If you had told me a year ago, or heck, even just a few days ago, that I’d be “winging” in 2022 by reviewing chicken wings from Taco Bell, I would have said you were out of your gourd (or gordita, as it were). But if you squint, I guess there’s a strange sort of synergy to it. In recent years Taco Bell has been expanding its roster of alcohol-slinging “Cantina” locations, and what’s a more appropriate bar food than wings?
My first impression was that these Crispy Chicken Wings… looked like chicken wings. That’s maybe not the most profound musing, but cut me some slack, this was the first time I’d ever purchased, nay, even conceived of the idea of a food item from Taco Bell that was not slathered in cheese, beans, sour cream, or some combination thereof. I don’t know, I would have felt more at home if they’d at least slapped a gratuitous Doritos Locos logo on there or something.
I began by searching for the advertised “Mexican Queso seasoning.” I was eventually able to divine some, dare I say, cheetle-esque orange dust, but these wings are pretty standard-looking (albeit crispy). I would describe the coating as more ambiguously savory than particularly cheesy, but my main impression of its taste was, plain and simple, “fried,” which I consider to be a compliment!
Digging in deeper led me to a discovery even more surprising than the fact that Taco Bell is offering chicken wings in the first place, which is the fact that Taco Bell chicken wings are actually quite good.
My wings were tender and flavorful, the meat practically falling off the bone without the grittiness or stringiness that can plague lesser chicken items. I was pleasantly surprised that each wing offered a couple satisfying mouthfuls of meat that didn’t require me to gnaw at the bone for scraps like a hyena. I mean, of course I did that too, but it was for fun, not out of necessity!
These wings are served with a side of Spicy Ranch sauce, and while I can see how that creamy tingliness could elevate the experience for some, I personally found it a bit overpowering and was glad to let the moist meat stand on its own two chicken feet. The extra oomph of the crispy coating definitely helped, and between that and the substantial meat-to-bone ratio, the experience almost felt more like eating a hunk of fried chicken than a wing specifically. But maybe that’s just because one of my wings was so misshapen and chunky that it looked more like the state of Texas than anything that had once allowed a bird to fly.
All in all, I had a blast with these wings (a Mountain Dew Baja Blast, to be precise). As long as you make it to your local Taco Bell before their week-long Chicken Run – which started on January 6th — is over, I think you will too.
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Five chicken wings per box
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 750 calories with Spicy Ranch sauce/530 without, 54/31 grams of fat, 10/6 grams of saturated fat, 230/205 milligrams of cholesterol, 1970/1770 milligrams of sodium, 26/23 grams of carbohydrates, 3/2 grams of fiber, 1/0 gram of sugar, and 40/39 grams of protein.