Dreaming Big Living Small

Homemade Taco Seasoning

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Over the years we have continued to move towards a healthier lifestyle. One of the main ways we have done this was to start eating cleaner foods. By making homecooked meals, they contain fewer junk fillers and use ingredients that we purchase of higher quality. We often buy organic foods, such as fruits and spices.

A recipe that my kids love eating regularly is taco salad. But Skyler and I deal with Crohn’s disease, and this makes overly spicy or greasy foods very hard on us. To help alleviate this issue we started putting together our recipe for taco seasoning.

We wanted a recipe that was easy to make on the fly and something we could adjust the spice levels depending on our mood. Other recipes we tried in the past wanted huge quantities of ingredients, allowing for storage.

While you can make our recipe larger, I like to keep the number of pre-made spices to a minimum and make exactly what I want when I need it. This keeps the spices fresher, rather than sitting in a jar or clumping up as there are no anti-caking agents.

It consists of 8 simple ingredients that most households will have on the shelf.

Taco Seasoning Ingredients
  • Garlic Powder – This is a staple in our house, and we always have lots on hand.
  • Onion Powder – Each of our kids at one time or another has hated onions and would pick them out, so we tend to use lots of onion powder in recipes. This is an easy way to hide onion in a dish.
  • Chili Powder – A core to most store-bought taco seasonings, and easy to increase or lessen to adjust spice levels.
  • Cilantro – Dried cilantro works great here, but don’t be afraid to substitute fresh chopped cilantro when it’s in season.
  • Cumin – Another core flavor in Mexican dishes, and key in this taco seasoning.
  • Sea salt – I prefer to avoid iodized salts. I would rather treat a condition rather than blanket assume and add.
  • Paprika – You can use smoked or regular paprika. We prefer regular, as it is not as hot.
  • Black Pepper – The black pepper in this recipe just adds another dimension to the recipe.

Just like a seasoning packet that you buy at the store, you can mix this recipe with water to help it go evenly into your meat. Or treat the combined spices just like a dry packet in any dish, such as soups and casseroles.

I also like to make a version of this with less chili powder and more cumin for using with chicken instead.

Making taco meat

A single batch of spices is enough for around 1lb of ground beef.

Start by browning and crumbling the ground beef in a 10” skillet. We use our Lodge cast iron skillet to avoid non-stick chemicals. You can throw in diced onion if desired while the ground beef is cooking. Once the meat is cooked, drain any excess grease, and wipe out your skillet. Return meat to skillet.

Combine spices in 1 cup Pyrex measure and mix with a spoon. Add around ½ cup to 1 cup of water and combine. Add mixture to skillet and cook on medium heat until most of the moisture has simmered off.

I use water so that each piece of meat is nicely coated and flavored. You can sprinkle the spices over the meat as an alternative, but I don’t think it works as well. Serve hot with any dish calling for taco meat. We like to sprinkle the meat over chips on a plate and then cover it with cheese and other goodies.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder

  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder

  • ½ tsp Onion Powder

  • 1 tsp Cilantro, dried

  • ¼ tsp Paprika

  • 1 tsp Cumin

  • ½ tsp Sea Salt

  • ½ tsp Pepper

  • ½ – 1 cup Water


  • Combine all spices in a small mixing bowl or pyrex measuring cup.
  • Add water to the spice mix and stir well.
  • Add to meat and simmer until water has evaporated.


  • Can be used as a taco seasoning packet in any recipe that calls for one.

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Picture of Alex
Husband to Ashley & father to our four children. I love hiking, camping, and working on small hobby projects. I also spend my days running our web design business.

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