This homemade taco seasoning is a healthy substitute for store-bought taco seasoning packets – made with a simple blend of herbs and spices and no added sugar or MSG.
It’s so easy to grab the packet. You’re grocery shopping in a rush – you grab some meat, tortillas and taco seasoning and dinner is solved – right?
But have you ever actually looked at the ingredients in one of those taco seasoning packets? You might assume that it was simply a blend of herbs and spices but sadly you would be wrong.
Why Make Homemade Taco Seasoning?
Let’s take a look at the ingredient lists for a couple of popular taco seasoning packets:
Ortega: Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Caramel Color (sulfites)
Taco Bell: Spices, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Dehydrated Onions, Salt, Garlic Powder, Autolyzed Yeast, Monosodium Glutamate, Onion Powder, Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Paprika, Natural Flavoring.
Everything you see in red is not an herb or a spice. There are a lot of thickening agents (not sure why this is necessary), sugar (why do they always add sugar?!!), flavor enhancers like MSG or autolyzed yeast which is a substitute for MSG (so unnecessary), anticaking agents, artificial color (aren’t spices colorful already?) and natural flavoring (because spices alone aren’t enough?).
Hmmmmm…..maybe you don’t want that packet after all.
The good news is – it is possible to make delicious taco seasoning out of only herbs and spices!
I think you’ll find that homemade seasoning blends are a great addition to your healthy pantry – because as you know, a well-stocked pantry is key to making healthy meals on the fly. Plus when you know you have homemade taco seasoning on hand, you won’t be tempted to buy the nasty packet!
BTW – this taco seasoning is good for much more than tacos – I should probably call it Smoky Multipurpose Seasoning – but that doesn’t sound so good. You can use this seasoning blend for a batch of chili or fajitas, sprinkled on grilled vegetables or an egg dish, a seasoning for soup….or whenever a little bit of smoky spice makes sense.
Where to Buy Spices
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To make a tasty taco seasoning you’ll want to start with good quality spices. Here are some of my favorite sources for spices:
- Simply Organic
- The bulk section at your local co-op
- Thrive Market
- The Real Pantry (if you’re not up for making your own taco seasoning blend, they have a great organic one without any of the yucky stuff!)
Smoky Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
Homemade taco seasoning is so easy to make – there’s really no reason not to!
The key ingredient in my Smoky Taco Seasoning is smoked paprika. You can use regular paprika if you prefer but personally, I love the smoky flavor!
Measure out the spices (see recipe below) and add everything to a small bowl. Mix until well blended.
Store your taco seasoning in a sealed glass jar to keep it fresh. (these Weck tulip jars are my favorite!)
Use about 3 tablespoons seasoning and 1/2 cup water per 1 pound of meat (about the same amount that is in a store-bought packet).
Once you try this smoky taco seasoning, the packet will be history!
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 3 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregeno
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Store in a sealed glass jar to maintain freshness.
- Use 3 tablespoons seasoning + ½ cup water per pound of meat.
- Makes slightly more than ½ cup of taco seasoning
What’s your go-to seasoning blend for a healthy meal?