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Homemade Taco Seasoning (Healthier & Tastier!)

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions

1

In a bowl mix everything together and store in an airtight container. Thatโ€™s it!

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Ever since making big changes to eat mainly Paleo friendly foods, I have gotten really good at making a point to look at the ingredient listed on any prepackaged items I’m contemplating purchasing. It always blows my mind the ingredients listed on an item that you’d think would have just a few basic ingredients. And lots of times, I don’t have a clue what some of the ingredients are… I can’t even pronounce them correctly.

Check out the back of a Taco Bell Taco Seasoning packet and you should see the following ingredients…

Wheat Flour, Salt, Dried Garlic, Maltodextrin, Chili Peppers, Spice, Dried Onions, Monosodium Glutamate, Paprika, Sugar, Contains less than 2% of Silicon Dioxide As An Anticaking Agent, Soybean Oil, Malic Acid.

The ingredients I highlighted in red are items that I wouldn’t have expected to be in a taco seasoning packet. And what the heck is Monosodium Glutamate? Well, MSG (as most call it), is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. According to many, MSG is a leading cause of obesity. MSG is found in tons of fast food items and prepackaged products.

And what about Maltodextrin? A food additive. An easily digestible carbohydrate made from rice, corn or potato starch.

Sugar… in taco seasoning?

Plus, if you have a gluten intolerance, you’ll definitely want to stay away from these taco seasoning packets. And don’t you think it’s crazy that the list of ingredients on the back of a Taco seasoning packet are mainly not herbs and spices?!

So with all of that being said, I now make my own taco seasoning, thanks to finding this great recipe on AllRecipes.com! It’s simple to make, requires spices and herbs you may already have on hand, can be altered to your liking and tastes a heck of a LOT better than a Taco Bell taco seasoning packet! And did I mention it’s healthier too?! ๐Ÿ™‚

Check it out…

The ingredient list below should make enough for about 5 to 6 lbs of meat… maybe more?

homemade taco seasoning


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Homemade Taco Seasoning

An easy homemade seasoning mix that makes a delicious blend of flavorful herbs.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions

1

In a bowl mix everything together and store in an airtight container. Thatโ€™s it!

Brought to you by Hip2Save.


Check out some of our yummy dip recipes:

Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 141

  1. adriane

    THANK YOU! I couldn’t agree with you more about all the added things you just wouldn’t expect to find! Please post more recipies like this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. zoe

    i have always wanted to try to make my own taco seasoning, i was just afraid i would mess it up! but i think ill give it a shot!

    • Jesse

      me too- always been scared to make my own! thanks, Collin, for this recipe post!

      • Ashley57

        Yes, thank you Collin! This blog really has me thinking about what I eat, I really appreciate it! I think I will try this too!

  3. Shebella

    Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. My family and I love taco and we use the Taco Bell seasoning, but after reading your post I believe it is time for me to make my own. Thanks for the education and the recipe.

  4. Susan Lillie Robert

    how long will this keep or can you store it in the freezer?

    • Lisa

      AS long as you would normally keep the spices that you use in this recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Emily

      I’ve made this before, and since it’s all spices you’d have in your cupboards, I keep it in my cupboard – I’ve never had it “go bad”. You can probably keep it as long as you would your other spices.

  5. patti

    love this idea! I usually buy my taco seasoning from Penzeys, but now I want to read what is actually in it. Thanks for posting!

  6. Joelle McGuire

    Thank you so much do you have a good one for fajitas.

  7. Anne

    wow, i have all of those spices right now!! who knew? ๐Ÿ™‚ one annoying thing with the packets is that my husband and i don’t like the entire packet for just one pound of meat….much too strong for our taste. this way i can just add as much or as little as i want, and i’ll know exactly WHAT i’m adding. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ali

    Colin, you’re so right – when you start to actually read labels, you’ll be amazed by what is actually in the foods we eat! I’m a vegan, and currently helping a friend convert to a healthier plant based diet. It’s been eye opening for her as well! Thanks for posting this Colin! I make my own taco seasoning too, very similar to your recipe – also great for adding to homemade cheese sauce for homemade queso dip! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jennifer

      I thought vegans didn’t eat cheese?

      • zinkemom

        She might mean “cheeze” sauce made with cashews and nutritional yeast.

  9. Amy

    I have the same recipe but I actually eliminate the salt and can’t tell any difference! My kids like this better than the nasty package stuff! :):)

  10. Kristen Hales

    I also recently read to be leary of the ingredient “spices.” They list garlic, salt, paprika, etc., so why can’t they tell us what the “spices” are that are included?

