This taco seasoning substitute takes only 5 minutes and a handful of spices you likely have on hand. It's naturally mild, family-friendly, and customizable!
The best substitute for taco seasoning
Taco seasoning is an essential ingredient for lovers of Tex Mex cooking, but grocery store packets are pricey and often made with added salt, sugar, and other fillers. So, why not substitute taco seasoning with spices you probably have on hand. It's easier than you think!
This taco seasoning recipe uses chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, onion powder, oregano, and salt. I've also included my super minimalist, 3-spice taco seasoning as a bonus for anyone reading these words.
This mild taco seasoning makes the family-friendly version of taco pasta, burrito bowls, this 30-minute taco bowls recipe, and juicy taco meat recipe. But, you can always kick it up a notch by adding small amounts of cayenne pepper or chipotle powder.
What you’ll need
Ingredient amounts are available in printable recipe card below.
- dried onion powder - also known as ground, dehydrated onion.
- chili powder - Using basic chili powder makes a mild taco seasoning. For a spicy kick, add cayenne or chipotle powder.
- garlic powder - If you only have garlic salt on hand, omit the salt ingredient listed in this recipe.
- cumin - Sold as a powder, or seed – which would need to be grinded into a powder.
- paprika – I recommend sweet or smoked paprika to keep this taco seasoning mild. Use hot paprika if you want it spicier.
- oregano - Adds a slightly bitter, earthy flavor and green color as the perfect compliment to the mild chili powder.
- ground coriander - Not to be confused with cilantro leaves, but from the same plant and adds aromatic, citrus notes to foods.
- sea salt - You can make a salt-free taco seasoning by simply omitting the salt.
How to make homemade taco seasoning
Making your own seasoning is as easy as gathering the ingredients from your pantry. If you've never made it, you'll wonder why you haven't. Here's how:
Combine the ingredients. Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir them together. Alternatively, you can add them straight to a storage container, like a Mason jar, and give it a good shake.
How to store
Store your homemade seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will stay optimally fresh for three months, or longer. I love the look and the size of these jelly jars, but I find it even more cost-effective to use plain canning jars with plastic lids for storing homemade seasonings. Take your pick!
How much taco seasoning is in a packet?
A (1-ounce) packet of store-bought taco seasoning contains about two tablespoons of seasoning. So, when a recipe calls for one packet, you can substitute two tablespoons of your freshly made homemade taco seasoning.
How much taco seasoning per pound of meat?
Use at least two tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning per one pound of meat. Of course, you can add more, as desired.
DIY and save money
This taco seasoning recipe yields one cup, which is equivalent to eight store-bought packets ($1.00 each). So, it truly pays to know how to make taco seasoning from scratch.
The simplest substitute for taco seasoning
I also have a bare minimum three-ingredient taco seasoning. It's made with 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. The yield resembles a taco seasoning packet and you may wish to add salt and pepper, but it makes a great taco seasoning substitute in a pinch!
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- ½ cup Dried Onion Powder
- 3 tablespoons Chili Powder
- 2 tablespoons Paprika
- 2 tablespoons Oregano
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons Coriander
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- In a mixing bowl or jar, combine all ingredients.
- The taco seasoning is ready to use.
- Store in an airtight container up to 3 months.
Traci's Recipe Tips
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.