Many popular taco seasoning mixes are gluten-free, including:
- McCormick Gluten Free Taco Seasoning
- Tones Taco Seasoning
- Badia Taco Seasoning Mix
- Mrs. Dash Taco Seasoning
- Simply Organic Taco Seasoning
When checking labels, look for mixes that are certified gluten-free or do not contain wheat, barley, rye or malt ingredients. Homemade seasoning with just spices, herbs, onion and garlic is another gluten-free option. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should always double check labels and use dedicated gluten-free products to avoid cross-contamination.
What Makes Taco Seasoning Gluten-Free?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. For a taco seasoning to be gluten-free, it must not contain any of these gluten-containing ingredients:
- Wheat or wheat flour
- Malt or malt flavoring
- Oats (unless certified gluten-free)
Instead, gluten-free taco seasoning gets its flavor from:
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
So if you see any of those gluten-containing ingredients on the label, steer clear. Stick to pure spices, herbs and flavorings.
Reading the Label
When evaluating taco seasoning mixes, read the ingredient list carefully. Watch out for terms like:
- “Natural flavors” – could contain barley or gluten
- “Spices” – could include wheat
- “Starch” – might be wheat-derived
- “Dextrin” – may come from wheat
- “Maltodextrin” – typically made from corn but sometimes barley
Ideally, the mix should be certified gluten-free, which requires testing for under 20 ppm of gluten. Terms like “gluten-free” or “Free of Wheat, Barley, Rye” on the label indicate it’s safe.
You can also look for seals from gluten-free certification organizations like GFCO, Certified Gluten-Free, or Gluten Intolerance Group. This provides assurance that the product has been tested.
Most Popular Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Mixes
Here are some of the top gluten-free pre-made taco seasoning mixes:
McCormick Gluten Free Taco Seasoning
– Certified gluten-free by GFCO
– Includes spices like onion, garlic, chili pepper
– No gluten-containing ingredients
– Comes in mild and original versions
– Sold on Amazon and widely available in stores
Tones Taco Seasoning
– Naturally gluten-free
– Made with chiles, spices, onion, garlic
– Contains no wheat or wheat derivatives
– Non-GMO and vegan
– Carried at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and online
Badia Taco Seasoning Mix
– Labeled gluten-free
– Free of wheat, barley, rye
– Includes chili pepper, cumin, onion, garlic
– Sold at Walmart, Target, Amazon
– Comes in mild and spicy versions
Mrs. Dash Taco Seasoning
– Calls out “Gluten Free” on label
– Does not contain wheat, barley or rye
– Uses spices like paprika, cumin, red pepper
– Found at most grocery stores
– Also in southwest chipotle and fiesta lime flavors
Simply Organic Taco Seasoning
– Certified gluten-free by GFCO
– Contains no wheat, gluten or artificial flavors
– Includes oregano, garlic, cumin, chili
– Non-GMO and USDA Organic
– Sold at natural grocers like Whole Foods
Checking for Cross-Contamination
When purchasing pre-made taco seasoning mixes, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity also need to consider potential cross-contamination at the factory. Look for trusted brands that explicitly state they test for gluten and avoid cross-contact.
Dedicated gluten-free brands like GLUTINO® or CANYON HOUSE® tend to be safer bets. Their manufacturing facilities are free of gluten, minimizing any risk of contamination.
You can also look for certification symbols like:
– GFCO Certification Program
– NSF Gluten-Free Certification Program
– UL GREENGUARD Certification Program
This indicates the brand has been audited and follows proper protocols to avoid gluten cross-contact.
Homemade Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning
For maximum control, many people prefer to make DIY homemade taco seasoning using simple whole food ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Store homemade seasoning in an airtight container.
- Use 2-3 tablespoons per pound of ground beef or turkey.
This blend contains no gluten and you can customize it to your taste preferences. Double or triple the batch to have taco seasoning ready anytime.
5 More Gluten-Free Taco Spice Ideas
Beyond basic homemade taco seasoning, you can also experiment with these flavor variations:
1. Southwest Taco Seasoning
Add smoked paprika, coriander and cayenne for extra heat and smokiness.
2. Lime Cilantro Taco Seasoning
Include lime zest, cilantro and jalapeño for a fresher taste.
3. Ranch Taco Seasoning
Use ranch dressing mix flavors like dill, parsley, chives and garlic.
4. Chili Lime Taco Seasoning
Spike it up with ancho chile powder, lime juice and cilantro.
5. Fiery Habanero Taco Seasoning
Bring the heat with habanero powder and hot paprika.
Feel free to improvise with any dried herbs and spices to make your own signature blend.
Tips for the Best Gluten-Free Tacos
Once you’ve got your gluten-free taco seasoning, here are some tips for building the perfect tacos:
- Use corn or gluten-free flour tortillas warmed on a hot skillet.
- Sauté ground meat with taco seasoning until browned and fragrant.
- Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado and cheese.
- Include fresh lime, cilantro and salsa for extra flavor.
- Try substitutions like ground turkey, portobello mushrooms or jackfruit.
- Serve with sides like Mexican rice, beans, chips and guacamole.
With so many seasoning options and endless fillings, you can enjoy insanely delicious tacos gluten-free!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are store-bought taco seasoning packets gluten-free?
Many major brands of taco seasoning mixes are labeled gluten-free, including McCormick, Badia, Tones and Mrs. Dash. Always check the ingredients since some seasoning packets do contain wheat, barley or malt.
What about gluten-free soy sauce in taco meat?
Most soy sauces contain wheat. But there are gluten-free soy sauce options made with just soybeans and water, like La Choy or San-J. These are safe to use in small amounts for flavor in tacos.
Can I use Old El Paso taco seasoning?
No, Old El Paso taco seasoning contains wheat flour so it is not gluten-free. Their soft taco shells are also made with wheat.
Are store-bought corn taco shells gluten-free?
Yes, corn taco shells made from just corn are naturally gluten-free. Popular brands like Mission, Ortega and Calidad are all safe options. But check labels since some contain wheat flour.
What about spices and cross-contamination?
Most pure spices are naturally gluten-free. But spices processed on shared equipment may be cross-contaminated. Certified gluten-free brands test for this, so they are the safest choice.
The Bottom Line
Many delicious taco seasoning options are gluten-free, from dedicated brands to homemade blends. Read labels carefully, look for certification symbols, and know what ingredients to avoid. With these simple tips, you can safely enjoy wonderful gluten-free tacos.