Put tacos on the menu tonight with our no-fuss, no-fillers, ready-in-5-minutes taco seasoning. By making your own taco seasoning, you can control the spice and sodium levels and cut out all the stuff you don’t want. This healthy recipe is free from added sugars and starches, making it a DIY paleo-friendly and Whole30 taco seasoning.
This post was originally published on January 25, 2017. Updated on March 2, 2021.
Why make your own taco seasoning?
We’re pretty sure that once you start making your own taco seasoning at home and you taste how delicious it is, you’ll never go back to the purchased packets. By mixing up your own taco seasoning, you can ensure your tacos are seasoned to perfection and don’t include any of the yucky additions or fillers that store-bought taco seasoning contains, such as added sugars, gums, preservatives, and starches.
Our DIY taco seasoning is mild yet super flavorful. If you like Mexican spices but don’t love the heat, you’ll appreciate this mild taco seasoning recipe. If you are a spice lover, you can easily up the heat level by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or ground ancho chili powder to the mix.
Ingredients to make homemade taco seasoning plus substitutions
For this taco seasoning recipe, you’ll need basic spices that you may already have on hand.
- chili powder – this gives taco seasoning it’s iconic peppery flavor
- ground cumin – or use ground coriander
- garlic powder – you could substitute granulated garlic
- onion powder – don’t use onion salt as it will increase the sodium, but you could substitute granulated onion
- dried oregano – oregano is recommended, but you could use dried basil instead
- paprika – or use smoked paprika for a more toasty flavor
- sea salt – omit this for a paleo taco seasoning
- cayenne pepper – or use ancho chili pepper or omit this to make a mild taco seasoning
Can tacos be healthy?
Since tacos are typically made by stuffing protein and vegetables into a crunchy grain or veggie shell, they are an inherently healthy and balanced meal that includes a variety of food groups and nutrients. We love tacos for this reason, and also because tacos are a highly customized meal where everyone can make their own, which makes tacos a perfect party food when you have some guests who eat gluten-free, others who are plant-based or vegan, some who are following Whole30 or paleo, and others who are just a bit picky.
Set out a variety of shells, such as flour tortillas, corn tortillas, grain-free taco shells, and lettuce leaves (use Bibb, Boston or romaine lettuce leaves). Put out bowls of beef, chicken, and/or beans seasoned with this delicious taco seasoning (below). To provide a Whole30 protein, brown some grass-fed and grass-finished ground beef and seasoning with this Whole30 approved taco seasoning recipe. For healthy taco toppings, set out some shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced radishes, salsa, roasted corn, sliced jalapenos, shredded cheese or vegan nacho cheese, and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. And never forget the best homemade guacamole.
Nutrition in homemade taco seasoning
Ground spices, like those in this recipe, provide some key health benefits. Ground chili, paprika, and cayenne pepper contain a plant compound called capsaicin, which has been studied and revered for it’s ability to increase fat burning in men and women, and reduce appetite and calorie intake. Other dried spices like garlic powder and dried oregano have been linked to lowered inflammation and increased heart health in studies.
How this taco seasoning fits into your Whole30 diet
When you do the Whole30 diet, one of the first things you’ll discover is that well seasoned food makes everything better. It can be hard to find purchased sauces and seasonings that don’t contain added sugars, starches, grains, dairy, and processed flavor-builders like carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites. But with this homemade taco seasoning recipe, you use just simple everyday whole spices in a combination that provides perfect flavor for tacos and many other dishes.
Not only does this recipe fit Whole30, but since it doesn’t contain any added sugar, is very low in added salt, and doesn’t include any artificial sweeteners or ingredients, then it is also a dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo taco seasoning. And if you wanted to eliminate the salt altogether for a strict paleo diet, you could just leave it out.
Other ways to use this taco seasoning
This seasoning is a perfect replacement for store-bought taco seasoning on ground beef or ground bison. And we also love it to season cooked beans, the chicken or steak for fajitas, or as a seasoning rub for grilled shrimp, steak, chicken, or veggie kabobs.
Give our homemade taco seasoning a try in these delicious recipes.
Cooking tips for this taco seasoning recipe
This homemade taco seasoning makes enough to season three pounds of cooked meat. You’ll need just 1 1/2 tablespoons of the seasoning to season each pound of cooked meat. Add the taco seasoning to the ground beef (or chicken, shrimp, steak, or beans) after it is cooked through along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and then mix until the meat is nicely coated. We bet you can’t help but snag a bite at this point. That’s why it pays off to be the cook!
Keep a jar of this simple cleaned-up taco seasoning in your spice cupboard and reap the tasty benefits come Taco Tuesday (or any night of the week).
- In a small jar with a lid, place all ingredients, cover jar, and shake to combine. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
To prepare taco meat:
- To a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown 1 pound of ground beef or other ground meat, using a spatula to break up the meat as it cooks.
- When the meat is cooked through, sprinkle 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning over meat. Add 2-3 tablespoons water and stir to combine, adding more water as needed.
- For saucier taco meat, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste to meat mixture and stir.
- Serving Size: roughly 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning
- Calories: 7
- Sugar: 0
- Sodium: 235
- Fat: 0
- Saturated Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 1
- Fiber: 1
- Protein: 0
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