The Best Use for Taco Seasoning Packets (It’s Not Tacos)

published Feb 9, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Look, I know that taco seasoning is relatively easy to make at home, and I certainly have, but in this particularly crazy season of life I’m grabbing packets of the stuff at the grocery with absolutely no shame.

My family uses them for tacos and nachos, and even for seasoning soups, but I’ve recently been clued into a few other super-smart uses for the stuff that saves me time. Here are the single best uses for taco seasoning that you’re (likely!) missing out on.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Use taco seasoning as a meat rub.

Here’s something worth noting: Most packaged taco seasonings contain cornstarch. It acts as much as an anti-clumping agent as it does for thickening the juices and grease of browned ground beef. This works to great advantage when using taco seasoning as a dry rub for meat and vegetables — because the cornstarch works with the meat’s natural moisture to make the spices stick even better, and it also creates a little layer of starch that hardens when browned (read: instant crispy beef crust!).

Use taco seasoning to boost yogurt or sour cream dip.

Sour cream or yogurt languishing in the fridge instantly becomes taco dip when sprinkled with a bit of taco seasoning. It works well as a dip or sauce for tacos or nachos, or as a topping for baked potatoes. You can eat it instantly, but I find 30 minutes of rest after mixing — in the fridge or at room temperature depending on your dinner plans — makes for a slightly more flavorful and thick instant dip.

Sprinkle taco seasoning of crispy, roasted things.

Lastly, don’t sleep on taco seasoning for spicing tater tots or crispy chickpeas before roasting. It’s a brilliant (and kid-friendly) topping.

This post was originally published on The Kitchn. Read it there: The Best Use for Taco Seasoning Packets (It’s Not Tacos)