How to make Homemade Taco Seasoning

Making your own Homemade Taco Seasoning is easier than you think! This 10-ingredient taco seasoning recipe calls for ingredients that are probably already in your spice cabinet AND is significantly less salty than the store-bought taco spice blends. Makes 16 servings.

A jar of DIY taco seasoning on marble

I never thought I’d become the cook who makes everything myself. As a matter of fact, I always found those people kind of annoying.

We’ve all been there: You go over for dinner, and you are munching on a delicious something that usually seems incredibly intimidating to make at home, and you ask the cook where they got it… and they say in a proud tone, “Oh, I made it myself.” Like it’s no big deal that they whipped up phyllo dough for their grandmother’s baklava recipe, then put it all together successfully, and it was the most delicious thing you ever ate.

It’s frustrating but kind of awe-inspiring, right?

Let’s be clear: I’m not making fun of these people. I am one of these people. And as much as I’ve fought it, I have finally given in and jumped on the most-everything-from-scratch bandwagon. And while it certainly takes more TLC, I’m enjoying it, assuming I have the time to pull it all together.

The more I learn about food, the more I want to make everything at home. The food industry scares me, y’all, and I’d rather be 100% certain what is going into my meals by controlling how I make them from scratch.

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    Which basically means I’m going to eventually be that mom who tells her children that she’ll make them their own WonderBread instead of saving myself time and stress by just buying a damn loaf at the store. I’m calling it now.

    And should my future children someday read this post, I’m sorry I’m not sorry, ladies.

    Why I love this recipe:

    This sugar free taco seasoning recipe is one of those seemingly hoity-toity made-from-scratch ones.

    And even though you’ll feel a little obnoxious telling your friends you made the seasoning when they come over for Taco Tuesday (or any occasion), this mix is good enough to feel a little obnoxious. 

    The bonus is that it’s super simple to pull together, doesn’t require any complex kitchen skills (or even a set of knives), and it comes together in 10 minutes or less. (Honestly, finding all the jars of spices in the cabinet takes longer than the actual mixing of this spice blend.)

    It’s a lower sodium spice mix, so you don’t have to worry about your tacos (or whatever you’re cooking) being too salty. ALSO, there is no added sugar in this spice blend… because it doesn’t need it.

    You’re saving a little money because making your own DIY taco seasoning is cheaper than the packets of taco seasoning sold in the stores.

    That’s a win-win in my book!

    Other recipes that call for this taco seasoning recipe: Turkey Taco Soup | Guacamole-Stuffed Fajita Burgers | Homemade Loaded Queso | Turkey Taco Salad

    Looking for more dishes to add this homemade seasoning mix to? Head on over to my Dinner Recipe Index for some ideas.

    Spices for a homemade spice blend on a blue towel

    What you need to make this taco seasoning recipe:

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    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    You just need a handful of simple ingredients to make the perfect blend for tacos, nachos and more. Here’s what you need to grab at the store:

    • Chili powder — we keep the Organic Chili Powder Blend from Whole Foods Market at our house, and I like the balance of it. It doesn’t have a ton of heat and plays nicely with the other ingredients in this spice blend recipe.
    • Ground cumin
    • Black pepper
    • Paprika — I use sweet paprika (which is usually just labeled “paprika”) in this recipe, though smoked paprika would add some smokiness to this DIY taco seasoning. I don’t recommend using hot paprika because it’ll make this spice blend a bit too pepper-heavy.
    • Dried oregano
    • Garlic powder — or you can use granulated garlic, which has a coarser texture but adds the same flavor
    • Onion powder — or you can use granulated onion, which has a coarser texture but adds the same flavor
    • Crushed red pepper flakes
    • Coarse sea salt — or a coarse kosher salt. We don’t use a ton of salt in this recipe because I want the peppers and other ingredients to shine. Also, you can always add more salt to your dish once the taco spices are in.
    • Ground cayenne pepper — this packs some heat, so please use it carefully! 

    To me, this spice blend recipe isn’t too hot, but provides a ton of flavor. If you’re concerned that it’s going to be too spicy for you, I suggest leaving out the cayenne pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes. Give it a taste and add a little shake of them if it’s not flavorful enough. 

    Collage showing how to make and blend taco seasoning

    How to make Homemade Taco Seasoning

    Measure all the ingredients into a bowl or a pint-sized mason jar. When everything is in the jar, cap it, and shake until combined. (You can also whisk these together if you’re using a bowl.)

    Store in an airtight container (like a mason jar or an empty spice jar) in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Use on Ground Beef TacosPork Carnitas EnchiladasCrispy Taco Spiced Chickpeas and more!

