Taco Seasoning Recipe

A good, homemade taco seasoning recipe is always a good seasoning to have on hand. It’s made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients, quickly and easily, and gives any dish amazing flavor.

This taco seasoning recipe only has real spices. It does not contain preservatives or any of the junk you’ll find in the store-bought varieties, so you can feel good about seasoning your food with this delicious spice mix.

A full jar of this homemade Taco Seasoning recipe.

What Is Taco Seasoning? 

Taco seasoning is exactly what it sounds like. It’s seasoning you can add to meat to make taco meat for tacos. That said, it’s a very popular combination of spices that can be added to many different Latin dishes.

What’s In Taco Seasoning?

The overall predominant flavors are cumin and chili powder with some garlic and onion mixed in. However, a store-bought packet of taco seasoning is a whole different animal. Homemade seasoning is a much better choice.

Store-Bought Vs. Homemade Taco Seasoning 

The sad fact is that most of the store-bought taco seasoning you can buy has either sugar, maltodextrin, or MSG in it. (Or a combination of all of those!) That’s not exactly what I want to put in my body, thank you. Making your own taco seasoning recipe at home takes a minute or two, and you can feel good about what you are eating. Plus, you can make a big batch and keep it in your pantry for many meals to come. No more small packets for single dinners!

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Taco Seasoning?

Well, that’s what this recipe is for! But seriously, if you are low on spices, you can usually get away with using ground cumin and chili powder in a pinch. It won’t be quite the same, but it’ll be close.

What’s The Difference Between Mexican Seasoning And Taco Seasoning?

Taco seasoning is a milder seasoning compared to Mexican seasoning. Mexican seasoning has some spicier things added, such as chipotle chile pepper and ancho powder. It’s a spicier mix, even if the overall combination of spices is roughly the same.

Dietary Concerns

This homemade taco seasoning recipe is a great option for anyone who wants to use taco seasoning. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, etc. It fits almost any eating plan.

Taco Seasoning jar full of spices, tipped over and spilling out.

How Much Taco Seasoning Per Pound?

You can use these ratios with ground turkey, ground beef, or ground pork. It will also work with TVP or tofu.

1 lb. ground meat – 2 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning

1 lb. non-ground meat (like chicken breasts) – 1 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning

How Much Homemade Taco Seasoning To Use For Other Dishes?

1 cup dry rice (or other grains) – 1 tbsp. taco seasoning
2 cups popped popcorn – 1 or 2 tsp. taco seasoning (adjust to taste)

What Else Can I Add To This DIY Taco Seasoning Recipe?

  • Try using a smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes for extra spice
  • Dried oregano
  • Crushed red pepper

What Can I Put Taco Seasoning Mix In?

  • Any meat mixture for tacos or burritos that use beef, chicken, pork, tofu or tvp
  • Taco salads
  • Mix with sour cream for taco dip
  • Mix with ground meat for stuffed peppers
  • Sprinkle on roasted vegetables
  • Mix into bean dip for extra flavor
  • Use as a dry rub for grilling meats
  • Mix with olive oil for a marinade
  • Season roasted potatoes
  • Mix into scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos
  • Use as a seasoning for chili
  • Mix into rice
  • Sprinkle on roasted nuts

What Is Taco Seasoning Mix Made Of?

Ground cumin

Paprika – Regular, not smoked.

Cayenne pepper – Optional.

Onion granules – Or onion powder.

Garlic granules – Or garlic powder. (Not garlic salt)

Ground black pepper

Chili powder

Salt – Optional. Sea salt or pink Himalayan salt are both good choices. If you use it, add a quarter teaspoon to start. You can always add more later or during cooking.

How To Make Taco Seasoning

All the spices for this taco seasoning in a bowl.

Blend all the spices this taco seasoning recipe in a bowl and use to season any taco meat you are cooking. Use approximately 1 tablespoon per pound of meat.

The spices all mixed together.

Note: This mix has a small amount of “kick” to it. Nothing that will set your mouth on fire, but definitely noticeable. If you want something without the kick, leave out the cayenne and add an extra ½ teaspoon of paprika.

The optional teaspoon of cayenne to make this taco seasoning recipe spicy.

Ideas For Using This Taco Seasoning Recipe

  • Tacos – Mix this into the meat during cooking.
  • Burritos – Mix this into the meat during cooking.
  • Cheese Taco Pasta – Mix this into the meat and pasta combo during cooking.
  • Salsa – Blend this into fresh salsa for an extra kick.
  • Taco dip – Blend this into the meat or beans or both.
  • Mexican soups and stews – Use this as seasoning in soups and stews. Simply drop it into the broth.
  • Enchiladas – Give the sauce a little something extra with 1 to 2 tbsp. of this seasoning.
  • Quesadillas – Sprinkle this over the cheese before cooking. Let the spices melt into the cheese.
  • Black beans – Sprinkle it on while you warm them up.
  • Casseroles – Any Mexican-style casserole dish will benefit from taco seasoning.
  • Chicken tacos
  • Taco soup

