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, this one is family friendly.
I have a hard time turning down a taco, too. Any taco. The only thing is, I do have a hard time shelling out my hard earned dollars for a packet 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.
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. Heck, he was just a kid then. I think about eight or nine. 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.
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 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, 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.
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 at Costco. I seee 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.
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. 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 list 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 for the three dollars that you can spend almost anyway 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.
If you’d like to see more of my spice & herb blends, check out Spice, Herb & Flavor Packet Substitutes. I’m 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.
Home-made Taco Seasoning
- 1 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chile 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.
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. Toast for a minute in the skillet, then add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water and simmer several minutes to desired consistency.
Multiply as desired.