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Prepare homemade tacos tonight using this easy seasoning blend that comes together in just minutes with a handful of pantry staples. With the DIY taco seasoning recipe, you’ll never need another packet of the store-bought stuff again!

Kids hand picking up homemade ground beef tacos.
Table of Contents
  1. What is taco seasoning made of?
  2. Ingredients for Homemade Taco Seasoning for Ground Beef
  3. How to Make Taco Seasoning
  4. What to Serve with Homemade Ground Beef Tacos
  5. Ground Beef Taco Seasoning Preparation and Storage Tips
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
  8. Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Taco night is always popular in our house. While I’m not opposed to those store-bought seasoning packets made by brands like El Paso and McCormick, nothing beats the homemade version! This taco seasoning for ground beef can also be used in a variety of other recipes, including chicken tacos, ground turkey tacos, casseroles, soups, and chili.

What is taco seasoning made of?

An authentic taco seasoning for ground beef typically includes salt, warming spices (such as paprika, oregano, and chili), onion powder, and garlic powder. Packets of store-bought taco seasoning often have thickening agents (like cornstarch and/or flour), sugar, preservatives, anticaking agents, and oils in them as well.

The good news is that when you make your own taco seasoning recipe, you can control exactly what goes into every batch. That means that you can use the highest quality, freshest spices; you can make it as spicy (or mild) as you like; and you can adjust the sodium content to suit you personal taste preferences.

Side shot of a jar of homemade taco seasoning for ground beef.

How much taco seasoning should I use for 1 pound of beef?

This recipe yields about 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning, or enough for 1 lb. of ground meat. You can use it with ground beef, but it also works well with ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, and shrimp.

You can make much larger batches of the seasoning mix if you’d like to keep it on hand in your pantry and measure it out as needed. Alternatively, if you’re cooking two pounds of meat (or more), just double or triple the spices to scale the seasoning to match the quantity of ground beef.

Browning ground beef in a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients for Homemade Taco Seasoning for Ground Beef

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a diy taco seasoning. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chili powder, paprika, and cumin: warm spices that add rich flavor to the meat.
  • Dried oregano: for an earthy note.
  • Onion powder and garlic powder: for savory flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper and ground black pepper: for zesty kick. Add extra cayenne for spicy tacos or omit the cayenne completely for a mild taco seasoning.
  • Salt: enhances the other flavors in the dish.
  • Lean ground beef: to prepare the tacos.
  • Tomato sauce: for simmering the tacos. The sauce adds flavor and moisture to the taco meat, and helps the seasoning cling to the beef. If you’re in a pinch and you don’t have any tomato sauce on hand, you can sub with a thick salsa.
  • Taco shells or tortillas: for serving the taco meat.
Process shot showing how to make ground beef tacos.

How to Make Taco Seasoning

This homemade taco seasoning mix couldn’t be easier! I’ve included the detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Stir together the seasoning blend.
  • Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium high heat, using a wooden spoon to break up the beef as it cooks. Drain off the fat.
  • Stir in the homemade taco seasoning and the tomato sauce.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, adding extra liquid to the pan, as needed, to reach the desired consistency.
Cast iron skillet full of homemade taco meat.

What to Serve with Homemade Ground Beef Tacos

Pair this taco meat recipe with a simple salad, tortilla chips and salsa, guacamole, queso, Mexican rice, refried beans, or corn salad.

Add any of these fresh toppings for the best ground beef tacos:

  • Salsa or chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado, or use the fresh avocados to make this easy homemade guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onions, minced red onion, or quick pickled red onions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced black olives
  • Lime juice squeezed from fresh limes
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Black beans or pinto beans
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Shredded cheese
Overhead shot of a child's hand picking up ground beef tacos made with homemade taco seasoning.

Ground Beef Taco Seasoning Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Store the taco seasoning in a jar or other airtight container for up to 6 months.
  • Cooked ground beef taco meat will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat leftovers in a skillet over low heat until warmed through, about 5-10 minutes, or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • If you’re in a pinch and you don’t have any tomato sauce on hand, you can sub with a thick salsa. Add extra liquid to the skillet (such as water or broth), as needed, to reach the desired consistency.
  • Use red pepper flakes for extra heat, or as a sub for the cayenne.
  • Swap out the ground beef and use the homemade taco seasoning with chicken, ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, shrimp, or other seafood.
  • Adjust the amounts of each seasoning to suit your personal taste preferences. For instance, use more or less salt, use smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika, or make it spicy with extra cayenne.
Overhead image of a platter of homemade ground beef tacos.

