Homemade Nacho Spice Mix Recipe – low sodium, gluten free, no preservatives or artificial ingredients | #24CarrotDiet

Nacho Spice Mix Recipe: A Frugal, Homemade Mexican Spice Blend for Tacos, Fajitas, Chili and More!

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.

Homemade Nacho Spice Mix Recipe – low sodium, gluten free, dairy free, no preservatives or artificial ingredients | #24CarrotDiet | frugal recipes | make your own | save money
This easy to make nacho spice mix works well in tacos and chili too


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.


Making nachos? Ditch the salt-laden taco seasoning and check out this #lowsodium nacho spice mix! #glutenfree #hot


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

Homemade Nacho Spice Mix Recipe
5 from 2 votes

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.

Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 18 people
Calories 5 kcal
Author Kyla Matton Osborne


  • 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


Hungarian paprika in a Mexican #spice mix? Try it! #DIY #food


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.


Want to pin this post for later? Feel free to use the graphic below:

Homemade Nacho Spice Mix Recipe: Save money and control what goes into your spice blends. This recipe makes the equivalent of three servings of commercial taco seasoning but it contains LESS THAN HALF the sodium of just one store-bought seasoning packet. No preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and it’s also gluten free! | #24CarrotDiet | DIY | Mexican seasoning recipe | homemade spice blends
This homemade nacho spice mix also works great in tacos, chili, and other Mexican dishes
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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

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

I am not a nutrition expert or health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Please seek out a licensed health professional as needed. For more information, see the health disclaimer linked in the sidebar.

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Homemade Nacho Spice Mix
Kyla Matton Osborne
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12 thoughts on “Nacho Spice Mix Recipe: A Frugal, Homemade Mexican Spice Blend for Tacos, Fajitas, Chili and More!”

    1. Our nachos the other night were so good! We normally just do them with the cheese and then have toppings, salsa, etc. But I loved using the seasoned meat for this. I’m sure you’ll love it too!

  1. I always say that making it yourself is the best. We love Nachos and I hate to say it use the packaged seasoning. Will for sure give this a try Kyla. Thanks!!

    1. Sometimes it’s hard to break an old habit. We started out just using homemade seasoning for chili, but then when I realized I could buy a box of just taco shells without getting the whole kit, I started to mix up the taco seasonings for that. Since then, we’ve pretty much ditch the commercial seasonings and even cook up our own enchilada sauce (I’ll have to share that recipe too!) Food tastes better when you make it fresh at home. All those fillers and preservatives just take away from the flavour.

      What I really need to do next is learn to make my own tortillas and taco shells! I’ve had some monumental failures with corn tortillas, so it’s a bit daunting. But if other people can do it, surely I can learn too 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this! i’ve always wanted to attempt making my own taco seasoning, because like you said normal mixes are so high in sodium. I normally always get the low sodium packets but even that is still more than what you could make yourself.

    1. We use the same spice blend for tacos and chili too. I do cook up a sauce when I make enchiladas, so that’s a different recipe. But honestly, this is a versatile recipe. It would work with fajitas, carnitas, burritos, or even as a rub when you make a roast.

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