprika, along with half a teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder. Simply mix these together and store in an airtight container.

Most commercial taco seasoning mixes contain a combination of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Some also include paprika, oregano, or red pepper flakes.

The exact proportions vary depending on the brand, but typically, chili powder is the most abundant ingredient.

When it’s time to make tacos, just add the desired amount of taco seasoning to your meat or vegetables. This DIY version will taste just as good as the store-bought variety, and it will be much cheaper as well.

Making taco seasoning at home allows you to customize the flavor to your liking and use fresh, quality ingredients.

Where to Buy Spices for Taco Seasoning

For home cooks who want to make their own taco seasoning, there are a few options for where to buy spices. The most common spices used in taco seasoning are chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder.

These can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. For a more authentic flavor, however, it is worth seeking out a specialty store that sells Mexican spices.

These stores will typically have a broader selection of chili powders, as well as other spices such as oregano and cloves that can give the taco seasoning a more complex flavor. Food co-ops are another great place to find quality bulk spices, as are online retailers.

It’s important to note that the prices at specialty stores are often comparable to those at the grocery store, making them a good value for home cooks who want to make their own spice blends.

Choosing and Using Taco Spices

When it comes to choosing spices for your taco seasoning, the sky’s the limit. However, there are a few key ingredients that you’ll need to create a flavorful, well-rounded blend.

Here are some tips for choosing the right spices.

Look at the Color of the Spice to Get an Idea of Age

When it comes to spices, fresh is always best. But when you can’t get your hands on fresh spices, the next best thing is to choose the highest quality dried spices you can find.

One way to gauge the quality of a dried spice is to look at its color. If a spice is vibrant and colorful, it’s likely to be fresh and high-quality.

On the other hand, if a spice is dull or faded in color, it’s probably old and past its prime. When selecting dried spices, always choose those that are vibrant and full of color.

Get Rid of Ground Spices After Six Months

To get the most bang for your buck, it’s important to choose high-quality spices and store them properly. When it comes to ground spices, freshness is key.

Over time, ground spices lose their potency and aroma, so it’s best to use them up within six months of purchase.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to tell if a spice has gone bad. If the color is faded or the texture is coarse, it’s time to say goodbye. Likewise, if the spice has lost its flavor or smells musty, it’s time to start fresh.

Buy Online

When it comes to spices, freshness is key. That’s why many cooks choose to buy their spices online, where they can be sure to find the highest quality products.

Buying spices online also gives you the opportunity to purchase rare or hard-to-find spices that may not be available at your local grocery store.

And because most online spice retailers sell their spices in small quantities, you can buy exactly the amount you need, without having to worry about wasting precious ingredients.

Store in a Cool, Dark Place

When it comes to cooking, even the simplest dishes can be elevated by the addition of fresh spices. In order to ensure that your food is full of flavor, it is important to choose spices that are of the highest quality.

One way to do this is to look for spices that have been stored in a cool, dark place. Spices that have been exposed to light or heat are more likely to be stale and lackluster.

Similarly, spices that have been stored in humid conditions can become musty and lose their flavor.

Tips for Making DIY Taco Seasoning

Anyone who loves tacos knows that the key to a great taco is all in the seasoning.

Store-bought taco seasoning can be full of unhealthy ingredients and preservatives, but making your own DIY taco seasoning is easy and only takes a few minutes.

Start With Fresh Spices

When it comes to making your own taco seasoning, fresh spices are always the best way to go.

Not only do they provide more flavor, but they also tend to be more potent, meaning you’ll need less of them to achieve the desired flavor.

Plus, starting with fresh spices is more cost-effective in the long run since they’ll last longer.

Get An Idea of How Much You Need

When making DIY taco seasoning, it is important to get an idea of how much you need. A good rule of thumb is to start with 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning per pound of meat. You can always add more if you want a spicier flavor.

If you are using a leaner ground beef, you may want to add a little extra fat, such as olive oil or butter, to prevent the meat from drying out.

Measure Carefully

Measure the ingredients carefully. Too much of any one spice can easily overpower the others, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. Taste the seasoning as you go and adjust according to your preferences.

Stir to Remove Clumps

stirring taco spices to remove clumps
stirring taco spices to remove clumps

When making DIY taco seasoning, be sure to stir well to remove any clumps. This will ensure that the spices are evenly distributed and prevent them from clumping together in the taco filling.

Store Properly

When making your own taco seasoning, it’s important to store it properly to keep it fresh and flavorful.

The best way to do this is to transfer the seasoning to a clean, dry mason jar. Be sure to label the jar with the contents and date so you know when it was made.

Store the jar in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard. When ready to use, simply shake the jar to mix the ingredients together.

Thicken With Cornstarch or Flour

One of the most common questions when it comes to DIY taco seasoning is whether to thicken with cornstarch or flour.

The answer really depends on what you’re looking for in terms of texture and flavor. If you want a smooth, thick sauce, then cornstarch is the better option.

However, if you’re looking for something with a bit more body, then flour is the way to go.

Whichever you choose, just be sure to add it slowly and whisk continuously to avoid any lumps.

Adjust Amounts for More (or Less) Spiciness

While most store-bought taco seasoning mixes are relatively mild, it is easy to make your own blend that is as spicy or mild as you like. When adding chili powder to the mix, start with a small amount and taste as you go.

The same goes for any other spices that you might want to include. By starting with small amounts and gradually adding more, you can easily control the level of spiciness in your taco seasoning.

Taco Seasoning Recipe

Prep Time 2 mins
Servings 16
Calories 13 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less, to taste for spiciness

Instructions
 

  • Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Store the seasoning in a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • To use, simply add the desired amount to your recipe. This homemade taco seasoning is sure to become a staple in your kitchen.

Notes

The mixture should last for around six months.

How to Use Taco Seasoning

To use, simply add 1/4 cup of mix and 1 cup of water for each pound of browned meat. Use to make tacos, taco salad, potato taco bake, taco pizza, taco burgers, or even add some spice to mashed potatoes!

Remember, taco seasoning is a flavorful and versatile spice blend that can be used in a variety of dishes.

But while it is commonly used to season tacos, it can also be used to flavor quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, and more.

Taco seasoning can also be used to season vegetables, rice, beans, and soups. The sky’s the limit!

Final Thoughts

Consider this your next go-to recipe for taco night. Not only is it easy to make, but you can also customize the flavors to your liking.

Plus, you’ll have plenty of seasoning left over so you can use it for future recipes. Let us know how you like it!

updated August 25th 2022 by Rebekah Pierce

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