Homemade Southwest Seasoning Mix 

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 I love making my own seasoning blends, they're so easy to make! This recipe for my homemade southwest spice blend is a favorite, made with a blend of 11 herbs and spices that you already have in your spice rack.

You'll love how quick and easy to make it is and it's perfect for tacos, burgers, grilled chicken, or anything you want to add a little Tex Mex spice to.

a gold spice jar holding a homemade southwest seasoning mix

What are Southwest Flavors?

When I think of the Southwestern U.S., I think of a melting pot of different flavors that are so different from the rest of the country.

A mix of Native American influences on Mexican and Central and some South American foods that are a blend of native and old-world Spanish flavors.

So we've got plenty of spice, lots of chiles, earthy cumin (which actually comes from Middle Eastern immigrants!), citrusy cilantro and coriander, and plenty of different plant-based dishes mixed with slow cooked meats. 

We see these things in a lot of Mexican recipes and Tex-Mex, think Birria Tacos with slow cooked beef or goat and a sauce based of blended chiles and spices, or those sizzling fajitas that get so much attention at Tex-Mex restaurants...and all the sides we have with them: corn tortillas, refried beans, chunky guacamole.

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Why Make your Own Seasoning Mixes?

​Homemade spice mixes not only give your food flavor that you know you like, but you get to learn how to use different spices to build your own spice mixes that will be your go-to's whenever you're cooking.

This is my homemade southwest seasoning recipe, a super easy recipe: it's a special blend of spices and herbs, with freshly ground chilies. It's simple, smoky, and so delish on basically anything that you want.

The best part of making your own southwest seasoning is that you control the ingredients in them, so if you feel it needs more spice, less salt, more smoky flavor, you get to whip that up! No funky fillers or preservatives like in store-bought seasoning. Homemade is always better, y'all!

Equipment

Spice Grinder - I use this to really finely grind those herbs and whole spices like peppercorn and coriander into a fine powder.

Airtight Jar - Must have for any spice blend!

A Small Mixing Bowl and a Whisk - making a homogenous spice blend means whipping the spices up in a bowl.

Southwest Seasoning Blend Ingredients

Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

ingredients for a southwest spice mix
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Peppercorn - the best way to get those bright oils from the peppercorn is to freshly grind it yourself! 
  • Ground Cumin- cumin seed is an essential ingredient in any Southwest dish, the earthy scent and flavor is a must have and it's so obvious when it's missing.
  • Ancho Chili Powder - this is our pepper, a smoky, sweet, spicy chile.
  • Smoked Paprika - a favorite spice in so many dishes, it amplifies that smoky southwest vibe.
  • Ground Coriander - this is the seed of Cilantro plant. But cilantro-haters/soapy-gene havers, don't fear! The seeds taste completely different and don't trigger that soap flavor.
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Turmeric - this is an earthy, peppery spice that actually is used to elevate the flavors of the other spices.

What is Ancho Chili Powder?

Ancho chiles are actually ripened red poblano peppers that are dried, with sun dried ancho chiles being the top tier find.

Their flavor is complex: smoky, slightly spicy, and sweet, and because people are starting to become more knowledgeable about different cultures and their foods, dried ancho chilies are very easy to find at your local chain grocery store or at an international market.

How to Make Southwest Seasoning Mix

Measure out the spices and herbs, and grind the peppercorns and seeds into a powder if they are what you're using.

the spices and herbs for a southwest seasoning blend layered in a clear jar

Mix all the spices together until well blended, then put into a jar.

Variations and Substitutions

  • No ancho chilies? Use red pepper flakes, chili powder or chipotle powder!
  • Want hot spice? Use jalapeno or cayenne pepper in your spice blend. Just remember these are hot peppers, so know the amount of cayenne pepper you can handle!
  • Many commercial southwest spice blends use celery seeds, so if you can feel 'something missing' give that a try! Celery seeds add a savory, warm, slightly bitter flavor to your favorite spice mix.

How to use your Homemade Seasoning

I love having this on hand, it is so useful in so many recipes!

