This is a great low-sodium taco seasoning for anyone needing to limit the sodium in their diet. If you have congestive heart failure, edema, kidney disease, or just want to limit your daily sodium intake, I hope you give this simple salt-free taco seasoning blend a try.
It’s extremely easy to whip up in a hurry, packs a lot of flavor, and will not contribute to high blood pressure or fluid retention. Yay!
Why Is Limiting Sodium Important?
Limiting your sodium intake is important for many reasons. For one, you may have a health condition that requires you to limit your daily sodium intake. For example, individuals with the following medical conditions may need to reduce their dietary sodium intake:
- Heart disease (including high blood pressure, CHF, coronary artery disease, and peripheral artery disease)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease (including cirrhosis, and ascites)
But limiting sodium intake isn’t just recommended for those with medical conditions. It’s a healthy habit for the general population as well.
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most Americans consume 2,000-5,000 mg of sodium each day.
But the highest amount of our sodium consumption does NOT come from the salt shaker. It comes from salt that is added in commercial food production, including foods prepared in restaurants and fast food chains.
Hence, why I LOVE encouraging people to MAKE MORE MEALS AT HOME! This gives you 100% control over the salt (sodium) content of the foods you eat.
Recommended Daily Sodium Intake
Our current 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults limit their sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. However, those with any of the conditions listed above may need to be more strict with the amount of sodium they consume in their diet.
For example, the American Heart Association recommends that individuals with heart disease or high blood pressure limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.
And if you follow a heart-healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, you may notice that some salty foods are included, such as feta cheese and olives. Yet, this is still one of the most recommended diets for improving heart health.
The reasoning for this is that the Mediterranean diet also encourages many other foods and food groups. It includes an abundance of plant-based foods, moderate amounts of meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, all of which are minimally processed. Additionally, there is a large focus on following a healthy dietary pattern.
Then there is the DASH diet, which was developed specifically for those with high blood pressure. The name itself stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (D-A-S-H). There are two versions of the DASH diet. The standard version recommends 2,300 mg sodium per day. And the more strict lower sodium version that is promoted by the American Heart Association and limits sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.
They are both highly effective diets for lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of inflammation, and lowering your overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
How Much Sodium Is In Store Bought Taco Seasoning?
Many store-bought taco seasonings have salt listed as one of the first three ingredients. This means that there is a high proportion of salt in the seasoning blend. This also means you will likely get a good chunk of your daily sodium allowance from that food, depending on how much you eat.
Additionally, one packet of taco seasoning only seasons one pound of meat. THIS low-sodium taco seasoning recipe seasons two pounds of meat, while still giving a great taco flavor but without the sodium.
After browsing a few regular and low-sodium taco seasoning options at the store, I came to find that most regular taco seasonings have around 300-390 mg of sodium per serving. Yes, that’s per serving, not per packet.
And for the lower sodium taco seasonings I found, these had around 220-250 mg of sodium per serving.
If you are trying to limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day, regular taco seasonings would provide 17% of your daily sodium intake. And choosing the lower sodium taco seasoning would provide 11% of your daily sodium intake. Not terrible, but we can definitely do better.
|Brand/Type Taco Seasoning||Amount of Sodium (Per Packet)||Amount of Sodium (Per Serving)|
|Old El Paso Taco Seasoning||1800 mg||300 mg|
|Old El Paso 25% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning||1320 mg||220 mg|
|Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Hot & Spicy||2340 mg||390 mg|
|McCormick Taco Seasoning||2280 mg||380 mg|
|McCormick 30% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning||1500 mg||250 mg|
|Taco Bell Mild Taco Seasoning||1800 mg||300 mg|
How Much Sodium Is In Low Sodium Taco Seasoning?
This low-sodium taco seasoning blend makes enough seasoning to flavor approximately 2 pounds of ground beef (preferably ground sirloin due to the lower saturated fat content 😉).
Using half of this recipe (~2 tablespoons) for each pound of meat you need to season, you will end of consuming only 15 mg of sodium per serving!
