Nacho spice mix is easy to make at home, and costs less than buying packets of taco seasoning. I’ve been making my own Mexican spice blend for several years now. We use it to season ground beef for tacos. But we also use the same taco seasoning to make chili, fajitas, and even slow cooker taco soup. Most recently, we used it to make homemade nachos.
Using Hungarian Paprika in Nacho Spice Mix?
I know it seems odd to be using a Hungarian spice in a nacho spice mix. I mean, Hungarian spice in a Mexican seasoning? But it works for us! I like the heat of our Hungarian paprika. And I find the taste is more complex than the red pepper flakes that are called for in most of the DIY Mexican seasoning recipes.
We really don’t use red pepper flakes in our house, and most of the substitutes we use are wet ingredients like Sriracha sauce. Obviously, that’s not going to work too well in a dry seasoning mix. When I first made my own nacho spice mix, I’d just leave out the red pepper flakes. They’re often listed as optional, so that was fine.
A few years ago, I decided to tweak the recipe I’d been using to make my Mexican seasoning. Instead of just leaving out the red pepper flakes or trying to replace them with more chili powder, I substituted in some Szeged hot Hungarian paprika that I’d bought from my butcher. This is the recipe I’ve been making ever since.
This nacho spice mix is an earthy, not too salty blend. It has a bit more bite than mild commercial taco seasoning. So if you don’t like too much heat, you can choose a milder paprika or use less of the hot paprika.
A Low Sodium Nacho Spice Mix Recipe
One of the problems with commercial seasoning packets is the high sodium content. One web site reports that Old El Paso taco seasoning contains 560 mg sodium. (The manufacturer lists the ingredients on its site, but doesn’t say how much sodium the mix contains.) That’s over 90 mg of added salt per person.
By comparison, McCormick® Taco Seasoning Mix has a cleaner ingredient list and specifies that their spice blend contains no MSG. It uses potato starch as a thickener, so it would seem to be gluten free as well. But it does have added sugar, and it supplies 380 mg of sodium. That’s about 63 mg of sodium per person.
While McCormick does offer a low sodium version of the seasoning, it contains dairy ingredients, in the form of whey and added sugar in the form of dextrose. Its 30% sodium reduced seasoning supplies 250 mg sodium or about 42 mg per person. And let’s keep in mind that’s on top of the sodium that comes from your meat, cheese, and the taco shells or nacho chips.
24 Carrot Diet’s homemade nacho spice mix is truly low in sodium. It has only 174 mg of sodium for the full recipe, which is the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial seasoning mix. When you look at the per person amount, it’s only 10 mg. That’s what I call low in salt! And of course, you can adjust the salt the same way you do the heat of your spice blend. If you really like salty food, you can add a little extra salt in yours. It will likely still be lower in sodium than the commercial packets you might use for nacho spice mix.
Homemade Nacho Spice Mix Recipe
This nacho spice mix recipe makes up the equivalent of three packets of commercial taco spice. You can easily double or even quadruple the recipe, if you want to make extra for gifts. When you want to make nachos or tacos, measure out roughly 3-4 tbsp of the seasoning. For chili or taco soup, you may find the spice stretches a bit further. You could use as little as 2 tbsp, or if you like it really spicy you might use up to 6 tbsp of nacho seasoning. I suggest starting with a smaller amount and adjusting the amount of spice to your preference.
Keep in mind that this nacho spice mix has no thickener in it. When you make nachos or tacos, you may want to create a bit of a sauce for the meat. That means adding a bit of water when you add the spices. This will eventually cook down and thicken on its own. But if you prefer, you can use flour, cornstarch, or potato starch to thicken the sauce.
Measure your thickener according to the amount of liquid you add. You can thicken 1 cup of liquid with 1 tbsp of cornstarch or potato starch, or 2 tbsp flour. When I make soup or chili, I don’t use any thickener. This is another great reason to use a homemade nacho spice mix: you only add the thickening agent if and when you need it.
Nacho Spice Mix Ingredients
Nacho Spice Mix
This nacho spice mix is the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial seasoning mix. It's great for making tacos and chili, as well. It's gluten free, has no dairy ingredients, and contains no preservatives or artificial ingredients. It is very low in sodium, compared to commercial spice packets.
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp each Hungarian paprika and salt
- 1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper
How to Make and Use Your Homemade Nacho Spice Mix
To make your nacho spice mix, simply measure all the ingredients into a clean jar and shake until well blended. Label the jar, and store in a cool, dry place away from direct light.
Homemade seasoning mixes taste best if you make them with fresh, high quality spices and use them within 6 months. If you are making larger batches, only make what you can use within this time. Although spices will keep for up to 2 years, they lose flavour over time.
To use your seasonings for making homemade nachos, use about 3-4 tbsp of nacho spice mix per batch. We use about 1-1/2 lb or lean ground beef, adding the spice once the meat is browned. Add 1 cup water to the seasoned meat, or use beef or onion soup stock for more flavour. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Thicken the sauce as desired.
We season our meat with nacho spice mix and make the sauce quite thick. When it’s ready we layer tortilla chips, meat, and shredded cheese on a lined sheet pan. It takes about 10 minutes at 350°F to warm the chips and melt the cheese. Since we all like different toppings on our nachos, I serve sour cream, black olives, chopped green onions, diced red pepper, etc. at the table.
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Original content © 2013-2018 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
Includes content from a recipe I originally published on Bubblews
Public domain images by Pixabay users LAWJR, stevepb, RitaE, and congerdesign
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