Homemade Taco Seasoning

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


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


  • 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


{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

petra July 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

What does it mean when it says “1 part”, does that mean 1 tablespoon? I’d like to know how much of each to mix.

Read more: http://www.5dollardinners.com/homemade-taco-seasoning#ixzz1zy3LeEtx


Nicole July 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm

It means however much you want. It’s just used so you can see in relation of how much to use. For example, if you use 1 tablespoon of the first 4, use 1/4 or 1/2 tablesoon of the crushed pepper. Or if you use a cup of the first 4, use 1/4 or 1/2 cup of the last one. This is so you can make a bunch and store it for future use. I usually use 1-2 tablespoons and cook it with my meat, but that’s the beauty of this recipe. You can use as much or little as you want, and if you really like a certain ingredient, you can use more than the recipe calls for.


Mike August 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

To be clear, ‘part’ simply means “an equal portion”. It doesn’t limit your amount of the end product. If a recipe totals ‘five parts’ it means five equal portions. You can make an ounce of product or five pounds, but the portions of ingredients remain the same.


Jenny Schimak July 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Great idea to make a larger amount. I add oregano and a bit of sugar and salt into mine as well. Never thought of making a whole container full. Thanks for the idea. so much cheaper and tastier.


Crystal July 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

how much oregano, sugar and salt do you put in yours?


Danielle July 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

When using this, I am guessing you need to add water to the meat as well. Is there a certain amount of water to a certain amount of seasoning?


Christy July 14, 2012 at 12:19 am

Probably not Danielle, if you want to have the taco seasoning consistency like the packets add a little corn starch or flour and water for the gravy Like texture


Kayliene November 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I add about 1/4 cup of beef stock (or chicken if I am using this with shredded chicken) along with the taco seasoning and just simmer it off. It really helps the flavor get into the meat and adds some extra flavor from the stock as well.


Chrystal@ChrystalsCorner August 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

Stumbled upon this months ago and have been making it ever since!! Had to rave and share with my readers on my recent post about make-ahead mixes (and of course link back to you:)


Laura August 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I made this tonight in place of the taco seasoning that you get at the store. I used 1 tablespoon of Chili powder, Cumin, Garlic powder, Onion powder and 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Turned out excellent and I put in in my tortilla soup recipe. My husband loved it.


Jen August 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

How many tablespoons of the seasoning do you use to equal a pack of taco seasoning?


Stacey August 16, 2012 at 12:35 am

A package of taco seasoning is 1/8 cup! Hope that helps!


Ellen August 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Is there a way to still make this taste good if I am missing cumin? I am trying to make tacos with ground turkey tonight and am not able to go to the store and get some. Thanks!


Lisa August 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Making this for christmas gifts! Love it! Thanks for the idea!


Lindsay August 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I need to make a large amount of taco meat…like 10 lbs. How much taco seasoning should I mix up? Thanks!


Beth Arp September 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

Just read up above that 1/8 cup is in a Taco Mix package. So you can figure it from there. I usually add one pound of meat to one package.


Cristine September 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Do y’all think this would work with brown rice instead of meat? I’ve done the chicken instead of beef thing and it was awesome, but I don’t know about the rice. Thanks.


Amy G September 24, 2012 at 11:25 pm

If you want to cut the cost even more, buy spices from the bulk section if available. I had never really looked into the bulk spices until a few months ago. I don’t remember the exact prices but I think it cost less than a quarter to get enough to refill a regular size spice jar, at least for herbs like oregano. It was very very inexpensive.


Jessica L October 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

When I make this, I also add 1 part paprika. I think I might try it with some sugar and oregano like someone posted above me. I know the very first time I made it, I doctored it up a bit, but I didn’t write down what I did, and I can’t remember. But this is a very good recipe. SO cheap and easy if you have access to bulk spices! And I love the fact that it has no sodium, unless you want to add a little yourself!


