Homemade is always better, right? Well, I can think of just a few things that I actually prefer store-bought, and for a long time taco seasoning was one of them.
Maybe it’s because I grew up on taco meat from a packet, or maybe I just loved the saltiness and the velvety, luxurious-textured meat that magically developed. Turns out that the “magic” is the part that’s not-so-good for you…
Taco seasoning in a packet has chemicals, fillers, and refined sugars- and I don’t want those.
I tried many different recipes for homemade taco seasoning and most were good, but they just weren’t the same. The meat was spicy and wonderfully salty, but it was missing something. It wasn’t “taco meat.”
It wasn’t luxurious or velvety.
Where packets typically use corn flour or other starch, all of the homemade varieties I was trying didn’t have any thickeners at all. Thickener is what makes it “taco meat” and not just “spiced ground beef.” So, I tried my favorite recipe but this time I added arrowroot powder.
Never heard of arrowroot? It’s a starch that grain-free eaters often use in baked goods or for thickening sauces. It is the powdered root of the tropical arrowroot plant.
Arrowroot is what transformed my homemade taco seasoning! The good news is that if you don’t care about eating gluten or grain-free you can use corn starch, corn flour, or even regular flour to thicken your meat.
The final thing I add to my taco seasoning recipe, my extra-special ingredient, is maple sugar! There isn’t a lot, and the maple flavor is not distinguishable, but it adds a lot of depth and helps the other smokey spicy flavors. You can use whatever dark granulated sugar you prefer: brown sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar, pure cane sugar, or even date sugar.
I love bold flavor and spice, so I always try to get the freshest, best-quality spices (affiliates).
Spicely Organic Salt-Free Chili Powder
Whole Spice Onion Granules
Whole Spice Granulated Garlic
Spice Hunter Smoked Paprika
Frontier Organic Mediterranean Oregano
Fine Ground Celtic Sea Salt
I always make a big batch of this. I have included my big batch recipe as well as a one-time use recipe if you’d like to give the recipe a test drive before you commit to a larger quantity.
*Tips: cut out, or cut down on the red pepper flakes if you don’t want it too spicy. This is fairly salty, so cut down on the salt if you are extra sensitive or just prefer less.
- FOR 1 POUND GROUND MEAT
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp maple sugar
- 1.5 tsp arrowroot powder
- FOR NINE POUNDS GROUND MEAT
- 3 Tbs chili powder
- 3 Tbs granulated onion
- 3 Tbs granulated garlic
- 1.5 Tbs smoked paprika
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbs dried oregano
- 1.5 Tbs fine sea salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbs maple sugar
- 4.5 Tbs arrowroot powder
- Mix everything together very well and store in an airtight container.
- Use 2.5 Tbs seasoning for every pound of ground meat.
- Brown meat in a skillet and then drain off any fat or juices that you don't want.
- Sprinkle the seasoning over the meat and add ⅓ cup of water to the pan for every pound of meat.
- Cook and stir for two minutes, until well combined and the water has mostly evaporated.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through them and end up purchasing an item (any item, not necessarily the one I recommended even!) I may receive monetary or other compensation. The price you pay is unaffected by using this link, and buying stuff you were going to get anyways through an affiliate link is a great way to support your favorite blogger and fellow homesteader! Thanks!