This homemade taco seasoning is made in minutes, with spices you probably already have on hand, and tastes SO much better than the store-bought packets. It’s preservative-free, and you can control the salt and spiciness levels!
This is one of my Pantry/Kitchen Basics recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand! These recipes are great homemade alternatives to store-bought items.
Here in The Chunky Chef household, we love tacos… as in, we could practically eat them everyday and not get tired of them.
With a busy family, it’s so tempting to pick up a couple of those taco seasoning packets… because, let’s be honest, it’s quick and easy right?
But every time I do, I wonder what preservatives are in there, or I kick myself for not grabbing the low sodium one since we don’t love tons of salt.
That’s when I usually decide to make a big batch of this homemade taco seasoning! I know exactly what’s in there, with no mystery preservatives, I can control the amount of salt and heat, and it lasts for a really long time!
What do I need to make taco seasoning?
- Chili powder – a great blend of other spices, with a little heat.
- Ground cumin – warm and a little smoky.
- Kosher salt – the salt really elevates all the other flavors in this seasoning.
- Black pepper – this is a flavor enhancer that brings out the other flavors, as well as adding a bit of heat.
- Paprika – paprika adds a beautiful red color that’s classic for taco seasoning.
- Garlic powder – because everything is better with garlic.
- Onion powder – the sharp onion flavor rounds out the flavor.
- Dried oregano – this adds a bit of herby flavor to the mix.
- Crushed red pepper flakes – a little kick of heat.
- Cayenne pepper – a little sharper kick of heat.
For the best tasting seasoning mix, use fresh spices. Spices lose their potency as they get older, which means you won’t get as vibrant of a flavor.
Variations of this recipe
- Large batch – if you plan to make something with taco seasoning often, I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe. It’ll keep for months in an airtight container.
- Spicier – for a spicier seasoning blend, feel free to increase the amount of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Milder – to make this seasoning more mild, reduce or omit the red pepper flakes and/or cayenne pepper.
- Oregano – I highly recommend using Mexican dried oregano if you can find it, but regular oregano will also work.
For me, there’s 3 main reasons. First, you can control the heat level. Second, you can control the salt level. Lastly, there are no preservative agents in a homemade seasoning mix. However, you can certainly use a store-bought packet.
The ingredients are usually fairly similar between the two, but store-bought fajita seasoning usually has some kind of dried tomato powder or citric acid added to it. This brings a somewhat sour flavor, which balances the spice. This homemade version doesn’t use those, but adding a squeeze of lime over the fajitas will achieve the same flavor.
Making taco seasoning ahead of time
This recipe is perfect for mixing up in advance. I usually double or triple the recipe, then store it for 6 months or so.
Taco seasoning mix should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. If stored properly, this mix should last for up to 6 months.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano Mexican oregano is great, but regular will work just fine
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- As a note to my readers outside of the United States, American chili powder is a blend of many spices, including cayenne pepper, but it isn’t all that spicy. Non-American chili powder can be straight up ground chile peppers and are MUCH spicier. For this recipe, make sure you’re using American chili powder, otherwise it will be insanely spicy.
- Recipe makes approximately 5 Tbsp, which is equal to almost 1/3 cup.
- Recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or even halved for a smaller batch.
- To use: Use around 2 1/2 Tbsp per pound of meat (so this recipe would make enough for 2 lbs of meat).
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.