How To Season Ground Beef For Tacos

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This article is about how to season ground beef for tacos. Everybody loves tacos, and everybody loves steak seasoning, so it makes sense to combine them for the best taco recipe ever The secret to seasoned taco meat is in the details, so follow along as we show you how to season ground beef for tacos using these tips and get more flavor with just a few simple ingredients.

TACO SEASONING

This DIY taco seasoning recipe is quick and easy to whip up, and works great as a seasoning on everything from tacos to veggies, meat, seafood, rice, beans, soups, salads and more.

Getting ready to make a recipe that calls for taco seasoning, but don’t have a jar on hand?

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No worries — just mix up a quick batch of this homemade taco seasoning! ♡

All you need is a handful of spices that you likely already have in your pantry. Simply whisk them all together, store in a sealed spice jar, and use whenever you are ready!

This homemade taco seasoning is — of course — fantastic when used to season the meat, seafood, veggies or beans in your favorite taco recipe. But don’t forget that it can also be used a million other ways as well! I’m especially partial to using taco seasoning to flavor Mexican rice or a side of black beans. It works great as a rub for steak, chicken, fish or shrimp, especially during summertime grilling season. I also often sprinkle it in soups or add it to a vinaigrette when I’m craving a zesty salad. And if you’re feeling adventurous — trust me on this one — it’s actually surprisingly delicious when sprinkled on popcorn too!

However you use it, this homemade taco seasoning recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket. So go raid your spice drawer, and let’s make a quick batch together!

Homemade Taco Seasoning Ingredients
HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING INGREDIENTS:

To make this homemade taco seasoning recipe, you will need the following spices:

  • Chili powder: Please note that this is American-style chili powder, which includes a mix of spices. (International readers, it is fairly mild and not cayenne. ♡)
  • Ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and dried oregano: Pretty straight-forward.
  • Paprika: I prefer to use smoked paprika, but you could also use standard or sweet paprika if you prefer.
  • Salt and black pepper: I used fine sea salt and finely-ground black pepper for this recipe.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: To add a bit of heat. If you prefer a milder taco seasoning, you can leave these out. Or if you don’t have crushed red pepper flakes on hand, you could also sub in a pinch of cayenne

HOW TO MAKE TACO SEASONING:

To make homemade taco seasoning, simply…

  1. Combine the ingredients.  Combine everything together in a small jar, cover and shake until evenly combined.
  2. Store. A batch of homemade taco seasoning should last you about a year!

HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING

  •  prep time: 2 MINUTES
  •  total time: 2 MINUTES
  •  yield: ABOUT 3 TABLESPOONS 1X

DESCRIPTION

This homemade taco seasoning recipe can be made in minutes. And it’s also preservative-free, gluten-free and easily customizable. So much better than storebought taco seasoning mix!


INGREDIENTS

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  • 1 tablespoon chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I prefer smoked paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a small jar and stir (or shake) until evenly combined.
  2. Store.  Use immediately or cover and store for up to 1 year.

NOTES

Chili powder: Please note that this recipe uses American-style chili powder, which is actually a blend of spices and very different than cayenne (as well as many other types of chili powders sold internationally).

THE BEST HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING

The perfect amount of spices come together in the homemade taco seasoning! You will never buy taco seasoning from the store again!

Taco Seasoning

I have continued my healthy eating habits and goals that I made back in December. Now don’t get me wrong. I ate like a fat kid and got more ice cream cones than one should consume on our cruise, but I have tried to maintain a healthy diet back at home.

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One of my favorite meals to make are turkey tacos. I make a big batch at the beginning of the week and have them almost every day during the week.

Tacos are the best. Seriously.

As I was making my weekly batch of turkey taco meat I reached into the cabinet to grab a seasoning packet.

There weren’t any there! What would I ever do without unseasoned meat? So I pulled out the computer and began my search for the perfect seasoning.

I had all of the spices in my cabinet. It took only a minute to throw them all together.

The first recipe that I tried was a little to spicy for my liking. So I tweaked it to my liking and found the perfect taco seasoning just for you.

It was amazing! I can’t believe that I have never made my own taco seasoning before.

It is WAY better than the store bought packages and I know that your family will love it too!

What you need to make taco seasoning

This is a great seasoning that you can add or subtract as much or as little of spices that you like. There is some added heat but that can also be minimized to your families liking.

  • Chili powder- for some added heat.
  • Garlic powder- a good balance and adds a brighter flavor.
  • Onion powder- this is a subtle onion flavor you will not want to skip even if you are not a fan of onions.
  • Dried oregano- brings in a spicy but sweet flavoring.
  • Paprika- has a smokey flavor and helps color the taco seasoning.
  • Ground cumin- lots of flavor with a little spice.
  • Salt and Black pepper- an added taste to finish the seasoning.

How to make Taco Seasoning

This is such a simple recipe and it all comes together quick and easy for you to make several taco dishes!

I use one recipe in one pound of ground turkey.

Recipe can easily be doubled and use more or less to taste.

Tip: I also like to add ½ cup of water to the meat and seasonings to make the meat more moist.

  • Mix spices together. Combine all the seasonings together in a bowl.
  • Store. Place In an airtight container.
tacos with homemade taco seasoning

How long does taco seasoning last?