And if you want a larger flavor punch and decide to use the entire low sodium taco seasoning recipe in one pound of meat, you’ll still only be getting 120 mg of sodium per the entire recipe, which is 40mg of sodium per serving.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! A super easy, very low sodium, flavorful seasoning to keep on hand!
Ingredients in Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
Chili Powder– Chili powder is actually a blend of spices that includes salt. This is where the small amount of sodium comes from in this recipe.
Garlic Powder– I love garlic and garlic powder. A little of this is essential to any taco seasoning in my opinion.
Onion Powder– Like garlic powder, this is a great spice to use that adds flavor without adding to your sodium intake. Also, another ingredient I go through quickly in my household.
Ground Cumin– This is crucial to many Mexican dishes, including this low-sodium taco seasoning.
Dried Oregano– This adds a beautiful peppery and herby flavor along with a hint of green to your dish. Without a doubt one of the most versatile herbs, as it is used in many different cuisines.
Smoked Paprika– Feel free to use regular paprika if you do not have the smoked variety. That’s 100% fine. I simply love the smoky flavor this adds.
Black Pepper– And last but not least, a little black pepper to finish off your low-sodium taco seasoning. Yay!
Quick Tip: If you like a spicier taco seasoning, try adding a little cayenne pepper to taste.
How To Make and Use
This honestly couldn’t be easier. Just mix all the spices together and you are done!
The easiest way to do this is to place all your ingredients into whatever container you’re going to be storing it in, cover with a secure lid, and shake.
And if tonight is Taco Tuesday and you need this low-sodium taco seasoning recipe ASAP, you can also add the ingredients straight to your meat mixture in the pan. When the meat is almost fully cooked, I add all the seasoning ingredients plus 2-3 tablespoons of water and cook until the meat is fully cooked and browned to perfection.
You can store this seasoning in a few different ways. Some options include:
- cleaned out baby food containers
- your favorite food storage container
- mason jars
- resealable, plastic storage bags
- used/upcycled spice containers
I also recommend doubling or tripling this recipe. Especially if you’re like me and make tacos and fajitas on a weekly basis.
Either way, this seasoning will last around 6 months if stored properly.
Other Ways To Use Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
There are more ways to use this no-salt taco seasoning than just for tacos. Get creative and try adding some to:
- Fajitas, burritos, or enchiladas
- Breading for chicken
- Soups and chilis
- As a seasoning in turkey or beef burgers
- Potato skins
- Macaroni and cheese
- Taco salad
- Mexican pizza
- Other Mexican casseroles and dips
This seasoning is a great way to add some flavor and spice to almost any dish and the best part is…you and your family won’t even miss the salt!
Other quick recipes that are also lower in sodium:
If stored in an airtight container, low-sodium taco seasoning blend will last up to 6 months. Make sure to stir it before using it to ensure all the ingredients are properly combined.
Good options to season foods without worrying about increasing your blood pressure are herbs and spices such as garlic powder, and onion powder, or commercially prepared salt-free seasonings such as some varieties of Mrs. DASH. Take caution when using sodium-free salt substitutes that contain potassium chloride as too much of this could affect your heart. For more, check out my free Salt Substitute Guide in the shop.
There are usually 4 tablespoons of seasoning in the taco seasoning packets you buy at the grocery store. And while this recipe makes about 4 tablespoons, it is enough to flavor 2 pounds of meat.
Low Sodium Taco Seasoning Blend
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- ½ Tbsp garlic powder
- ½ Tbsp onion powder
- ½ Tbsp cumin ground
- ½ Tbsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper ground
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl, jar, or other container.
- Mix to combine and use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- Something important to note is that this entire recipe makes enough to season 2 lbs. of meat. So you would use approximately half of the seasoning blend if you are cooking only 1 lbs. of meat.
- The nutrition information below is for half of the low sodium seasoning recipe (~2 tablespoons). If you use it to season 1 lbs. of meat, this means each quarter -pound serving is 15 mg of sodium each.
- Using smoked paprika is my preferred way to make this seasoning, it adds such a great smoky flavor.
- For more heat, you can add a pinch or so of cayenne pepper.
Share with me: If you tried this salt-free taco seasoning, I’d love to know what you thought. Did you make any adjustments? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
Feel free to save this recipe post or share it with others who may benefit!
Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.