  11. jo ann

    This is so very odd. I found this exact same recipe yesterday and made it to marinate chicken breasts in yesterday. I had never made my own taco seasoning mix before but knew home made would be healthier than bought. Well, is tastes great! I marinated the chicken breasts in this, covered them in salsa and baked for 30 minutes. Awesome taste! Well, it is just such a coincidence!

    • ELI

      How did you marinate it without liquid? It sounds good…could you give directions or a recipe? Thanks!

      • Alysha

        She peprobably let the dry rub sit on the meat prior to cooking. I do it all the time. Although adding some lemon juice or yogurt might taste fantastic with the salsa chicken too.

  12. Robin

    I have been using this recipe for overs year now, came upon it when evening when I realized I didn’t have any on hand. Love it.

    • Robin

      Correction: using this recipe for over a year now came upon it one evening…..

  13. Lisa

    I’ve been making my own taco seasoning for a while now. For the healthiness factor and because it’s fun. We actually just ate tacos today with my taco seasoning. And I also added rice to the meat this time because I didn’t cook up enough meat on accident. Turns out it’s actually tastier with the rice! (We used brown rice).

    • Melissa

      Even though I’ve been making my own taco seanoning for years, I love the idea of adding rice to the mixture, and expand my meat budget.

  14. Karen

    Love AllRecipes.com. It’s our go to for most anything we want to cook.

  15. Virginia

    I use this same recipe when I make big batches of taco seasoning. I also found another recipe with the same ingredients in smaller portions for one time use. I LOVE it! I found it one day when I was out of the packaged stuff and needed some taco seasoning. I will never go back to the package stuff.

    I found the recipe was enough for 3 taco dinners (I use about 1 1/2 lbs of hamburger meat each time I make tacos). I use about 3 Tablespoons of the taco seasoning each time. I like mine with a lot of spices!

    • Jamie

      That was going to be my question – how many tablespoons of the homemade taco seasoning per pound of meat. So it’s about 2 tablespoons per pound of meat. Thanks!! Will def try this. I make my own Emeril’s Rustic Rub and Bayou Blast. Much cheaper and you probably have all the spices in your cabinet!

  16. Beth

    Thanks! My son is gluten/casien free. I think that it is Ortega that is OK for taco seasoning, but I think I’ll start making my own now.

  17. CW

    Thank you for posting this! Please post more like it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Kristin

    I also stopped buying processed food… there’s so little to use coupons with now. I also don’t use products with petroleum, which rules out a whole nother set of stuff I can’t get free. oh well…

    • Lisa

      Target has awesome produce coupons on occasion, keep an eye out! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Kristin

        online or inserts? I’m in a region where there are no inserts ๐Ÿ™ I’m a faithful whole foods coupon shopper though, and BJ’s – so so much cheaper than the grocery store!

  19. Stacey

    This was worth getting off the couch to write down. Thank you!

  20. Savedbycoupons

    Love this idea! Can’t wait to try it.

  21. Samantha

    I make our own BBQ spice salt too (in place of Lawry’s season salt, etc). We put it on everthing we grill, use it as a rub for pork loin and more.
    2 cups salt, 6T garlic salt, 6T onion salt, 4T chili powder, and 8T paprika
    Mix well and store in airtight container. This makes a ton!

    • Joelle McGuire

      love the seasoning salt recipe how does it compare to the original I would assume less ingredients.

      • Samantha

        It’s a lot less- a lot like the taco seasoning!

    • Lisa

      Thanks for posting this! I threw out our Lawry’s seasoned salt a long time ago because I hate adding salt to food. Hubby was asking where it was recently so I will try this! I’d use onion powder instead of onion salt though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • MA

      Thanks so much for this. Have cut way back on salt for years, but Lawrey’s seasoned is a first choice for salt and a ‘must’ for cooking is Lawrey’s seasoned pepper. Anyone come up with a recipe to duplicate that? That just makes such a difference on foods!

  22. MACHELLE

    Hi, we eat mainly paleo too so I have been lovin your recipes! We made the spaghetti squash meatballs last night and it was tastey! Yum the garlic in it was strong but wonderful!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Glad to hear that… and yes, I think I LOVE garlic a little too much! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Heather

    So do you still add water to the seasoning like you do for the mix after you have browned up the lean beef or ground turkey?

    • Felicia

      I’ve used this recipe for quite a while. And I do add water, but probably not as much as you would with the packet kind. I just eyeball it, pour in a little water, it helps everything to come together and the seasoning to coat the meat.

      • Heather

        Thanks!

