My son, in particular, loves tacos. Hard, soft, he doesn’t care, but he has a particular affinity for tacos made from ground beef, and a love of deep rich flavors and a just little heat. (More heat as he’s gotten older! Can that kid go through the Sriracha now that he’s in his 20’s!) So we started making our Taco Seasoning Homemade, and don’t worry about that little mention of heat and Sriracha; this one is family-friendly.
I have a hard time turning down a taco, too. Any taco. Ground Beef, Chicken, Shredded Beef, Pork or a veggie version. It doesn’t matter to me, they’re all delish. The only thing is, I do have a hard time shelling out my hard-earned dollars for a packet of Taco Seasoning from the store that isn’t anything more than a few spices I already have at home. Is anyone out there with me, here?
About Taco Seasoning Homemade Version:
I used to have this old cookbook of Mexican recipes; it’s long gone but was kind of like one of those church or community cookbooks that have recipes from different cooks in the area. One of my favorites was a recipe for Picadillo, which is really the “truer” version of what we use for taco meat in the US. Picadillo is pretty famous throughout Latin America (especially Cuba) from the Islands to Mexico. You can see my recipe for Picadillo Tacos on my site.
I started riffing off not only the recipe but the fun spices that were in that recipe and eventually experimented and adapted it with the help of my son into this spice mix. Heck, he was just a kid then. I think about eight or so and the first time we made our homemade Taco Seasoning it was when we wanted tacos and didn’t have any seasoning mix in the house. I still remember how we made ground beef tacos about once a week for several weeks until we got it just “right” for our family and how excited Kraig was to taste each new variation. It’s also good with any of the other above mentioned filling for tacos, and I use it for taco soup or just about any recipe that calls for a packet of taco seasoning.
Our Taco Seasoning Homemade is different than the standard old Taco Seasonings from the store. It’s uniquely flavored and has become our family go-to house seasoning. It’s not hot but does have a bit of a kick and I think it’s just perfect for a family. Try it once and up the amount of cayenne and red pepper if you’d like. If you’re looking for something a little more serious, try out our Smokin’ Chipotle Taco Seasoning.
Making Taco Seasoning Homemade:
You can see immediately in the recipe that Taco Seasoning Homemade has pretty standard ingredients that most people who cook probably have in their house. You might want to mix up a batch and try it, and then if you like it as much as we do, and eat tacos as much as we do, make a larger batch. It really IS that good! All IMHO, that is. If you’d like to see how our family puts together our classic Homemade Tacos when we go all out with our own shells and the works, see this post on Our Family’s Favorite Taco.
This Taco Seasoning Homemade is pretty straightforward and doesn’t have all the added junk you’re likely to see ina store-bought packet. It does have a little sugar, and I’m not normally one for extra sugar, but it makes this seasoning taste so good! Omit it if you’d like.
The other ingredient that might take people back just a bit is the cornstarch. It keeps the mixture from clumping all up and also helps the taco seasoning cling to the ground beef. It isn’t entirely necessary and can be omitted. Substitute potato starch or arrowroot if you’d like or just leave it out altogether if that’s more your style.
Saving Money on Taco Seasoning Homemade:
I buy some of these spices that I use so often in other spice blends and rubs in big plastic jars or jugs at Costco or sometimes the grocery store. I see them often other places, too. That’s onion and garlic powder, paprika and cumin. I have small “working” jars in my spice cupboard and keep the larger jars up in a cool, dark cupboard and they stay fresher longer.
Watch for spices to go on sale around holidays and replenish any that are getting low. Beyond that, spring is a great time to watch for low prices and specials on spices. McCormick, in particular, usually runs “Catalina” sales every Spring. Catalinas come in two parts. Generally, when you buy something, a piece of paper spits out notifying you of the upcoming “like” product Catalina. Say you bought a box of vanilla, you might see a Catina notification that says something like “Buy 4 bottles of any McCormick flavorings or food coloring, get three dollars back.” It will let you know when the Catilina sale starts, and say something like, “Good from such and such date to such and such date.”
That means if you go back to the store during that time period, and buy four of the items, you’ll get a Catalina, a slip of paper that spits out at the register, for the three dollars that you can spend almost any way you want in the store. Generally, when a company runs a Catalina sale, the producer will put out a lot of coupons and usually, the grocery store puts the item on sale, too, so it can be quite a cost savings. Your coupon matching site, which should notify you of good deals, not just coupons, should alert you to these. Sometimes the store doesn’t advertise the upcoming or current Catalinas.
If you’d like to see more of my spice & herb blends, check out Spice, Herb & Flavor Packet Substitutes. I’m always adding as I go along! And if you’d like to see more of my Mexican and Mexican Inspired recipes, see this post on Recipes for Cinco de Mayo or Anytime.Print
Taco Seasoning Homemade – Our Family’s Favorite
Long a family favorite, there’s no doubt this seasoning will become your “signature” house special for tacos!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1/2 cup 1x
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (helps to thicken and coat and helps to keep the mixture from clumping as it is stored)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (add more or less to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano or Mexican oregano, optional
Mix together. Makes about 1/2 cup. Store in a tightly sealed jar in a dark, cool cupboard. Increase as desired.
Use 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons (this amount equals a 1 1/4 ounce seasoning packet) per one pound of browned and drained ground beef. Push aside the grouond beef, add the seasonig and toast for a minute, until just fragrant, in the skillet, then add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water and simmer several minutes to desired consistency.