Taco Seasoning from Scratch

This homemade taco seasoning from scratch recipe can be made in minutes. And we all know that Taco Seasoning is easily the star of taco night. This recipe is also preservative-free, gluten-free and easily customizable. So much better than store bought taco seasoning mix!

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of crafting your own homemade tacos. One crucial element that can make or break your taco experience is the seasoning you choose to put on your meat.

While store-bought taco seasoning mixes are convenient, nothing beats the taste of homemade. Making your own blend at home allows you to customize the flavors to your liking.

In this article, let’s explore the main ingredients for a delicious homemade taco seasoning from scratch.

The Origins of Taco Seasoning

Homemade Tacos should always have a homemade taco season from scratch. While the exact origins of taco seasonings are difficult to pinpoint, a taco just wouldn’t be the same without it. However, the concept of seasoning meat and vegetables for tacos has deep historical roots in Mexican cuisine. Indigenous communities in Mexico utilized a variety of native herbs and spices to enhance the flavors of their meals long before the arrival of European settlers.

The modern taco seasoning that we know today however, can be attributed to the growing popularity of Mexican cuisine in the United States during the mid-20th century. As American tastes expanded, the demand for convenient and pre-packaged seasoning mixes surged.

Food companies responded by creating ready-to-use taco seasoning packets. This not only simplified the cooking process but also introduced a standardized flavor profile that many people came to love.

Whether store-bought or homemade, taco seasoning continues to play a significant role in adding zest and depth to a wide range of dishes.

Ingredients for Making Taco Seasoning from Scratch

Chili Powder (3 tablespoons)
Chili powder is the foundation of any good taco seasoning. It provides a warm, earthy flavor and a subtle kick of heat. You can adjust the quantity of chili powder to control the spiciness of your seasoning. It’s best to choose a high-quality chili powder that suits your taste preferences, as different varieties can range from mild to fiery.

Ground Cumin (4 tablespoons)
Cumin is another essential ingredient that gives your taco seasoning its distinctive smoky and nutty undertones. It complements the chili powder, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile. If you enjoy a more pronounced cumin flavor, feel free to add a little extra to your blend.

Paprika (1 tablespoon)
Paprika contributes a rich, slightly sweet and smoky flavor to your taco seasoning. It enhances the overall depth of the seasoning while adding a beautiful red color to your taco meat. Smoked paprika can also be used to intensify the smokiness.

Salt (1/2 tsp)
Salt is a vital component in any seasoning mix, as it not only enhances the flavors but also helps to balance the heat and spices. Use kosher or sea salt for a superior texture and taste. Adjust the amount to your dietary preferences but be sure to not to leave this out. Just reduce the amount to a pinch if needed.

Black Pepper (1/4 tsp)
Black pepper adds a gentle, consistent heat to your seasoning while also enhancing the other flavors. The mild spiciness and earthy notes of black pepper complement the other ingredients, creating a well-rounded flavor profile.

Aromatics in Powder Form

Garlic Powder (1 tablespoon)
Garlic is a classic flavor in Mexican cuisine, and garlic powder offers a convenient way to infuse your taco seasoning with its robust essence. This ingredient adds depth and complexity to the mix, making your tacos even more irresistible.

Onion Powder (1 tablespoon)
Onion powder complements the garlic powder and contributes a sweet, slightly pungent flavor that is essential in achieving that authentic taco taste. It’s an excellent alternative to fresh onions when you want a more uniform distribution of flavor.

Dried Oregano (1 teaspoon)
Dried oregano brings a delightful herbal and slightly floral note to your taco seasoning. Even in small quantities, oregano can make a significant difference in the overall taste. Be cautious not to overdo it, as a little goes a long way.

Optional: Crushed Red Pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
For those who enjoy a bit of heat in their tacos, crushed red pepper is the go-to ingredient. This tiny addition adds a spicy kick that can be adjusted to your liking. Be cautious, though, as a little goes a long way. If you prefer milder tacos, you can reduce the amount or omit it altogether.

Homemade Taco Seasoning vs. Store-bought

ingredients for homemade taco seasoning from scratch

Homemade taco seasoning offers a delightful alternative to store-bought counterparts. When you craft your own blend, you have the flexibility to tailor the ingredients to your taste preferences and dietary needs.

You can also experiment with the spice levels, adjusting the heat and smokiness to create a personalized seasoning that caters to your palate.

By choosing homemade taco seasoning, you decide the ingredients, ensuring a healthier and tastier option for your tacos.

Store-bought alternatives may contain preservatives and additives to prolong shelf life. Making your own taco seasoning blend allows you to use high-quality, organic spices, guaranteeing a richer and more authentic flavor profile.

Additionally, making your taco seasoning from scratch reduces packaging waste which is more eco-friendly. In essence, choosing homemade taco seasoning is a flavorful and mindful decision that reflects a commitment to taste, health, and the environment.

The Versatility of Taco Seasoning from Scratch

Besides making the perfect taco, this versatile seasoning blend can be used so many creative ways in the kitchen. Use it as a dry rub for meats such as chicken, beef, or even tofu. Whether you are grilling, baking or roasting this seasoning imparts a smoky and savory essence to your dish.

The blend of spices in homemade taco seasoning also makes it an excellent addition to soups and stews.

This blend also works to take your snacks to the next level. Mix it into melted butter and drizzle it over freshly popped popcorn for a zesty movie-night treat.

You can also sprinkle it on roasted nuts or seeds for a crunchy and flavorful snack. The possibilities are truly endless.


In recent years, homemade taco seasoning recipes have gained popularity. Enthusiasts experiment with different spice ratios and variations, creating taco seasoning to suit personal preferences.

Creating your own homemade taco seasoning from scratch allows you to tailor the flavors to your liking. At the same time, you avoid unnecessary additives found in many store-bought mixes.

Use the 8 key ingredients plus anything else you like. You’ll achieve a well-balanced, flavorful taco seasoning that will not disappoint your taste buds.

Experiment with this recipe. Make it suit your preferences. Then find ways to freely us it in all your dishes!

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you think!

Happy cooking and bon appétit!

taco seasoning ingredients in a black bowl

Taco Seasoning

This homemade taco seasoning recipe can be made in minutes. Creating your own homemade taco seasoning allows you to tailor the flavors to your liking and avoid unnecessary additives found in many store-bought mixes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4


  • 1 small mixing bowl


  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper


  • Blend all spice powders together with a fork.
  • Store in a glass jar, or your favorite shaker jar.
  • 2 tablespoons homemade = 1 package taco seasoning


Nutrition Estimates
1 Tablespoon 20 calories
Keyword homemade taco seasoning, taco seasoning

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