Homemade Taco Seasoning


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So I’m into homemade.

Homemade Taco Seasoning, specifically.

Mostly because it’s better for you. You have control of what goes into your meals and your body. You decide how it will ultimately taste by adding a little of this or that to the meal.

But also because it’s cheaper. MUCH cheaper.

Take taco seasoning for example.  One of the little packets from the store costs are $1, maybe $.50 when on sale. It’s about 2 Tablespoons worth of taco seasoning…about enough for 1-2 pounds of meat or chicken.

I recently purchased spice bottles for $1.38 each.  (Similar spices are also on sale at CVS for $.88 every now and again.)  So I made up what will probably be enough taco seasoning for the entire year for somewhere between $5 and $6!

Now…to use this homemade taco seasoning…

Our Favorite Taco Seasoning Recipes

So here’s my “ratio recipe”…

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Homemade Taco Seasoning

Yield – varies

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 0 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part ground cumin
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 part crushed red pepper

Directions

  • Mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container. I store mine in the freezer!
  • Use sparingly. Or liberally!

Other Homemade Spice Mixes

Enjoy!

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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer @ Saving and Giving July 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

THANK YOU! The store bought seasonings often have ingredients in them that we can’t eat. I was looking for a taco seasoning for a pasta recipe I want to try, and I knew that your site would be the place for me to find it!

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carrie June 20, 2012 at 2:20 am

this is silly but we’ve put all sorts of software on this computer to keep illicit pics and words off the screens for our 4 kids and I can’t read the second ingredient! could you type it out for me, one letter at a time, p l e a s e ?!?!? and thanks!

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Lynnae June 20, 2012 at 9:09 am

c u m i n

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nadia June 28, 2012 at 2:09 am

lol too funny! you’re a good mom!

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Jen July 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I laugh because the same thing happened to me. It’s worse when your own site is censored :/

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Nicole September 18, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I couldn’t find an empty spice bottle at Wal-Mart (the only store around me), but as I was combining spices I used up all of the spices in one of those bottles and decided instead of throwing it in the trash can, it now would be my taco seasoning bottle. I’m not a very thrifty person, but I’m trying to improve and was proud of myself for this little simple thing and it saved me some money. :-)

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Jennifer December 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Even though it’s been a while since you posted this I just read it. That is sucha good idea and really I wouldn’t have thought of something so simple (I guess I make things harder on myself that I have to) Thank you for posting and I hope you are doing well with improving your thriftyness :)

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Leah September 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I love that it has no salt/sodium!

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Nichol September 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Thank you so much for this. I used to buy store bought seasoning here and there and the other day when I read the ingredients I put it back! I’ve been on a gluten free diet for 4 months now and was shocked to see wheat in the ingredients along with who knows what else. This is amazing. Can’t wait to try it!

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Starr Olinger September 20, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Love the recipe, going to try it out next week! We use taco seasoning several times a week so this will help save some money. I wanted to suggest using a paremsan cheese container for your seasoning shaker. I use our empties for all sorts of things…..seasonings, cleaning powders, etc…

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Patsy March 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I wanted to note: a Parmesan cheese lid will also fit on a mason jar!

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Marsha June 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I saw on pinterest to save the small creamer bottles with the flip tops for seasonings and such. You can take the labels off the one brand and the bottle is clear.

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Maggie October 14, 2010 at 10:13 am

I was reading your “shipwreck” recipe today and saw the link for taco seasoning. What a great concept!
Just the other day I was thinking there’s got to be a way to make this (seasoning) at home.
Can’t wait to try it.
What would you think is the amount to use to 1-2 # ground meat? In other words, how much do you think is in a package that you buy?
Thanks so much!

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Kristi April 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

There’s about 3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons of mix in the store-bought taco seasoning packages.

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Momarchy November 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I’ve actually never tried Taco Seasoning on any of our meals but what an aroma that came from this spice combination, WOW! It was especially yummy on that Chicken, Black Bean w/Salsa Soup.

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Johna Miller November 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

I mixed the spices up before work and left them in a bowl on the counter for my husband to make tacos and we both loved them. These are all spices I normally have on hand, so I was excited to use something I already had. The tacos were great!! I love reading your blog.

