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Homemade Taco Seasoning

5 from 2 votes

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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!

homemade taco seasoning

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.

taco seasoning mccormick bottle

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.

spices on counter

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.

taco seasoning spices

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:

taco meat

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!

5 from 2 votes

Homemade Taco Seasoning

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.
servings 4 servings (makes 1 lb taco meat)
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins



  • 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.


Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 600mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 420IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: homemade spice blend, taco seasoning, taco seasoning recipe

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Recipe Rating

12 Responses
  1. DeAnna Mandigo

    5 stars
    This sounds great! I love tacos, and I love even more than eating them, cooking them homemade! I usually add some Vigo Yellow Rice with Saffron, and a can of Goya black beans. As for seasonings, I will use your recipe, but I don’t have access to smoked paprika. I have regular paprika, but I don’t think that’s very flavorful, so could I use 1 packet of Goya Sazon instead of the smoked paprika?

  2. Irene k

    Hi Lauren..love your family and your recipes. My one wish is that you would make the recipes shareable. I share them to my facebook page and refer to recipes on that site. Like if I want to make a dessert, your coconut cake doesn’t come up because I couldn’t “share” it. Unless there is a specific reason you are not able to share, it would so easy for many people to refer back to the recipes quickly and easily. Just a thought…have a wonderful day😊

    1. Lauren

      You can just copy and paste the link! But, yes, I am working on it 🙂 You can also find the recipes on my FB page and share them from there as well.

  3. Frank

    I see one of your taco recipes calls for a Lime Mojito Seasoning, but I can’t find the recipe for that. Would you be so kind as to send me your link to it? Thanks so much.

  4. Amanda

    Is this comparable to the *mild* McCormick seasoning, heat wise? My kids love that one, but every homemade mix I’ve tried has been WAY to hot for them.

    I’m hoping this is what I’ve been searching for!

    1. Lauren

      It depends how spicy your chili powder is! If you have a mild one, then its mild! Also double check your paprika to make sure its smoked not spicy!

  5. Arpita Patel

    5 stars
    Made this when my son was home from college and it certainly passed the taste test! I will use this recipe from now on. Very easy to put together with ingredients I had in my cupboard.

  6. Karen

    Bless you, Lauren. I’m making taco soup tonight for my husband’s aunt, who is GF. But guess who didn’t have any GF taco seasoning?

    Thanks for coming in clutch!

  7. Becca

    We use ground chicken to make our tacos. Would you recommend the same 3-1/2 Tablespoons seasoning plus 3/4 cup of water when using the ground chicken? Thank you so much!