Craving tacos on the low FODMAP diet? Find out which taco seasonings are low FODMAP and learn how to make a garlic-free and onion-free version at home.
Most packaged taco seasonings available in US grocery stores are made with high FODMAP ingredients like garlic and onion powder and are therefore not recommended for the low FODMAP diet.
But that does not mean you have to give up tacos completely!
When selecting a taco seasoning for the low FODMAP diet, there are a couple of options:
- Choose a certified low FODMAP taco seasoning (ideal, if possible)
- Make your own (more accessible and easily modified for other dietary concerns)
Certified low-FODMAP taco seasoning
Certified low FODMAP products have been laboratory-tested and determined to be low FODMAP in specific serving sizes. Laboratory testing is currently the only way to know if a product (or recipe) is definitively low in FODMAPs. So, consider choosing a certified low FODMAP product whenever possible.
Some certified low FODMAP taco seasonings include:
- Fody Foods Low FODMAP Taco Seasoning (certified by Monash University)
- This has been my go-to low FODMAP taco seasoning ever since it became available.
- Fody’s Taco Seasoning can be purchased on FodyFoods.com (use funwithoutfodmaps15 for 15% off your first order), Amazon, Thrive Market, and a growing number of grocery stores (usually in the “Natural” or “Health” Foods section).
- Casa de Sante Taco Seasoning (certified by the FODMAP Friendly Food Program)
- This is a salt-free option.
- Casa de Sante’s Taco Seasoning can be purchased on CasadeSante.com.
Make homemade taco seasoning
Certified low FODMAP products are not always accessible, budget-friendly, or suitable for every person with IBS. So, another option is making your own blend.
The recipe below for a homemade taco seasoning that I have been making for years. It was originally created to give my taco-loving patients an option based on the minimal FODMAP data available at the time. In fact, this recipe was one of the first that I shared on Fun Without FODMAPs in 2017.
Compared to traditional taco seasoning, this recipe is likely lower in FODMAPs because it does not contain onion or garlic. However, it is made with ancho chili powder, which (based on 2020 data) may contain the FODMAP, excess fructose (see below for more info).
My homemade mix is a simple blend of ancho chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and cayenne. However, free to play around with the ingredients to make very own blend.
Is ancho chili pepper low FODMAP?
No … and yes. Welcome to the wonderful world of the low FODMAP gray area.
Before 2020, ancho chili powder had been recommended by many in the US low-FODMAP community as an alternative to US chili powder, which usually contains garlic. This recommendation was based on the limited FODMAP information available at the time for plain ground chili peppers being low FODMAP.
In early 2020, Monash University provided FODMAP information for ancho chili pepper. Unfortunately, they only offer FODMAP information for a single serving size of 1 pepper or 17 grams. This amount was found to contain high amounts of the FODMAP, excess fructose.
For perspective, 17 grams is a little over three (US) tablespoons of ground ancho chili powder. This amount is significantly more than most are going to eat in a single serving.
So, does that mean ancho chili pepper is off-limits during the low FODMAP diet?
We know that at least some amount of ancho chili powder is low FODMAP because Monash has low FODMAP-certified Fody Foods Taco Sauce, which contains ancho (chili) powder.
The FODMAP Friendly Food Program has also low FODMAP-certified Casa de Sante’s Taco Seasoning, which lists ancho chili pepper as its first, and therefore most prevalent, ingredient.
Why have you not changed your recipe?
Given the updated FODMAP information on ancho chili pepper, you may ask why I haven’t changed my recipe. Here are some reasons:
- I am hopeful that Monash will share information about the low FODMAP serving size for ancho chili powder.
- Certified products are not always accessible (especially in rural communities where I have lived and worked). This recipe offers an alternative.
- A relatively small amount of ancho chili powder is (usually) eaten at a time. FODMAPs are dose-dependent, and not everyone with IBS is sensitive to excess fructose.
- Other foods (or nutrients) can impact the absorption of excess fructose (and taco seasoning is rarely eaten alone). (Wang, Camilleri, Vanner & Tuck; 2019)
- Compared to other FODMAP groups, the relationship between excess fructose in food and IBS symptoms is less clearly understood. (Wang, Camilleri, Vanner & Tuck; 2019)
- Some people with IBS benefit from removing only the highest FODMAP-containing foods (like the onion or garlic found in regular taco seasoning). Although not often discussed online, dietitians use this less-restrictive approach in practice.
- Anecdotal, but this recipe has been well-tolerated in my practice as a dietitian.
If you have concerns …
Every person with IBS is unique, and individual tolerance may vary. This recipe may not be the best option, particularly if you:
- Have concerns
- Are just starting your low FODMAP journey
- Do not tolerate excess fructose
- Know that capsaicin is a non-FODMAP trigger
As alternatives, I encourage you to:
- Work with a GI or FODMAP-trained dietitian to determine what is best for your unique situation
- Consider using a certified low FODMAP taco seasoning
- Test a small amount of homemade taco seasoning when your symptoms are well-managed
- Modify the recipe to meet your needs
Compared to traditional taco seasoning, this recipe is likely lower in FODMAPs because it does not contain onion or garlic. However, it is made with ancho chili powder. According to 2020 Monash data, ancho chili pepper can contain high levels of the FODMAP, excess fructose, in large servings. Please see the ‘Notes’ section below and the associated blog post for more information.
- 2 tablespoons ground ancho chili pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Mix together ground chili pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
Serving Size: This recipe makes 24 (½ teaspoon) servings. A ½ teaspoon serving of this recipe contains about ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder. The excess fructose content of this amount of ancho chili powder is currently unknown. If you have concerns, please choose a certified low FODMAP taco seasoning or test-to-tolerance when your symptoms are well managed.
Ancho Chili Pepper: In 2020, Monash University tested ancho chili pepper and found 1 pepper or 17 grams to be high in the FODMAP, excess fructose. To date, they have only provided FODMAP information for this one relatively large serving (the equivalent of >3 US tablespoons of ground ancho chili pepper). Products containing small amounts of ancho chili powder have been tested and certified low FODMAP. Because of this fact, we know that at least some amount of ancho chili powder can be low FODMAP.
Capsaicin: Peppers, chili peppers, and ground pepper products contain a natural compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin contributes to the spicy quality of these foods. It is a known gut-irritant and can be a non-FODMAP trigger for some people with IBS. Avoid if you suspect spicy foods contribute to your symptoms.
- Category: Spices
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired, Low FODMAP,
Keywords: seasoning, onion free, spice mix, garlic free