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Alison February 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I can’t wait to try these. Do you find that it makes a drier meat mixture? My husband likes the tacos a little moist so I was wondering if I needed to add taco sauce or salsa to the meat. I can’t wait to find lots of fun recipes to go with this seasoning. I am going to look for the spices in my cabinet right now :)

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Amber M May 1, 2011 at 8:31 pm

hey, my family loves moist and soggy tacos, not sure why but they just do, what I do to make the boys happy is add about 1/2 can of tomato paste to 1-2 lbs of meat and then the seasoning and a bit of water tell you get a pasta sauce consistency and then mix it with the meat and cook it a few more minuets. It really brings out the flavors of the spices and you dont have to add any salsa or anything as you have all the flavors in the meat mixture. Hope this helps.

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Alison P May 16, 2011 at 10:46 am

I blended up a jar of salsa and threw it in. They were a hit! I used tomato paste and made sloppy joes with them on yummy leftover rolls that had garlic on top for spagetti the night before. I just ran out of my first jar so I am going to make more today which is why I was back on the site to get the recipe :)

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Karen October 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm

The packets say to add water to the meat and spices… I think I’ve seen anywhere from 1/4 – 2/3 cup suggested… as with most recipes (not all) I take the “instructions” to be “suggestions”! If you like it moister, add some liquid! Be creative… try water, juice, catsup, salsa, whatever your group likes! Maybe a shot of beer if you like that kind of thing… It’s YOUR kitchen… YOU make the rules!!! Some of my greatest creations happen when I’m out of a specified ingredient and have to “improvise”! Happy Creating!!!

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brian October 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

i usually use the larger containers of taco seasoning that they have at (for example) Costco. That container says to use 1/4 C of seasoning per pound of meat. That fits with the 4T estimate someone else had. For moisture, i usually use 8oz of tomato sauce per pound.

Will be trying this in my next batch… I’ve been looking for a homemade mix for a long time, but most of them don’t taste right.

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Carrie February 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

I have a taco seasoning recipe that I have used for years. I like it as it has cornstarch in it and makes a sauce which keeps the meat from getting dry. It is 2 Tbsp chili powder, 5 tsp paprika, 4-1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1-1/2 Tbsp dried minced onion, 2-1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. Use 7 teaspoons per pound of ground beef, poultry, seafood or vegetables. Enjoy!

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Patty Lady April 14, 2011 at 10:07 am

This is a couple of months later, Maggie, but if you haven’t found out yet…the pre-mixed packages say they contain 6 servings with a serving being 2 tsp. So each package has 12 tsp. or, if I have this right, 4 tablespoons in it. I usually use one package to a pound of meat. I am going to try making my own also, as for several years I have found I no longer really LIKE the pre-made taco seasonings. I had some “amish made” (home made) at my nieces house recently and loved it! :) Hope this helps.

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Bjorn April 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

For years we have also used a home-made taco seasoning – from Betty Crocker’s cookbook under the Taco Salad recipe. We and the kids like it, but I am going to try your recipe. Carrie, I also want to try yours as I like my tacos a little more moist as well.
Thank you both.

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Karen Hiebert April 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm

does it taste as good as the stuff in the package? I love the taco salad you have, its my favorite lunch time munchies!

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Karen Hiebert April 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

for the part, can you give a little more specifics? I don’t want to do it. I think my old garlic powder is almost gone….hrmmmm….

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Ali April 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I use this recipe for the taco seasoning, but I also add about a tsp of mexican oregano and instead of onion powder I use dried chopped or minced onion. Grind it up into a fine powder the copped onion add a more intense flavor. This is awesome on roasted potatoes and pit in rice to spice up bland sides with a little kick.

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Karen April 15, 2011 at 7:40 am

@Karen H – “part” can be whatever measure you want, as long as you’re consistent. 1 “part” can be 1 teaspoon if you’re just trying this recipe for the first time and don’t want to make much in case you don’t like it, or 1 “part” can be 1 cup if you know you love this recipe and want to make it in super bulk. Doesn’t matter, just choose a measure and stick with it. :)

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NicP July 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

I had a recipe once upon a time that wasn’t anywhere CLOSE to this and had so many ingredients, it ended up far more expensive than store-bought (especially the warehouse-sized container). HOWEVER I have all the stuff listed already and I’m excited to try it out VERY soon! Thanks so much :)

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Tara July 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

This spice mix is great, I sprinkle a little (hubby uses A LOT) on burgers and chicken before grilling. Also good for blackened fish.

