Homemade Taco Seasoning and Garbage Teykos

homemade taco seasoning; taco seasoning mix; how to make taco seasoning; taco spices; spices; spice mix; homemade; Spicie Foodie

Before we begin you have to know something, these two recipe are not Mexican. I repeat, these are not Mexican recipes.

Let’s address this post in two parts. First we begin with the homemade taco seasoning mix recipe. Those little packages of taco seasoning mix are not used in authentic Mexican cuisine. Okay so many of the spices used in the mixes are spices also used to season authentic Mexican food. But that doesn’t make it authentic nor Mexican. It would be like taking an American hamburger but instead of the buns it was served on a baguette with Camembert cheese and calling it American food. You’d be like what the hell is this. So no matter how many commercials, or text on those packages, tell you that it is authentic, it isn’t. Sorry for the mini-rant but passing off things as authentic, of any world cuisine, that aren’t kinda irritates me.

homemade taco seasoning; taco seasoning mix; how to make taco seasoning; taco spices; spices; spice mix; homemade; Spicie Foodie

I honestly don’t know why the seasoning and the tacos made with it are called Mexican. It’s more like Mexican food wannabe or Mexican inspired. The most obvious explanation is to point the finger at the fast food restaurants. Perhaps the most famous being the one with the cute talking dog asking for their food. Even if the junky restaurants name their food after real authentic Mexican dishes, at least they don’t try to pass themselves off as authentic Mexican. The sad thing about that though is that many people who don’t know any better consider that junk Mexican food or even worse authentic Mexican food. Sadly this then gives Mexican food an undeserving bad reputation.

homemade taco seasoning; taco seasoning mix; how to make taco seasoning; taco spices; spices; spice mix; homemade; Spicie Foodie

Rant aside, when you are hung over or feel like stuffing your face with cheap greasy food those junky tacos really hit the spot. That is probably the reason why those taco seasoning mixes are popular. If you are a label reader like me the ingredients list will leave you a bit frightened. Usually the first three ingredients are salt, MSG and sugar. Not very good at all. But making your own homemade taco seasoning mix is very easy. Here is how.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Homemade Taco Seasoning and Garbage Tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
No more preservative filled Taco Seasoning Mixes. Make your own at home and simply store in your spice rack.
Recipe type: Seasoning, Spice Mixture
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne or chile powder
  • ½ tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin or 1 tbsp whole cumin*
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • small pinch sugar
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ⅛ ground coriander or ¼ tsp coriander seeds*
  • 1 tbsp a.p. flour
  1. *If using whole spices you will need to place all ingredients in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind them. If using ready ground spices them just place all ingredients in a bowl and throughly mix until very well combined.
Makes 40 g or 1 packet or 1.4 oz

homemade taco seasoning; taco seasoning mix; how to make taco seasoning; taco spices; spices; spice mix; homemade; Spicie Foodie

Second part, the tacos. Growing up in a Mexican home my mom made real authentic tacos. But once she got to taste the junk food tacos she craved them every once in a great while. So we did have them for dinner on a few occasions. Also a very once in a while occurrence was when she would buy the kits to make those tacos for us kids.

homemade taco seasoning; taco seasoning mix; how to make taco seasoning; taco spices; spices; spice mix; homemade; Spicie Foodie

My hubby loved that junk taco restaurant. In case you are wondering he doesn’t consider it Mexican but rather a restaurant type all its own. On several occasions his craving was so bad that I had to learn to make them for him. But I refuse to call this tacos, no sir in my home they are called garbage teykos. We haven’t found hard shells here so usually we eat them with commercially prepared tortillas. On this day I was just too lazy to go out and buy packaged tortillas so instead used my homemade. Yes, it is a waste for perfect homemade flour tortillas but the laziness won that round.

homemade taco seasoning; taco seasoning mix; how to make taco seasoning; taco spices; spices; spice mix; homemade; Spicie Foodie

I wonder how many people that only have time to look over the pictures, will leave a comment saying this is good Mexican food. I’m giggling to myself with that thought. Many of you already know how to make these garbage teykos so proceed as usual. For those that don’t, cook 500 grams or 1 lb of ground beef along with the spice mix above, some chopped onion and garlic. Serve alongside your favorite toppings or any you see in these photos. Enjoy and eat responsibly.

For authentic Mexican recipe please check my archives here or on “Mexico on My Plate” Column.


