9 Best Substitutes for Taco Seasoning with Ratios & How to Use the Alternatives

Taco seasoning is a must-have if you are a fan of Mexican cuisine. It adds a delicious blend of spices to tacos, burritos, fajitas, and other dishes.

However, what if you are in a hurry or don’t have taco seasoning on hand? Don’t worry; you don’t have to sacrifice the flavor of your tacos. 

There are many alternatives that you can use instead of taco seasoning, and we will share them with you today.

In this blog post, we will show you the 9 best substitutes for taco seasoning with ratios and how to use the alternatives.

In short, " What can I use instead of taco seasoning ?"

Chili Powder, Fajita Seasoning, Cajun Spice Blend, Italian Seasoning, Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Homemade Taco Seasoning, Paprika and Cumin, and Taco Sauce.

What is taco seasoning, and what does taco seasoning taste like?

Taco seasoning is a popular blend of spices used to flavor tacos and other Mexican-inspired dishes. It typically consists of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano and paprika.

The flavors vary based on the individual ingredients included in the blend. 

Taco seasoning usually has a slightly smoky savor with hints of sweetness from the garlic and onion powders and a bit of heat from the chili powder or other hot pepper flakes.

What are the main ingredients in taco seasoning?

The main ingredients in taco seasoning can vary slightly depending on the brand or recipe, but here are the typical main ingredients found in taco seasoning:

1. Chili Powder: This is usually the primary ingredient in taco seasoning. It adds a rich, smoky flavor and provides the base heat for the seasoning.

2. Cumin: Cumin is a key spice in Mexican cuisine and adds an earthy and slightly nutty flavor to the seasoning.

3. Paprika: Paprika contributes a mild, sweet, and sometimes smoky flavor to the blend.

4. Garlic Powder: Garlic powder adds a savory and aromatic element to the seasoning.

5. Onion Powder: Onion powder provides a sweet and savory flavor reminiscent of onions.

6. Oregano: Mexican oregano, in particular, is often used in taco seasoning. It has a robust flavor and adds a slightly citrusy and peppery note.

7. Salt and Pepper: These common seasonings help enhance the overall flavor of the taco seasoning.

Uses of taco seasoning

Taco seasoning is a widely popular spice blend that can be used to add flavor and complexity to a wide variety of dishes.

It’s especially useful in Mexican cuisine, but it can be used in any dish to add an extra kick of savory flavor.

Commonly, taco seasoning is used to flavor beef, chicken, and other proteins – either grilled, roasted, or sautéed. It can also be added to sauces, soups, chili, salads, and even eggs!

In addition to adding flavor to meat dishes, taco seasoning works great as a rub for fish or vegetables that are then grilled or roasted.

The blend also works well as part of a marinade for grilling both meats and vegetables. For example, combine taco seasoning with olive oil, lime juice and minced garlic for a delicious marinade.

When using taco seasoning in recipes, it is important to remember that the blend can vary greatly depending on the brand you buy. 

Many pre-packaged blends contain high levels of sodium, so if you’re watching your salt intake, it’s best to make your own blend at home with individual spices such as chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and oregano.

All of which are staples in Mexican cuisine.

You can also make different variations depending on the type of dish you’re making; add smoked paprika or chipotle pepper for an extra kick or cilantro for a hint of freshness!

Where to buy taco seasoning?

If you are looking for where to buy taco seasoning, there are a few different places you can go. Many specialty food stores carry it, as do some international grocery stores

You can also order online from many retailers that provide a variety of diverse flavors and types of taco seasoning.

Best substitutes for taco seasoning

1. Chili Powder – a good substitute for taco seasoning

chili powder is good substitute for taco seasoning

Chili powder usually includes a blend of spices, such as cumin, garlic powder, and paprika, that are similar to taco seasoning.

Ratio or measurement: You can replace 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning with 1 tablespoon of chili powder, or you can adjust the ratio according to your taste.

Use chili powder in all your taco dishes, and enjoy a similar flavor.

2. Fajita Seasoning

Fajita seasoning is a blend of spices that is similar to the taco seasoning.

Fajita seasoning usually includes cumin, chili powder, and oregano, and it can be used in equal proportions to taco seasoning. 

It is perfect for making fajitas, but you can add it to your taco dishes as well.

3. Try Cajun Spice Blend in place of taco seasoning

cajun spice blend is nice alternate for taco seasoning

Cajun spice blend usually includes paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. It has a spicy and savory flavor that can be used in place of taco seasoning.

The Cajun spice blend is perfect for shrimp tacos or any other seafood tacos.

Ratio or measurement: You can use it in equal proportions to taco seasoning or adjust the ratio according to your taste.

4. Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning includes a blend of herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme. It is not the same flavor as taco seasoning, but it can add a unique taste to your tacos.

Ratio or measurement: Use 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning in place of 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning for a different flavor experience.

5. Curry Powder – a great alternative to taco seasoning

Curry powder includes a blend of spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander. It has a unique flavor can add a different dimension to your taco dishes.

Ratio or measurement: Use 1 tablespoon of curry powder in place of 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning, or adjust the ratio according to your taste.

6. Garam Masala

garam masala is great replacement for taco seasoning

Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend of cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. It has a warm, spicy savor that can add depth to your taco dishes.

Ratio or measurement: Use 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala in place of 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning, or adjust the ratio according to your taste.

7. Homemade Taco Seasoning – a decent replacement for taco seasoning

If you don’t have taco seasoning on hand, you can make your own at home.

Ratio or measurement: Mix together 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Customize the seasoning to your taste, using more or less of each spice, and enjoy your homemade taco seasoning.

8. Paprika and Cumin

Paprika provides a sweet and smoky flavor, while cumin adds an earthy note that complements the sweetness.

