Thursday, March 14, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Raise your hand if you grew up on taco spice that came from a packet! Yeah… me too. Don’t get me wrong, I think it tastes pretty darned good, but that was before I started reading ingredient labels. Now I can’t bring myself to use it except in emergencies (aka I didn’t plan well) because of all of the salt and unpronounceable nonsense that’s engineered to stay tasty 1 million years post-apocalypse.

After trying a few recipes from Pinterest and the blogosphere, I was disappointed to continually find out they all tasted like I had shoved spoonfuls of paprika, cardboard or dirt into my mouth. I kid you not, I probably tried 4 or 5 different homemade potions, all of which sounded good on paper, but didn’t work out so well when applied to real life. Prior to succumbing to frustration with having to go back to the grocery store for yet another bottle of chili pepper spice, and refusing to order it in a 2 pound bag, I gave my kitchen boyfriend's recipe a shot.
Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t just start with his recipe. It was bomb diggity awesome. Alton, you never cease to impress me! I added just a few things to balance out the paprika, since I am not a huge fan of its overwhelming taste, but his base recipe is very good by itself. You all know me though, I can't leave well enough alone and it just simply isn't in my genetic makeup to cook without altering a recipe.
I made a double batch of the recipe below and keep it in a jar in the pantry. Since I’ve found my Holy Grail for this seasoning, I’ve made taco flavored dishes no less than 3 times in the last couple of weeks. It works pretty well with ground chicken too, and might even work well with extra firm tofu if you’re adventurous enough to try out a meatless version.

Stay tuned over the next couple of days, because since Travis is still gone on his deployment, I have lots of leftovers with which to get creative! 

Homemade Taco Spice

Adapted from Alton Brown

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried chives, minced

3 tablespoons shallot or onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

Tortillas, lettuce, cheese, diced tomato, diced avocado, for serving

Combine all dry spices in a jar, seal and shake to combine. Store in pantry up to 3 months. 

To make tacos, saute shallot or onion in a skillet for 3 minutes. Add ground beef and brown, cooking until there is no more pink left in the meat. Drain fat, add 2-3 tablespoons spice and 1/3 cup water. Stir together and simmer on low until slightly thickened. Add cilantro and stir through. If mixture seems a little dry for your taste, add a splash more water until the consistency is to your liking. Serve with taco fixin's of your choice.


  1. I'm always in search of more flavour without the predominant flavour of salt - this looks like a perfect option!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Erin! I, too, look for recipes with less salt these days. I hope you get to give it a try soon!


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