Taco Bell Tacos, Ranked Worst To Best

Spread of Taco Bell Tacos
Spread of Taco Bell Tacos - Sam Skopp/Mashed

There's nothing quite like the Taco Bell menu anywhere else in fast food. Taco Bell, it seems, has cracked a formula many of its competitors cannot — genuinely bizarre, Frankenstein's monster-esque creations like its Crunchwrap Supreme are not mere curiosities but among its star players. By comparison, some of fellow Yum! Brands chain KFC's attempts at thinking outside the box, like the Double Down Sandwich or a chicken-pizza hybrid, are among the biggest flops in KFC history.

Serving as a counterweight to Taco Bell's unique offerings are its distinctive takes on Mexican and Mexican-American staples like its Bean Burrito or Crunchy Taco. That said, even within the menu's taco category, the basic Crunchy Taco sits alongside the Cheesy Gordita Crunch — another popular item very much in the "only at Taco Bell" camp.

While comparing the Crunchy Taco to the Cheesy Gordita Crunchy might be a little like comparing apples to candy apples, we rose to the task and ranked every single Taco Bell taco anyway. After pitting all of the permanent menu items Taco Bell considers tacos against one another, we came up with the following list, ranked from the chain's worst to its taco category's single best representative.

Read more: 22 Fast Food Breakfast Menus Ranked From Worst To Best

14. Double Stacked Taco

Double Stacked Taco on Plate
Double Stacked Taco on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

At least for the time being, Taco Bell's Double Decker Taco is a relic of the past, only surfacing for limited-time promotions. On the permanent menu, however, is the Double Stacked Taco, which is a similar sort of mash-up of standard soft and crunchy tacos. At this item's core is a modified Crunchy Taco, consisting of beef, iceberg lettuce, cheese, and red tortilla strips, all inside of a hard taco shell. That's contained within a soft tortilla, complete with a layer of nacho cheese sauce adhering the two tortillas together.

As a replacement for the genuinely great Double Decker Taco, the Double Stacked Taco falls short. Compositionally, the Double Stacked Taco is too busy. Together, two tortillas, a lack (at least in our case) of nacho cheese sauce holding them together, its lettuce component, and bland tortilla strips all actively dull the taco's flavor. There's simply not enough meat and cheese to cut through that surprisingly significant cohort of relatively flavorless ingredients. While adding sauce might help, there's little reason to pick the Double Stacked Taco over alternatives that are both cheaper and better-composed.

13. Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme

Supreme Doritos Taco on Plate
Supreme Doritos Taco on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

As its name indicates, Taco Bell's Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme includes everything in the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco — a Nacho Cheese Doritos taco shell, beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese — in addition to reduced-fat sour cream and diced tomatoes.

While this item surely has its proponents, two major factors contribute to the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme's position so close to the bottom of this particular ranking. Perhaps most notably, the Nacho Cheese Doritos taco shells oftentimes seem to leave the restaurant stale far more often than standard taco shells. Combined with the fact that sour cream in particular is a net negative in a crunchy taco shell — largely due to how quickly the extra heft contributes to the taco shell falling apart — it's hard to make a case for the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme when there are similar alternatives on the taco menu of higher quality.

12. Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco

Doritos Locos Taco on Plate
Doritos Locos Taco on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The sole differentiating factor between the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco and the standard Crunchy Taco is that the former's taco shell is seasoned like a Nacho Cheese Doritos chip. Otherwise, inside of that Doritos taco shell is a standard mix of beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese.

The Nacho Cheese Doritos taco shells coming out stale is something we've encountered in multiple Taco Bell trips in different states. This is indicative not of an issue localized to a single restaurant, but something that seems to surface consistently chain-wide. With that in mind, the simpler and more effective combination of ingredients ultimately gives the edge to the standard Doritos Locos Taco over the Supreme version. While the flavor the taco shell imparts is unique and genuinely Doritos-like, it's not necessarily better than that of the classic hard taco shell, even when both are fresh. However, it's the considerable risk that the taco shell may well come stale that pretty much single-handedly renders this taco an item best avoided.

11. Crunchy Taco Supreme

Crunchy Taco Supreme in Wrapper
Crunchy Taco Supreme in Wrapper - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Compositionally, Taco Bell's Crunchy Taco Supreme includes every element of the Crunchy Taco — beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese, all inside of a crispy taco shell — but with the addition of sour cream and diced tomatoes.

