Homemade Taco Seasoning

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Homemade Taco Seasoning is easy to make and tastes so much better than store-bought. Loaded with an abundance of flavor and a tiny bit of heat, taco seasoning gets used more than anything else in my spice cupboard.

Homemade Taco Seasoning tastes so much better than store-bought! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

It is beyond simple to stir together this Mexican spice mix and it will save you time when you are cooking later. My family eats a lot of Mexican food and for years I have used taco seasoning regularly in countless recipes.

Taco Seasoning

About ten years ago, I decided to try making my own taco seasoning recipe and I’m so glad I did. I found a basic recipe for taco seasoning over on Allrecipes.com long ago and over the years, I’ve tweaked and adapted it to our tastes.

It makes sense to prepare a double or triple batch of this seasoning mix and keep it on hand at all times.

Just a bit spicier than standard taco mixes and completely adaptable to your individual tastes, these are some of my favorite spices in the kitchen.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I use this Homemade Taco Seasoning at least 3-4 times a week and I keep it on hand at all times. My kids already know to stir a new batch together when it’s running low.

This is probably the most used spice staple in my pantry. Just a spoonful will add an abundance of flavor to any meal.

Homemade spice mixes always taste so much better than store-bought and they’re surprisingly easy to make too. If you haven’t tried it yet, you need to put Homemade Crazy Salt on your must-try list.

This Homemade Italian Seasoning is another favorite that gets used constantly in my cooking. Jamaican Jerk SeasoningHomemade Mild Curry Powder, and Harissa Dry Spice Mix are great ones to try as well.

Homemade Taco Seasoning is easy to make and it tastes so much better than store-bought! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Many of our favorite recipes use this Taco Seasoning. The Best Taco Meat has been a hit with everyone who tries it.

I keep a package of that taco meat cooked and ready to use in the freezer almost all the time.

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas are a dinner that almost cooks itself and these Black Bean Taco Nachos are a kid and adult favorite for lunches and for dinners.

The Southwest Chicken Skillet is filled with plenty of vegetables and an abundance of flavor from these Mexican spices.

Taco Seasoning Mix is a pantry staple.

Kitchen Tip: I use these jars to make this recipe.

Taco Seasoning Recipe

  1. In a jar or small mixing bowl, combine chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
  2. Shake or stir to combine.
  3. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

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Homemade Taco Seasoning is easy to make and it tastes so much better than store-bought! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Taco Seasoning Recipe

4.85 from 19 votes
Homemade Taco Seasoning is easy to make and tastes so much better than store-bought. Loaded with an abundance of flavor and a tiny bit of heat, taco seasoning gets used more than anything else in my spice cupboard.
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 32 teaspoons


  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder I used NM Red Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


  • In a small bowl, stir together all of the spices. Store the seasoning mix in an airtight container. I keep mine in a glass mason jar in my spice cabinet.


Calories: 5kcal · Carbohydrates: 1g · Sodium: 236mg · Potassium: 33mg · Vitamin A: 390IU · Calcium: 9mg · Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 10/17/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 6/29/21}

Make your own Taco Seasoning! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Mary says

    I store it in standard mason jars. This recipe makes slightly less than a cup. A doubled recipe fits inside a pint mason jar perfectly.

    • Mary says

      I use between 2-3 tablespoons, depending on how strong I want the flavor to be. A store-bought package of taco mix (enough to flavor 1 lb of meat) is typically about 2 1/2 tablespoons.

  2. Becki's Whole Life says

    I agree on making your own seasoning mixes. I made my own blackened seasoning a while ago and I very often whip up something to flavor my tacos, but have not used an actual seasoning mix before. I am going to use this – I think tacos will be on the menu pretty soon. I like the fact that you can adjust the seasonings a bit to your own taste and can control the sodium.

  3. [email protected] eco friendly homemaking says

    Oh my goodness I am so excited about this!Our son and daughter-in-law always like as one of their Christmas presents for us to fix them a big basket of homemade things. I have already started putting together recipes to fix. They love tacos and this is going to be just perfect to fix and put in their basket!!

  4. Chris says

    Making your own taco seasoning rocks but the one thing that most of the mixes I tried seemed to end up with a watery result when the cooking was done, not saucy.

    Now I add just a bit of corn starch or potato starch to my taco seasoning rub and get that saucy beef.