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  1. says

    Your taco seasoning looks perfect! And such gorgeous photos of your garbage tacos…I need to get these on our menu soon :) Happy Friday, Nancy~

  2. says

    This is a real money saver. Actually we should all be making our spice mixes instead of purchasing blends of what we already have in the spice cabinet. I had someone from Mexico say that Mexican food is not food with all the cheese and the chili sauce on top. I think that the southwestern food as well as Tex Mex food always seems to get named “Mexican Food” in error. Thanks for posting this spice blend recipe!

    • says

      Hi Tina, Yes or at least make sure to read labels so we aren’t buying the unhealthy packages. Your Mexican friend is correct, cheese is used sparingly. I know there is some Tex-Mex labeled food that is also incorrect and not true Tex-Mex food. Really it just seems to be an erroneously labeled big group of Mexican inspired foods.

  3. says

    Your rant made me smile — as a Chinese-American in a small town in the Deep South, I can totally relate; the stuff that passes for “Chinese” food in restaurants here (and that my friends inexplicably love) just baffles me! The only consolation is that fake Chinese places have better Mai Tais than real ones. Anyhow, your Mex-American taco mix sounds like a great thing to have on hand for late nights!

    • says

      Hi Felicia, It is funny you say that because Chinese-American was on my mind as one of those foods that gets an undeserving bad reputation. But it is good that you’ve found a good thing about those restaurants :) Thanks!

  4. says

    While I’m an all-out fan of authentic Mexican food, I totally grew up on trash tacos and get a craving for them at least once a month! Esposo and I call them Ameri-Mex…whether that’s accurate or not, I don’t know…but that’s how we decipher what kind of tacos we’re having for dinner… “Tacos or Ameri-Mex Tacos tonight, honey…” ;)

  5. says

    Ohh I’ve always wanted to make my own taco seasoning, but always end up buying the pre-made package at the store! I’ll make this for sure, thanks for the great recipe!! Also feel free to stop by my blog and check out the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway going on right now! xoxo

  6. says

    We use tempeh crumbled up and sauteed in a little olive oil with some of the seasonings in your mix. Lots of chopped fresh veggies (like radish, peppers, tomatoes, avocados, shredded kale, mashed no-sodium black beans. Then I toast corn tortillas in the oven flat until crisp, and layer all the above on top. Our version of healthy tostadas I guess.

  7. says

    I totally get your point. I spent a few weeks in Mexico when I was 15, before I ever visited the States, and when I did come here, I was very surprised as what passed as Mexican. I guess most of it is tex-mex, and it’s not that it isn’t delicious, it’s just different.
    Your teykos look delicious! :)

  8. says

    Thank you!!! I have been wanted to make Taco Seasoning at home…that stuff in the store is just loaded with sodium. Loved your rant :) I feel the same way when people use curry powder in Indian cooking. Curry Powder was something the British came up with because they couldn’t handle the huge amount of spices we use in Indian cooking. Growing up my mother never had any curry powder in her pantry. Look forward to making your Taco Seasoning soon….

    • says

      Hi Asiya, I’m glad that you can also relate to my rant:) Lol! Only a a few occasion have I bought curry powder from the store. I much prefer to make my own masala when I cook Indian foods. Perhaps my favorite is Garam Masala. Thanks!

  9. says

    Thank you for the seasoning mix! I hate buying packaged mixes but sometimes, they’re just fast and easy. Do you ever increase the amounts and keep the mix indefinitely for when you need it? Does it keep well?

    • says

      Hi Melissa, I actually don’t make this very often so the amount is for 1 meal only. But it will work fine if you double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Ground spices loose their freshness or taste a lot sooner. But just like any other spice mix this should keep fresh for a few months.

  10. Brigitte says

    I was surprised at how many ingredients you put in your taco spices. Especially… flour? May I ask you why you add this ingredient? I usually stay away from powdered onions and garlic, but that is purely a matter of personal tastes. Otherwise, I completely agree with you on this post. So often, people just don’t get the chance to learn what real ethnic foods are, and are left with a completely wrong (and often sad) idea.

    • says

      Hi Brigitte, The amount of ingredients is pretty standard , you can confirm this with a quick search. Flour is used as an anti-caking ingredient and to help the spices bind better to the meat. This recipe wasn’t intended as a traditional type recipe but rather immulating a “junk” food, all of which the aformentioned apply to. I’ve never had a problem with powdered or granulated onions and garlic. In this type of recipe or for spice mixes that is what works best, but as you say it is a matter of personal taste. Yes,I agree and this is a post intended to point out those wrong impressions people can get.