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Kay Kelly September 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

This sounds like a wonderful mix to keep on hand. I use taco seasoning in my tamale pie. I make a basic chili recipe without beans and this mix would give it just the right kick. Then I layer sauce and leftover (or fresh) taco shells (this is a good place for Old El Paso shells) – break the shells and layer like lasagna – another layer of sauce topped with grated cheddar cheese then more shells and sauce. Top with a thin layer of cheddar cheese – bake at 350 for about 30 min. I top it with my own sauce – can of tomato sauce (any brand), about 2 tsp chili powder (this taco seasoning would work very well) and about 5 drops of hot sauce (Tabasco). Enjoy!

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Charlotte Ferreux October 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

I love this recipe and blog…I posted it on my community foodie blog. Hope you can come check it out http://www.facebook.com/thefrenchiefoodie

Also, feel free to post you’re recipes or you’re favourite foodie tips on it whenever you like!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

Thanks Charlotte!

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MarfMom October 12, 2011 at 2:23 am

Can’t wait to try it! How spicy is it though? Do you have any mild taco seasoning recipes?

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Glenda October 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

The crushed red pepper is what’s going to give this spice mix most of its ‘bang’ (the chili powder will add a little but not too much) so you could always reduce or leave that ingredient out. You can try what ever you are cooking and if it needs a little more spice heat then add some red pepper. Just remember that a little red pepper goes a long way and if you are planning to make enough to have leftovers, the flavors will intensify. If you are really heat sensitive you probably want to add less than an 1/8 teaspoon for an entire dish. Remember, you can always add but you can’t take away.

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Nichole November 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

What a great idea! I’m all about eating healthier and saving money, so thank you for your tips :)

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Jean December 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

I love recipes like this and all the feedback is so helpful! As far as making the taco meat a little wetter, I add a small can of tomato sauce and a tablespoon of vinegar. It kinda gives it that Mexican food flavor. Tacos tonight!

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Lydia January 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Gonna go home and try this tonight!

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Tim Taylor January 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Hello, I love this recipe and have bookmarked it for future use.
I am leaving this comment however to ask you if you have ever made your own spaghetti packet recipe. I am looking for one to replace the Lawry’s thick and hearty packets. I have tried and tried to duplicate the mix but have failed so far. If you have any ideas I would appreciate it. Thanks!

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Cindy February 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Thank you for this recipe!

I was reading through several of the posts, including what people were saying about wanting moist taco meat, and wanted to share that I have added a can of refried beans and a small jar of salsa to my meat and it makes a delicious, moist meat mixture. It also makes the meat go further, which is great when you are feeding hungry teenagers like I am! Hope this helps.

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Vickie February 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I made this today! We love it! Thanks for sharing!

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amanda February 19, 2012 at 12:39 am

I make tacos with a kick, I use minced ground beef, fried with onion, I add water a beef stock cube and 1/4 of the usual amount taco seasoning, thicken with cornflour slurry, then I pile into tacos, add grated cheese and sprinkle the rest of the spices over the top, serve with sour cream or guacamole

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Paula February 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m tired of forking over over a $1 for such a simple packet of seasoning. When I do make taco filling, I add a can of black beans to the pan, after rinsing them. As Cindy mentioned above, it stretches the filling so it’ll make a few more tacos. We also use iceberg lettuce leaves for our shells (a la PF Chang’s). Simply divine.

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Gina February 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I love making homemade taco seasoning because a lot of the pkgd ones have milk/dairy ingredients that my kids are allergic to. One thing to consider adding-a little bit of corn starch mixed w/ cold water-it makes it more like the taco seasoning packets. Thanks for all the great do it yourself recipes!

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Celia March 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

I’ve been wanting to figure out how to make this on my own for a while. Thanks for saving me the trouble of experimenting!

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Kathy March 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Read spice labels carefully. Some chili powder contains sodium; some does not.

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Jennifer March 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I made this last night and we were rather disappointed. The mix smelled fantastic, but was lacking in taste. It was bland, even after I added additional garlic & onion powder. It seemed to be missing something.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom March 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Hey Jennifer,

The recipe doesn’t have any salt in it…so that might be it. I usually add salt to whatever it is I’m cooking when I use this mix.

Erin

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Holly April 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

An empty grated Parmesan cheese container works great to store a large amount of taco seasoning spices. That way you can sprinkle it on or spoon it out. Store in a cool, dry place.

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Corie April 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm

There is a sodium free taco seasoning mix. Mrs. Dash’s spices has one called Fiesta Lime. I always add this to mexican foods to spice it up!

