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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!)
Combine in a bowl
Store in an airtight container until use
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!
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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