Taco night is a family favorite at our house, and probably at everyone’s house! They are so popular there is a day of the week named in their honor…. everyone calls it Taco Tuesday, right? I really love tacos, they are delicious crowd-pleasers with an unending variety to make. Different meats and seafood, shells, salsas and toppings abound. But, my childhood memory of tacos, the ones my Mom made with ground beef and crunchy taco shells have a special place in my heart.
I am not above using the packets of pre-made taco seasoning, but when I have time, I like to make a batch of homemade taco seasoning and then store it in a cute jar in my cupboard. This also eliminates the ingredients that you can’t pronounce from the store bought packet. This version is flavorful, but not “hot” spicy, my six year old has no trouble eating it. Now if you like things hot, just substitute chipotle chili powder for the regular kind, and add some crushed red pepper flakes!
The main ingredients are chili powder, paprika and cumin, with a few other spices thrown in as side-kicks. I also like to add a bit of brown sugar to my taco mix. It doesn’t make the seasoning sweet, but it balances out the rest of the spices.
So make some taco seasoning when you’ve got a few extra minutes, then next time you feel like tacos, the hard part is done!
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika (regular or smoked)
- 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1½ tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (regular or Mexican)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (for thickening)
- Measure all ingredients into a small bowl and mix with a fork to blend, making sure get rid of any lumps. Use immediately, or store in a small jar with an air tight lid.
- To use, add 4 tablespoons of seasoning mix and ¾ cup of water to 1 pound of browned, ground meat. Let simmer until the sauce thickens.
To make the seasoning spicier, use chipotle chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes.
To make the seasoning smokier, use smoked spanish style paprika.