Heather October 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Just made up a single batch of this for a taco bake I’m making for dinner. Of course I had to taste test the meat after adding this seasoning and it’s FAB!! Will definitely be using this from here on out (instead of store bought seasoning). It just tastes fresher and more real (if that makes sense) and I’m sure it has way less sodium so even better!!!


Peeve October 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Don’t add water when you cook it – add salsa! (and maybe a little water…) Brown the meat, strain, add meat back to the pan with spices, salsa and small amount of water. Quite worrying about amounts and just wing it! Adjust to taste – it’s fun to experiment. Try adding some chipotle to the mix as well.


Genevieve Fontana May 7, 2013 at 2:34 am

When I make my taco meat, I always add the Taco Bell Hot Sauce from the jar and just a little bit of water after I brown my meat. i also add chopped/minced onion a dash of pepper and a dash of salt to the meat when I am browning it.


Dustin November 16, 2012 at 4:25 am

For my tacos, I add one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce per pound and a touch of water. The sauce really helps bring out the full flavor of the seasoning by adding to the robustness of it. And if you want a bit of added zing or zest, then use Rotel chili sauce. It really does a taco well…


Krista December 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thank you! Store bought taco seasoning has gluten and I have to be gluten free. I can’t wait to use this and actually have tacos again. (with GF tortillas, of course)


Lauren January 4, 2013 at 8:33 am

Do you have a mixture for chili seasoning yet? I always use he McCormick packets but they contain so much sodium. I’d love to see what you come up with!


Kim January 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I always use chili powder, onions or onion powder, and cumin. A little bit or Worcestershire sauce or steak sauce gives it a little more depth. I never measure when I’m cooking, I always do a little taste to make sure it’s got enough seasoning.


Holly January 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I’ve been using a tweaked version of this recipe for months now, and it has to be one of the best things I’ve discovered on Pinterest! Instead of just garlic powder, I use 2/3 part garlic powder and 1/3 part garlic salt. I’ve also left out the red pepper, because I just don’t keep that on hand, and it still tastes great. Of course, I have a “wimpy” palate, so less spicy is better for me. I have considered experimenting with other spices to get some variety, and some of the suggestions above are intriguing. To paraphrase someone else who commented, don’t be too strict with measurements – try new things – cooking should be fun!


Beverly Anderson February 21, 2013 at 11:13 am

Do you have a recipe for a vegetable dip, such as KNORR’s It has barley in it from the yeast extract. I wanted to make a spinach-artichoke dip and the recipe calls for a package of the knorrs veg mix. Thanks for your help,


melanie stamper March 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

This make a good taco seasoning, but it is not a “natural” seasoning. You still have to buy the ingredients at the store, and they are pre-packaged. Was just wondering what the difference is? Are there no preservatives in the bottled spices that come from the grocery store?


Marjorie Foster May 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

great ideas


marcy shattuck June 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm



GB July 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Melanie – I’m not sure I understand your question. If you look at the ingredients on a packet of taco seasoning you’ll see a lot of salt and other things like MSG – this homemade version is just spices which is why it’s “natural”. Yes you have to buy spices at the store and yes they’re packaged in a jar or bag but how else would you get spices? Personally I’m not a big fan of garlic powder or dried onion so I’d add these fresh when I’m making tacos – having all my other spices premixed will save time and hassle (as well as any temptation just to buy a packet of mix at the store).


Thiona August 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I was wondering what red pepper was. I live in Australia and have not been able to find it. Is it the same as cayenne pepper or paprika? Thank you.


June August 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Yes Thiona. Cayenne pepper.


Corinna October 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm

When making the homemade taco seasoning will it make a difference if you don’t add the garlic powder?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Shouldn’t make too much of a difference Corinna.



Cindy Goodwin January 5, 2014 at 12:47 am

Thank you for this great recipe! I have a resolution this year “If I can buy it I can make it” I don’t like the store bought mixes because they have far too much salt, sugar, and fillers. I found your site via Pinterest!


NM November 10, 2014 at 1:01 am

Is it supposed to be Chili Powder or Chile powder? These look like most of the ingredients that are already in Chili Powder, so I was slightly confused.


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