Best Taco Seasoning You Can Buy

What’s the best taco seasoning mix you can buy? We cooked up multiple pounds of ground meat to find out. Read on for our ranking of the best store bought taco seasoning money can buy.

What separates taco meat from just “any old meat you have lying around?” Seasonings, and plenty of them! Yep, a good taco needs a healthy dose of spice to kick it from bland to bueno, which is why finding the best taco seasoning mix is often the most important part of the taco process. Do you want your tacos mild, but with a heavy Southwest flavor? Maybe with some paprika, but light on the salt? Or perhaps your tongue’s being a jerk and you want to punish it by napalming the hell out of your mouth? All of these options are possible. You simply need to find the best taco seasoning packet for the job.

Related: What’s in Taco Seasoning? We Found Out

To help you on your taco travels, we raided our local grocery store’s “foreign food aisle” (boooo!) to try out as many taco mixes as possible, judging them on flavor, style and heat. So, here’s our picks for the best taco meat seasoning you can find at the grocery store.


McCormick 30% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix

Best Low Sodium

McCormick 30% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix

Taco mixes can really pile on the salt, so if you’re looking for a lower sodium mix, this is the best taco seasoning mix to buy. It’s still salty enough—if you didn’t try it alongside the regular mix, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. (In fact, I thought it tasted a little saltier than McCormick’s “original blend.”) As for the taste, it shares a lot of its flavors with another McCormick product: Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, only with some added notes of paprika and oregano, along with some chile pepper to give it a good amount of heat. Overall, it’s a pretty tasty way to trick your body into being more healthy, which is sadly the only way I know how.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

6/10

Sporks

Siete Spicy Taco Seasoning

Best Spicy

Siete Spicy Taco Seasoning

I’d never heard of the Siete brand before I devoured several pounds of taco meat for this taste test, but after trying this mix, I’m going to be sampling (and presumably still devouring) the rest of their products. This blend is some of the best taco seasoning out there. It has all the flavor and risk of addiction of a high-end snack chip brand, with a surprising mix of salty and savory ingredients (ground dates?!?) that had me gobbling it up with a fervor I usually reserve for those last few chip crumbs at the bottom of a bag of Sunchips. And while some taco seasonings can overwhelm you by piling on the chile powder, this one is a bit more subtle, letting the other spices in the blend come through, while still providing a fiery kick that will leave an impression, but not have you gasping for water.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix, Original Flavor

Best Classic Flavor

Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix, Original Flavor

If you’re craving that “traditional” taco flavor you’ve eaten since you were a kid, chances are you’re craving Old El Paso. As the U.S.’s first nationally distributed Mexican-focused cooking brand, Old El Paso pretty much defined what the public thinks of as “taco flavor.” It’s smooth and strong, with just enough chili to warm up your mouth without making that the sole focus. You won’t find anything particularly surprising about it, but there’s a reason it’s still on store shelves after all these decades. It’s the best store bought taco seasoning for those old school taco nights.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Dash Salt Free Flavor Fuel

Best No Sodium

Dash Salt Free Flavor Fuel

If you’re looking to get rid of all sodium, Mrs. Dash offers some of the best seasoning for taco meat. It features a veggie-focused flavor that’s strong on seasoning. A little lighter and without the salt-heavy focus of most taco seasonings, it still provides plenty of flavor to accent your meat. (I also ended up mixing it with sour cream to make a tasty, if extremely lazy, party dip.) And while it may be a healthier option, it’s not bland. There’s still plenty of chili pepper to keep your temperature up, while keeping your blood pressure down.

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Siete Mild Taco Seasoning

Best Mild

Siete Mild Taco Seasoning

While similar to Siete’s previously mentioned spicy taco seasoning, this mild version gets a higher spot on the list because it’s a little more flavorful. Oh, it’s still got chile powder, but with a stronger focus on the mix of tomato powder and garlic, it packs in a bit more overall flavor.  To me, this seems like the best taco seasoning mix for a crowd. It’s mild enough that you don’t have to worry about people who hate spice, but with enough heat that it still reads “taco” and offers a unique taste that might fool your friends into thinking it’s your own personal blend of spices. (And if you can’t lie to your friends, who can you lie to?)

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix

Best of the Best

McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix 

I’ll admit, I didn’t expect this brand to top the list, as the name “McCormick” doesn’t exactly scream “authentic.” But the heartiness of this taco seasoning mix really surprised me. This seasoning has more of a Southwestern flavor than most other mixes, with a cumin-focused profile (oddly, cumin’s not listed in the ingredients, but it’s got to be in there!) that would blend well with your grandma’s best chili recipe. And it also does exactly what the best taco seasoning packet should do: It brings out the inherent flavor of your meat while adding some extra heat and spice. What more could you ask for?

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Other taco seasoning mixes we tried: Taco Bell Mild Taco Seasoning Mix, Taco Bell Original Taco Seasoning Mix, Ortega Original Taco Seasoning Mix, Ortega Seasoning Mix 40% less sodium, McCormick Mild Taco Seasoning Mix, Lawry’s Taco Seasoning Mix, Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, 25% Less Sodium 


About the Author

Jon Gutierrez

Jon is an L.A.-based comedy writer who's spent 95 percent of his life trying to decide which Ramen flavor to buy, only to go with "chicken." The other 5 percent? Mushroom.

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  • Toss some of your favorite salsa in there along with your store bought taco seasoning to kick it up even more!

    Reply
  • Trader Joe’s taco seasoning by far better than these. And doesn’t have the fillers McCormick puts in their stuff.

    Reply
  • I’ve always trusted Mccormick brand . My mom always used it. I remember the containers. I’m 68 so I don’t plan to change.

    Reply
  • The Siete brand has an addicting habanero sauce that opened my eyes to the brand. It’s a handleable heat with the fruitiness of the peppers showing up to work. After your review I will be purchasing their seasonings. Thank you for the food investigating!

    Reply
  • Should have tried Redmond Real Salt Taco Seasoning. Tops all of these.

    Reply
  • Great list!

    Reply