This Chicken Taco Seasoning is the tastiest homemade Mexican spice blend to flavor chicken for tacos (and more!). It’s a simple, easy recipe and a scrumptious, customizable alternative to store-bought seasoning packets.
Why You’re Going to Love This Homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning Recipe
If you love the bold flavors of my authentic mexican ground beef tacos recipe or my almost-famous spicy fish tacos with cabbage slaw, you’re going to adore this chicken taco seasoning. Plus, it’s a fun and cost-effective kitchen superstar that will rock your taco nights. Here are a few reasons why this spice blend will be your new go-to:
- Customizable Heat: Adjust the spiciness to your preferences. More chili powder for heat seekers, less for the mild crew.
- Packed with Flavor: Each spoonful is a flavor bomb, making every dish instantly delicious.
- Easy and Cost-Effective: Skip the store bought regular taco seasoning and save some cash with this homemade version. If you consider it costs about $2 for a little packet that seasons one pound of meat, and this recipe seasons 5.5 lbs of meat, then you’ve made $11 worth of seasoning blend with spices you already had in your pantry.
- A Versatile Seasoning: This blend isn’t just for chicken tacos; it’s a multipurpose seasoning that enhances a wide range of dishes.
- Simple and Natural: Free from preservatives and additives, you control what goes in and can adjust to your dietary needs. Want a low-sodium taco seasoning? Omit the salt and off you go! It’s gluten-free naturally. So much better than store-bought packet taco seasoning mixes.
Gather Your Ingredients to Make this Mexican Spice Blend
Welcome, fellow spice enthusiasts! Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make the best chicken taco seasoning:
- Chili powder: This is the backbone of our Mexican chicken seasoning, adding a well-rounded heat. See Chili Powder vs. Cayenne Pepper to make sure you don’t grab the wrong one.
- Ground cumin: Brings a warm, earthy flavor and aids in digestion.
- Onion powder: It adds a sweet, savory depth to the mix.
- Smoked paprika: This spice lends a smokey, almost barbecue-like flavor.
- Garlic powder: A kitchen staple, it enhances the overall flavor.
- Dried oregano: Provides a touch of herby freshness to the blend.
- Kosher salt: Helps amplify all the flavors.
- Black pepper: Offers a slightly spicy and aromatic kick.
How to Make Chicken Taco Seasoning: Step-by-Step Instructions
Buckle up, it’s time to make some magical Mexican seasoning for chicken! Make a big batch to keep in your pantry for all your favorite Mexican recipes. You can never have too much taco seasoning on hand.
- Mix: Combine all your chosen spices together in a bowl, ensuring they are well-integrated.
- Transfer: Once mixed, put your homemade seasoning into an airtight jar or container.
- Store: Keep your chicken taco seasoning in a cool, dry place, ready for when the taco mood strikes.
Grab these Tools
Let’s keep it simple. For this flavorful blend, all you need are:
- A Small Bowl: Where all the magic happens. This is where you’ll blend your spices together.
- A Spoon: To thoroughly mix your ingredients together.
- An Airtight Container: To store your seasoning, keeping it fresh and ready to use. A mason jar works well.
How to Use This Mexican Chicken Seasoning Mix
Unleash your culinary creativity! This seasoning can be sprinkled, tossed, or rubbed:
- Taco Nights: Sprinkle it generously over your chicken (whether it’s ground chicken, skinless chicken breast, thighs or rotisserie chicken for shredded chicken tacos) for a deliciously flavored easy chicken taco. It’s the perfect seasoning Baked Chicken Tacos. It also forms a delicious marinade for grilled boneless skinless chicken thighs, like for Mexican Street Tacos.
- Grilled Dishes: These spices for chicken tacos are also perfect as a Mexican chicken rub, and don’t be shy about using it on other proteins. Rub it on your chicken, beef, or veggies before grilling for a smoky, spicy twist.
- Nachos: This spice blend is perfect to season chicken for nachos.
- Taco Salads: Use this seasoning blend on your chicken or ground turkey to make the best ever taco salads. Just add lettuce, tomato, cheese, black beans, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Chicken Fajitas: Spice up your chicken for fajitas. Sprinkle it over chicken breasts and grill them or pan-sear to juicy perfection.
Choose the Perfect Side Dishes
Pair your seasoned chicken with corn or flour tortillas with these flavor-packed sides:
- Instant Pot Mexican Rice: A deliciously seasoned rice that complements the flavors of your tacos.