  5. Anonymous says

    If you haven't tried smoked paprika before, give it a go. It has a very different flavor from that tasteless red dust we buy to sprinkle on top of deviled eggs, so go light handed at first.

  6. Brian C says

    I am still new to this site, but seriously I love this woman! We are so similar in flavor profiles. This is pretty much right in line with my home made spice mix. Only, I have no clue of the ratios I use. People, the cat is out of the bag with this one…DON'T SLEEP ON SMOKED PAPRIKA! It makes a rub!!!!

    NOTE: Sometimes nice to add a hint of cinnamon to punch up the aromatic element…

  7. Laura says

    I love it so much I wanted to share it so today I made 4x the big batch recipe. I am going to give it away for Mother's Day Gifts. I love love love this recipe. So much better then any store bought ones out there!

  8. Anonymous says

    I make my own taco seasoning as well, with a comparable blend, but I'll be trying this one, too. Agreed to the comment regarding adding a touch of starch as a thickening agent – cornstarch, arrowroot, etc. Makes a big difference. I also add some tomato sauce and/or paste to the meat or beans, depending on what I have on hand. The finished dish needs a tomato component.

    • Mary says

      The recipe as written above makes a little over 1/2 cup of the spice mix. I should keep indefinitely when stored in an airtight container.

  9. Dave says

    You forgot to mention MSG!! This is a staple in almost all foods in various forms. From Modified Yeast extract. They have outlawed the stuff in Europe but it is still in use and the FDA still will not take it off the market.

  10. Mercedie says

    I love this. It’s so much more helpfu when making dinner. With my husband being Mexican I have been trying so many different ones and finally one he likes. Do you by chance have a homemade mix for enchiladas that is not a liquid?

    • Mary says

      The beauty of making your own spice mix is being able to adjust the heat level to your individual tastes. You can reduce the cayenne and chili powder to make it more mild for the kids.

  11. Bunny Peters says

    This recipe looks GREAT!!!

    I have 2 ?’s:

    1) How much cinnamon should I add for that “little”extra zing”?

    2) How much corn starch (or potato starch) should I add so my sauce won’t be “watery”?

    Please advise. Thank you very much for your wonderful recipes and help!!!

    • Mary says

      Personally, I would add just a sprinkling of cinnamon separately. I don’t care for it in every recipe, so I like to add it to the recipes I choose as I’m making them. If you want it in everything, I’d add a half teaspoon and then adjust from there. I only add a sprinkling (about a tablespoon) of cornstarch to the meat when I’m cooking it if I want it thickened for tacos. The starches aren’t of any value when I’m seasoning rice or stir fry recipes, so I don’t add it to the other spices when I make it ahead of time.

    • Mary says

      The beauty of making your own taco seasoning is that you can make it as mild as you like. Start with less cayenne and red flakes and add more to taste.

  12. Misha Hunter says

    I really like the idea of making my own taco seasoning. I use it in many recipes too! Some of my recipes call for a packet of taco seasoning. How much of the homemade would equal a packet?

  13. Mimi says

    So smart to make your own, or at least to know how to throw a seasoning mixture together when necessary. I’ve never smelled a garlic powder that I liked; they all seem oxidized. Can you recommend one?

    • Mary says

      I prefer granulated garlic to garlic powder most of the time. I buy my container of granulated garlic in the spice section at Costco.

  14. february says

    This is the best recipe for taco ‘meat’ that I’ve ever eaten. I became vegetarian the end of November, 2017. I missed tacos so much. I’ve tried ‘meat alternatives’ and there’s no comparison to this! I LOVE this! Wow, I can’t say enough about it and have told everyone about it (even the grocery cashier, ha). The taco seasoning is also SO, so good! Thank you so much for taking the time to develop this recipe5 stars

  15. Mateo Pedersen says

    To make it mild, I only used 1 Tbsp of chili powder and about 1/8 tsp of black pepper. I cut the salt in half. When i ADDEd it to the ground turkey, i also stirred in 1/2 cup water. Yummy for the whole family!5 stars

  16. Kam says

    Used this tonight and my teenage son said it was the best tacos he’s ever had. Coming from a kid whose eaten a lot of tacos! So thank you for making him happy. 😁5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      It depends on how much flavoring you like best and / or how spicy you like the meat to be when you make it. I typically use about 3 tablespoons per pound of ground beef, Heather.

