Taco night is my family’s favorite night of the week. I’ve been making beef tacos for years and learned early on what a difference seasoning makes.
Driven by a passion for crafting the ultimate homemade taco seasoning, I dedicated months to experimenting with various herbs and spices until I found the perfect blend.
Here’s exactly what I use for my homemade taco seasoning recipe so that you can elevate your taco game.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 0
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Number of Servings: 1 oz
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Pour the mix into an airtight container and store it.
Here’s what to keep in mind when making homemade taco seasoning mix:
- I used American-style chili powder, which is a blend of spices. It’s mild and not as strong as cayenne pepper.
- You can add or subtract as much or as little of spices as needed.
- You can also add some dried oregano for a subtle spicy and sweet flavor.
- You should use two tablespoons of this taco seasoning mix for one pound of ground beef tacos.
- Use whole spices and grind them just before use. They retain the flavor for longer than pre-ground spices.
- Calories: 8
- Total Carbs: 2g
- Protein: 1g
- Fat: 1g
- Fiber: 0g
- Net Carbs: 0g
Homemade Taco Seasoning Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s which taco seasoning ingredients to use and also which substitutions to try:
- Chili powder - Adds heat.
- Garlic powder - For a bright flavor.
- Onion powder -For a subtle onion flavor.
- Paprika - For a smokey flavor and to add color to ground beef taco. I like smoked paprika, but you can also use standard or sweet paprika.
- Salt and pepper - Use sea salt and finely ground black pepper to finish the seasoning.
- Crushed red pepper flakes - If you want more heat.
- Cayenne pepper - Use instead of red pepper flakes if you want heat. It’s strong, so a pinch is enough.
What Meat Is Used With Taco Seasoning?
Taco seasoning is traditionally used on ground beef, so it’s a popular choice for ground beef tacos. Ground beef complements the spices in the seasoning mix.
However, this seasoning is versatile and can be used on various types of meat for different preferences and dietary needs.
You can also use taco seasoning on the following:
- Ground Turkey - Is a leaner option compared to ground beef. When paired with taco seasoning, it gives tacos a lighter taste. Overall, it’s a healthier choice for tacos and maintains the traditional taco flavor.
- Ground Chicken - Has a milder taste that lets the seasoning shine through. It’s a great choice for those who prefer poultry over red meat.
- Shredded Chicken - Tender and juicy shredded chicken combined with taco seasoning is another flavorful taco option. This is a great way to use leftover cooked chicken.
- Pork - Has a slightly sweeter flavor compared to beef taco. You can use it ground or shredded when seasoned with taco spices.
- Plant-based meats - Tofu, tempeh, and textured vegetables can also be used to make tacos. When flavored with taco spices, these become a flavorful taco filling.
Overall, taco seasoning is extremely versatile. It can be used in different meats and even plant-based options. Experiment to find out your best taco spices and meat combo.
Start with a small amount of taco seasoning when using it in dips, dressings, and marinades. It’s easier to increase the amount of seasoning to your preferred level of spiciness.
Homemade Taco Seasoning vs Store-Bought
Seasoning yourself instead of buying taco seasoning packets:
- You know exactly what goes into your seasoning blend when you make it yourself.
- It’s easier to control the ingredient amounts. For example, you don’t want spicy seasoning? Don’t use red pepper flakes. Do you want it extra spicy? Add more chili powder.
- A DIY taco seasoning recipe is cheaper in the long run than buying it. You probably already have most ingredients at home. This is a great way to get more for your money.
- Homemade taco seasoning is healthier than store-bought. It doesn’t have any preservatives, artificial taste, or colorings.
- Many store-bought taco seasonings contain high levels of salt, which can overpower the other flavors. When making your seasoning at home, control the amount of salt to strike the perfect balance. Plus, you can control seasoning sodium levels when making it yourself .
“Homemade taco seasoning is a little smoky, not very spicy, and doesn’t have any additives or stabilizers like many of the ones sold at the store.”
- MOMables, YouTube Channel
How to Store Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix?
Here’s how to store and handle your homemade taco seasoning mix for the longest possible shelf life:
- Airtight container - Keep the taco meat seasoning in an airtight container, such as a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure no moisture enters the container, or it’ll degrade the spices.
- Cool and dark location - Store the ground beef tacos seasonings in a cool and dark place. Make sure the seasoning isn’t in direct sunlight or close to heat. Don’t keep it near the stove or oven, as heat makes the spices deteriorate faster.
- Label - Label the spice container with the date of preparation. This helps you keep track of freshness.
- Don’t open too often - Don’t open the container unless you need to use the spices. Each time you open the container, the seasoning is exposed to air and moisture, which makes it lose flavor over time.
Also Read: Meat Shelf Life When Vacuum-Sealed
Do You Cook Meat Before Adding Taco Seasoning?
Yes, you cook meat before adding taco seasoning. This ensures a richer ground meat flavor.
What Is the Difference Between Taco Seasoning and Mexican Seasoning?
The difference between taco seasoning and Mexican seasoning is in the ingredients used. Taco seasoning is milder, and Mexican seasoning is spicier. Mexican seasoning contains red pepper flakes, ancho powder, and chipotle chile pepper, which gives it more heat.
Is Cumin the Same as Taco Seasoning?
No, cumin isn’t the same as taco seasoning. Cumin is a single spice, and taco seasoning is a blend of several spices, including cumin.
Can I Use Chili Mix Instead of Taco Seasoning?
Yes, you can use chili mix instead of taco seasoning. Keep in mind chili seasoning has more chili powder and paprika, so it’s spicier, while taco seasoning has more cumin and is milder.
Spice It Up With This Perfect Blend
It’s always better to make your own taco seasoning than to buy taco seasoning pre-made. It takes a few minutes and two simple steps.
Mix all ingredients, and store them in an airtight container. That’s it. All that’s left to do is decide how much taco seasoning to use.
Understanding the art of crafting a robust seasoning is just half the battle; pairing it with high-quality taco meat is essential for the ultimate taco experience.
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