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Beef, Chicken, Economical, Quick and Easy, Spicy, Vegetarian

The Macheesmo Taco Seasoning

by Nick

Single serving spice packets are the demon spawn of the spice world.  True story.

They are a buck or two a piece and seem like a good deal, but you use them and then you have to buy more!  Plus, they are mostly salt with some cheap flavorings stirred in.

They simply will not do if you some serious flavor to your tacos and Tex-Mex foods.

I dislike them so much that I added them to my list of 10 things that I almost always make at home.

As you might know, my loving wife Betsy is a huge Tex-Mex fan and we eat a lot of tacos, burritos and such.  Over the years I’ve tweaked my seasoning mixture for tacos and I think I’ve finally nailed it down.

This recipe is about as good as it gets in my opinion.  You can put it on chicken, beef, or veggies.  Whatever you do, make it and put it on something!

Yield
About 1/2 cup of seasoning
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Toast the cumin, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they are very fragrant.

2) Grind the toasted spices.

3) Stir together all the spices in a bowl. Store in an airtight bag or container for many months.

Start with 1 1/2 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of chicken, beef, or veggie for tacos. Add the seasoning as the stuff cooks. Adjust according to your liking.

The Spice Gang

This might seem like a lot of spices, but there’s nothing exotic about any of them.  You can find all of these at any grocery store.

Once you have all the spices, you can make a huge batch of this stuff and it will keep for a very long time.

While could cheat a bit and use all ground spices, I really recommend getting some whole cumin seeds and black peppercorns.

Then you can toast them for a few minutes in a dry pan over medium heat which will really bring out their flavors.

A strong cumin flavor is really important to a taco seasoning.  If you use the ground stuff, you might think about adding an extra 1/2 tablespoon to the mix.

toasted

Toast those that can be toasted.

Once your spices are toasted, just grind them up.

Then stir everything together and you’re all set.  Start to finish, this won’t take more than ten minutes to make and it’ll change your Tex-Mex world.

mixed

Ground and mixed!

Using and Storing

Once you have your spice mix made, just store it in a bag or airtight container.  It’ll keep forever really, but will lose it’s potency after a few months.  I’ve never had a problem with mine lasting that long.

When I’m using the seasoning, I start with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of it per pound of beef, chicken, or veggies.  I always add the seasonings as the stuff cooks so the flavors really meld.  You can always add more also, that’s just a starting point.  Beef will probably need a bit more than that since it can hold up to more flavor.

That’s all there is to it!

A Taco Shell Dilemma

Of course, I wanted to make some actual tacos after I mixed up a batch of seasoning, but I completely spaced getting taco shells at the store, so I just tried to make some.

I tried a few different methods, none of which worked.

But then I landed on a perfect one.

It might look kind of ghetto, but this was the contraption I came up with to make homemade taco shells.

device

The Contraption!

Yes.  Those are just cones of aluminum foil set on some wire racks.

Then heat your corn tortillas in the microwave or oven until they are soft and then just drape them over the foil cones!

I like to heat my tortillas in the oven, but just be careful. If you overheat them they will turn into chips and you won’t be able to shape them.  Just a minute or two will do the trick.

tacos

This only took me four tries.

Once the tortillas are draped over the foil things, just bake the whole situation for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The shells will harden and crisp up as they bake.  When they come out, let them cool for a minute or two so you can handle them and then just pop them off the foil things.

They turned out fantastic and were a lot more sturdy than the store-bought taco shells which have a tendency to crack and break.

shells

Perfect!

I stuffed my taco shells with some cheese, seasoned beef, guacamole, chopped spinach, and salsa.

Man were they good.

tacos

Finished product!

The taco shell thing is just a bonus.  This post is really about the seasoning.  Give it a shot and get creative with it.  I’ve used it as a rub for steaks and put it on all kinds of stuff that I use for Tex-Mex goods.

It’s very all-purpose and deserves a spot in your pantry!

How awesome are those taco shells?!

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19 comments on “The Macheesmo Taco Seasoning

  1. Wow, I was just thinking about what a waste buying taco seasoning is (even though we buy the big jugs at Costco, and they really aren’t that expensive….way way way cheaper than single packets, just like buying yeast in bulk!).
    Have any spice recipes for fajitas?!

    Thanks for the post, Nick. :)

    1. Honestly I would use the same stuff for fajitas with maybe a little extra red pepper flake added on top for some large flakes. It’s a great seasoning mix. I use it almost all my burrito/taco situations.

  2. I don’t buy taco seasoning–though I don’t have a spice grinder and just use pre-ground spices–the homemade stuff really is so much better and it’s easier to customize for our own tastes (I make a milder version for my kids–6 & 8 yr olds can’t tolerate as much heat as mom & dad!).

    I am LOVING that taco shell idea! Not only is it a ton cheaper than the ones at the store but they’re lowfat. My husband is on weight watchers and finding healthy ways to incorporate more mexican food into his rotation is always a fun challenge. I’ll be making these this week.

    1. I didn’t really think about that, but they are definitely healthier considering that I think the store-bought ones are fried into form…

  3. Wonderful idea!!!! Now how can we make home-made Ranch dressing spices and herbs? The packages are soooo expensive. Any clues?

  4. I have been making my own taco seasoning for years, but I really love that you toast the spices before grinding. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  5. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Tex-Mex. Your taco shell trick just blew my mind though.

  6. Chili powder? Why are you not making your own chili powder?

    Every brand of chili powder is probably different.

    Isn’t it more of the same spices that are already in this recipe with the addition of oregano?

  7. What a fantastic Blog! My camera is in the shop getting fixed, and so I was googleing for a picture of homeade taco seasoning that I could use for my post, and I’m so glad I did because I found your blog! Your stuff looks fantastic!
    Also, if its okay with you I am going to borrow your picture until I get my camera back, and I have a link at the bottom of my post that will take people to your blog! Thanks for the great posts! Keep it up!

  8. Do you think tin cans could be used rather than tin foil to shape the taco shells ?Not sure if safe or not.

    1. Hmm… not sure on that. I think tin cans might be coated in something and you probably shouldn’t bake them… it might work, but I wouldn’t risk it. Foil is totally safe though.

  9. I’m a little late to the conversation, but I saw you today on A Couple Cooks and followed the link here. Thanks for the spice mix recipe. What popped into my head when I saw your taco contraption was my French bread baking pans, the long, narrow raingutter shaped things with holes in them. Less waste, though the shape might be a bit off. Still, you could flip them when you want to stuff them and they might make useful holders.

  10. I like you, if for no other reason than those shells and the ‘foil things (technical term) on which they form. I *totally* don’t need another food blog to use up all my time on, but I cannot WAIT to make some of your recipes! (I’m looking at you, spicy chicken empanadas!).

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