    How to use Homemade Taco Seasoning in Ground Meat Tacos

    Brown a pound of your favorite taco meat in a skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix. Drain the meat, if necessary, and serve in your favorite way with your favorite taco toppings.

    We like to use a pound of ground beef, but this works on ground chicken and ground turkey, too.

    A spoon in a jar of taco spice mix

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What can I use if I don’t have taco seasoning?

    You can make this homemade taco seasoning if your spice cabinet is stocked!

    How much taco seasoning mix is in a packet?

    The store-bought taco seasoning packets come in different sizes, but most come in 1-2 oz. size, which translate to about 2-4 tablespoons per packet of taco seasoning.

    Do you drain meat before adding taco seasoning?

    It depends on the recipe and what you’re cooking. Typically, I throw my taco seasoning into the meat as it cooks and then drain once the meat is fully cooked through.

    Is this taco seasoning gluten free?

    Yes, it should be gluten free. Check your spice jars to confirm none were packaged in a facility with gluten, but the spices themselves should be free of gluten, making this recipe a gluten free one.

    A spoonful of taco spice mix

    Quick tips and tricks to the best DIY taco seasoning mix recipe

    • Make sure your spices and herbs are fresh. The garlic and onion powders, especially, will crystalize and make the measuring challenging. Also, the older an herb or spice is, the less potent it will taste, and we want this taco spice blend to taste amazing!
    • Make a double batch, and keep it for various taco nights! Since this keeps so well, this is an easy recipe to make a larger amount of, assuming you’ll actually eat it all!

    More spice blend recipes to try:

    Here’s how you make this one…

    A jar of DIY taco seasoning on marble

    Homemade Taco Seasoning

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Everybody loves tacos and fajitas, but store-bought spice blends are so salty. Make your own Homemade Taco Seasoning today! Simple, delicious and less salt!
    5 from 6 votes
    Servings 16 servings
    Calories 6 kcal
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 10 minutes


    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 2 teaspoons black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    • Measure ingredients into a small bowl.
    • Combine ingredients thoroughly.
    • Enjoy on top of meat or veggies!


    Recipe can be doubled or tripled. Store in a mason jar for up to 6 months.


    Serving: 1 servingCalories: 6kcalCarbohydrates: 1gSodium: 96mgFiber: 1g
    Keyword seasoning blend, TexMex seasoning
    Course Condiments & Spice Blends
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    1. I go through cycles – sometimes life throws me curveballs and I am stressed and buy more than I make (TJ’s has the least amount of extra crap in their packaged food). Other times, I want to save money and make everrrrything from scratch.

      I like the idea of homesteading and being self-sufficient and all of that – not to feel superior, but because it feels GOOD.

      Love this recipe! It seems like it would keep for a long time – yeah?

    2. This is definitely something I want to make! Have you ever read the list of ingredients of stuff in taco seasoning? It’s ridiculous — there shouldnt be anything other than what you’ve listed! I bought ENORMOUS jars of taco seasoning I’m still working through, but then this!

    3. I think I’m gonna end up being one of those Moms too… except I’ll be the even weirder mom how won’t let her kids have wonderbread homemade or not because of the “evils” of wheat. LOL. Let’s hope I get over that phase before I have kids for my kids sake!

      Yet, I haven’t started making taco seasoning. Trader Joe’s taco seasoning has only spices and salt as the ingredients so I feel content using that. But if I do get the whim to make my own seasoning – I’ll be using your recipe!

    4. haha… I know what you mean. Those people that make their own tofu, cheese, ferment their own kim chi. Some people here say they proudly grind spices for their curries when all I do is purchase a premix packet. But I get you. I make my own stuff all the time too and it’s always comforting to know that in my bowl of ramen, there is no added MSG or too much salt. Though I don’t really make tacos here, I think this seasoning will go super well in pasta sauces or even roast chicken! Will be making this soon. 🙂

    5. I’m with you in a lot of ways, in that I trust very little about the food industry these days. And I have made my own taco seasoning on many an occasion (I make enough to keep in an empty spice bottle so I can just keep using it til its gone!) but usually with taco seasoning (as opposed to say, baking a loaf of bread), I’m doing it out of laziness. I almost always have enough stuff laying around to make a taco salad, but I never think to keep taco seasoning packets stocked, and who wants to run to the store for just a packet of seasoning?

      It’s necessary in other cases, like Chinese five spice or curry powders, unless the international market is on your regular stop route, or you really don’t mind driving clear across town for spices. I do.

    6. I stick to easy recipes for the most part but I do want to try some more challenging recipes, people that make their own cheese especially always make me want to gag, but in a good way because they have drive and talent lol I blame it on my small kitchen, maybe if it was bigger I would get a little more daring? At least I can make this taco seasoning and impress my friends with it. 😛

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