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Homemade Taco Seasoning

Skip the package of taco seasoning at the store and make your own at home with my homemade taco seasoning recipe. 

Homemade Taco Seasoning

We eat a lot of Mexican type food in our house. The majority of it is in the form of tacos, nachos, and burritos, all of which I use ground meat and taco seasoning. 

It took me years to find a homemade version of taco seasoning that we liked. I made so many different versions and we were disappointed again and again.

I would always end up going back to those little packets of taco seasoning that you buy at the store.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I have been asked many times if I had a homemade taco seasoning recipe. I would always have to admit that I bought those packages of seasoning from the store.

Several years ago after trying to get it just right I finally found a homemade seasoning that tastes just like the store bought kind. I no longer have to season my taco meat using those little packets from the store.

I finally came up with a homemade taco seasoning that my family really enjoys because I basically just stopped trying recipes for taco seasoning and used the spices that my family enjoyed.

We ended up with a version that we love and that tastes very close to the real thing.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

My version is a little different than most homemade versions. Mine has a little brown sugar and some cornstarch. Yes, I know that sounds a little odd for a taco seasoning, but it helps give it a flavor that is very close to the store bought kind of taco seasoning. 

Tips for making the best taco meat

Use tomato sauce instead of water when you mix it with the ground meat. You can use water, but the tomato sauce gives it extra flavor that is really good. 

Add the seasoning while cooking the meat, not after the meat is cooked. It helps bring out that flavors of the seasoning.

Make a large batch of the spices up and keep it in a small jar in the cupboard. All you have to do is add in the tomato sauce and beef when you are ready to cook it. That way it is still a homemade seasoning mix, but it has the convenience of the store bought version.

Why make taco seasoning at home? 

One reason to make it at home is that you can control the ingredients. You know exactly what is in it when you make it yourself. 

It is also cheaper, especially if you buy you seasonings in bulk or at store like Costco and Sam’s Club. You can make a small container or jar full for the same price as a package or two at the store. 

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Skip the package of taco seasoning at the store and make it homemade with this easy homemade taco seasoning.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt ( add more or less depending on how you salty you want it.)
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 pound ground beef

Instructions

  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, cornstarch, and sugar.
  2. Add seasoning to ground beef and cook until beef is completely browned and cooked.
  3. Drain off any fat.
  4. Add tomato sauce and continue cooking until meat is heated through and sauce is slightly thickened.
  5. Serve as a filling for tacos.

Notes

You can use water in place of the tomato sauce gives it a nice flavor.

You can make this in a large batch and store it in a jar for using as needed. I use about 3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix when I make it this way.

Originally posted February 2011. Updated May 2019. 

 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. I’ll have to try your version; I make one that is just spices, but the tomato sauce would add some extra flavor and color.

  2. This is perfect! I was thinking about this when we made tacos on Sunday. I will have to give this a try. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for posting this! We buy ours at Costco because it’s much cheaper than the individual packets, but I was thinking of trying to make some once our container runs out. I will definitely give this a try.

  4. So do you just mix the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and salt and keep it in the cupboard? You don’t mix in the tomato sauce and then keep in cupboard? I’m confused!

    • @lori, I just fixed the post to clarify that. I mix up the seasonings to keep on hand and then I just add the tomato sauce and meat when I am ready to cook and serve it.

  5. Lynn I just had to laugh when I saw you posted about taco seasoning. I too make my own but just the spice blend version. I’ll have to give your version a try!

    I laughed though because just last night I was looking for my recipe and couldn’t find it – this is what I get for writing recipes on yellow sticky note.

    So, I had to look the recipe up online. Apparently I could have waited till this morning to have it delivered to my inbox. 🙂

  6. Thank you! I can really use this–I have been like you–buying it but not happy about it.

  7. Aha, cornstarch! I had thought about trying to mix my own using the ingredient list from a packet, but was unsure how to get it to thicken.

    How much do you use from your large batch for a pound of ground beef? I’m guessing 2 1/2 – 3 Tablespoons?

    This was also perfect timing for Nachos for Super Bowl. Thank you for sharing.

  8. @Tammy L, I agree cumin is one of the things that make it really good. And thanks for saying the tacos look beautiful, we won’t talk about the 30 or so other pictures that I took where they did not look so good. Oh the fun of food photography. 🙂

  9. Only a few weeks ago I asked my Dad if he could make a Taco seasoning recipe for our family (I am married & live 14 hours away from my parent’s. I also grew up in the North but am now living in the South. I came from MN and moved to OK two years ago when I married my Okie husband).

    Besides the taco seasoning I also make my own fajita seasoning (which is much better than store bought & another of my Dad’s recipes). I also make my own Wild Rice Pilaf Mix and Herb Seasoning Blend. I mix them ahead of time and store them in my cupboard in an air tight container.

    I am also aiming to make my own seasonings instead of buying them from the store. My goal is to have a “whole foods” diet and to omit processed food as much as I can.

    • Joy, do you mind sharing any of your recipes for seasoning blends? I have been trying to find some that my family likes and so far have not found any that are very convenient.
      Jessica

      • @jessica,

        Hi Jessica,

        I’m sorry that I did not respond sooner. My family was on a week long vacation.