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Bernie April 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Especially good with New Mexico red chili powder. Gives it a nice kick, and distinctly different flavor that regular chili powder.

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Jenn April 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

I cannot wait for 4 more days when I can get into town, already have all the stuff on my list except cumin as I bought some last week…. before finding THIS recipe :P. I try to make tacos once a week but it is more like once a month because I never remember to pick up the stupid taco seasoning, no more worries here!!!! LOVIN being able to make my own… soon :)

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Sherri April 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I was so excited and made this Sunday for Taco Salad dinner. I made extra to freeze.
… not sure what I did wrong but it was too HOT . I even went back and added all again but red pepper… still a little spicy. I added it to the browned ground beef and it smelled great. but was too spicy. no one like it. I tried mellowing it, someone said to add tomato paste, i did that. nothing I did worked, it was the wrong spicy taste, and just did not work for me.

I will play with things a bit, and give it another try, because this was just not what we were looking for.

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Sarah Coller April 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I came home and began making taco dip—only to find that I’d forgotten the taco seasoning! Thanks so much for this—I might never buy the mix again!! :)

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JERI GOODING April 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Thanks! Just found your sight and love what I see.

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Cassie April 24, 2012 at 11:16 am

This is quite similar to my own homemade taco seasoning. I’m on a very restricted sodium diet and cannot eat practically any commercial mixes. On the question of cooking up: I always use 2T mix, one can no-salt-added chopped tomatoes, 2T tomato paste (get the kind in a tube so you don’t waste it!), and usually onions as I cook the meat. Thanks for sharing!

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Jenifer June 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Am I an idiot?!? What does it mean when you say “1 Part”?

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Lisa Helm June 19, 2012 at 9:56 am

It means that you can pick any measure you want, but stick with it consistently throughout. For example, if 1 part is 1 Tbsp., then 1/2 part is 1/2 Tbsp. If you make 1 part 1 cup, then 1/2 part is 1/2 cup.

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Carol June 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Thank you so much! Just threw it all in my food processor and can’t wait to make tacos. So easy.

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Grrrmama June 24, 2012 at 11:58 am

I made it an it easy and great. Even the kids can do it. Thank you.

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Tamika June 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Wow! great idea, thank you for sharing! I live in Austria, and often have taco seasoning sent from the states. I need to do this!

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Amber June 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

Thanks for sharing! Another great use for a recycled Parmesan cheese container as well!

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Leesa June 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I finally tried this. The house smelled great. But, the taco meat was still a little bland. How much seasoning do you add to a pound of meat?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom June 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hey Leesa,

I usually add 1 – 1.5 Tbsp for each pound of meat. You should also note that the seasoning has no salt in it at all, so you’ll have to add some to taste.

Erin

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Irene July 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I see where some of you buy parm cheese in the plastic container. Read the ingredients.
Some have fillers, etc. I buy my parm in bigger bags from Sam’s and keep in smaller glass
jar in the frig and the remainder in the freezer. You will notice the great flavor of the “real”
parm cheese.

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Run DMT July 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

I completely agree! Plus, the pre packaged stuff is full of MSG too, which why it’s so full of sodium. I’ve been making my own taco seasoning/chili powder for years and we go through so much of it too. I buy the spices in bulk at a wholesale warehouse like Sams Club because it’s cheaper than buying the little spice bottles in supermarket. Instead of buying storage jars, I recycle my empty spice jars. I relabel them and fill them with the with my own spice mixtures, like chili powder, cajun seasoning, jerk seasoning, etc.

Found you via Pinterest and sharing my chili powder concoction with you. :-)
http://deniseisrundmt.com/2011/05/07/packages-we-dont-need-no-stinkin-packages/

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Run DMT July 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

I completely agree! Plus, the pre packaged stuff is full of MSG too, which why it’s so full of sodium. I’ve been making my own taco seasoning/chili powder for years and we go through so much of it too. I buy the spices in bulk at a wholesale warehouse like Sams Club because it’s cheaper than buying the little spice bottles in supermarket. Instead of buying storage jars, I recycle my empty spice jars. I relabel them and fill them with my own spice mixtures, like chili powder, cajun seasoning, jerk seasoning, etc.

Found you via Pinterest and sharing my chili powder concoction with you. :-)
http://deniseisrundmt.com/2011/05/07/packages-we-dont-need-no-stinkin-packages/

Reply

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