This is the best part! Homemade taco seasoning will last up to 6 months.

Keep your taco seasoning stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container and you will be set for life on this recipe!

Your tacos will be thanking you!

How to store taco seasoning

Mine always stay in an airtight container like a mason jar or OXO containers.

I like to double or even triple my homemade taco seasoning recipe just to have it always ready.

How much homemade taco seasoning equals one packet?

A standard store-bought packets of taco seasoning uses about 2 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of meat.

This homemade taco seasoning recipe makes more so you can have a few taco meals!

The great thing about making your own is you can add more or less seasoning depending on how much flavoring you are wanting.

Ground Beef Taco Meat

Easy, delicious and perfect for all your taco needs, this mouthwatering 20-minute Ground Beef Taco Meat is made with lean ground beef, tomato sauce, and seasoned with homemade taco seasoning.

Fully cooked ground beef taco meat in a large black cast iron skillet.

Tacos

Tacos aren’t just for Taco Tuesday…at least not at my house. And this kid-friendly ground beef taco meat isn’t just for tacos, either.

Ready in just 20 minutes, this super versatile ground beef is mixed with taco seasoning and pureed tomatoes and loves being added to taco salads, taco pasta, and even taco soup.

I love to double (or even triple!) this recipe and use it to meal prep both lunches and dinners for my family to last the whole week!

What is the best ground beef for tacos?

Deciding which ground beef to use in this recipe depends entirely on you.

Personally, I like to make my taco meat using 90% lean ground beef. The meat is still flavorful, tender, and delicious, and it isn’t overly greasy.

On the other hand, you can also use 80% lean ground beef. Readily available and extremely economical, this option comes with more fat to drain away mid-way through the cooking process.

If beef isn’t your thing, any ground meat will work with this recipe to make the best ever taco meat. Venison and ground turkey are two of my personal favorites.

Ingredients in this Taco Meat Recipe

One of my favorite parts about this homemade taco meat recipe is the small ingredient list.

You may make this recipe a few different ways- with store-bought taco seasoning, homemade taco seasoning (highly recommended- it’s SO easy!), or by measuring out the individual seasoning and spice amounts needed to make up approximately 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning.

I had a jar of homemade taco seasoning so that’s what I used and this recipe turned out perfect! Not too spicy, not overwhelmed by ground cumin, and apparently awesome enough for a 5-year-old.

  • Onion. I will always and forever add onion to my taco meat. Cooked until super soft and tender, onions add loads of awesome added flavor to any ground taco meat recipe.
  • Ground Beef. What you see here is 90% lean ground beef, but it’s always best to pick what will work best for you and your family. One pound of ground beef will be enough for approximately 3-4 people to enjoy a couple of tacos packed full with all your favorite toppings.
  • Taco Seasoning (chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, paprika, dried cumin, crushed red pepper, salt + pepper, cornstarch). Store-bought or homemade, you can’t really have taco meat without seasoning.
  • Tomato sauce. Sometimes I’ll use canned diced tomatoes, but I much prefer using tomato sauce. My 5-year-old doesn’t complain about the red things in his food and it helps keep the taco meat nice and juicy (even when leftover and refrigerated).

Can you add anything else to this taco meat?

Absolutely!

Sometimes I’ll try to sneak in additional veggies like carrots, or added protein from beans or lentils. Unfortunately, this will change the overall taste and texture of your taco meat – at least a little.

If you love these things, then you should be good to go and love it mixed in there with the ground beef. If you’re new to lentils and beans, I recommend starting on the lower side. For example, 80% ground beef and 20% plant protein.

a plate with all ground beef taco spices assembled before mixing

How to make the best taco meat

This recipe is super simple and couldn’t be easier to make! As everyone has their own personal taste preferences, use the seasoning amounts that I have listed as a guide.

Let’s get cooking!

To get started, grab a large skillet or cast iron skillet (shown here) and set it over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and add your onion. I like to dice my onions super small, but if you prefer to have larger onion chunks, go for it! On the flip side, if you don’t care for onion at all, skip this step.

Cook the onion until soft and translucent. Times will vary but it took mine approximately 5 minutes.

Add your ground beef and immediately start to break it apart using a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook your meat, stirring and breaking into smaller pieces, until cooked- approximately 5-7 minutes.

Remove the skillet from heat and very carefully drain excess fat or liquid from the skillet. If some liquid is left in the skillet, that’s ok.

Return the skillet back to medium heat and add the taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Mix well to combine.

Allow the taco mixture to simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Stir often and season with additional salt, pepper, or taco seasoning, to taste.

Overhead image of a large cast iron skillet filled with cooked ground beef.

Can you freeze leftover taco meat?

Yes! Totally. In fact, this is super easy to do.

To freeze any leftover taco meat, allow your meat to come to room temperature. Once your taco meat is room temperature ready, divide between the desired number of freezer-friendly bags (I love these freezer friendly reusable silicone bags). Remove as much air as possible from each bag and seal completely. Label how much taco meat is inside each bag.

When ready to thaw, transfer to the refrigerator and allow your taco meat to sit overnight, or place the bag in a large bowl filled with warm water. Allow the meat to loosen up enough to remove from the bag and either transfer to a skillet or microwave-safe bowl to reheat completely.

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