Easy Smoky Taco Seasoning Recipe

You've heard of taco seasoning and likely even used a prepackaged pouch of it at some point. While buying premade blends in a pinch is convenient, it's remarkably easy to make your own taco seasoning right at home. Not only is it inexpensive and straightforward, but it's also abundantly more flavorful, especially when following this smoky taco seasoning recipe from recipe developer Susan Olayinka. "I love how simple it is to make this recipe and how versatile it is," Olayinka says. "You can use it on any type of meat, and it always turns out great." 

What makes this blend so special? Well, there are a number of spices that go into it, but Olayinka notes one that stands out above the rest. "The smoked paprika really gives this dish a unique flavor; it tastes like there's something missing without it," she explains.

If you enjoy cooking, then there's a good chance that you already have all the necessary ingredients to make this smoky blend. Grab that smoked paprika and a handful of other spices, and breathe a sigh of relief because your taco meat will never be boring and bland again. 

Gather the spices to make this smoky taco seasoning

It's unsurprising that the entire ingredient list for a seasoning blend consists of, well, many types of seasoning. For starters, you'll need some good old salt and pepper, along with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and that special smoked paprika. 

"You could experiment with different types of chili powder," Olayinka suggests, should you want to switch things up. "You could also add in other spices like cayenne pepper to make it spicier, or add more salt to taste."

Mix the spices together

To mix up this smoky taco seasoning, the only real step here is to do just that — mix it up! Measure out each spice onto a plate or into a bowl, and use a whisk to mix them thoroughly together. 

In case you can't quite picture what this seasoning blend tastes like, Olayinka is here to help. "This [seasoning] has a smoky, chili flavor with a slight sweetness from the paprika. It is well-balanced and not too spicy," she describes. "The flavors meld together perfectly and make a delicious taco seasoning."

Use the seasoning on your favorite type of meat

So, you've mixed up the perfect seasoning blend. Now what? Well, when you're ready to put it to use, cook up a pound of meat as you typically would. This could be ground beef, which is a taco classic, but you could also opt for ground chicken or even ground turkey. Once you've browned the meat, add about ½ cup of water, along with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the spicy taco seasoning. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed, then you have perfectly smoky, taco-ready meat.

Of course, there are many foods in which this seasoning blend comes in handy. "This recipe is perfect for making tacos, burritos, or enchiladas," Olayinka suggests. "It would also be great on nachos or as a general seasoning for any Mexican dish."

Tips for storing the smoky taco seasoning

One big perk of making a homemade seasoning blend is that, like most types of spices and seasonings, it will last for quite some time. This recipe makes about ¼ cup and "... lasts for up to two months stored in an airtight container. After that, the spices will start to lose their flavor," Olayinka explains. As for how to store the blend, she has some advice on that as well: "This [seasoning] should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place."

Easy Smoky Taco Seasoning Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
Why buy taco seasoning when it's so easy to make at home? This seasoning blend recipe with smoked paprika is a breeze to whip up from your spice cupboard.
Prep Time
Cook Time
taco seasoning in cylinder jar
Total time: 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Mix all ingredients together and store the mixture in an airtight container. For the best flavor, use it within 2 months.
  2. To use, add 2-3 teaspoons of taco seasoning per 1 pound of meat. Brown the meat as usual, then add ½ cup of water (or more if needed) and the taco seasoning. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated.
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