I’m thinking tacos. Sure one could easily go out and buy a pack of taco seasoning mix… but when you’re craving tacos (and you have spices) you’d be crazy not to make it at home. Homemade taco seasoning is the key to tacos and taco-flavored goodies whenever you want! How awesome is that?
The Spices in Taco Meat
No matter what your preferred ‘meat’ is, the seasonings in that ‘taco flavor’ primarily come from chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Actually those three spices alone sprinkled on potato chips is so delicious.
For chili powder, I like getting a strong Mexican chili powder that is lightly smoked and slightly spicy. This chili powder comes as a deep red color. It makes the taco seasoning a rich red and it also adds a little heat. Name brand spices don’t usually have that kind of flavor. Whenever we travel near Mexico, I always make sure I stock up on the dried chili powder because it’s so much more flavorful than the typical offerings in the grocery store.
My recipe calls for using smoked paprika. This is optional, but I like it because I usually use light meats like turkey or vegetarian meat substitutes like TVP, crumbles, or mushrooms. The paprika adds an additional smokiness that makes the fake meat taste like it’s been grilled. It also add color to give lighter meats like turkey or chicken a slightly more appetizing color when cooked.
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cilantro (or oregano)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
- Mix together and use. Stores dry in an airtight container.
Making Taco Seasoning In A Tiny Kitchen
For tiny kitchens you want to have as much crossover with spices as possible. Because taco seasoning is a combination of very common spices that crossover to different cuisines, I recommend you save the space in your pantry and make this recipe as you need it.
Try to learn the taste of each spice. If you find that the flavor is completely flat, you probably need more chili powder. If you think it’s ‘missing something’ it’s likely to be either cumin or salt. This recipe scales well, but I still suggest you adjust the amounts of each spice as your taste prefers on that day.