Homemade {Green} Taco Seasoning

Homemade {Green} Taco Seasoning

I must confess, I’ve never really been a fan of traditional {red} taco spice mixes. I have yet to find a packet at the store that wows me, so I usually end up just winging it when I make tacos, adding a bit of this and a pinch of that. Our spice drawers are stocked pretty well (mostly with the awesomeness of Penzeys Spices), so I’m never feeling left out when I’m craving a particular flavor, and feel confident in my ability to come up with a tasty combo whenever I need to.

But there is one little pre-mixed packet that I’ve held very dear to my heart for many years, that I just can’t seem to shake. It’s not your typical taco seasoning. The packaging has changed over the years, but it used to advertise “no red stuff!”

Homemade {Green} Taco SeasoningDo you know this little packet of yum?! Chi-Chi’s Restaurante Seasoning Mix

If you’re not familiar with Chi-Chi’s, it was a Mexican restaurant chain founded here in Minnesota back in the 70’s. Growing up on the farm in South Dakota, the closest Chi-Chi’s was located in Fargo, about 75 miles away. When we drove to Fargo for shopping (the closest mall!), appointments, or concerts, you can bet that Chi-Chi’s was always a contender for our lunch money. I was kind of addicted to their wonderfully thick and almost crispy chimichangas. And their chips and salsa. And their seafood enchiladas, all creamy and worthy of plate licking.

Now there’s not a Chi-Chi’s restaurant to be found.

Man, I miss those guys.

Homemade {Green} Taco Seasoning

I think that a part of my attitude toward that little seasoning packet is tied to nostalgia and all the great meals I had there with family and friends for so many years. But I also just plain love its flavor. The mix is not hot and spicy, just really flavorful. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the packet’s ingredients list and grunted in frustration. It lists a few common obvious ingredients such as dehydrated onions, salt, and garlic powder, and then ends with “spices”. Are you kidding? That’s no ingredients list!

So I turned my grunting around, into something much more positive. I took out my “spices” and made my own Chi-Chi’s seasoning mix.

Our girls have never been fans of traditional red taco seasoning or pretty much anything using red chiles, so this Homemade {Green} Taco Seasoning has been a big hit with our family. Now we can all enjoy the Mexican dishes that we love…tacos, Macho Nachoz, and quesadillas…using our own flavorful homemade mix. Blake and the girls live for turkey taco night around here!

Homemade {Green} Taco Seasoning

The store bought Chi-Chi’s mix has dehydrated onions and green chiles, left in larger flakes. I have experimented with leaving our homemade mix with the flakes intact, and also with running the mix through a spice grinder, which quickly whirrs all the ingredients to a uniform size. I think it’s a matter of personal choice…flakes or no flakes…in the end, the flavor is the same either way. (Delicious!)

Homemade {Green} Taco Seasoning

Yield: about 3 tablespoons seasoning, good for 1 pound of ground or shredded meat


  • 1 T. green bell pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. minced white onion
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried crushed jalapeño
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • large pinch cayenne pepper
  • large pinch crushed red pepper flakes


Note: All of the listed ingredients can be found at your local Penzeys Spices store or at www.penzeys.com

Stir together all ingredients. If desired, use a spice grinder to incorporate more evenly and achieve a uniform size for all ingredients. If you want to make a larger quantity of seasoning, to keep on hand for future use, I would recommend grinding the mixture. Otherwise, the smaller granules settle to the bottom, while the larger flakes sit on top. If you don't grind a large quantity of this mixture, just be sure to stir it very well before using it.

A single recipe of this mix works great for 1 pound of ground or shredded turkey, beef, pork, or chicken. Once the meat has been browned in a skillet, simply add this seasoning mixture along with 1/3 cup of water. Stir well and turn heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.

Meat seasoned with this mixture is awesome in tacos, nachos, quesadillas, breakfast burritos, and so much more!

Inspired by my favorite Mexican seasoning mix, Chi-Chi's Restaurante Seasoning.


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