Taco Seasoning


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Taco seasoning is super easy, fresh and inexpensive. Did you know store bought packets may contain dairy, cornstarch, preservatives and sugar? Skip the fillers and make taco seasoning at home. It’s also the best way to ensure it’s gluten-free.

You can use this homemade seasoning on so many recipes including taco salad, shrimp tacostaco soup and more!

Taco seasoning spices in a bowl.

Store-Bought Seasoning – What’s Really In It?

Years ago when I started reading the labels on the back of food products I remember being shocked the vast majority of the time. Especially on items that were seemingly so simple. You’d never assume there was anything except what you thought should be inside. Oh, but there was. Case in point: taco seasoning.

If you flip a store bought packet of taco seasoning over and read the backside you’ll find unnecessary ingredients ranging from whey (dairy) to cornstarch, potato starch, caramel color, natural colors, sugar and various preservatives. Yep, that’s what’s in that little old packet. A heck of a lot of filler.

The good news is that it’s incredibly easy to make your own taco seasoning at home and once you do, you’ll never need to buy those overly priced packets again.

Taco Seasoning Ingredients

My seasoning mix is made from a handful of fresh spices, including:

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper

You could also add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a little spice kick. Making taco seasoning at home allows you to tweak the flavor profile to your preference.

Taco seasoning spices stirred together in a bowl.
Jars of spices for homemade taco seasoning.

How to Make Taco Seasoning

Just stir all of the spices together in a small bowl. The recipe I’ve listed below equates to approximately 2 tablespoons, which is the perfect amount for one pound of ground beef. But I usually quadruple this recipe and then store in these glass spice jars (make sure to grab the 6-ounce size).

If you’ve watched my YouTube videos, you know that these spice jars match my Simply Organic spice jars perfectly. Then, I use an extra fine tip water-based paint pen to write a label.

As a SoCal girl I love my Mexican food and from the recipes on this website you’ve probably gathered I’m quite the connoisseur. In fact, this taco seasoning mix is the same one that I’ve used on my Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats and Taco Soup recipes.

Making taco seasoning in a bowl.

For More Healthy Mexican Recipes

And if you’re whipping up fajitas, make sure to check out my fajita seasoning recipe!

Taco seasoning spices in a mixing bowl.

Taco Seasoning (Better Than Store-Bought)

5 from 24 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Lisa Bryan


Taco seasoning is super easy, fresh, and inexpensive. It's perfect for all your Mexican-inspired recipes. Watch the quick video below!



  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, optional


  • Mix all the spices together in a bowl. Use immediately or store in an airtight container.

Lisa’s Tips

  • You can easily double, triple or quadruple this recipe to make a larger batch. Then, in the future just use two tablespoons of your taco seasoning mix per one pound of ground beef.
  • I don’t add any onion powder to this mix because I typically add freshly diced onions to ground beef recipes. But feel free to add that spice as well, if you’d like.
  • To see inside my own spice drawer, don’t forget to watch my spice drawer organization video.
  • For another delicious homemade seasoning, check out my brisket dry rub.


Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1300mg | Potassium: 228mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 2940IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3.1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: homemade taco seasoning, taco seasoning, taco seasoning recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted Aug 2017, but updated to include new information. 

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. HELP How do you use this seasoning? Does the recipe mean (“1 serving”) equals using all of it on your 1 lb of hamburger OR 2 tbsp as stated in your tips? very confusing. It would be nice if you could give direction on how to use it in the Instruction including if you use water in he cooking process. Am using all of it tonight (tastes good) with no water. Hope that is right Thank you for the recipe

    1. Hi Shirley – The seasoning amount will depend on the recipe you’re using it for. If you go to any recipes using this seasoning, such as my taco soup or taco stuffed zucchini boats, the instructions will say how much of the seasoning to use. Hope that helps!

  2. I made taco meat with ground beef using this spice mix and it was great!! Will definitely make it again and it’s so easy I’ll never buy prepackaged taco spice mix again.5 stars

  3. For the 1x measurements how much onion powder would you mix into this recipe.
    I previously asked how much seasoning to use for one pound of ground beef, but I see it’s included in the notes.

  4. This recipe is a game changer for all recipes needing taco seasoning! Especially for Downshiftology’s Taco Soup recipe!! You’ll be glad you made it.
    Thanks for making delicious cooking easier!5 stars

      1. Hi I am opening a cafe to raise funds for feeding program. Here in the Philippines they called nachos with mayo n some strange flavoured sauce tacos. It’s awful.
        I want to sell proper tacos. Thanks for seasoning recipes

      2. Hi Nannie – What a wonderful thing you’re doing! I’m glad this recipe came in handy to help people in need.

      1. I don’t add any onion powder to this mix because I typically add freshly diced onions to ground beef recipes. But feel free to add that spice if you’d like.

  5. Your recipes NEVER disappoint! I’ve been making my own taco seasoning recipe for a few years now but yours is #1. My adult daughter who is also celiac, recently discovered that her go-to pre-packaged taco seasoning (which used to be GF) now contains wheat starch. So I made a big batch of this for her, put it in a small glass mason jar, along with a recipe card. I think anytime we can control our own ingredients instead of relying on companies to do it for us is a win-win for our health and well-being. Thanks again! 🌮5 stars

    1. Ah yes, you have to be so careful with those packaged spice mixes. But how sweet of you to make a big batch of this recipe for her! Glad you’re enjoying all my recipes, Lee. :)

      1. Do you add water like store bought mix? I’ve used recipes that call for soy sauce, oil and lime juice. So I’m just curious?

  6. This is the best! Store-bought taco seasoning irritates my GI so I gave up on Tacos for a bit. But now I’m back due to your seasoning. Super tasty and has no GI irritation.5 stars

  7. I made this taco seasoning but something is missing. The flavor is somewhat bland. What can I add to make the “taco” seasoning pop??