  • Fajita Seasoning - this seasoning is literally made for beef fajitas, it's one of my favorite dishes!
  • Marinade - give your proteins that unique flavor by marinating them with oil, lime, and southwest spices.
  • Dry Rub - this smoky, vibrant spice mix is a perfect dry rub for southwest chicken or beef
  • Taco Fillings - season your fillings with a little southwestern spice before cooking them for the best tacos all summer. Grilled fish tacos definitely love this mix!
  • Grilled or Roasted Vegetables and Meats - if it's grilling season, southwest seasoning is a go-to for me because it has so much flavor! It's so delicious on grilled veggies or kebabs, but it's also great on roasted potatoes or sheet pan chicken.
  • Salad Dressings - a southwest salad with a southwestern dressing to add some extra oomph.
  • The Best Gifts - little containers filled with spices are great for friends who love being in the kitchen as much as you do.

Pro Tips

Use fresh spices and herbs. The fresher they are, the longer your southwest spice blend will last.

Now, if you can't find the ancho chili powder, here's how you make your own: Remove the stems and seeds from dried ancho chilies and blend them up in a blender until they are powdered or are very small fragments, much like crushed red pepper flakes.

overhead view into a jar filled with homemade southwest seasoning.

Storage Instructions

Store southwestern seasoning in an airtight container or small jar in a cool dry place (like your spice cabinet) at room temperature for up to 6 months.

FAQs

What's the difference between taco seasoning and southwest seasoning?

Taco seasoning is much more cumin-focused and mild than southwest seasoning, while southwest seasoning has a different flavor from the peppers and herbs added to it.

What southwest seasoning does hello fresh use?

The hellofresh southwest spice blend is garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. That's it!

Can I just use plain oregano instead of Mexican oregano?

You can use mediterranean oregano if you cannot find Mexican oregano.

Is southwest seasoning spicy?

Because this is a homemade southwest seasoning blend, you can make it as spicy as you like. My recipe is mildly spicy.

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📖 Recipe

the spices and herbs for a southwest seasoning blend layered in a clear jar

Southwest Seasoning Blend

Eden Westbrook
 I love making my own seasoning blends, they're so easy to make! This recipe for my homemade southwest spice blend is a favorite, made with a blend of 11 herbs and spices that you already have in your spice rack.
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Course Spice Blends
Cuisine Southwestern
Servings 1 /2 cup
Calories 11 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns or 2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin or ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ tablespoon coriander seeds or 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoons ground turmeric

Instructions
 

  • If using peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried oregano, etc., grind them up into powder.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk all the ground spices together until they are well combined.
  • Carefully pour or funnel your southwest spice blend into jars with airtight lids.
  • The seasoning blend will stay it's freshest for to six months!

Notes

Variations and Substitutions

  • No ancho chilies? Use red pepper flakes, chili powder or chipotle powder!
  • Want hot spice? Use jalapeno or cayenne pepper in your spice blend. Just remember these are hot peppers, so know the amount of cayenne pepper you can handle!
  • Many commercial southwest spice blends use celery seeds, so if you can feel 'something missing' give that a try! Celery seeds add a savory, warm, slightly bitter flavor to your favorite spice mix.

How to use your Homemade Seasoning

I love having this on hand, it is so useful in so many recipes!
  • Fajita Seasoning - this seasoning is literally made for beef fajitas, it's one of my favorite dishes!
  • Marinade - give your proteins that unique flavor by marinating them with oil, lime, and southwest spices.
  • Dry Rub - this smoky, vibrant spice mix is a perfect dry rub for southwest chicken or beef
  • Taco Fillings - season your fillings with a little southwestern spice before cooking them for the best tacos all summer. Grilled fish tacos definitely love this mix!
  • Grilled or Roasted Vegetables and Meats - if it's grilling season, southwest seasoning is a go-to for me because it has so much flavor! It's so delicious on grilled veggies or kebabs, but it's also great on roasted potatoes or sheet pan chicken.
  • Salad Dressings - a southwest salad with a southwestern dressing to add some extra oomph.
  • The Best Gifts - little containers filled with spices are great for friends who love being in the kitchen as much as you do.

Pro Tips

Use fresh spices and herbs. The fresher they are, the longer your southwest spice blend will last.
If you can't find the ancho chili powder, here's how you make your own: Remove the stems and seeds from dried ancho chilies and blend them up in a blender until they are powdered or are very small fragments, much like crushed red pepper flakes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1teaspoonCalories: 11kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gSodium: 171mgFiber: 1g
Tried this recipe?Leave a star rating and let us know!

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