Ratio or measurement: Use 2 tablespoons of paprika and 1 tablespoon of cumin per pound of meat to create a mild and slightly sweet taco seasoning.

9. Taco Sauce – similar taste to taco seasoning

taco sauce is good taco seasoning substitute

If you don’t have any seasoning on hand, you can use taco sauce instead.

Ratio or measurement: Mix 1/2 cup of taco sauce per pound of meat for a mild, tangy flavor.

Tips on How to Choose the Most Suitable Substitution Option for taco seasoning

When choosing a substitution option for taco seasoning, consider the following tips:

1. Flavor profile: Taco seasoning typically includes a mixture of spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano.

Look for spices or spice blends that can provide a similar flavor profile.

Some options include chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano. Modify the amounts based on your taste preferences.

2. Heat level: Consider the desired level of spiciness in your taco seasoning. You can reduce or omit ingredients like cayenne pepper or crumbled red pepper flakes if you prefer a milder flavor.

Alternatively, if you prefer a spicier seasoning, you can add additional heat-inducing spices.

3. Sodium content: Store-bought taco seasoning often contains added salt. If you’re looking for a low-sodium alternative, consider making your own blend using individual spices. This allows you to control the amount of salt and other seasonings added.

4. Fresh ingredients: If you prefer a more vibrant and fresher flavor, consider using fresh herbs and spices.

For example, instead of using dried oregano, you can substitute it with fresh oregano leaves.

5. Experiment with ratios: Taco seasoning can vary in ratios of spices depending on personal preferences.

Start with a basic combination of spices and adjust the amounts to your liking. Taste and adjust as needed until you achieve the desired flavor.

6. Allergies and dietary restrictions: Consider any dietary limitations or allergies you or your guests may have. Ensure that the substitute spices or blends you choose are suitable for everyone.

7. Store-bought alternatives: If you prefer the convenience of store-bought options, look for pre-made spice blends labeled as “taco seasoning.”

Check the ingredients list and reviews to find one that closely matches your taste preferences.

Homemade Taco seasoning alternative

Certainly! Here’s a basic recipe for homemade taco seasoning


– 1 tablespoon chili powder

– 1 teaspoon ground cumin

– 1 teaspoon paprika

– 1 teaspoon garlic powder

– 1 teaspoon onion powder

– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust according to desired heat level)


1. In a small bowl, blend all the spices: chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

2. Mix well to ensure that all the spices are evenly combined.

3. Taste the seasoning and adjust the quantities or add more cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier blend.

4. Transfer the homemade taco seasoning to an airtight container or spice jar.

5. Store in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. It should remain fresh for several months.

To use homemade taco seasoning

– Sprinkle it on ground beef, chicken, or other meats while cooking to season for tacos.

– Use about 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of meat, or adjust according to your taste preference.

– You can also mix the seasoning with a little olive oil or water to create a marinade for vegetables or meats before grilling or roasting.

Conclusion on substitute for taco seasoning

As you can see, there are many alternatives to taco seasoning that you can use in your taco dishes.

You can use chili powder, fajita seasoning, Cajun spice blend, Italian seasoning, curry powder, or Garam Masala, or make your own taco seasoning at home.

Use any of these substitutes in place of taco seasoning, and you can still enjoy all the flavor and taste of your favorite Mexican cuisine. Try them all, and see which one you like best!

FAQs on substitute for taco seasoning

Q1. What is similar to taco seasoning?

Taco seasoning is similar to other Latin American and Mexican-style seasonings, such as adobo, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, paprika and turmeric.

It can also be compared with barbecue rubs or dry marinades. All of these seasonings provide a flavor boost to meat or vegetables used in tacos.

Additionally, taco seasoning is often combined with fresh diced tomatoes for an easy enchilada sauce.

Q2. Is cumin the same as taco seasoning?

No, cumin and taco seasoning are not the same. Although they both frequently appear in Mexican cuisine, there are some key differences between them.

 Cumin is a spice produced from the dried seed of a plant in the parsley family that has an earthy, nutty flavor with hints of citrus. It is commonly used as an ingredient in chili and other Latin American dishes.

Taco seasoning, on the other hand, is a combination of spices that typically includes chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and other herbs and spices that produce a flavor profile generally associated with tacos.

While both cumin and taco seasoning can be used to give Mexican dishes their signature flavors, they should not be used interchangeably as they each bring different elements to your creations!

Q3. Can I substitute taco seasoning for chili powder?

Yes, you can substitute taco seasoning for chili powder. Taco seasoning is a blend of spices specifically created to season Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos.

It typically contains chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, and salt.

Depending on the brand or recipe you use for your taco seasoning, it may also contain additional herbs and spices like red pepper flakes or black pepper.

When substituting taco seasoning for chili powder in a recipe, keep in mind that the additional herbs and spices in the mix will affect the flavor of your dish differently than just using chili powder alone.

You may want to adjust the amount of other seasonings in your recipe as well.

Q4. Can I use chili mix instead of taco mix?

Yes, you can use chili mix instead of taco mix. Chili mix is a great way to add flavor and spice to your tacos.

It typically contains a combination of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and different herbs and spices.

This blend has more depth in flavor than taco mix and can really deliver a kick of heat if desired. Additionally, chili mix is a much better choice if you’re looking for bolder flavors or trying out traditional Mexican recipes.

Q5. What’s the difference between taco mix and chili?

The main difference between taco mix and chili is the type of meat used. Taco mix typically uses ground beef or shredded chicken, while chili usually contains larger chunks of beef or pork.

Additionally, spices play a major role in distinguishing taco mix from chili; chili often includes cumin, oregano and other earthy flavors which are not found in taco mixes.

Lastly, taco mixes tend to be spicier than chilis since they use a combination of hot peppers such as jalapenos, serranos and habaneros.

Leave a Comment