  24. Kimberly G

    The recipe I’ve been using for years now is very similar to this one, and it includes a teaspoon of sugar. It doesn’t make it sweet. I use sea salt instead of regular salt because it’s lower sodium. Great recipe!

  25. Sarah

    MSG can also cause ADHD like symptoms in some people. We talked about it in a child psychopathology class I took. Apparently MSG acts as a stimulant for the tongue. It makes the taste buds stand up in order to better taste the flavors in the food.

    Thanks for this recipe! I’d love it if you would post more things like this!

    • MommySpendsLess

      MSG (and aspartame) are excitotoxins. As you mentioned, MSG is not a flavoring on it’s own, like spices, but rather is a flavor enhancer which works with your taste bud receptors. People who are sensitive to MSG have reported a variety of symptoms including headaches, heart palpitations and digestive issues. Personally, it upsets my stomach in all but the smallest quantities so I try to avoid it, and after reading more about how unnatural and potentially harmful it is, I try to avoid feeding it to my daughter as well. MSG is used in most flavored potato chips, in salad dressings, in gravy and in canned soups as well as many other savory frozen or boxed foods (for instance frozen Salisbury steaks and Hamburger Helper). Many fast food restaurants also use it, KFC being one of the worst offenders. Like gluten, MSG can hide on food labels under other names and forms. The only good news is that companies seem to be realizing consumers want healthier products so the number of available MSG-free convenience foods seems to be increasing.

  26. bridgette

    It just sux that 99.9% of coupons are for non paleo foods which is all junk ๐Ÿ™

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hi Bridgette,

      I can understand what you are saying… it is a bit more difficult to find coupons for Paleo foods. However, there are coupons out there… in fact, I just may start putting together a coupon round-up that is geared toward healthier foods (with lots being Paleo friendly). Stay tuned…

      • donna

        I love that idea!!! By the way, there are lots of healthy food coupons to be found at http://www.mambosprouts.com! Click on the free coupons tab!

      • Holly

        I would love that!!!! We don’t eat paleo but low carb, no added sugar and only 25g of natural sugar a day so couponing for ourselves has become difficult. However I still coupon with a passion and donate a ton of stuff that we don’t eat to food banks or in care packages to the troops.

        • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

          I LOVE that, Holly! Definitely one of the best things about couponing – being able to pay it forward! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Rose

        Please explain what is paleo for those of us who don’t know.

  27. Kristi P

    I’ve really been enjoying your posts about the Paleo diet. Thanks for the recipe and I look forward to more posts about healthy eating!

  28. Amy

    I started making my own seasoning a few months ago…figured I already had all the spices I needed in the cupboard….why not use them? I also like the idea of not adding MSG and other funky things to my tacos.

  29. Joy

    I have the two of those same little Ikea jars and I have never used them (got them free at a garage sale several years ago).Now, you have inspired me to finally use them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      LOL! I Love Ikea! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Joy

        We actually don’t have an Ikea around here so I was excited to pick these up for free at a garage sale. Must have been from someone who lived near or visited an Ikea.

  30. Dawn

    I started making taco seasoning for the last year. I didn’t have the seasoning one night and threw some together and my family loved it. I have been making it ever since. My husband makes wicked salsa.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Wicked salsa?! Please share! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. mel

    Collin you are amazing! Thanks for breaking it down, I would never have thought to read ingredients this way. I can never use a whole pack of taco seasoning because of the msg, I get bad headaches if I eat too much salt, or even a small amount of salt. I’m definitely going to make your version and teak the salt. You’re the best!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Justine

    Thank you so much for this.
    I’ve been buying the large containers of the McCormick Taco seasoning at Costco.
    It lasts me quite awhile. But been thinking it would probably be easier to just make my own.
    Thanks for taking the time to find a good recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  33. Kim

    Thank you for this! I even shared it on my Facebook page!

  34. Robin

    Awesome, thank you for caring so much and helping others.

  35. Holly

    Thanks for posting. We recently had to go on a low carb/low sugar diet due to health issues and everything has sugar in it. We tried your almond flour crackers to and they were very good.

  36. lj

    Yup this is exactly the same as my recipe. I love that anytime I run out, I usually have the stuff to mix up another batch. Hate having to run to the store for one little thing.

  37. Chrisb

    Have I told you yet…I love you : )

    • Chrisb

      I wasn’t done… We eat tacos every week. I have no idea how long it would have taken me to read the back. As newly gluten free for medical reason it is clear I need to be very careful. Thanks so much!!!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are most welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. E

    It is sooo making me happy all of these healthy posts.

