4 Chef-Created Signature Taco Seasoning Recipes

Secrets from Chef Pati Jinich: 4 Signature Taco Seasoning Recipes

Publish Date May 30, 2023 3 Minute Read

When it comes to tacos, the right seasoning can make a world of difference. Those store-bought seasoning packets are great, but mixing your own spice blend allows you to build the exact flavor profile you’re craving. Here, we’re sharing four unique and delicious homemade taco seasoning recipes developed by Mexican chef and cookbook author Pati Jinich. But before we get into the recipes, let’s go over what spices you’ll typically find in seasoning blends for some of the most common types of tacos.

What’s in Taco Seasoning?

Are your favorite tacos stuffed with beef, chicken or fish? Are they fully loaded with veggies and salsas or just topped with cilantro and onion? Tacos come in a wide variety of delicious flavors and each style is seasoned with a unique blend of spices. Thankfully, learning how to make taco seasoning for every occasion is easy, and it starts with gathering the right taco seasoning ingredients. Here are some general guidelines to help you make your own DIY taco seasoning for three common types of tacos:

  • Mexican Tacos: For authentic Mexican flavor, use a blend of spices that includes cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and/or onion powder. These spices will give your tacos a warm, earthy flavor and just a touch of heat.
  • Tex-Mex Tacos: Classic Tex-Mex taco seasonings often include chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder and/or oregano. This blend is typically smoky an slightly spicy.
  • Southwestern Tacos: A Southwestern taco seasoning usually includes cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and/or lime zest. This mix of spice adds a bright and citrusy twist to your tacos.

In the end, the best seasoning blend will ultimately depend on your personal taste preferences and the flavor profile you want to achieve.

How Much Taco Seasoning Should You Use?

As a general guideline, you’ll typically use 2-3 tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of meat or vegetables, but you can always adjust the amount depending on how spicy or flavorful you want your tacos to be. If you’re unsure, start with a smaller amount and gradually add more taco seasoning ingredients until you achieve the flavor you want. Remember, it’s easier to add more seasoning than it is to dial back the flavor if you've added too much. Keep in mind that different taco seasoning blends may have varying levels of salt, heat and intensity, so it's important to adjust the flavor to suit your preferences.

4 Chef Recommended Taco Seasoning Recipes

Elevate your taco game with these four signature seasoning blends conjured up, tested and approved by chef Pati Jinich. Each of these quick and easy taco seasoning recipes offers a culinary adventure into fresh and authentic flavor.

Tex-Mex Taco Seasoning

Store-bought is good, but homemade is better! This simple yet delicious blend of spices adds the perfect balance of smoky, savory and slightly spicy flavor to taco night.

Yucatecan Taco Seasoning

A simple balance of sweet and savory spices transports your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Yucatan in every bite. This seasoning works best with chicken and other poultry.

Norteño Taco Seasoning

Inspired by the culture and flavors of northern Mexico, this blend combines savory and smoky spices that’ll give your dish a deeply rich flavor. This seasoning mix works best with ground beef and carne asada.

Pacific Coast Taco Seasoning

Making use of authentic West Coast flavors, this balance of herbaceous and spicy seasonings creates a spice blend that might just be better than the one your local taqueria uses. This taco mix works best with fish and other seafood.

Mexican Inspired Taco Recipes

Now that you have the right seasoning blend, you can try out chef Pati Jinich’s homemade recipes in the specially crafted tacos below.

What’s Next

Check out some of our other Mexican Culinary Favorites for additional authentic Mexican recipes and meal ideas, or head to The Fresh Lane for expert cooking tips, kitchen hacks, DIY projects and much, much more.