        Dad’s Taco Mix Recipe
        1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
        1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder (Or 1 tsp if you like garlic)
        1/4 tsp Onion Powder (Or 1 tsp if you like onion)
        1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (sub 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper if you like)
        1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
        1/2 tsp. Paprika
        1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
        1 tsp. Sea Salt
        1 tsp. Black Pepper

        In a small bowl, Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

        Add 3 Tbsp. per pound of ground beef. Brown beef first, add taco mix, and then just a little water.

        Yields: 10 Servings

      • @jessica,

        Dad’s Faijita Mix
        3 Tbsp. Cornstarch
        2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
        1 Tbsp. Sea Salt
        1 Tbsp. Paprika
        1 Tbsp. Sugar
        2 -1/2 tsp. crushed Chicken Bouillon cube
        1-1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
        1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
        1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
        1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
        1/2 tsp. Cumin

        Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

        Equal to 3 packages.

      • @jessica,

        Long Grain Wild Rice Mix
        1C. Long Grain Brown Rice or White Rice
        1/2 C. Wild Rice
        1 Tbsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
        2 tsp. Spike Seasoning or Herb Mix
        1 tsp. Dried Thyme Leaves
        1/2 tsp. Tarragon Leaves
        1/8 tsp. White Pepper
        1/2 tsp. Salt

        Mix ingredients & store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. This makes one side dish. You can multiply ingredients to make more mixes.

        To Cook:
        Bring 3-1/4 C. Water to boil add Long Grain Wild Rice Mix (2 C.), cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer for 50 min. Remove pan from heat, and let sit for 10 min. before fluffing with a fork. 8 1/2 C. Servings.

        Found at busycooks.about.com

      • @jessica,

        Herb Seasoning Mix Recipe
        1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
        1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
        1 Tbsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
        1 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves
        1 tsp. Dried Thyme Leaves
        1 tsp. Dried Marjoram Leaves
        1 tsp. White Pepper

        Mix all ingredients well, and store in a cool dry place up to 6 months.

        Found at busycooks.about.com

  10. Thanks for this Lynn! To be honest, I’ve always enjoyed store bought packets. So, when I tried this tonight, my first reaction was, “Wow, this isn’t anything like what I’m used to” and couldn’t decide how I felt about it. Well, my husband was in love with his first taste. The more I ate it the more I realized that I LOVE it! I realized that it tastes like what I think it should taste like, not like weird preservatives and such. It’s so funny how our bodies sometimes don’t even realize what good is anymore. Anyway, I love it and am planning on doing a huge batch this weekend. Thanks again!

    • Thanks for letting me know how much you enjoyed it. And I agree so often it is the preservatives and such that we are used to tasting and not the real food and spices. Thanks!

  11. I’m assuming that it is ok to mix the cornstarch and sugar in with the rest of the spices f you premake a large batch even though the directions say to add them later? also, when you use it in things, like your ground beef taco rice or other recipes that call for taco seasoning, do you just use the spice mix or do you add the tomato sauce too? thanks!

    • Yes you can add the cornstarch and sugar in with the mix. If I am making just tacos, I like to use the tomato sauce, but if I am just using the seasoning mix in something else like taco soup etc, I just use the seasoning and no sauce. I hope that helps.

  12. I finally tried this seasoning mix last night. I had made spaghetti sauce on Monday, so I used that in the recipe. This was amazing!! The family gave it five *****. I did sub Mrs. Dash for the coriander and oregano because I don’t have them.

  13. Couldn’t find corriendar or cumin in the supermarket. Is it necessary for the homemade taco mix?

    • Both of those are common spices in mexican type cooking. You might try the mexican aisle of your store to see if they are there. You can leave them out, but the flavor will not quite be the same.

  14. This seems to be what I have been looking for. I have a taco seasoning recipe but something was missing. I think it’s the cornstarch and tomato sauce that will give it the body that I have been missing. Thanks!

  15. Question–do you add the cornstarch and brown sugar to your seasonings that are stored in the cupboard? Or are they just added when making tacos?

  16. Just tried this mix of spices for tacos and it’s great.

  17. can you share you large batch amounts? I had it figured out and then accidentally deleted it on evernote… 🙁

  18. I was hoping your recipe for seasoning mix would include only the mix, with enough ingredients to last for a month or two. Your website is fantastic. With your recipes l can lessen the amount of spices that l used to enjoy when l was younger. THANK YOU.

    Barb in Colorado.

  19. Michelle Partin says

    I’m making some ground pork tacos tonight. When you use pork do you change any of the seasonings up?
    Thanks!

    • I have a pork taco recipe that I do use a little different seasoning in, but I have also just used ground pork in place of ground beef and that works too.

  20. We enjoyed this taco seasoning, it’s better than any other homemade taco seasoning we’ve tried! Thanks

  21. Many, many thanks to Joy A. for the Long Grain and Wild Rice recipe. My husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease and one of the things that we miss is Uncle Ben’s or Near East rice mixes. I have a delicious chicken casserole recipe that uses the long grain and wild rice mix and I’m thrilled to be able to make it again………….as is my husband who loves it!

Trackbacks

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