REVIEW: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Both

What are the Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos?

The new “sandwiches” with flatbread that wraps around the chicken like a taco are available in two varieties — regular and spicy. Both come with creamy chipotle sauce and crispy, white-meat chicken that’s marinated in jalapeño buttermilk, seasoned with Mexican spices, and have a tortilla chip coating. The spicy one also comes with pickled jalapeño peppers.

How are they?

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Size

Well, they’re fit-in-the-palm-of-my-hand small. They’re also very, um, well, let’s just say I don’t need a manual to make one if I got thrown into a Taco Bell prep line. With the regular one, it’s just flatbread, sauce, and chicken.

But while they’re small and simple, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

With the Flatbread Tacos on the menu a few months ago, I complained about how the flatbread can mute the other ingredients, but that wasn’t the case with these. The ample amount of smoky and peppery chipotle sauce provides a lot of flavor and, in doing so, makes sure the flatbread knows its role as a vessel and not much else.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Regular

But the chicken strips really surprised me. They had a decent thickness to them, the meat wasn’t too dry, the exterior was surprisingly crunchy, and what was even more of a surprise, they were seasoned enough that they taste good on their own. If Taco Bell ever wants to get into the chicken strips game, it could do so with these.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Spicy

As for heat, the chipotle sauce brings some lower-level spiciness, while the jalapeño peppers in the spicy one takes things up a notch or two. Also, the brine-y flavors from the peppers add a vinegary bite, which I enjoyed.

Anything else you need to know?

There’s a conversation about whether a taco is a sandwich. It’s like how some folks ask whether a hot dog is a sandwich. I’m not going to share my opinion here because it would add 1,000+ words to this review. I’m just satisfied these are tasty.

These have an “online exclusive price” of $1.49 in most regions, which I think is worth it. But here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s $2.59, which is a bit too much for something so small.

Conclusion:

The flavors of Taco Bell’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos delight me, and because of that, I want to give them a higher rating, but their size makes it hard for me to do so. Definitely worth a try at their online exclusive price.

Purchased Price: $2.59 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 280 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Spicy – 290 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 710 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Loaded Taco Fries, Loaded Taco Fries Burrito, and Flatbread Tacos

Taco Bell Loaded Fries Burrito Split

Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries are back!

Taco Bell’s flatbread is back!

Taco Bell’s potatoes are back!

Taco Bell’s Volcano Sauce is back!

Taco Bell’s chihuahua is back!

Okay, those last two aren’t true, but can’t we dream?

Loaded Taco Fries and Loaded Taco Fries Burrito

Taco Bell Loaded Taco Fries Far

When Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries return, they usually comes with a new loaded variation that I assume was developed by having interns throw every ingredient the chain offers up into the air and having another intern catch as many of them as possible into a burrito-sized tortilla that’s attached to their head with a graduation cap.

This time the intern caught seasoned beef, crispy red strips, lettuce, nacho cheese sauce, spicy ranch, tomatoes, and cheese, and it’s called Loaded Taco Fries. There’s also a burrito version with all of that inside the same tortilla used by Taco Bell’s R&D interns.

Taco Bell Loaded Taco Fries Closeup

I might be wrong about many things, like how Taco Bell uses its interns, but I think this is the first time lettuce has appeared on Nacho Fries. And after seeing a lettuce layer on top of my order, I wondered if someday we’ll see a Taco Bell Loaded Taco Fries Salad. Just throwing that out there if a lot of lettuce gets caught in a tortilla, Taco Bell.

Obviously, the Nacho Fries are the highlight of both items. Their seasoning blends well with the much more bold seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, and spicy ranch. Also, the tomatoes brought a nice acidic burst. As much as I enjoyed eating both, all the flavors meld better in the burrito.

Taco Bell Loaded Fries Burrito Fist Bump

I mean, look at the cross-section shot above. I just want to fist bump it. Sure, the fries are not at all crispy, but they give the burrito a notable heft and thickness. Also, it’s just so cool to see fries in a burrito.

Taco Bell Loaded Fries Burrito Girth

Other things about the two menu items. The red strips maintain a decent crunchiness on the loaded fries, while the ones in the burrito were unsurprisingly soggy because it’s trapped in a tortilla with sauces and moisture. Also, I could’ve sworn the spicy ranch was hotter than what I experienced with these. On a scale of 10, it’s a one or two. Maybe my tolerance has changed?

Taco Bell is also offering both with black beans instead of seasoned beef. I apologize to our vegetarian readers for not trying those. Feel free to slap my face with lettuce leaves through your screen.

Purchased Price: $4.29 (Loaded Fries), $3.99 (Burrito)*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Loaded Fries), 8 out of 10 (Loaded Fries Burrito)
Nutrition Facts: Loaded Taco Fries – 560 calories, 36 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of sodium, 1010 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. Loaded Taco Fries Burrito – 590 calories, 30 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1120 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

Flatbread Tacos

Taco Bell Flatbread Tacos Both

The Flatbread Tacos come in three varieties — Loaded Chicken, Beefy Potato, and Loaded Black Bean. I didn’t try the black bean variety, so I apologize to our vegetarian readers again. Feel free to pelt me with dried beans through your screen.

