Perfect for DIY tacos, this recipe has a homemade taco seasoning that works equally well with chicken and beef tacos. So much better than the store-bought stuff and so easy! Have the best tacos right at home with this winning combination.
What makes these tacos so good?
They are easy! The same spice mix serves both the chicken and the beef tacos. The prep work is minimal, and they come together really fast.
It’s also nice how customizable with different toppings and methods of serving.
I also think homemade seasoning gives so much more flavor then the ready made stuff , and you probably have all the spices you need for it sitting right in your spice cabinet.
As a family, we usually go for beef tacos, but my daughter asked for chicken. I didn’t want the process to be a whole different recipe though, so I went for a homemade spice mix that would work with both chicken and beef, got a few chicken breasts, got a couple extra ingredients for the chicken, like lime juice and garlic, and I was blown away by the result.
The chicken tacos are juicy and packed with flavor with a little tanginess from lime. The beef tacos are saucy and smoky and absolutely delicious!
How do I make homemade taco seasoning?
The flavor of the seasoning is spot on. It brings out just enough spice, a little smokiness, and that earthy flavor from cumin. What’s so great is that I found that the same spice mix served both chicken and beef so well!
The ingredients of the spice mix are: chili powder, cumin powder, garlic and onion powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Chili powder is a spice blend in its own right. I used to think it was cayenne pepper and my recipes were a lot spicier than they should have been lol.
If you can’t seem to find chili powder, you can find a home made chili powder mix listed at the bottom of the recipe card!
Can I use store-bought taco seasoning?
Yes you can. Just omit the salt then add any extra salt to taste once the taco seasoning has been stirred in.
What ingredients do I need to make chicken and beef tacos?
For the beef tacos:
Lean ground beef
Canned tomato sauce (so the beef has a little sauciness to it). I used about half a cup, but you can add more if you like your meat to be saucier.
Taco spice mix as discussed above
and a diced onion sautéed in olive oil for flavor
For the chicken tacos:
Chicken breasts- I always get my butcher to remove any fat blobs on this.
You might ask why I didn’t use chicken thigh like most taco recipes out there? That’s just due to family preference. We always prefer using breast over thigh, and the way the chicken is cooked, the breast remains juicy and delicious. I highly recommend trying it, but you can also substitute thigh if you prefer!
Lime- the juice of a lime
Garlic- crushed or minced garlic
Olive oil- to coat the chicken with
Taco spice mix
Can I make just chicken OR beef tacos?
Yes definitely. Just halve the spice mix that’s mentioned in the recipe and follow the steps for whichever protein you want to make.
Can I turn this into a vegetarian dish?
I can see this spice mix beautifully working with sweet potato cubes or chickpeas! I’ll have to try it out myself one day!
What can I top tacos with?
Oh, the delights of a taco bar. If I have the time, I like to make homemade guacamole. If I don’t, fresh avocado slices will do very well! I’d actually prefer avocado to the storebought guacamole.
Shredded lettuce and diced tomato are classics. Sour cream and shredded Mexican cheese or Cheddar cheese serve very well as dairy sources. For some heat go with salsa and jalapeños. I also like sliced black olives! You can do diced red or white onion too. The possibilities are endless!
What do I serve tacos with?
Besides the toppings, any variety of tortillas you like. I got some whole wheat and regular tortillas, and these fun little mini tortilla boats I found. You can also do the crunchy corn tortillas, or just serve the taco meat over some brown or white rice.
Low carb options or healthier options:
Try brown rice or quinoa taco bowls, wholegrain tortillas, or make a chicken taco salad by adding the cook taco chicken to lettuce and some vegetables.
You can also do lettuce wrapped tacos, instead of using traditional tortillas.
Chicken and Beef Tacos
For the spice mix:
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (not cayenne pepper) see notes
- 1.5 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the beef:
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small diced red onion
- 500 g lean ground beef 1 – 1.5 lb
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
For the chicken:
- 500 g chicken breasts, whole and cleaned 4 chicken breasts, 1 -1.5 lb
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lime, juiced
- tortillas, flour or corn, soft or crunchy
- toppings like: diced tomato, diced onion, shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, jalapenos, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado or guacamole
For the spice mix:
- Mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper until well combined. See notes if you want to make your own chili powder! Divide spice mix in to two halves (half for chicken and half for beef)
For the chicken:
- In a large bowl, toss together the chicken breasts with the lime juice,olive oil, minced garlic and the spices. Toss until well combined. Either cook immediately or place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to marinade while making the beef tacos.
- To cook the chicken, heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts all at once, spacing them out. There should be enough oil in the marinade, but if you feel you need it you can add a little olive oil before adding the chicken to the pan.
- Cook for a good 5-6 minutes or until golden brown on one side, then flip and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until golden brown on both sides and completely cooked through.
- Let chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes, then slice. This is your taco chicken ready!
For the beef:
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the onions and cook until softened. Add the ground beef and continue to cook, stirring all the while and breaking pieces apart with a wooden spoon.
- When all the beef has browned and cooked through, drain all the extra fat out of the skillet. Return skillet to the heat, and add the remaining half of the spices. Stir through, and add th tomato sauce. Cook a further minute or so until warmed through, then remove from the heat. Beef taco mix is done
- Serve with tortillas or base of your choice and toppings of your choice. It's fun to do a little DIY taco counter so everyone can top however they like.
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