Before I found out I had celiac disease and went gluten-free, I relied on those taco seasoning packets you find at grocery stores. I didn’t know how to make taco meat to save my life!
I really was a clueless cook back in the day…
But then, once I went gluten-free, those cheap taco seasoning packets spelled danger.
Many of them contained hidden gluten, and on top of that, the ingredient list was packed full of weird ingredients I didn’t recognize. I can do without preservatives and chemicals in my diet, thank you very much!
Fast forward many years, and I’m a better and much more confident baker; now I make my own taco seasoning mix from scratch.
In fact, I love making tacos. I make them almost every week and they’re always a big hit with the kids. Everyone loves taco night.
How to Make a Taco Seasoning Mix
If you’re going to make gluten-free taco meat at home, forgo the cheap taco seasoning packets. They are totally unnecessary and cost way too much money for what you get. You can make your own taco seasoning with fresh ingredients for a fraction of the cost of those taco seasoning packages.
My taco seasoning mix has just a few ingredients, and works like a charm (each and every time) for about 1-2 lbs of ground turkey or beef.
My clean taco seasoning mix includes:
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. Italian seasonings
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
You can, of course, adjust ingredients to taste. As long as you have a blend of those ingredients, you can’t go wrong.
You can create a few baggies of taco seasoning mix if you want to make life easier, but I just measure what I need each time I make tacos. It doesn’t take long to do – I promise!
Why My Taco Meat Tastes Amazing
To make my gluten-free taco meat taste amazing, I have a few tricks up my sleeve besides adding these wonderful taco spices.
I’ll let you in on my secret…
I add a few special ingredients.
(1) I add fresh onions and let them cook a bit. The fresh onion flavor shines through. I add the meat to the onions and it brings out their flavor even more (and the onions cook in the meat juices – yummy).
(2) I also add fresh garlic. Once everything is cooked through and slightly browning, I add fresh garlic. The aroma alone is amazing!
(3) After I add the taco seasonings, I also add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth (more if the mixture is dry) and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. The chicken broth gives the taco meat a more savory, flavorful profile. Most people use water, BTW.
(4) On top of it all, I like to add 1/2 cup of jarred picante sauce. It will make your taco meat sing!!
Here’s what my gluten-free taco meat recipe looks like when it’s all put together.
I then put together all the taco fixings and dinner is served!
Please note that I rarely use taco shells and I don’t remember the last time I even had tacos. Instead, I prefer to make taco bowls with rice and all sorts of veggie toppings. My kids like to crumble tortilla chips on top of the bowl too (I skip that part as my tummy doesn’t love corn).
Here is what my final taco bowl typically looks like:
If you’re looking for a gluten-free taco meat recipe – one that is foolproof, easy and uses only clean and fresh ingredients – then look no further than this gluten-free taco meat recipe.
Season It How You Like It
The beauty of this recipe (and many recipes you make) is that you can season it up or down depending on your tastebuds. I like my gluten-free taco meat with a little kick and lots of onion and garlic. But you might like it less seasoned. Use the measurements provided only as loose guidelines, and play with the ingredients to find your just-right taco meat recipe.
It’s Whole30 A-Okay, Baby!
This gluten-free taco meat recipe is 100 percent Whole30 compliant (just make sure the picante sauce you use is sugar- and soy-free). Obviously you’ll want to skip the tortilla chips and rice, but everything else is a go!
Here are some of the “taco” bowls I dreamed up during my Whole30 challenge:
Remember, there’s not need for those chemical- and gluten-laden taco seasoning mixes. It’s so easy to make your own taco meat a home, and create fun taco bowls with whatever ingredients you have on hand or like most. Enjoy!
Gluten-Free Taco Meat Recipe
- 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 lbs. organic ground turkey or beef
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
- 1/4 tsp. Fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup GF chicken broth
- 1/2 cup GF mild salsa of choice (optional)
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.
Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic and meat and continue cooking until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. (Be sure to break up meat as you mix it.)
Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to meat mixture. Mix well.
Add chicken broth and mix well. Simmer on medium high until sauce is incorporated into the meat. Add extra chicken broth if needed to ensure mixture doesn't get too dried out.
Add optional salsa and simmer on low for another 2 minutes.
Serve with your favorite taco fixings and enjoy!