  8. How much onion powder would you include in the recipe if fresh onions were not going to be used? Thank you!

    Btw you say 1/2 tsp “salt” but 1/2 tsp of table salt vs Kosher are a pretty different amount. Thankfully it’s clear in your pictures and video that you used kosher salt but you might want to clarify for those that don’t catch that. :)5 stars

    1. Great catch Nathan, I just fixed it in the recipe card. And I’d probably add about 1 teaspoon of onion powder.

  9. Hi, I just stumbled on this great recipe. My daughter loves Tacos! What do you mean by Chili powder? Just plain chili ? I would like to make this spice mix but cannot find the chili powder and would like to order it only. I did order chili flakes. Would that work?
    Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. You can typically find chili powder at any market! Otherwise, just search for chili powder online and you should be able to find options :)

  10. What is the equivalent amount to use in lieu of a packet of store-bought packets? I have a recipe that calls for 2 packets of taco seasonings. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Carol – I’m not exactly sure as I haven’t bought a store-bought packed in years, but I’d estimate about 2 tablespoons.

    1. The nutrition information is calculated automatically from the ingredient list. In this case, the sodium is coming mainly from the salt.

  11. To fill a standard size spice jar, like one of the Simply Organic size you recommend, how much of this recipe should I make?

  12. No exaggeration- this recipe is life changing!! We always have a batch of this prepared and put it on chicken or veggies all the time. The flavor is incredible, and makes anything taste great! I love putting it on cauliflower and then baking it. This has become a staple in our pantry and it adds so much to every meal we use it with!5 stars

    1. Hi Irene – I’m glad he loved this homemade taco seasoning. The great thing is you can always tweak the spices yourself.

  13. Taco tuesday turns into Taco wednesday, thursday, friday with this recipe!! I am in the midst of Whole30, so I needed something that was packed with flavor and compliant to the diet— DID THIS DELIVER!!!!!5 stars

  14. I make this seasoning almost weekly now. So good and so easy. And so much better than store bought. My friends are asking me for the recipe now, but cannot take the credits for that of course ;-)5 stars

  15. The best, most fresh seasoning. So much better than store bought paper packets. Make a bunch and keep on hand!5 stars

  16. Awesome recipe! My son is allergic to many of the additives to taco seasoning so I always buy the expensive health-food store, additive-free kind. We’ll save money while making yummy food for the whole family. Thank you!5 stars

    1. So glad you loved the taco seasoning recipe! Taco seasoning doesn’t need all those additional ingredients, plus this is healthy and easy to make :)

    1. It would change the flavor profile a bit, but you could try it with celery salt or ginger. Or you could just leave it off. :)

    1. You’re welcome Anne! It’s amazing how easy it is to make taco seasoning at home, isn’t it? :)

  17. I love having taco seasoning around for so many recipes – tacos included, but even beyond. I love the idea of making m own, and your combination of spices is so delicious!5 stars

    1. Thanks Valentina! Yes, making your own taco seasoning is so easy and it’s perfect for a variety of recipes. Enjoy! :)

  18. Easily the best taco seasoning recipe I’ve run across yet. The recipe makes 2.75 tbsp as is, so I believe using closer to 3 tbsp per pound of beef as opposed to 2 tbsp to be more accurate, if you’re recommending one recipe taco seasoning per pound of beef.

    I added 1/4 tsp onion powder per recipe, multiplied it by four to have extra, then used 3 tbsp per pound ground beef.

    Also added a mini (5.5 oz) can of low-sodium V8 and a little water to the whole thing, then simmered a half hour. Really good.5 stars

    1. I’m happy you loved the recipe Paula! And good catch on the total amount, I’ve corrected it in the description above. Thanks! :)

  19. Great tip! I also love to make my spice mixes ahead, love all the ingredients in your taco seasoning, will make it right away!5 stars

  20. This seasoning is so much better than the sodium and preservative loaded mixes – fresh flavors and easily customizable!5 stars

    1. Agree! It’s amazing all of the nasty ingredients that sneak into store bought taco seasonings. Homemade is definitely best! :)

  21. I love to make my own seasonings, and this is a perfect one to always have on hand! Saving to make this in the next couple days!!5 stars

  22. I made the taco soup or it was actually more mince meat but it was delicious. The taco spice mix is a go to. Amazing.5 stars

  23. I’m not a very good cook yet so for clarification is the chili powder a plain ancho or cayenne or the premixed chili powder that has some of the other stuff in it?
    (I stumbled on your site yesterday and am so happy I did!! Can’t wait to try out all sorts of recipes on here!!)
    Thank you so much!!

  24. You might consider adding a wee bit of dutch processed chocolate powder to this recipe. I find it adds depth to this mix. For the amount you have here I’d suggest one quarter of a teaspoon to experiment with. I am looking forward to learning more from your work. Thanks for sharing with ll of us.

  25. This is brilliant!! I love creating my own spices blend too and this helps a lot as you can control the ingredients.

  26. i love making my own spice blends! It really is frightening looking at the ingredients in a simple spice blend!! Why? It’s terrible!

    1. I know, so crazy what’s in packaged food. But good news is it’s easy to make at home. Enjoy Beth! :) x

  27. Just wondering how spicy this is? Would it be suitable for young children unused to much heat (I usually use Old El Paso).

    1. Hi Liz – I don’t think it’s spicy and my niece and nephew (ages 11 and 13) love it on their taco meat. But what you could do is mix up a batch and just use half of it the first time (with one pound of ground beef), to see how they respond. :) x

  28. Just mixed a batch and used to coat chicken breast. Yummy! Plan to use the rest to whip up some taco soup.