Updated from the archives -- originally posted in October 2012
I prefer to make my own homemade spice mixes whenever possible. I mean, why not? It takes just a few minutes to stir a few spices together, and the results are SO much better than anything I've ever purchased.
One spice mix that I make time and time again is homemade taco seasoning. Yeah, those little packets at the grocery store are relatively inexpensive, but have you ever really looked at the ingredients? Last time I checked, I found partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide, and ethoxyquin (what?! this is a pesticide!), to name just a few...
No, thank you! I prefer the satisfaction of mixing up my own homemade taco seasoning, knowing that I can control the quality of the ingredients -- and the ingredients themselves. No icky additives allowed!
Chances are you already have the necessary ingredients sitting in your spice cabinet. You'll need to gather your chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch (keeps the mixture uniform and acts as a thickening agent), cayenne pepper, oregano, and black pepper.
From there it's just a matter of measuring them out, whisking them together, and transferring the taco seasoning spice mix to a clean container for storage.
Incidentally, I love these little 200-gram Le Parfait jars for my spice mixtures, but they can be a bit pricey. I scored an entire box of 12 for $8.99 plus shipping on eBay, though! Mason jars or Weck jars work great, as well.
Use about two tablespoons of the homemade taco seasoning, plus 1/4 cup of water, per pound of cooked and drained meat, or substitute it 1:1 in any recipe that calls for taco seasoning. We use it in this easy and budget-friendly taco meat recipe at least once a week!
I will warn you that my family loves spicy food, although I don't feel like this taco seasoning packs a lot of heat. However, if you prefer an even milder flavor, you may want to omit the cayenne pepper to tone it down a bit. That's the great thing about creating custom spice mixes -- you control every aspect!
Do you make your own spice mixtures at home? What's your favorite blend?