Taco Seasoning Recipe

Our easy taco seasoning recipe is healthier than store bought packets, is naturally gluten free, and comes together in just a few minutes.

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Uh oh – it’s Taco Tuesday, the ground beef is already in the pan, and you forgot to grab a packet of taco seasoning at the grocery store. What do you do?

Don’t panic, and make our homemade taco seasoning recipe!

This easy spice mix is exactly what you can use if the alarm bells start going off in your head, saying “I don’t have any taco seasoning!” It’s super simple, made with just 8 ingredients from your spice rack, and it tastes better than store bought packets. So much better, in fact, that we’ve stopped buying store bought taco seasoning altogether and just use this one instead.

Ingredients for making taco seasoning: chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt.

Taco Seasoning Recipe Ingredients

Store bought taco seasoning mix is usually made of chili peppers, cornstarch, salt, spices, and processed ingredients like maltodextrin and other preservatives.

Our easy taco seasoning recipe is much healthier than store bought packets, has less salt, and is naturally gluten-free. This is all thanks to using just 8 raw spices that you probably already have in the pantry:

  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Ground red cayenne pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Salt 

While we do recommend adding a pinch of salt to this seasoning blend, since every dish benefits from salt as a flavor enhancer, we understand wanting to make taco seasoning with less salt – or even without salt at all. That’s why our recipe calls for just a pinch of salt. (Which is much less sodium than store bought packets have in them!) If you’d rather it have no salt, you can simply omit it and the flavors will still come through well enough.

How To Make Taco Seasoning

All you need to do to make taco seasoning at home is throw the spices in a bowl and stir to combine! Use this seasoning immediately, or store it in a glass spice jar with a lid for up to 6 months.

Spices tend to never really “go bad,” but they do lose their flavor after sitting for too long. Since it only takes a few minutes to whip up a batch of this taco seasoning, we recommend making it fresh every time. (Unless you’re making tacos every week and constantly reaching for the spice jar!)

A spice jar of taco seasoning.

Taco Seasoning Recipe Variations

You may be wondering how to make your taco seasoning less (or more!) spicy. Our recipe is slightly spicier than the packets labeled “mild” at the grocery store.

For a truly mild taco seasoning, we would recommend using half the amount of cayenne pepper.

If you want a little extra spice, bump up the cayenne a bit (~1.5 times to double).

Note that too much variation in either direction will start to affect the balance of flavors in the seasoning blend. For best results, stick to a range of anywhere from a quarter teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cayenne per batch while experimenting.

What To Use Homemade Taco Seasoning For

You can use this taco seasoning for chicken, ground beef, turkey, or even vegetables like sweet potatoes and black beans. And you don’t just have to use it for tacos – you can sprinkle this mix into enchilada filling, chili, or chicken tortilla soup, too. We actually created this exact taco seasoning recipe to flavor our sweet potato enchiladas.

Just like the taco seasoning packets from the grocery store, you can sprinkle this spice blend over your browned taco meat, add about ⅔ cup of water, and simmer until it thickens into a savory sauce. We love using this taco seasoning with ground beef for a Taco Bell inspired dinner at home – it tastes so much like the real thing, but with a little extra spice.

(Taco Bell fans – make sure to check out our copycat cheesy gordita crunch and crunchwrap supreme recipes that use this seasoning blend!)

If you’re wondering how much homemade taco seasoning to use per pound of ground beef, we made this recipe so that exactly one batch is the perfect amount for one pound of meat. And if you’re the kind of family who makes tacos at least once a week, we definitely recommend making a quadruple batch of seasoning to save yourself the effort every time!

Homemade taco seasoning.

Try our easy homemade taco seasoning recipe and bookmark it for future Taco Tuesdays if you love it! Don’t forget to rate, comment, and share.

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5 from 2 votes

Taco Seasoning Recipe

Our easy taco seasoning recipe is healthier than store bought packets, is naturally gluten free, and comes together in just a few minutes.
Servings 2.5 tablespoons
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
  • Use immediately, or store in a glass spice jar with a lid for up to 6 months.


Ingredients and salt content: Our taco seasoning mix recipe is naturally gluten-free and low in salt. (Much lower in salt than store bought packets!) If you’d prefer to make it without salt, you can skip it and it will still taste great!
Variations: You can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to change the spice level of this seasoning blend. For a more mild option, use half the amount of cayenne. For an extra spicy version, use about 1.5x to 2x the amount. We recommend staying within this range – otherwise, the flavor balance may start to taste off.
Serving suggestions: One batch (2.5 tablespoons) of this taco seasoning will work for one pound of meat or veggies. Use it to season ground beef, turkey, chicken, or even sweet potatoes and black beans (like in our sweet potato black bean enchilada recipe!).
If you’re making tacos, use it like you would use a store bought seasoning mix packet. Sprinkle the seasoning over browned meat, add two-thirds cup of water, stir and bring to a boil. Then simmer until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
We also recommend trying our Taco Bell copycat cheesy gordita crunch and crunchwrap supreme recipes! They both use a version of this taco seasoning that tastes just like Taco Bell.
Storing: Store homemade taco seasoning in a spice jar for up to 6 months. Spices never really “go bad,” but they lose some of their freshness and potency after a few months.
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 45kcal
Course: Ingredients
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: black pepper, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, taco seasoning


Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2973IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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