The Loaded Chicken comes with grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado ranch sauce, cheese, and tomatoes. The beefier and potatoier version comes with seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, and potatoes.

Taco Bell Flatbread Tacos Beefy Potato

Between the two, I enjoyed the Beefy Potato one SIGNIFICANTLY more than the Loaded Chicken. It reminds me of the Taco Bell Beefy Potato-rito, and if you’ve had anything with seasoned beef and nacho cheese sauce, you’ll have an idea of what this tastes like. I’m a little surprised it didn’t come with a smoky or spicy sauce, but it’s still a gosh darn goodie the way it is.

Taco Bell Flatbread Tacos Loaded Chicken

With the chicken version, the flavors of what’s inside aren’t that bold to begin with, and they’re toned down by the flatbread, making the taco taste bland. That toning down also happens with the Beefy Potato, but the seasoned beef and nacho cheese sauce flavors do a better job at coming through the flatbread than the tender grilled chicken and avocado ranch.

Purchased Price: $2.89 (Loaded Chicken), $1.89 (Beefy Potato)*
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Loaded Chicken), 7 out of 10 (Beefy Potato)
Nutrition Facts: Loaded Chicken – 270 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 580 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein. Beefy Potato – 310 calories, 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 700 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Primo Burritos

Taco Bell Primo Burritos Innards

I am writing this in late April 2021. Outside, fat snowflakes are pelting my windows and coating all visible surfaces. The forecast called for at least three inches, and I suspect we’ll eclipse that. This springtime hellscape is currently testing my will to continue living in Kansas City, where snow should knock it the hell off no later than, oh, February.

I don’t like this test.

One test I do like, however, are test market items from fast food purveyors. And though we’re no Ohio, we’re currently the only spot in the nation with Taco Bell’s new Primo Burritos.

Taco Bell Primo Burritos Thick

I tried both the Loaded Taco Primo Burrito and Chicken Enchilada Primo Burrito. So, are these burritos primo? In a word, no. Not only are they both boring offerings that are short on flavor (though incredibly cheap for the size), they barely even qualify as “new.”

Taco Bell Primo Burritos Taco

The Loaded Taco Primo burrito comes with “seasoned beef, crunchy red tortilla strips, lettuce, reduced fat sour cream, and cheddar cheese.” And if that ingredient combo — and even the name — sounds familiar, it’s because, in 2017, Taco Bell offered the “Loaded Taco Burrito,” which was all of those same things PLUS avocado ranch sauce PLUS a double portion of beef. And do you know what would have made this burrito considerably better? Avocado ranch sauce and/or possibly more beef!

As presented, the burrito came up short in terms of taste. While the red tortilla strips remained crunchy, which was great for texture, they tasted indiscernible from the regular burrito shell. The seasoned beef was pretty skimpy (though, to be fair, this item was $1) and, you know, Taco Bell beef. The lettuce was warm and didn’t add anything, nor did the standard cheddar cheese. The sour cream was good, but it didn’t keep the burrito from being mostly dry.

Look, if you’ve eaten at Taco Bell, you’ve had this burrito in some form or another.

Taco Bell Primo Burritos Enchilada

This brings us to the Chicken Enchilada Primo Burrito. This new offering features white meat chicken strips, reduced fat sour cream, seasoned rice, enchilada sauce, and cheddar. And if you think THAT ingredient list sounds familiar, well… okay, so I don’t know that Taco Bell did this exact burrito before, but all the way back in olden times — from 2004-2007, then briefly resurrected in 2010 — it did a Chicken Enchilada Grilled Stuft Burrito. That was the same thing, except it had the patented three cheese blend instead of plain cheddar, and the whole thing was grilled. And you know what would have made this better? A three cheese blend and grilling!

If this all sounds like I’m simply trying to be an anti-Bell contrarian, I apologize; the fact of the matter is, this burrito, like its newborn sibling, was a boring rehash, something that, let’s face it, Taco Bell is prone to doing.

While the Enchilada burrito won’t be winning any awards, it was definitely better than the Taco version. The enchilada sauce — milder than any you’ve had before, but still decent — was mixed with the sour cream to ensure that dryness wasn’t a factor, and the seasoned rice kept everything from being too gloopy of a mess. Even still, this isn’t something I can imagine spending money on again.

In the end, neither one of these did much for me, nor can I imagine them sticking around for long. (If, in fact, they even ever get a national rollout.) Better luck next time, Taco Bell.

Purchased Price: $1.00 (Loaded Taco), $1.49 (Chicken Enchilada)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Loaded Taco), 6 out of 10 (Chicken Enchilada)
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable

REVIEW: Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack 18 inches

As someone who lived through the early 2000s when most fast food vegetarian options were a side salad, freezer-burnt black bean burger, or being told to “just pick off the meat,” I can say with great enthusiasm: it’s a great time to be a vegetarian.

While I am no longer strictly following the vegetarian diet, I will still happily get things marked “Vegetarian.” So, naturally, when Taco Bell advertised the Veggie Nachos Party Pack as part of its new Veggie Cravings menu, I was intrigued.

