Every once in a while I make one of my family staples, and it occurs to me that I haven’t shared the recipe with you yet. One of those staples is ground beef tacos, and I make a seasoning for the beef from spices out of my spice rack instead of buying a packet of premade seasoning. I don’t remember where I got this specific list of spices for ground beef taco seasoning or I’d certainly credit and thank the source.

I keep my spices alphabetized (one of the few areas in my life that is organized), so it takes me only two minutes to throw together this combination of dried seasonings and spices that is perfect for one pound of ground beef. Since I buy locally raised, grass fed beef from a source I can trust, I can serve this taco filling to my children with confidence.

In fact, this is one of their favorite school lunches. They like it cold with tomato, lettuce and shredded cheese on a soft flour tortilla.


  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin (less or omit if you want to cut down on the heat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  1. Mix all spices together in a bowl and use immediately or store in an airtight container
To make beef for tacos
  1. Brown one pound of ground beef, drain fat
  2. Add ¾ cup of water and one recipe of the seasonings
  3. Cook at medium heat until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes
My notes
  • This can easily be doubled or more. Just use as many recipes of seasonings as you have pounds of ground beef.
  • This is a medium spicy seasoning mix. It took my youngest son a few tries to get used to the spiciness of this as opposed to the sweetness that some packaged taco seasonings have. To make it spicier, up the amount of chili powder, crushed red pepper or cumin to your taste.
  • This is a great way to make sure you’re using your dried spices and seasonings before they start to lose their potency. Once you start mixing your taco seasonings, you’ll never spend extra money on packaged seasonings again.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Recipe: Ground beef taco seasoning
Forget the packets of taco seasonings at the store. Use the spices you already have to create a seasoning for ground beef that you can feel good about.