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Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning replicates the flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine. Tacos have been in existence since the 16th century. Back then, they were made with beef and soft shells. Soon, other meat varieties started to show up. Then, it became extremely popular in the United States towards the 20th century. This was also the time that hard-shelled tacos were invented. Tex-Mex restaurants, like Taco Bell, started to take off and taco seasoning was introduced.

Taco seasoning provides herbal notes of oregano and cumin with a hint of heat and spice. It’s not only used in seasoning taco meats but also in soups, salads, dips, fries, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables.

Taco Seasoning Trivia

  • National Taco Day is celebrated every October 4.
  • Taco seasoning is home to essential minerals like iron and calcium, and to vitamins A and C as well.
  • Taco seasoning helps prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Taco Seasoning Buying Guide

Taco seasoning is definitely everywhere in the state of Texas from large supermarkets such as H-E-B and Natural Grocers to online shops, farmers’ markets, and nearby marts. The only downside of buying the store-bought ones is the purity of its ingredients that largely affects the flavor of the seasoning; some liquid taco seasonings are watered down and some powdered ones have overpowering flavors. Nevertheless, here are some things to look out for when you opt to buy the store-bought ones:

  1. You can find taco seasoning in the spice aisle section of the store.
  2. Although no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, or low-sodium taco seasonings are healthier, most of them taste bland. 
  3. Check out the ingredients list to see if there are preservatives or other spices involved in the product. You may want to choose a taco seasoning that has its original components which are the following: chilis, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and cumin.
  4. As always, taco seasonings from local food vendors and artisans in farmers’ markets are better than the mass-produced ones. Here, you’ll get close to no preservatives and the ingredients are usually organic. Their products are also made in small batches and you might be able to get free samples along the way. And, don’t forget that our Texas Real Food website is home to all Texan vendors that would love to hear from you.

Taco Seasoning Production & Farming in Texas

Taco seasoning is very popular and widely used in the state of Texas. Old El Paso, a brand of Tex-Mex ingredients provider owned by General Mills, shows that taco seasoning is their best-selling product. The company settled in the state back in 1958 and since then, it has been filling up an entire shelf of Tex-Mex products in stores. Nevertheless, the name “Old El Paso” was created in reference to the city of El Paso in Texas, with the “old” part referring to the period when Texas was still part of Mexico. And although this company produced numerous taco seasonings, McCormick and local artisans also produce the same product.

Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:

Although taco seasoning might be more convenient than blending one at home, it will never be our best choice as most of them contain additives and chemicals for a lower cost yet fast-producing and shelf-stable products. Thus, here are some additives that we found on top brands:

  • Artificial Flavorings – These are usually chemically-formulated products that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. Although they are labeled as such due to its very small quantitative participation, it’s always a better option to stay away from these ingredients. For taco seasoning, some artificial flavorings come in the following names: disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, disodium succinate, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate, TBHQ, and alike. 
  • Natural Flavorings – Likewise, these are additives that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. Some natural flavorings, except for the original flavorings or ingredients in taco seasoning, include the following: demerara, tomato powder, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, cocoa powder, jalapeños, and vegetable oil. 
  • Thickening Agents – Added in the right amount, these thickening agents improve the viscosity of any food without changing its taste. Some natural thickeners include corn starch, potato starch, yellow cornmeal, wheat flour, and other flours.
  • Dextrose and Maltodextrin – It is a type of sugar that acts as an artificial sweetener, food neutralizer, and a preservative. Too much consumption of this ingredient can lead to body fluid build-up and high blood sugar. 
  • Silicon Dioxide – This chemical compound is also known as silica. It is used as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. Although it is safe to consume, it can lead to lung problems when consumed past its RDA. 
  • Extractives – These additives are made with essential oils or condensed flavor essence of different spices. It can be mixed with solvents such as alcohol, or water. They act as a flavor enhancer and it also contributes to a longer shelf-life.


Taco seasoning can be bought in either liquid or powdered form which can be packaged in a variety of ways. Most commercial ones come in plastic containers that weigh between 4 ounces to 24 ounces. Some also come in pouches and single-use packets. 

Enjoying Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning can be enjoyed by sprinkling it on almost everything from the traditional Tex-Mex tacos, burritos, fajitas, and baked beans to soups, and salads. You can also flavor chips or other crispy things like tater tots for that added zing. Plus, it is the seasoning of choice when it comes to meat rubs like beef and seafood, wherein you’ll only need about 1-2 tablespoons per pound. Also, you can add some on boiling water for a more infused taco flavor on meats, vegetables, and rice. Furthermore, you can also eat taco seasoning on its own; however, it is best to consume at least 30 minutes after blending the ingredients.


Taco seasoning should be kept in a sealable and air-tight container. For dried variants, you may use a spice jar with a tight-fitting lid on. The seasoning should then be stored in a cool and dry area far from humid and hot zones like stoves, grills, and ovens to prolong their shelf life. Following these, taco seasoning will maintain its best quality and potency for about 2-3 years. To optimize its longevity, keep the container tightly closed when not in use.

Make your own Taco Seasoning:

Taco seasoning is easy to make at home. It only takes less than 5 minutes to gather your ingredients, measure, and finally blend. Below is a quick recipe that you can make ahead of time for more convenience. We highly suggest you to multiply this recipe according to your needs as this seasoning can be used for a long time.

Yield: 30 teaspoons


  • ¼ cup chili powder 
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper, ground
  • 2 tbsp cumin, ground


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Using a funnel, transfer the mixture in an airtight container or shaker with a lid. Store accordingly. 



  • Serving Size: 2 Teaspoon, (5.7g)
  • Calories: 18
  • Carbs: 3.3g 1%
  • Sugar: 0.6g
  • Fiber: 0.8g 3%
  • Protein: 0.3g
  • Fat: 0.3g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 411mg 17%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Vitamin A 4.3%
  • Calcium 0%
  • Iron 2.3%
  • Potassium 57mg 2%
  • Niacin 0.1mg 1%
  • Folate 1.2mcg
  • Magnesium 6.2mg 2%

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