  39. Mary

    I just recently started using this recipe to make our own, and my whole family (including my husband and four children) agreed that this is better than store bought… not to mention, much healthier.

  40. mel

    I’ve been making my own seasoning mixes for months now. Here are a few of mine –
    Taco Seasoning Mix
    1 tablespoon chilli powder
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1/4 teaspoon oergano
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    (optional) 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Combine all ingredients and store in airtight container

    Fajita’s (unsure of source, equivalent to 3 store bought packet mixes)
    3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
    2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
    1 Tablespoon Salt
    1 Tablespoon Sugar
    2 ยฝ Teaspoons Crushed Chicken Bouillon Cube (or 3 Teaspoons granulated bullion)
    1 ยฝ Teaspoons Onion Powder
    1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
    ยฝ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
    ยผ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    1 Teaspoon Cumin
    Combine all ingredients and store in airtight container

    Onion Soup Mix – (afewshortcuts.com, she also has a section for gluten free recipes!)
    3/4 cup instant minced onion
    1/3 cup beef bouillon powder
    4 teaspoons onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon crushed celery seed
    1/4 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    Directions
    Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
    About 5 tablespoons of mix are equal to a single 1ยผ-ounce package.

    I’ve also been making my own Granola Bars and Goldfish Crackers! I can’t believe how easy, not to mention so much better than store bought!

    • Lynn

      Please share your goldfish & garnola recipes. Too!

      • mel

        sure! This is the link for the Peanut Butter Bars
        http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/peanut_butter_and_honey_granola_bars/

        The first time I made them I used the melted butter, but the past few times I haven’t and you can’t tell the difference. I also use a little less honey (1/3 C) and add a handful of chopped nuts along with the raisins. You can really add whatever you want to fill the bar.

        And Goldfish Crackers
        http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2011/09/homemade-goldfish-crackers/comment-page-2/#comments

        Instead of all purpose flour, I’m using whole wheat and for the cheese, I’m using Cabot brand. Its a tad more expensive, but tastes so much better than other brand/store name blocks of cheese. I used mini cookie cutters I already had, I was afraid to try making the tin can goldfish! But you could always roll the dough out and use a pizza wheel to make squares or other shapes!

        Enjoy!

  41. Amanda

    McCormick is the only brand that doesn’t add MSG if anyone would like to know.

    • Alysha

      I thought mrs dash also didn’t add MSG.

      • Amanda

        I meant for Taco Season packets.

  42. Melony

    I have to read labels carefully because I have an issue with carageenan (which is pretty much algae) which is in everything from toothpaste to spaghetti sauce, cupcake icing, pies, frozen lasagna, some yogurts, etc. The list is endless. I have stopped eating most processed foods due to that and a special diet given to me for a minor medical issue and have actually started eating more veggies and less meat . Not only do I feel 100 times better but I also don’t have to deal with being ill all night long after eating something with carageenan in it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Most of the free or cheap processed foods or personal care items I get go to the local food bank and/or homeless shelter.

  43. Mrs. C

    Perfect timing for this recipe! I can’t use a lot of package seasoning because my son is on a GF diet. I found an awesome recipe for crock pot tacos and was going to Google home made taco seasonings. But, it ended up on my fav website! Thanks Collin!

  44. Amy

    Sounds yum!

  45. Amanda

    Ikea container? You betcha! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  46. Robin

    That is so funny! A couple weeks ago I was making tacos and realized I didn’t have a seasoning packet. I looked up taco seasoning on AllRecipes and found this same recipe. It was awesome and I vowed that I would never buy a taco seasoning packet again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Amy

    I never knew all of those nasty ingredients were in Taco seasoning.. disturbing! Thanks so much for the recipe! Will use from now on! ๐Ÿ˜€

  48. janice

    Love this! Thanks!

  49. HWMom

    I stocked up on one of those huge bottles of cumin from Costco for about $4 to make my own chili without the packet…can’t wait to try the tacos now too. Sure my boys will love it as they adore my turkey chili made with my own seasoning.

  50. Camille Hill

    I’m just curious about your new diet combined with your couponing! I’ve been a couponer now for over 2 years and I’ve decided that my family needs to start eating more raw vegetables and whole grains…so I’m essentially making most of the food we eat from scratch. Thus I’ve stopped purchasing a lot of things that I used to coupon (for instance this taco seasoning but also other things like cream of whatever soup, tortillas, cold cereal, etc). So my question is, do you still find couponing beneficial even though your diet is heading you toward eating raw and whole foods which usually you can’t find couponing? Would you still save money purchasing newspapers if you only did it for the toiletries?

    Thank you for your thoughts!

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