This Mexican Spice Blend is made with warm, earthy spices typically used in Mexican cooking. It has not one but four different types of chiles, so it has spice without it being too overwhelming. It’s sure to permanently replace your store-bought version.
*I published the original post in April 2017. It’s updated to include metric measurements, answers to frequently asked questions, and new images.
What is a Mexican Spice Blend?
Mexican Spice Blend is a versatile, all-purpose seasoning made with four types of chile powder, aromatic spices, and dried herbs. It’s perfect for adding flavor to all of your Mexican recipes. This spice blend is an all-in-one way to season your taco or fajita meat, add some punch to your rice, or even use it as a rim for your favorite margarita.
What Is Mexican Spice Blend Made Of?
My Mexican Spice Blend is made with ancho and chipotle chile powders, chile powder (a spice blend itself), garlic and onion, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, Tajín, and a surprise ingredient: cinnamon.
All are spices common to Mexican cuisine, yes, even the cinnamon, so why not mix them into one all-purpose blend? Use fresh spices to get some longevity out of your homemade spice blend. An airtight jar is also important to keeping your spice blend tasting fresh.
Can I Substitute Any of the Spices?
Ancho, chipotle, chile powder, and cayenne peppers are what I use in this Mexican spice blend, but that’s because I’m extra and like flavor. You can reduce the number of chiles down to just one- chile powder- or two. If you decrease the chiles, go with chile powder, a spice blend of its own, and ancho. These two give you a good flavor combo with the least effort. If you prefer a smokier flavor, use chipotle and chile powder. Cayenne isn’t a must, but it does add an element of spiciness that I like in my dishes. If you’re not a fan of heat, you can omit it altogether.
First, add all of the chile powders to a 2-quart mixing bowl.
Which of the Other Spices Can I Substitute?
Mexican food is big on flavor, so adding aromatics to this spice blend is necessary.
Because I’m a huge fan of garlic and onion, I add a generous amount of both to the spice blend. You can decrease the amount you add to just one tablespoon if you’re not as big a fan as me. Use granulated onion and garlic powders, so the spice combo doesn’t clump up in storage.
Additionally, I add a good dose of herbs. The most common herbs in Mexican cuisine are oregano and cilantro. If you can find Mexican oregano, use that. It has a floral taste that is ten times better than that regular stuff. Because I strongly dislike dried cilantro (it just doesn’t have any flavor), I replace it with coriander- its seed. You can substitute dried cilantro for coriander if you like it.
Of course, salt and pepper are a must. Add those to the bowl with the rest of the spices and herbs.
Finally, a unique addition in the form of cinnamon, cumin, and Tajín (or chile-lime seasoning). Add these to the bowl as well. Cumin is the only one of the three that is a must. I add cinnamon and Tajín to the Mexican spice blend to give it more warmth and to add some acidity.
How Do I Properly Store This Mexican Spice Blend?
Use a small whisk or spoon to stir the spice blend until fully combined.
How you store your spice blend is almost as important as what you add. Always keep your spice blends in airtight containers, preferably made of glass. Storing the spices in glass jars keeps them completely sealed from air, which causes them to lose their flavor. In addition to storing them in glass jars, keeping your spice blends in a cool, dark place in your kitchen, like the pantry or a cabinet, will keep them from sunlight or heating up. Because both light and heat cause your spice blends to lose potency, a cabinet is the best place to keep them.
Also, make sure to store it away from any potential moisture since the moisture may infiltrate the jar and allow mold to grow.
How Long Can I Store This Spice Blend?
Once you mix the Mexican spice blend, use a funnel to pour it into an airtight container. Screw or snap the lid on and store it in a pantry or a cabinet away from the stove or any heat source.
Store this spice blend for up to six months. After six months, the spices are not “bad,” but they do lose their potency. You can store and use this Mexican spice blend for up to one year after making it if you’ve used fresh ingredients. If not, I would only keep it for 9 months, tops.
How Do I Use Mexican Spice Blend in My Cooking?
Use 1 tablespoon of Mexican spice blend per pound of meat. Truth be told, I always use a tablespoon and a half because I like my food to be seasoned well. This recipe makes enough to season 19 pounds of meat.
You can also use this Mexican spice blend to season soup (add to taste), vegetables (1 teaspoon per pound), or grains (1 teaspoon per cup).
To make a homemade taco seasoning, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of this Mexican spice blend and sprinkle it over your cooked and drained ground meat. Add 1/4 cup of cold water to the pan, and you’ve just eliminated the envelope seasoning packets from your life forever.
Which of Your Recipes Can I Use It In?
Add this Mexican spice blend to your favorite Mexican recipes. Here are some of my favorites from the site:
- Mexican-Inspired Charcuterie Board
- Elotes (Grilled Mexican Corn)
- Coctel de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail)
You can use this Mexican spice blend in any recipe that calls for taco seasoning or fajita seasoning.
Are There Any Other Ways to Use This Mexican Spice Blend?
Be sure to pin this Mexican Spice Blend recipe to your condiments board and share it with fellow lovers of Mexican cuisine. If you make it, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
Mexican Spice Blendat Sense & Edibility
- small whisk
- airtight jar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (45 grams) kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) chili powder
- 2 tablespoons (12 grams) ancho chile powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (10 grams) chipotle chile powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (16 grams) granulated garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (10 grams) granulated onion powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (4 grams) dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon (4 grams) black pepper
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) chile-lime seasoning (Tajín), optional
- 1 teaspoon (2 grams) cayenne pepper optional
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon optional
Mix, then Store the Mexican Spice Blend
- Add the salt, chili powder, ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, cumin, black pepper, chile-lime seasoning, cayenne, and cinnamon to a 2-quart mixing bowl.Stir these ingredients together with a small whisk or a spoon until they are evenly mixed.
- Pour the spice blend into an airtight container, preferably a glass jar. Store the jar in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
- Use 1 tablespoon per pound of meat or to season soup (add to taste), vegetables (1 teaspoon per pound), or grains (1 teaspoon per cup).
Swaps and Substitutions:
- Decrease the amount of granulated garlic and onion powders to just one tablespoon if desired.
- You can substitute the ground coriander for dried cilantro.
Tips and Techniques:
- Use the freshest spices possible to get the most life out of your homemade spice blend.
- You can use just chile powder for this recipe or use chile powder and ancho powder or chipotle powder.
- If you're not a fan of heat, you can omit the cayenne pepper.
- Make sure to use granulated onion and garlic powders, so the spice blend doesn't clump up too much in storage.
- To avoid a lot of clumping, add a food safe silica gel packet to the jar before sealing it.
- Use this Mexican spice blend in any recipe that calls for taco seasoning or fajita seasoning.
- To make this into taco seasoning:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of this Mexican spice blend.
- Sprinkle the mixture over your cooked and drained ground meat.
- Stir in 1/4 cup of cold water to the pan and bring the liquid up to boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
- You can use Mexican spice blend in margaritas, paletas, or as a seasoning on fries or popcorn.
- Keep the mixed spice blend it in a pantry or a cabinet away from the stove or any heat source.
- Store this spice blend for up to six months, after which it begins to lose its potency.
- You can store and use this Mexican spice blend for up to one year after making it if you've used fresh ingredients. If not, keep it for only 9 months.