Taco Seasoning: Flavor Profile
Those inexpensive packets of taco seasoning at the grocery are ubiquitous, and inferior in taste. Taco seasoning – whether used to transform ground beef, or a Super Bowl dip – should be vibrant, bursting with smoky chili flavor, with hints of garlic, paprika and cumin. You won’t get that in a store-bought packet.
We take our taco seasoning seriously. It’s spicy and peppery and loaded with tons of traditional Mexican flavors. The result: Our taco seasoning is a lively blend that’s perfect for Tex-Mex, tacos, or any dish that requires a smoky, chili heat thanks to our special ingredient Chipotle pepper powder.
Cooking with Taco Seasoning
This blend of spices is, of course, used most commonly to prepare meats for tacos. From ground beef, to chopped chicken, or pork, taco seasoning works wonders, providing just the right amount of heat and smoke for a vibrant flavor.
Yet, this is a versatile spice blend, that provides tons of South of the Border flavor thanks to a mix of chipotle peppers, chili powder, garlic, paprika and several other spices. Looking for some ideas? Use our taco seasoning for:
- Dips – Amp of the flavor of queso or salsa with a dash of taco seasoning. It’s perfect for cheesy dips or bean-based salsas.
- Sauces – A pinch of taco seasoning can transform spicy glazes, dressings or sauces. It’s great in Mexican or Tex-Mex chili sauces or adobo.
- Soups – You’ll find dozens of recipes for taco-inspired soups, and they all call for seasoning that’s bursting with flavor. Use this for any savory Mexican or Latin-inspired soup.
- Casseroles – Taco seasoning pairs beautifully with ground beef and cheese. Throw a dash in a beefy or cheesy casserole for added smoke and heat.
The taco has been a beloved dish in Mexico since immemorial (at least since the invention of the tortilla). In fact, the Mayans were the first to develop the tortilla thousands of years ago, and many of their traditional dishes featured spices meats over a thick corn tortilla.
Yet, the modern taco, which resembles what you can get at the taqueria, wasn’t likely invented until much more recently. Some believe the taco originated in the 18th century by Mexican silver miners, who likely developed the dish as a quick, convenient way to feed hundreds of workers.
Today, tacos are consumed throughout the country (although they weren’t a popular dish in northern Mexican until the 19th century). And there are many regional differences in how they’re made. In the south and central reaches, tacos are primarily pork, chicken or seafood, and they’re very spicy. To the north, beef is the primary ingredient.
As far as taco seasoning, the history isn’t quite known. Mexicans, for centuries, have used chili peppers to season meats, as well as other region herbs, garlics, onions and salt. And chipotle and ground pepper blends were a common spice for traditional dishes.
Yet, the taco seasoning that we’ve grown to love was invented in part thanks to one major advancement: The invention of chili powder in 1894 by a Texas inventor. Traditionally, chili powder is one of the key ingredients in any taco seasoning blend, giving the spice a hot, smoky flavor.
Spice blends have been used around the world for thousands of years. Herbes de Provence, curry powder and garlic salt, for example, are some of the oldest blends in the world. Most blends have standard recipes, but spice shops specialize in custom blends that are designed for flavor.
Once the recipe has been created, spices can be blended by hand in a large mixing bowl. To get all of the flavors completely mixed, a blend might be stirred hundreds of times by hand. Some shops use mechanical mixers, as well.
To make our taco seasoning, we blend the spice in small batches by hand. We use fresh-ground ingredients, which are often ground the same day they’re blended.
About Our Taco Seasoning
Our taco seasoning recipe took years to master, and we tested a variety of blends before we landed on the recipe we use today. Our blend features smoky Chipotle pepper powder, Aji panca chili powder (spicier and more flavorful than generic), garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano and a touch of sea salt.
The result: A blend that’s flavorful, rich with smoky, pepper flavors that are balanced by onion, garlic, oregano and cumin.