Until a few years ago, I never knew that I could make tacos without those (expensive) little seasoning packets that you buy in the Mexican foods section of the grocery store. I am here to tell you that you can! And, they are tasty! This taco seasoning blend is an easy and inexpensive substitute.
Using your own sea salt allows for a much healthier sodium intake. You can also customize your level of spice by increasing the amount of cayenne pepper or using hotter chili powder. My favorite part, though, is that I can omit the garlic powder. Garlic and I don’t have a very amicable relationship. I am well aware of its beneficial properties, but, let’s just say, I avoid garlic at all costs (that is, if I want my Farmer to enjoy being within 25 feet of me!)
I purchase my spices in bulk (usually from Azure Standard) or Sam’s club. I have found Azure’s spices to be very fresh (not all onion powder is created equal!) and very reasonably priced. You can also tend to find cheaper spices to include this blend in the Mexican food sections of the grocery store. Many of these spices are the basic ones that I would recommend to keep in stock, but you may not use that much coriander. Coriander lends a light note of freshness to the heavier tones of the other spices. It is, after all, the seed of the cilantro plant — one of my favorite fresh herbs. (Now that I mention it, why don’t you head my way and I’ll send you home with a jar full of coriander — I accidentally made a double order of a large quantity and I now have enough to supply every home in the southeast!)
You can leave the seasoning in the jar after you mix it, but unless you use it within a week or two it is likely to clump and will be difficult to measure. You can freeze it to help with the clumping (but I much prefer to use my valuable freezer space for meat or baked goods that I can’t keep at room temperature.) Another solution is to make your own “packet” by portioning the mixture into ziplock bags (3 T. per bag or double that amount if you tend to make more meat at one time.) You could also get really fancy and measure portions into squares of parchment paper and fold it into an envelope of sorts (I’ll go do just that just as soon as I finish alphabetizing my spice cabinet 🙂
- ½ cup mild chili powder
- ¼ cup onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons cumin powder
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander - optional
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper – optional (increase to add heat, omit for a mild heat)
- 1 T garlic powder – optional
- Add all ingredients to a pint jar; cover and shake the jar! To store for longer than 1-2 weeks, portion the seasoning blend into small ziplock bags – 3 tablespoons will season 1 lb. of meat. Store the bags inside of a glass jar to prevent moisture accumulation as well as flavor transfer to other foods.
- Simple taco meat recipe: Brown 1 lb. ground beef with a diced medium onion (about 1 cup); drain excess fat, and add 3 T. taco seasoning blend. Stir seasoning into meat and continue to cook for 1 minute to "bloom" the spices. Add ¼-1/2 cup water and simmer for at least 10 minutes on low to allow flavors to meld. (Optional: add 1 tsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch along with seasoning blend to allow the spices to "cling" to the meat.)
Stay tuned for a mouth-watering taco beef recipe and more savory dishes featuring this seasoning blend!