Today I will show you how to make Old El Paso taco seasoning from scratch. This is a much more cost-effective spice mix that is just as flavorful and versatile as the original product.
I’ve included some easy variations that you can try and different ways you can use it.
If you would like to try more classic Latin American dishes, you have to start with these easy Chicken Enchiladas. Another one of my readers’ favorites is this Birria Quesadillas, which does take a while but is well worth the flavorful, saucy filling you create!
And finally, for something a little easier, yet equally delicious, you can try these Spinach And Feta Empanadas!
What Is This Seasoning Mix?
Old El Paso is a brand that has taken the world by storm! While they have been around for a while, their products are ever-increasing in popularity. Why exactly?
Well, Old El Paso creates delicious flavoring ingredients (for example, sauces and seasoning mixes) that make Mexican cuisine a breeze! It’s a convenient way of still having your favorite Tex-Mex dishes, without the hassle of developing that unique flavor profile yourself.
So, if it’s that great, why are we making a copycat Old El Paso taco seasoning?
It’s simple: there are so few brands that do proper Mexican products that Old El Paso basically has no (or little) competition. For that reason, their products are incredibly expensive. Furthermore, they sell out REALLY quickly, especially their versatile Taco Seasoning Mix.
Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Ingredients – What Do You Need?
Now, virtually all taco spice mixes contain the exact same ingredients. What makes one different (and even better) than the other is the ratio of these ingredients.
The recipe I will share with you today is one I have perfected over years. It’s a copy of the Original mix, that in my opinion, is the most versatile.
Let’s take a look at the main ingredients you will need.
Would it even be Mexican or Tex-Mex if it didn’t include chili powder? Of course not! This is the main flavoring for this spice mix.
As you can see, I use quite a lot for this taco seasoning Old El Paso recipe. You can reduce the quantity, but don’t take it away.
Many people also love using cayenne pepper, but for me, it’s too earthy and not as flavorful.
I never use regular paprika for this taco spice mix, but you can. The smoked alternative is much richer in flavor and helps deepen the blend.
It also compliments meats really well, which is why I love this taco mix with pork and beef.
Again, you will need to use quite a bit of smoked paprika for this mix. If you aren’t a fan of it, reduce it slightly, but you cannot take it away.
All Old El Paso taco spice mixes include cumin. If you don’t already have some on hand in your pantry, it’s time.
This spice adds a hearty, warm, and earthy undertone with a hint of tartness. It’s also one of those ingredients, like smoked paprika, that develops a more complex flavor profile.
Garlic And Onion Powder
These are base spices. That means that they do add a ton of flavor, but don’t really make this mix unique.
That being said, you cannot take them away. It’s like onions in recipes. You don’t taste them on their own, but once you remove them, the dish lacks a little something.
As the only herb in today’s taco mix, you can add some dried oregano. If you cannot find any, you can also use dried tarragon or dried parsley.
Salt And Pepper
Finally, you can add a hefty amount of salt and pepper to the mix as well. I only use a teaspoon of each for a single recipe. But feel free to increase or decrease that amount to your liking.
How to make Old El Paso Taco Seasoning
- Combine and mix all ingredients.
- Transfer the mix into an airtight container for storage.
- When you are ready to use it, just sprinkle it over your meat before or while cooking!
Variations For This El Paso Taco Seasoning Recipe
As you may have seen before, this spice mix has quite a few variations.
It may not be possible to easily recreate all of them at home. For some, like the Cheesy Taco Seasoning Mix, you will need to find cheese powder, which is difficult depending on where you are.
To make the mild flavor, slightly increase the chili powder in this recipe. You can work off roughly 2 tablespoons.
And for the Less Sodium option, reduce the amount of salt.
How To Use El Paso Taco Seasoning
This homemade Old El Paso taco seasoning is extremely versatile. In my opinion, it is best used over ground meat, meat slices, or chopped meat. I wouldn’t use it on large cuts because it won’t flavor the entire piece as well.
When combined with smaller pieces and some liquid, it creates a rich and flavorful cooking sauce that you can also serve with the main dish.
I also love using this taco seasoning mix over vegetables before I roast them.
Of course, as the name suggests, this Old El Paso taco seasoning is best used for traditional tacos. But to be honest, I tend to use them in all kinds of fillings used for enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas. If you don’t have a special spice mix for any of these, taco seasoning is perfectly fine!
How to store el Paso taco seasoning
You can store your homemade taco seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat for up to 6 months. Another great way to keep your taco seasoning fresh is to make small batches.
This will ensure that you’re only using fresh spices and that none of them are going to waste. This way, the spices will retain their flavor and aroma for much longer.
Yes! El Paso Taco Seasoning can be used to give a delicious Mexican flavor to many dishes, from tacos and burritos to quesadillas, fajitas, and even vegetables. Just make sure you adjust the amount accordingly for each dish.
The Old El Paso taco seasoning mix typically contains chili powder, which can add some spice. However, you can adjust the amount of chili powder in your mix to make it as mild or spicy as you’d like.
When stored properly in an airtight container away from direct sunlight and heat, this taco seasoning mix should last up to 6 months. To keep it fresh for longer, make small batches of the mix rather than making a large one.
Old El Paso Taco Seasoning – Easy Recipe Loaded With Flavors
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp fine salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- This seasoning mix takes less than 5 minutes to make (including getting and measuring out your ingredients).
- Simply combine them all in a large mixing bowl and give them a good stir.
- Use the spice mix immediately or store it inside an airtight container for several months!