Copycat Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Recipe - Eat, Drink, and Save Money (2024)

Cutting out packaged seasonings is one of the best ways to save money on groceries. Not only do you get more robust and fresher flavors, you can customize the spices to your liking. The best part of this copycat Trader Joe’s taco seasoning is that you can make it less spicy than the store bought version. Or you can make it spicier! Your call.

When I first started this blog, one of my very first tips was to ditch packaged seasonings. I love making my own seasoning, mostly because I’m cheap and want natural alternatives to processed foods.

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When I moved close to a Trader Joe’s, I fell off the “make your own spices” bandwagon. I love the fact that Trader Joe’s offers so many low processed foods at reasonable prices. I’m a stickler for avoiding preservatives, food coloring, and fake flavors. I do my best to feed my family real food made from natural ingredients, and at Trader Joe’s I never have to look at the ingredients.

How my low waste lifestyle has impacted my love for Trader Joe’s

As a long time environmentalist I’ve been working towards reducing my waste. Through this low waste journey I’ve realized that many of my Trader Joe’s favorites aren’t eco-friendly. While I still frequent Trader Joe’s, I do my best to buy foods that either come without packaging or have easy to recycle packaging. My favorite packaging is glass jars because I can up-cycle those in my own home instead of recycling them.

The number one Trader Joe’s product that I can no longer justify is taco seasoning.

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What a shame too, because the Trader Joe’s taco seasoning is the best I’ve ever had. One packet typically gives us 4 nights of Taco Tuesday!

Sure, a small packet isn’t a huge deal in the world of waste. And if this packet was filled with something that I couldn’t make myself, I’d justify the purchase. However, I can make taco seasoning. I made it for years before I moved close to TJ’s. So I do. Weekly.

Once a week- Taco Tuesday to be exact- my boys and I whip up a batch of taco seasoning. Yes, I know I could make a huge batch at once and store it for later, but I use this time to practice math with the boys. The weekly repetition is pretty good for them.

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I digress. The main reason you’re reading this is to learn the secret of the Trader Joe’s taco seasoning.

The secret to the Trader Joe’s taco seasoning

There is definitely a secret to the Trader Joe’s taco seasoning.

The secret is ginger.

That’s right, ground ginger.

Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me. I’ve tried so many different taco seasonings to find this particular copycat Trader Joe’s taco seasoning.

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Copycat Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Recipe

This recipe is meant for one pound of taco meat. Want to make a bigger batch for storage? Quadruple this or even make more!

I know this seems like a lot of seasoning for one pound of meat. Feel free to adjust. This is how we like our tacos and how I get it to taste as similar to TJ’s as possible, but you can easily put less.

Copycat Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning

Copycat Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Recipe - Eat, Drink, and Save Money (5)

The closest homemade taco seasoning recipe to Trader Joe’s!

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (reduce to 1/8 tsp if you don’t like your seasoning spicy. The TJ mix is spicy!)
  1. Combine in a bowl

  2. Store in an airtight container until use

  3. To make tacos, cook ground meat on the stovetop over medium heat, add seasoning and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil then let simmer until water has boiled off.

How to use copycat Trader Joe’s taco seasoning

There are so many different ways to use taco seasoning!

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Of course, the easiest way is to use it on ground meat in tacos. However there are many more uses. Here are some of my favorites:

Taco Soup—> click here for the link to the recipe

Vegan Walnut Tacos—> Process 1 1/2 cups of deshelled walnuts in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, add taco seasoning, 1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce). Serve room temperature or microwave for 30 seconds if you want it warm.

Taco Dip—> Mix seasoning with 8 ounces of Greek yogurt or sour cream, mix well and serve with chips.

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Copycat Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Recipe - Eat, Drink, and Save Money (2024)


What are the ingredients in Trader Joe's taco seasoning? ›


How to use Trader Joe's taco seasoning mix? ›

  1. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and taco seasoning mix. Sauté for 7-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  2. Fill taco shells with chicken, and top with cheese, sour cream, salsa, onion, avocado, and jalapeños. Repeat until satisfied.

How much taco seasoning for 10 lbs of meat? ›

To use: Use about 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning for every 1 pound of meat. Use more or less depending on your preference. Brown meat and drain the fat.

What's the difference between Mexican seasoning and taco seasoning? ›

Mexican seasoning typically consists of a blend of traditional herbs and spices while taco seasoning is a specific blend of spices that may not be used as much in traditional Mexican dishes.

Do you add water to Trader Joe's taco seasoning? ›

Drain the grease from the beef, then add taco seasoning and water. Quick Tip! Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning has a kick to it. I use the entire package of seasoning, but you can cut it in half to cut back on the spice level.

Why do you add water to taco seasoning? ›

It also doesn't take as much cornstarch to thicken a sauce, making it ideal for including in a taco mix packet. The amount of flour needed would make the packet unwieldy. However, because cornstarch needs to be dissolved in liquid, you have to add water when cooking.

Do you add water before or after taco seasoning? ›

1/2 cup water: After you've browned your meat, add in 1/2 cup water with 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning mix. Stir to combine and mix all together. Slowly add in another 1/2 cup water as some will begin to absorb – you want it with a little sauce, just not too watery!

Should you add water to taco seasoning? ›

Taco seasoning used on meat for the tacos needs a bit of water to help distribute the spice mix. Packaged seasonings may contain thickeners to keep the finished product from becoming watery. In other recipes you might use the seasoning without water but would need some moisture to make it stick.

How much taco seasoning should I use for 1 pound of beef? ›

Use about 2 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of ground meat for tacos.

How many tacos will 2 lbs of meat make? ›

Each taco shell or small soft taco-size tortilla fits about 2 ounces or 1/4 cup of meat. If you add diced onions, you could stretch a pound of ground beef to make about a dozen tacos. With just the meat and spices, you can make about 8 tacos from a pound of meat.

What can I use if I don't have any taco seasoning? ›

Packet Taco Seasoning replacement: if you only want to make enough taco seasoning to replace 1 packet, use the following amounts:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder.
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder.
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.
  • ½ teaspoon paprika.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
Mar 16, 2021

What kind of seasoning do Mexican restaurants use? ›

Some of the most common spice blends used in Mexican cuisine include chili powder, which typically includes cumin, garlic powder, and paprika, and achiote paste, which is made from annatto seeds and gives dishes a vibrant red color.

What is the most popular Mexican seasoning? ›

With garlic and onions as the savory cornerstone, the most common Mexican spices and herbs are coriander, allspice, cloves, thyme, Mexican oregano, Mexican cinnamon (ceylon), cumin and cacao which showcase the breadth of Mexican food.

Which is hotter original or mild taco seasoning? ›

McCormick Spices on X: "@DialedIn6 Whoops, sorry for the confusion! Our Original Taco Seasoning Mix is spicier than our Mild Taco Seasoning Mix.

What does store bought taco seasoning have in it? ›

Ingredients. Corn Starch, Chili Pepper, Maltodextrin, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder. Contains 2% or less of: Vegetable Oil (high oleic canola and/or soybean oil), Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent), Natural Flavor, Modified Corn Starch.

What are the ingredients in Trader Joe's tortillas? ›

Ingredients. Enriched unbleached wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, safflower oil, cultured wheat flour (to preserve), baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), honey, salt.

What spices are in Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute? ›

Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute is a smooth blend of onion, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato, lemon juice and lemon oil.

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