Move aside store-bought seasonings, we don’t need you anymore! Make your own Taco Seasoning at home that tastes just as good *if not better* than the store-bought kind. You only need a few handful of Mexican spices, some salt, and yellow cornmeal.
Do you do Taco Tuesdays? We sure do and boy do we make our way through loads of taco seasoning! But what happens when we run out? I used to resort to the other taco seasoning recipes online and even though they claim to taste *just like the store-bought kind* THEY DON’T. (They never do, do they?!) So, being a recipe developer, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own version, based on the ingredients listed on the back of the packaging of our favorite McCormick Taco Seasoning. This is the recipe I’m sharing today and I hope you love it as much as we do!
Copycat Taco Seasoning
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I am a wizard when it comes to creating copycat recipes. (Please see my Cinnabon recipe. Thank you.) After doing this nearly 11 years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Copying a recipe, like a taco seasoning, starts with a look at the ingredients list on the label. The label I used is off a Costco bottle of McCormick Taco Seasoning. (Our preferred brand.) Everything on the ingredients list is required by law to be listed from most to least in quantity. So, out of all the ingredients listed, yellow cornmeal will have the largest quantity. There will be less chili powder than yellow cornmeal because of its listed second. The quantities will keep decreasing as more ingredients are listed. Make sense?
So, my recipe is based on this label and the knowledge that they are listed in descending order.
Ingredients needed for Homemade Taco Seasoning
I think you’ll recognize a lot of these ingredients. They are from the ingredients list from above, but generally, these are pretty common, with the exception of smoked paprika. But if you don’t have smoked paprika, I’d highly recommend it. It’s delicious 🙂
- Yellow Corn Meal– adds flavor, but also serves as a thickener. I’d recommend this kind. Really great in cornbread too.
- Chili Powder & Cumin– two very flavorful and obviously Mexican spices
- Oregano– another surprisingly Mexican flavor that works really well in taco meat
- Sea Salt– gotta season that meat! I used sea salt from Trader Joes because I had it. Table salt is fine to use as well.
- Onion & Garlic Powder– this is the backbone of this recipe! Adds important flavor that complements and adds to the chili and cumin.
- Sugar– makes a surprising difference for balancing out all the salt. You won’t know its there, but if left out you’ll think something is missing.
- Smoked Paprika– adds such good flavor for such a small amount! I love this stuff.
I think it’s important to note that I don’t know where to find dried red or green bell peppers, so I left those out. Obviously. And I was fresh out of cocoa powder so I just didn’t add it in. Since it was listed as one of the very last ingredients, I figured it wasn’t *that* important. If you’re wanting to stay true to this being a copycat recipe, try stirring in 1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder to your homemade taco seasoning.
How to make Taco Seasoning
Can you stir ingredients in a bowl? Congratulations! You are qualified to make Taco Seasoning. You simply measure everything out into a small bowl, stir together, and voila! It’s ready to use.
How to use Homemade Taco Seasoning
One recipe of this taco seasoning is enough for 1 pound of ground beef. Simply brown your ground beef, sprinkle in the seasoning, and stir. Add in 3/4 cup cold water and simmer until ready to serve.
It’s important to note that I don’t drain my ground beef because I mainly buy very lean 93/7 or 95/5. If you buy a fattier kind of beef, know that you’ll have to drain it. Also, your finished taco meat might seem a little saltier because after the meat has been browned and drained, you’ll be left with less meat if you’re using a fattier beef.
Can I make a big batch of this?
Yes, I’d definitely recommend making a triple or quadruple batch (or even bigger!) You’ll just have to remember that 3 1/2 tablespoons of this taco seasoning is the amount you’ll sprinkle into your meat to season it properly. I’d recommend making one batch first to see how you like it first and then go from there.
How to store Taco Seasoning
Just like any seasoning or dried herb, you’ll want to store this in an airtight container in a cool, dark cabinet. It will last for months as long as it’s sealed up well.
Love Tacos? Try these tasty sides:
- Blender Salsa
- Amazing Pico de Gallo
- Classic Guacamole Recipe
- Mexican Street Corn
- Mexican Street Corn Casserole
- Mexican Street Corn Guacamole
I’d love for you to try this and let me know what you think! Be sure to save/bookmark/print/pin/share this recipe. I love it and think you will too.
Have a great day, friends! Happy taco making!
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Measure out all spices and ingredients into a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- To use taco seasoning, brown 1 pound of ground beef in a large, nonstick skillet (95/5 or 93/7 recommended). Sprinkle in the entire recipe of taco seasoning and stir. Add in 3/4 cup cold water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes.
- Spoon into warm taco shells and serve with any other desired taco toppings.