Make this Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning for Less

Those little individual seasoning packets? They’re expensive, plus you generate trash every time you use them. The big bulk bottles at Costco? Less expensive, but plastic. Happily, once you have the ingredients on hand, it takes just a few minutes to make your own homemade mild taco seasoning.

This homemade taco seasoning recipe was originally published in January, 2012; it has been updated.

taco seasoning in a glass jar from above.

Those little packets of taco seasoning were standard fare when I was growing up. There was nothing wrong with the flavor that came out of those packets, but what I didn’t realize then is how crazy expensive they are, comparatively. These days, I buy my spices individually and mix up my own homemade taco seasoning. It’s an easy swap to make!

If you don’t have a place to purchase bulk spices in your ‘hood, check out World Spice Merchants. Their herbs and spices are great quality!

Easy DIY Taco Seasoning

This is a mild taco seasoning, offering plenty of flavor without a lot of heat. If you like things spicy, be sure to add the optional red pepper flakes, and consider increasing the quantity to fire it up.

We use this homemade taco seasoning for ground beef taco meat on a regular basis, but it’s also great with shredded chicken tacos. And we stir it into refried beans to make a spicy bean dip. It really is one of the easiest swaps you can make in your DIY pantry.

Buy your spices in bulk at the natural food store using these mini bags to tote them home – you’ve made some, right?? – and you’ll save on trips to the supermarket, avoid adding to the landfill, and save some cashola.

spices for homemade taco seasoning in a silver bowl

The Handcrafted Pantry

Ready to DIY your pantry with more wholesome ingredients? Check out my ebook, The Handcrafted Pantry! Filled with delicious recipes for some of your favorite condiments, snacks, and toppings, it’s the guide you need to start skipping packaged products and embrace homemade.


Minced onions Dried onion bits will rehydrate in the meat mixture as you cook it down, giving a nice onion flavor.

Chili powder Use a mild chili powder here, as this seasoning gives the rich flavor you want in the taco seasoning. You can heat it up with the addition of optional red pepper flakes.

Salt — Without salt, this spice will taste less like the store-bought version, but those on a low sodium diet can certainly skip this ingredient.

Garlic powder Dried garlic powder provides the pungent flavor of garlic we all love. 

Cumin This is a spice that gets a lot of use in my household. It’s pretty crucial to this recipe, so don’t be tempted to skip it!

Red pepper flakes This is where you can adjust the heat. This is optional, but if you like your tacos spicy, you’ll want to add it.

Cornstarch Another optional ingredient, the cornstarch will help thicken the juices of the cooked meat. If you prefer, you can skip this ingredient and just cook the meat down until the liquid has all evaporated.

Making Taco Seasoning

This is just a measure and shake recipe! Measure ingredients into an airtight jar, twist on the lid, and shake until well combined.

For more DIY seasoning blends, try this homemade curry powder or this homemade cajun seasoning.


How do I use taco seasoning?

I like to use 2-3 tablespoons per pound of meat, and you can use 3/4-1 cup of water with it to make your desired final texture. Brown the beef, drain if necessary, then add the seasoning and water and cook to thicken.

Is this taco seasoning allergy-friendly?

One of the best parts of making your own seasoning blends is that you control the ingredients! So many spices and packets have hidden gluten, but not here. I do add cornstarch, but if you have a corn sensitivity you could also give arrowroot a try.

Why does taco seasoning contain cornstarch?

I’ve had a lot of surprised comments on the fact that I use cornstarch in my taco seasoning recipe. If you check a packet the next time you are at the store, this is very common to see. The purpose is to help the taco meat thicken as it cooks. So you can either leave it out or try using arrowroot starch in place. It all depends on if you like your taco meat a little saucy or not. You can also use less water when you add the seasoning or simply cook longer.


Store at room temperature for up to six months. Make sure you select an airtight jar. You can also purchase desiccant packets or use mylar bags to seal for longer storage.

Did you know you can also make your own red pepper flakes? I’ve also made powdered turmeric.

homemade taco seasoning in a glass jar

★ Did you make this homemade taco seasoning? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

taco seasoning in a glass jar from above.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Skip the preservatives in the packet and make your own homemade taco seasoning mix.
4.37 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Kris Bordessa



  • Measure ingredients into an airtight pint-size storage jar.
    1/2 cup dried minced onions, 1/2 cup chili powder, 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Screw on lid and shake well until combined. 


  • To use: Stir 2-3 tablespoons of taco seasoning into a pound or so of browned ground meat along with 1 cup of water. Simmer until liquid is absorbed.
  • This recipe is gluten free.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 747mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2961IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

20 comments… add one
  • Jay Jan 24, 2021 @ 11:59

    Is the cornstarch just for the purpose of keeping it from clumping?

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 25, 2021 @ 11:50

      It helps thicken the taco meat. You can skip it and just cook the meat down longer if you like!

  • Carol L Nov 30, 2019 @ 18:06

    What is the purpose of the cornstarch?

  • Sariya Aug 24, 2018 @ 7:38

    I love the mix! Making your own seasoning is the right way to control what you eat!

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 21:58

    So easy to make and so good!

  • camiel Apr 2, 2015 @ 10:49

    Thank you for the recipe! I’ve been meaning to look for one! 2 cups of water seems like a lot to me though…

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 6, 2015 @ 7:46

      I like to simmer it for awhile to reduce it. You could certainly use less.

  • Robin Follette Oct 4, 2014 @ 23:37

    Thanks! This is great timing. I’m putting together my bulk spice order. I’ll be mixing up the blends I use and making more to use in Christmas gift baskets.

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2014 @ 7:34

      Great for holiday gifts!

  • Deri Oct 4, 2014 @ 22:20

    Can you give us a recipe for chilli con carne seasoning mix?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2014 @ 7:34

      I’ll have to work on that!

  • Clarice Oct 25, 2013 @ 8:40

    How long does it last?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 27, 2013 @ 11:07

      You mean how long will it store? As long as it’s air tight it’ll last for months.

  • MyKidsEatSquid Jan 25, 2012 @ 17:52

    My mom always made homemade taco seasoning growing up. Now I make batches of enchilada sauce with dried chiles that I then freeze and use those when I make tacos.

  • Alisa Bowman Jan 23, 2012 @ 10:23

    This is awesome. Can you do one for that Goya Saizon seasoning, too? I noticed that these spice packets all tend to have MSG, too, and sometimes trans fats. So it’s awesome to make at home instead.

  • Donna Hull Jan 22, 2012 @ 17:38

    This sounds so easy. I’ll definitely be making my own taco seasoning from now on.

  • Jane Boursaw Jan 22, 2012 @ 14:46

    Makes complete sense, and it’s economical and environmental, to boot.

  • NoPotCooking Jan 22, 2012 @ 13:48

    This is just about how I make mine. No reason to buy a pre-made mix when this is so easy to put together!

  • Living Large Jan 22, 2012 @ 13:14

    Wow, this does look good and easy too! We love tacos at our house. We’ll have to try this!

  • Casey@Good. Food. Stories. Jan 20, 2012 @ 16:59

    Awesome. We make our own seasoning at home too, since my husband is a taco fiend. Once you start whisking it up, you’ll forget you ever depended on those little packets!

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