While the Party Pack Nachos aren’t a new item for Taco Bell, this version seems to be specifically branded as a vegetarian item to help push the new menu. It consists of tortilla chips topped with refried beans, warm nacho cheese sauce, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, guacamole, and reduced-fat sour cream. That’s it. I was surprised by how simple the ingredient list seemed. But I looked at the meat option too, and it came with both beef and refried beans. So why wouldn’t this one have refried AND black beans? All the other items on the Veggie Cravings menu have black beans.

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack Guac and Jalapeno Closeup

I cannot understate how much food it is. I measured the length of the box, and it was around 18 inches. Unfortunately, the large quantity of food didn’t quite make up for the lack of quality. The initial shock of “wow, that’s a LOT of food” wore off quickly as I started to eat. It became very clear that the amount of toppings was not proportional to the amount of chips. In fact, after removing the top layer of chips and toppings, the bottom of the box was littered with the tiny broken tortilla chip bits.

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack Too Many Chips on the Dance Floor

When getting bites with all the toppings and chips together, the item was fine. While I feel most of us are familiar with the flavors of Taco Bell, this item really showcased how they are not meant to be eaten separately. When all layered into a taco/burrito/Crunchwrap, you get the experience of all the flavors in one bite. In a nacho situation, you are often eating a chip with just some cheese or refried beans and it highlights how they don’t really stand out on their own. The occasional jalapeno or tomato piece was welcome, but didn’t do much to move the flavor needle. Maybe I expect too much from Taco Bell, but the overall salty blandness of the item was disappointing.

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack Plated

When ordering, you are given multiple options to add other toppings to the nachos. I think, if I were to do this again, I’d add rice and black beans (which should have been there in the first place). However, when you start adding up the cost of additional items, I’m inclined to just pay the extra $2 and go to Chipotle. The only “additions” I included were three specialty sauces on the side to use as dips. I am glad we got them as we were able to eat some of the untopped chips before tapping out.

Overall, it’s not a bad item, just not as good as I felt it could have been. If you are not a strict vegetarian, I’d at least go with the Nachos Party Pack with meat. It costs the same, and (hopefully) you’d get a little more food.

Purchased Price: $10.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 box) 1770 calories, 93 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 2510 milligrams of sodium, 206 grams of carbohydrates, 34 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Taco Bell Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Whole

“Vegetarians rejoice: now you too can join your meat-eating brethren by stuffing your gullet with Taco Bellian deliciousness!” feels like the kind of thing Taco Bell’s marketing department might want me to write with the release of its “new” vegetarian-friendly menu item, the Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa.

I won’t do it, though.

Why?

Because, despite what the taco chain wants you to believe, non-meat eaters have always been able to clog their arteries right along with everyone else. Its refried beans, in fact, are vegan. Its black beans have been around for years and, in this modern era of customization, can be subbed for just about any other protein on its menu.

Furthermore, the toasted cheddar chalupa shell isn’t a “new” item, either. When it was first introduced in September of 2019, Taco Bell proclaimed it “the biggest food innovation of the year,” which, sure, why not. I can’t disprove this statement, nor am I sure why I’d want to.

So, here we are a year later, and Taco Bell is cramming the aforementioned black beans into the reintroduced cheesy chalupa shell. Perhaps it’s hoping it’ll placate vegetarians enough to not riot over the fact that it recently did away with one of the other things they could eat: the fried potatoes.

And so, does it work? Maybe!

As one might expect, the chalupa shell (which Taco Bell suggests is ensconced in cheddar that has been aged for six months) does the heavy lifting. This was my first experience with the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa — with any kind of filling — and I was very pleased. Texturally, the cheese adds a nice crunch that then yields to the pillowed, buttery chew of the traditional chalupa shell. Could I tell the cheese had been aged six months? No. Was it a little like when shredded cheese falls out of the omelet you’re making, and it gets all crispy in the pan, and you eat it and think, “now this is allllll right”? Yes.

I could happily eat eight of these shells with nothing else in them and call it a day.

I didn’t, however, because that would make for a bizarre review. Also, the one I ordered was filled with black beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

Taco Bell Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Shell

You might be wondering how the shredded cheese plays with the toasted cheese on the shell, and the short answer is…indistinguishably? The longer, more ridiculous answer is that they harmoniously — though indifferently — coexist, like an old cat and old dog who live together but mostly just stay out of each other’s way. In other words, if they forgot to add your shredded cheese, it probably wouldn’t detract from the experience.

Which leaves the seasoned beans. And the verdict? I mean, they’re black beans, and by default, not very jazzy in nature. They are also a bit soupier than say, Chipotle’s black beans, but they have about the same amount of flavor. (It is also very possible the sour cream adds to this soupiness; that said, it provides a much needed tang to the proceedings, and I’d be hesitant to leave it off.)

While the Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa probably won’t convince anyone to give up their meat-eating ways, it does provide existing vegetarians with a nice alternative to the regular bean burrito or whatever that thing is with pinto beans and cheese in a cup. At least until this heavenly shell is once again banished to fast food purgatory. Then it’s back to subbing in black beans to a normal chalupa like a common street rat.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 470 calories, 29 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 6 gram of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.