At one point in your life, you’ve probably bought a packet of taco seasoning. I used to buy seasoning in this way myself, but these days I find that it’s better to make my own. It’s better both because it’s a bit cheaper than buying packets, and because it produces a tastier mix that can be altered as desired. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I can whip together taco seasoning on the fly, but most people will find that they save time and effort by mixing this ahead of time and using the mix as needed.

Note, you should view this recipe as a guideline. Taco seasoning mix is very forgiving of any tweak you want to make. I’ve dropped an asterisk by the important ingredients to indicate which ones are more important to flavor. I’ve also put the recipe as “parts” because if you’re making a big batch you’ll likely be using a whole container of chili powder and then measuring the rest in.

10 parts Chili Powder*
3 parts cornstarch (You can readily omit this if you’re avoiding starches/carbs)
3 parts ground cumin* (If you use whole cumin, dry fry it first and then grind)
1 part ground coriander (again, dry fry if using whole)
1 part Mexican oregano* (if you don’t have any, 2 parts Italian oregano will suffice)
1 part cayenne pepper
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder or dried onion flakes
1 part black pepper
1 part salt (or to taste)
1 part paprika

Combine in a container with some air-space (At most the container should be 3/4 full). Shake until the mix is evenly distributed (3-5 minutes of vigorous shaking). You could also combine it in a bowl and whisk, but you’ll have some powder escape that way. Add 3 tablespoons in place of a packet of taco seasoning for whatever recipe you’re making. For basic tacos, add 3 tablespoons and 3/4 cup of water to browned ground meat and simmer until it reduces.

For better tacos: add diced onions and minced garlic to the meat as it browns, replace water with 1/4 cup rich chicken or beef stock and 1 cup of tomato puree. Use 3 tablespoons of the mix and once again simmer until it reduces and thickens (about 15-20 minutes on low heat).

Additional, alternate ingredients:
These are ingredients I’ve tried in addition to those above and found that they work out pretty well.
Rubbed Sage
Tarragon (Typically if doing chicken)
Sweet Basil (best if added separately near the end of cooking since basil loses flavor as it’s cooked)
Allspice (very small amount, 1/2 part or less)
Dried cilantro

A note here: If you usually use diced onions and minced garlic when cooking, you can (and should) omit their dried/powdered forms from the mix. I typically omit them because I almost always use diced onions and minced garlic instead.