Tips for the Best Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

  • Use the cooked homemade taco meat in traditional ground beef tacos with crunchy shells or soft flour tortillas, on taco salad, in taquitos, in enchiladas, on Mexican pizza, in burritos, stuffed in potatoes, in quesadillas, in stuffed pasta shells, on nachos, or in a casserole.
  • Add extra liquid to the skillet, if needed, as the meat simmers with the seasoning to reach your desired consistency. Good options include water, chicken broth, and beef broth.
  • Make a much larger batch of homemade taco seasoning and keep it in your pantry for up to 6 months. Measure out 3 tablespoons of seasoning to use for every 1 pound of ground beef that you prepare.
  • Drain excess grease from the skillet before stirring in the taco seasoning.
  • A squeeze of fresh lime juice or chopped cilantro added at the end gives the dish a fresh, flavorful finishing touch.
Overhead shot of homemade tacos.

More Homemade Seasoning Blends to Try

Square overhead shot of homemade taco seasoning used to make ground beef tacos.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 268 kcal
This easy homemade taco seasoning blend makes the best ground beef tacos!

Ingredients
  

TACO SEASONING FOR 1 POUND OF GROUND BEEF

FOR HOMEMADE TACOS

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • Taco shells or tortillas of choice
  • Toppings of choice, such as: shredded cheese, chopped lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, sliced black olives, lime wedges, sliced jalapenos, fresh cilantro, pickled red onions

Instructions

  • Combine all of the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl or jar. This is enough seasoning for 1 lb. of ground beef. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
    Process shot showing how to make homemade taco seasoning for ground beef.

TO MAKE HOMEMADE TACOS

  • Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. Drain excess grease from the skillet.
    Browning ground beef in a cast iron skillet.
  • Return the meat to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Stir in the seasoning blend and the tomato sauce.
    Process shot showing how to make ground beef tacos.
  • Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water, if necessary, to keep the mixture moist and "saucy." Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
    Cast iron skillet full of homemade taco meat.

Notes

    • Add extra liquid to the skillet, if needed, as the meat simmers with the seasoning to reach your desired consistency. Good options include water, chicken broth, and beef broth.
    • Make a much larger batch of homemade taco seasoning and keep it in your pantry for up to 6 months. Measure out 3 tablespoons of seasoning to use for every 1 pound of ground beef that you prepare.
    • Drain excess grease from the skillet before stirring in the taco seasoning.
    • A squeeze of fresh lime juice or chopped cilantro added at the end gives the dish a fresh, flavorful finishing touch.
    • If you’re in a pinch and you don’t have any tomato sauce on hand, you can sub with a thick salsa. Add extra liquid to the skillet (such as water or broth), as needed, to reach the desired consistency.
      Adjust the amounts of each seasoning to suit your personal taste preferences. For instance, use more or less salt, use smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika, or make it spicy with extra cayenne.
    • Swap out the ground beef and use the homemade taco seasoning with chicken, ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, shrimp, or other seafood.
    • Use red pepper flakes for extra heat, or as a sub for the cayenne.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the cooked taco meatCalories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 22gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 546mgPotassium: 521mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1286IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 4mg
Keyword: ground beef tacos, homemade taco seasoning, homemade tacos, taco seasoning for ground beef, taco seasoning recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Robin says:

    5 stars
    Looking forward to trying your homemade taco seasoning recipe! Can you let me know how much of the seasoning mixture to use in the 1 lb. taco beef recipe? Sorry if I missed it.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Robin! The taco seasoning recipe is designed for exactly 1 lb. of ground beef. If you want to make a larger batch of meat, you’ll need to double (or triple, etc.) the seasoning and other ingredients. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Norma says:

    5 stars
    Made these last night for dinner and they were very good–in fact my husband said they were “excellent!”. They are fast and easy to prepare and full of flavor. Used the cayenne so they had a robust taste which was wonderful, but not enough to be too spicy. Served with a Crema sauce made of sour cream, grated garlic, lime juice and zest and a pinch of salt. Perfect!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Sounds like the perfect meal, Norma. Thank you!