- Refried Beans: Add a hearty, creamy element to your meal.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
When you’re in a pinch, this homemade taco seasoning is a real game-changer:
- Make Ahead: Prepare this blend in advance for impromptu taco nights or quick weekday meals.
- Storage: Homemade spice mixes like this Chicken Taco Seasoning can last for up to 1-2 years if properly stored. However, for the best flavor, it’s recommended to use them within six months. The key to maintaining the spice mix’s longevity is to store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Make sure the container is airtight to prevent moisture from getting in, which can shorten its shelf life and affect its flavor.
“Taco seasoning” and “chicken taco seasoning” generally contain similar spices, like chili powder, cumin, and garlic. The main difference often lies in the proportions of these spices. A chicken taco seasoning might emphasize milder, savory spices to complement chicken’s lighter flavor. Meanwhile, a general taco seasoning might have more robust spices like chili to stand up to heartier meats like beef. However, the choice of seasoning can be adjusted to personal taste and the specific dish.
Chicken fajita seasoning and taco seasoning are similar in that they both contain a mix of spices often used in Mexican cuisine. However, they may differ slightly in their ingredients and ratios to complement the specific dishes they’re meant for.
Fajita seasoning often contains a higher proportion of chili powder, and it might include more savory elements like meat tenderizer or tomato powder. The spices are chosen to highlight the charred, smoky flavor of fajitas cooked over high heat.
On the other hand, taco seasoning typically leans more on cumin, garlic, and onion powder. It’s designed to bring out the flavors of the ground meat usually used in tacos, often cooked at a lower temperature.
Ultimately, the choice between fajita and taco seasoning can depend on personal preference and the specific flavor profile you’re aiming for. Both can be used interchangeably in a pinch, although the resulting flavors might slightly differ.
Variations and Substitutions: Customize Your Chicken Taco Seasoning
This versatile chicken taco seasoning recipe is easily adaptable to suit your personal taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Here are some ideas for variations and substitutions to help you create the perfect blend for your next taco night:
- Adjust the heat level: If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of chili powder and replace it with sweet paprika. For those who enjoy an extra kick, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or using red pepper flakes. Ground black pepper can add an additional kind of heat if you like.
- Salt-free version: If you’re watching your sodium intake, you can omit the kosher salt entirely or replace it with a salt substitute. Keep in mind that this will alter the overall taste of the seasoning, so you may need to adjust the other spices accordingly.
- Alternative herbs and spices: Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to create a unique flavor profile. You could try adding ground coriander, chipotle powder, or even a touch of cloves for a warm, earthy twist.
- Gluten-free and MSG-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free and MSG-free, making it suitable for those with dietary restrictions. Just be sure to double-check the labels of your individual spice containers to ensure they’re free from any hidden additives or allergens.
- Vegetarian and vegan options: While this seasoning is specifically designed for chicken, it can also be used to season tofu, tempeh, or your favorite plant-based protein for a delicious vegetarian or vegan alternative.
Remember, the key to creating your perfect chicken taco seasoning blend is experimentation. Don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities and ingredients to suit your taste buds, and have fun discovering new flavor combinations!
Other Delicious Mexican Recipes You’ll Love
- Pulled Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce: Tender and flavorful pulled pork with a kick of chipotle spice, perfect for sandwiches or tacos.
- Chili Con Carne: A comforting and flavorful Mexican chili packed with ground beef, beans, and spices for a satisfying meal.
- Chicken Fajitas: Juicy chicken strips sizzling with peppers and onions, wrapped in warm tortillas for a tasty Tex-Mex favorite.
- Spicy Fish Tacos: Crispy, spicy fish topped with crunchy cabbage slaw and tangy lime crema, perfect for a fresh and flavorful taco night.
- Authentic Beef Tacos From Scratch: Flavor-packed ground beef tacos made from scratch, using a blend of spices and fresh ingredients for an authentic taste.
- Avocado Crema: A smooth and creamy avocado sauce that adds a refreshing and rich flavor to your favorite Mexican dishes.
- Crockpot Chicken Tacos: Easy and delicious slow cooker chicken tacos, bursting with flavor and perfect for a fuss-free weeknight meal.
Chicken Taco Seasoning
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon black pepper
- Thoroughly mix spices together in a bowl until well combined. Make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed to ensure every pinch of your seasoning has all the flavors.
- Once mixed, carefully transfer your homemade seasoning into an airtight jar or container.
- Store your chicken taco seasoning in a cool, dry place. Use it to spice up your chicken tacos or any other dish that could use a little flavor boost. Enjoy!
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD