Kitchen basics: Taco seasoning

I can’t help but shake my head at the price for commercial seasoning mixes. In addition to being heavily laden with salt and/or sugar, they also create a lot of garbage waste with the packaging.

Here’s a remedy that let’s you control the amount of salt as well as coming in a reusable package! Use it freely for chilis, tacos, burritos or anywhere else you might be looking for a little kick. And if there’s a seasoning you don’t like, just omit it.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Course: Kitchen basics

Cuisine: Mexican

Prep Time: 5 min

Total Time: 5 min

Yield: 1.5 cups


  • 8 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder ( optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon dried minced onion or 1 tsp onion powder (not salt)
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch (optional)


  1. Add all the spices to a mason jar. Close and shake until fully combined.
  2. 2 Tablespoons of the mix is equivalent to 1 package of commercial seasoning

Chana Masala Powder

Photo credit Gastronomia Slow via Creative Commons

I’m lucky in that I live in a university town, blessed with a widely diverse population. In addition to the regular grocery stores, we have small markets that cater to different ethnic communities. We have a Korean market and a Chinese/Pan Asia market, as well as an Indian groceries supplier. When I making Indian dishes, I can just add a tablespoon or whatever the recipe calls for from a pre-mixed package. Unfortunately, not everyone experiences these conveniences.

This is why if I publish a recipe containing a premixed spice package (masala just means spice mix), elsewhere on the blog, I will have a full print out for the blend. Now be aware that the “traditional” recipes vary from town to town, region to region, even house to house. But overall, this will bring you close. This is the ingredients for Chana Masala (Chickpea Spice mix). I’ve included the Indian names for the spices in case you’re blessed with an Indian grocery store.

If there’s an ingredient or two on this list that you just can’t source, omit it. It’s unlikely to make that much difference in the long run.

Chana (Chickpea) Masala (Spice Mix)

  • 12 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 14 tsp black cumin seeds / shahi jeera
  • 14 tsp pepper
  • 14 tsp fennel / saunf
  • 1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves / kasuri methi
  • 3 cloves / laung
  • 2 pods cardamom / elachi
  • 3 dried red chilli
  • 14 tsp turmeric
  • 14 tsp dry mango powder / aamchur
  • 14 tsp pomegranate powder / Anardana
  • pinch hing / asafoetida

Measure out your spices first. You don’t want to be digging for something while the spice blend cooks. It’s too easy to burn that way.

Heat a small dry skillet over a medium heat. Add the whole spices one at a time, stirring and moving the spices. The idea is to toast them lightly. It’s important to keep these spices moving steadily because they burn very easily. Once you have just powdered spices left — tumeric, mango powder, pomegranate powder and hing — remove from heat and stir the powdered spices in. Keep stirring for a few minutes and allow it to cool.

Load into a clean spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices. They should be evenly ground and well mixed

Store in a small glass jar that is well sealed for freshness.