  17. Amanda says

    I just made this and LOVED it! I happened to not have paprika but this was still delicious. I’m used to using taco seasoning packets and this was so much better.

  18. Joyce Miller says

    Hi Mary.
    Thank you for this recipe!
    I used it tonight to make turkey tacos.
    Happy being Barefoot in the kitchen!

    Joyce Miller5 stars

  19. Vickie Garcia says

    I love that you use NM red chile! I have a taco seasoning mix recipe that has been so so. I am anxious to try your recipe. My question- is one teaspoon enough? I look at the amount of seasoning in a taco seasoning package and wonder if the one teaspoon is enough. I like to make batches of chicken tortilla soup and freeze it. Also use mix for tacos.

    • Mary Younkin says

      oh goodness! That’s just the measurement that the recipe card uses to calculate the nutritional info (which is kind of silly anyway, for a spice mix, right?) At any rate, I use 3-4 tablespoons for a pound of ground beef when making taco meat.

  20. Monica says

    How is the saltiness compared to store bought? We’ve recently had to adopt a low salt diet in our household. I know I could adjust and take out all of the salt but am curious how it is as written.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I think it tastes much less salty than store-bought. However, I would just mix it up without any salt at all and then you can salt to your personal tastes.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I would simply multiply the recipe by however many jars you’d like to make and stir it all together in a large bowl. You can funnel it into the individual jars once everything is combined. What a great gift, Valerie!

  21. Anita Moolman says

    I’m from South Africa and have just tasted Tacos for the second time in my life. Now would like to make them back home. However I cannot eat very spicy foods. How much spice do you use on a pound of meat meats. Thanks in anticipation

    • Mary Younkin says

      I use about 3 tablespoons for a pound of meat, but you might want to start with 1 1/2 or 2 tablespoons, if you want to be cautious with the heat in the spices, Anita.

  22. Kim Burke says

    I added your mix to some Jackfruit for some vegan tacos and it was great. My only change was half paprika and half of the smoked paprika.5 stars

  23. Colleen Hufford says

    My goal during this Corona virus is to try new recipes and remove more preservatives out of our food. My question is how much of your taco mixture is needed for 1 pound of meat. Thank you, Colleen

  24. Linda says

    I would like to make this to give as gifts. Could you share the instructions to use the mix comparable to a packet of mix I would purchase in a store?

  25. Linn says

    Mary I really liked the combination of flavors. I used this mixture to season freshly cooked pinto beans. It’s a keeper for me. I am looking forward to try it with ground beef. Just for my preference I will use a bit less smoked paprika. Thanks!5 stars

  26. Tami says

    I have made this at least 5 times now. It is the best flavor and you know there is no other fillers in it. Can’t imagine using anything else again! Thank you so much!5 stars

  27. Maggie Sallah says

    Hi, Mary! So excited to use your recipe.
    Quick question – do you add any water to the meat and mixture while browning and simmering?

    Thanks!5 stars

  28. Bob says

    Mary, thank you for this great recipe; I plan to try it in the immediate future.

    My current go-to recipe for taco rub/seasoning is very similar to yours but I like to tweak mine from time to time just for the sake of variety, hence my browsing the internet and running across your recipe.

    In doing my research on taco spices I analyzed about a dozen highly-rated recipes and yours was the one that looked best for fine-tuning my own recipe’s ingredients and proportions.

    Compared to your recipe, I substitute sweet paprika or reduce the amount of smoked paprika to cut the smoky taste a bit.

    If you don’t have smoked paprika on hand, a good substitute is ground chipotle pepper, which provides the smoky taste and a bit more pepper heat.

    Thanks again.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m glad you like the recipe, Bob. I’ve made this with sweet paprika as well and it works nicely both ways. Personally, we love the smoky paprika best.

  29. Pauline Gray says

    Thank you Mary, I’m going to try and make jumbo liar and the person who told me about it said she uses Mexican spices so I will definitely stir some into a jar and keep in in the fridge. Much appreciate the information you gave out thank you

  30. Lori Sims says

    Oh my goodness! I absolutely love this. I made some yesterday and was afraid of the chili powder but this came out and tasted perfect. 🙂 Thank you.5 stars

  31. Susan Carpenter says

    My family does not eat cumin, it tastes like soap. How can I adjust the recipe for them and me?