More Seasoning Mix Recipes


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A full jar of Taco Seasoning.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Why buy packets of seasoning at the store that are filled with junk when you can so easily make your own at home in minutes?! Use approximately 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of meat.
3.60 from 5 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 77kcal



  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder


  • Put all the measured spices into a mixing bowl.
    All the spices for this taco seasoning in a bowl.
  • Whisk them together.
    The spices all mixed together.
  • Note: This mix has a small amount of "kick" to it. Nothing that will set your mouth on fire, but definitely noticeable. If you want something without the kick, leave out the cayenne and add an extra ½ teaspoon of paprika.
    The optional teaspoon of cayenne to make this taco seasoning spicey.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 2tbsp. | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 2095IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 10.5mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 8/19/10.

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  1. graciouspantry says:

    Thanks! I’m happy you’re finding it useful!

  2. smells and tastes exactly like el paso pre packaged taco seasoning…yummy…thank you, just made 12 oz jar…should last a while!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure!

  3. If you are looking for lots of flavor with less heat I think you may be able to substitute the Cayenne Pepper with Ancho Pepper. It has a really nice deep flavor with much less heat from my experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Julie – Interesting! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Just made this mix. I need to buy paprika and garlic powder and then it will be completed. Can’t wait to try it with shrimps!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hope you enjoy it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Just made this seasoning and used on some ground turkey meat…YUM! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sara – My pleasure!

  6. just made a double batch of this, and it smells AMAZING!!! cant wait to have tacos this week!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jamie – Enjoy!

  7. Hi Tiffany,
    I have been enjoying your website for a couple of years now, I found it from a friend’s posting on Facebook. Your recipes are great for me, as I am diabetic, and am always looking for healthy, yet flavorful recipes. My husband and I love tacos, but as you know, the taco seasoning packs are LOADED with sodium. I’ve tried creating my own combinations in the past, but just couldn’t get the flavors quite right. I am so glad I ran across this recipe not too long ago and tried it. It was so good! My husband even commented that it was “better than those packets”. As always, thanks for your amazing creative talent in developing and sharing these recipes. It’s been fun following you on your journey and watching your website develop and expand.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Paula – Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. OMG! Tried this the other day and my family inhaled it! Literally we had NO leftovers! I had NO lunch for the next day, my husband had 6 tacos and my kids (2) each had 4 I had a portion of the meat on top of some spring mix! Totally will be making this again and again!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Melissa – Fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’m making this tonight! I’ve always wanted to make my own taco seasoning! Thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      LouAnn – My pleasure! Hope you enjoy it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. These are all the same spices I use when I make Mexican food anyway (a specialty of mine). I hate the taste of the premade taco seasoning from the store. I am so glad you have it down to a science. Last night I tripled it and put it in a 1/2 pint Bell jar…thanks so much for the idea!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amanda C – My pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Do you have a recipe for a no sodium Chili Seasoning? Can’t wait to try your Taco Seasoning!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sharon – Not yet, but it’s on my list.

  12. Tiffany W says:

    I just whipped this up, and it smells wonderful! Cannot wait to try this on tacos! Just a question for you though, how much do you actually put on the tacos? For example, if I have a pound of hamburger, should I use all of it (going off of your measurements), or half of it?


    – Tiffany W.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tiffany W – For a pound, 1 tbsp. would be plenty. At least in my opinion. You might want to start with a little less and add more as needed. It’s okay to stir in more after it’s cooked. You just have to give it a few extra minutes to absorb the spices.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tiffany W – My pleasure!

  13. Awesome Clean recipe! Thank you.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim T. – My pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I love it! I have been dying for a clean eating taco recipe, as both my husband and I love them. Would you prepare the tacos the same way as with traditional taco seasoning? That is, add the 2/3 cups water, the seasoning and then simmer with meat until water is absorbed?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Allyson – I never add water to mine. Just 1 tbp. of oil or so, and cook the meat mixed with the spices. I usually add them after they have browned.

  15. Where did you find the awesome little jar for it?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sondra – The link is at the very bottom of this blog post under the directions. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Nicholas Miller says:

    I didn’t think this added enough taco/Mexican flavor. I would add more than a tablespoon per pound and this really does need some salt.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nicholas – Most taco seasoning packets have a TON of salt and msg added. So without that addition, yes. You would definitely have to add salt. But I try not to dictate how much salt to add to a recipe because everyone has such different tastes in that department. But by all means, use as much as you need!

  17. Is this recipe for 1 pound of meat?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Erin – No. Not the entire recipe. For 1 pound of meat I suggest 1 to 2 tablespoons of the seasoning, depending on how strong you want the flavors.

  18. looking for new way of cooking my mom.. She is.on Dialysis and she has to be on low low salt. I’m.a great cook and nowIm .having too change up of how too cook healthier.. thank you for your help.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Angela – My pleasure! I hope you both enjoy the seasoning!