  11. says

    Too funny! My hubby made me teykos on one of our first dates. Being that I’m a Latina and from El Paso I think he was really trying to impress me. He used Old El Paso seasoning, Old El Paso hard taco shells, and Old El Paso salsa in a jar. I cannot stand packaged hard taco shells and/or jar salsa and the strong salty and cumin taste of packaged seasoning, is well, ummm interesting. I politely gobbled them up, because they were bad, but not that bad. I hate to let food go to waste. It’s kinda funny now, and he knows better now. All I have to say is that I’m lucky my hubby cooks, and I’ve learned to never complain. LOL!

    • says

      Ah Yvette that was so sweet and cute of him :) I like how he used Old El Paso since you are from there. I’m with you on the hard taco shells and can’t stand tomato paste salsa- blah! But I have to tell you that I love cumin. Your story made me giggle, thanks for sharing :)

  12. says

    Nancy, I must admit that I’m guilty of using the “taco seasoning”. Blame it on ignorance. Thank you for providing this spice blend. I will definitely give it a try the next time I make a Mexican inspired meal. I guess I need to be a better label reader.. Yikes.. MSG. Yuck. Your spice blend sounds really great. :) Have a wonderful weekend.

    • says

      Ramona, That is how we learn right :) I’m not sure that all have MSG but the ones I’ve run to across here do and that is a no no for me. Thank you and you too have a wonderful weekend!

  13. says

    Wow those tacos look amazing! I love homemade foods because they don’t turn out greasy and nasty like they usually do at restaurants. This is another example of what I’m talking about, beautiful, healthy, delicious food :) Great recipe!

  14. says

    Oh my goodness the name of this had me in stitches. I’ve had the junk and I’ve had the real stuff. I like them both depending on my mood. I’m going to have to try this. Great recipe and congrats on top 9!

  15. says

    Hi, I have been experiementing with my own mix for a little while now. I will be trialling yours very soon. Thanks for this! It looks and sounds very tasty.

  16. says

    Like many of the commenters, I was thinking also of what passes for Chinese food in many places as another cuisine that gets horribly misrepresented. … also, China and Mexico are HUGE countries – it strikes me that saying something is authentic Mexican or Chinese still doesn’t tell the whole story right? Not that I am an expert, but I definitely love you trying to set the record straight!!! And you are right – homemade spices are always better … when I see a recipe for “taco seasoning” or “taco mix” or any kind of weird seasoning mix I pretty much bypass it! Anyway, your “garbage” teykos are worlds better than most people’s non-garbage food, lol.

    • says

      That is such a great point I forgot to mention Trix. You are every bit correct too. For example the food from where I am from is so different than say food from the Yucatan. Thanks sweetie :)

  17. says

    hahaha, glad you got that out of your system, Nancy :) It feels good doesn’t it. And the same goes for Chinese food (as Felicia pointed out). It’s sad that so many people really have no clue what authentic Mexican food is – we’re fortunate to have both here in SoCal. Thanks for sharing your taco seasoning recipe and the garbage teykos do hit the spot!

    • says

      Hi Priscilla, Lol thanks for letting me rant :) Good thing for you SoCal dwellers. Real authentic foods just taste much better. Hope you are having a great weekend! Hugs!

    • says

      Hi Booklogged, After making the mix I measured it and it came out to this, 40 grams or 1.4 oz. That was the same weight as a package I found at my local store. To double check I looked up Old El Paso and the weight was 1.25 oz. So yes it is just slightly over 1 package of commercial sizes. I’m amazed too :)

  18. says

    Laughing at the para on the end, he, he. Confession time, I thought the packed tacos were authentic growing up, because my mom used it. Then I had tacos at my mother-in-laws and I never made them my mom’s way again. Shh, don’t tell my mom, she still doesn’t know.

  19. says

    Garbage teykos…love it! I am going to blame it on fast food that eventually became it’s own entity. But sadly you are right that many do not know the difference. Due to where I live I have access to more authentic Mexican foods as well as the garbage teykos :)

  20. says

    I am so excited to try your recipe. My baby has problems with the packages taco mixes, so we have been avoiding eating the store brand mixes. Unfortunatly my boys seem to think tacos are a food group! Love your rant on Mexican Food. So true!! I have told my husband a million times that Taco Smell is the trash of mexican food, if you could even call it that. Just saying!! Thanks for the post, and love your blog.

  21. says

    Love this recipe! After mixing it together it smelled just like I had open a purchased packet of taco seasoning. It was perfect for simmering chicken in for tacos!

  22. Viola says

    Thnx for the recipe,i made first only 4x what the recipe calls for,but after tasting our tacos with our five boys ,i made an other 4 :). It tasts great, and to make it perfect i will have to learn to make real taco shells…but thanks anyways.

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