Are you a fan of tacos and suddenly found your spice rack out of taco seasoning? Or perhaps you want to cut back on sodium intake but just can’t stay away from that savory umami flavor?
Fear not, there are several taco seasoning substitutes that you can use to achieve the same desired result. For the more adventurous, how about making your own taco seasoning using homemade ingredients?
Join us in this culinary adventure as we explore the best taco seasoning substitutes for the most sumptuous tacos.
What Blend of Spices Does Taco Seasoning Contain?
Taco seasoning is an inseparable part of Mexican cuisine that gives your dishes a unique and genuine taste. Taco seasoning’s made of a spice blend like pepper, salt, cumin, paprika, garlic, oregano, and onion.
You may also buy taco seasoning with pre-mixed ingredients from your neighborhood supermarket or prepare them yourself at home.
Taco seasoning may be used for more than just tacos. It can be added to soups, beef or chicken stews, casseroles, sandwiches, rice dishes, grilled dinners, and stir-fry to improve the savor of any dish. It’s also fantastic in marinades and broths, allowing you to incorporate authentic Mexican flavor into all of your other recipes.
If you don’t have taco spices on hand, here are some substitutes you can use instead.
Best Substitutes For Taco Seasoning
If you run out of taco seasoning or you want to swap it out for an ingredient with less sodium and heat, there are different alternatives you can choose from. Most taco seasoning substitutes are very easy to come by, and you may already have them at home.
1. Make Your Own Taco Seasoning at Home
Taco seasoning is a perfect blend of different ingredients and complex flavors, and you probably have some of these individual ingredients in your spice rack.
So, you can simply make your own taco seasoning at home if you are out of the store-bought version.
Taco seasoning is made by combining cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, red chili powder, and oregano; you can adjust the blend of spices to suit your preference.
You will need one teaspoon of each of these spices, but if you want a little heat kick, you can add two teaspoons of ancho powder or cayenne powder if you want to keep the heat in check.
To intensify the red color of the seasoning, you can also add some tomato powder. You can skip adding sea salt, but if you don’t, use kosher salt.
2. Chili-Cumin Combo
Both chili powder and cumin are popular in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking, and when combined, they produce a wonderfully earthy and mildly spicy taste profile.
If you don’t have all of the individual ingredients, these two make the base of most taco seasoning dishes.
Chili powder will give you some heat, however, take note that it ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 on the Scoville heat units scale. It’s not as spicy as some other chili peppers.
3. Ranch Dressing Mix
“Ranch dressing mix?” Yes, you read that correctly! This dressing is used in place of taco seasoning since it has some of the common spices. It may appear strange to use ranch dressing instead of taco seasoning, but please bear with us. If you’re in a pinch or feeling experimental in the kitchen, it might actually be an amazing alternative.
In your recipe, just use the same amount of ranch dressing, similar to taco seasoning. Remember also that ranch dressing may not have the same level of heat and savor compared to most taco seasonings. To get that typical delicious Mexican flavor, try adding some more cumin or chile powder to your dish.
Note: The ranch seasoning contains dried herbs and buttermilk powder, which might alter the overall flavor of your food. But, hey, that’s the fun of cooking: experimenting and trying new things!
4. Adobo Seasoning
This versatile spice combination originated in the Philippines but has since spread to Latin American cuisine, becoming a mainstay in Mexican food, including chicken Fajitas, tacos, or Taquitos. Adobo spice, which is packed with garlic, black pepper, and salt, is a flavor explosion with unlimited variants based on the region and the recipe.
Here’s the kicker – adobo seasoning isn’t just a one-trick pony. Because of its comparable spicy flavor, it’s an excellent alternative to taco seasoning. But the greatest part?
Adobo spice is more flexible compared to taco seasoning, adding robust flavor to anything from tender meat sauce to crisp vegetables, even soups, and stews!
Before you go all-in on this spicy seasoning, keep in mind that adobo seasoning may be rather salty. So, adjust the portions properly and savor the food before adding any more salt.
In addition, adobo seasoning is typically a healthier option compared to taco seasoning mix. You can feel good about cooking with this bad boy since it has less salt and no preservatives or artificial flavors.
5. Sriracha Hot Sauce
Sriracha hot sauce is a mainstay in many Southeast Asian cuisines. However, did you know it can also be used as a taco flavor substitute? That’s correct, you can give your Mexican cuisine an Asian-inspired touch!
Taco seasoning is all about that robust and delicious note. But why go with the same old mixture when you can add some Sriracha spicy sauce to it? Sriracha sauce has a slightly sweet taste and doesn’t contain vinegar; this means it doesn’t add a tangy flavor to your dish compared to taco seasoning.
Sriracha sauce is no joke regarding spicy levels, so don’t overdo it. Begin with a little amount and gradually increase until you’ve noticed the right mix of heat and tang.
To make the aroma even more similar to taco seasoning, you can add a dash of cumin and red chili powder.
6. Chili Powder
Chili powder is a common spice added to many homemade taco seasoning alternatives; it usually includes various other spices like cumin, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder.
It can be used as a standalone taco seasoning substitute due to its rich flavor. Chili powder is easy to find, and you probably already have a sachet or airtight container of it in your spice rack.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Use Instead Of Taco Seasoning?
Instead of taco seasoning, you can use some other common spices or make a homemade taco seasoning by combining a tablespoon of chili powder, 1tsp of cumin and salt, ½ teaspoon of hot paprika, and a quarter teaspoon of onion powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.
Do You Drain Meat Before Adding Taco Seasoning?
Draining your meat before adding taco seasoning removes the grease and helps to enhance its taste. This also helps maintain the ground beef high-fat content that keeps it juicy.
What’s The Difference Between Chili Powder And Taco Seasoning?
Taco seasoning contains more cumin than most chili powder. Chili powder, on the other hand, contains more chili powder paprika and chili than taco seasoning.
Conclusion: Taco Seasoning Substitute
If you run out of taco seasoning or you love experimenting with new cooking ideas, there are lots of options. You can start by making taco seasoning at home with a spice blend of things you already have on your spice rack.
Or try a ready-made option like chili powder cumin combination, ranch dressing mix, adobo seasoning, or even jerk seasoning. Remember to try other spices to help you find new flavors and improve your taco cooking technique.