The Supreme components of this taco are not necessarily bad in isolation, but the Crunchy Taco is simply not the best vehicle for them. On one hand, the crunchy taco shell is fragile and not always capable of holding together even under the weight of the standard Crunchy Taco's mix of ingredients. Sour cream increases that strain. Plus, while Taco Bell's sour cream tastes good, it ultimately overpowers the relatively small amount of meat and cheese in this particular taco. Both the sour cream and some barely perceptible tomatoes serve to dull a comparatively superior flavor. So, while it's not necessarily bad, there are other tacos on the Taco Bell menu through which virtually each of its ingredients is utilized better.

10. Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco

Crispy Cantina Taco in Foil
Crispy Cantina Taco in Foil - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Taco Bell debuted a line of Cantina Chicken items on its permanent menu in March of 2024. They each revolve around slow-roasted chicken marinated in a bespoke spice blend. Accompanying each of them is a large Avocado Verde Salsa packet. The Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco is seemingly intended to highlight the Cantina Chicken first and foremost. In addition to the chicken is a cheese blend and creamy jalapeño sauce. Housing those ingredients is a unique white corn hard taco shell, on the outside of which is a layer of melted cheese.

What makes the Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco difficult to assess against the rest of the taco menu is the fact that it tastes so much further apart from any other standard Taco Bell item. That said, the Cantina Chicken isn't necessarily bad — it's just different, and feels like a compromise for people maybe joining in on a Taco Bell order who might not enjoy the rest of the menu.

In the straightforward Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco, the chicken and avocado salsa are far and away its most important flavor components. Everything else feels like it's in service of showcasing these two unique ingredients. It's hard to recommend this item to fans of the regular Taco Bell menu, but because it's a decent execution of something uncharacteristically different, it ranks higher than at least a few alternatives.

9. Cantina Chicken Soft Taco

Soft Cantina Taco in Wrapper
Soft Cantina Taco in Wrapper - Sam Skopp/Mashed

While the Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco is simple and straightforward, the Cantina Chicken Soft Taco is not just a vehicle for its chicken but uniquely complex — at least for Taco Bell. It contains its namesake Cantina Chicken, cheddar cheese, lettuce, purple cabbage, pico de gallo, and avocado ranch sauce, all within a standard soft tortilla.

Strangely, the Cantina Chicken Soft Taco feels like it's almost as much of a salad as it is a taco. Of course, that's a factor of its considerable lettuce, cabbage, and pico de gallo content. It's also because the cantina chicken and avocado salsa are sweet and citrus-y, not necessarily flavored like ingredients typically found in fast food tacos. What gives this item the edge over the Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco is the fact that it's more of a composed dish and less of a simple showcase for its protein component. That said, it's still too much of an unusual divergence from the chain's typical fare to recommend to any Taco Bell regulars.

8. Soft Taco

Soft Taco in Wrapper
Soft Taco in Wrapper - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The Taco Bell Soft Taco is nearly identical in composition to the flagship Crunchy Taco, consisting of beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese. Of course, the sole difference between the two items is that the tortilla housing all of these ingredients is one of the chain's texturally gummy soft tortillas.

There are few items on the Taco Bell menu simpler than the Soft Taco, hence its position right around the middle of this list — it's not bad but it's not a showstopper. Between its low number of ingredients and relatively neutral soft tortilla, this item is effectively a delivery system for protein and cheese. Since there's not too much else going on that the addition of a bold flavor might cover up, the Soft Taco benefits plenty from some extra sauce. Especially at its low price point, this is the first item on this list that may well deserve a place in an everyday Taco Bell order, but there's a near-zero chance it's going to be the star of that order.

7. Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Cheesy Gordita Crunch on Plate
Cheesy Gordita Crunch on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The item on Taco Bell's taco menu with the most to indulge fans' penchant for absurdity is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. At its core is a modified Crunchy Taco, consisting of ground beef, lettuce, a blend of cheeses — cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey jack, and American — and spicy ranch sauce, all within a hard taco shell. That's then housed within a signature Gordita flatbread, which is adhered to the inner taco shell with a liquid cheddar cheese.

While there's a lot going on in the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, that spicy ranch sauce is noticeably its most prominent ingredient. The ranch grants the taco a unique spiciness while also upping its goop factor. Within a weaker structure that extra goop might not hold up, but because the Cheesy Gordita Crunch's outer shell is reinforced, it's well suited for a distinctly saucy interior. As its name indicates, it's also cheesier than most other offerings at Taco Bell, once again making use of its stability to hold what a weaker taco could not. The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is very good and likely lands at the top of some Taco Bell regulars' rankings. However, because it's so dependent on being in the mood for its busy and unique mix of flavors, it ended up on this list behind some more versatile and oftentimes more viscerally satisfying menu items.

6. Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch - Nacho Cheese

Doritos Gordita Crunch on Plate
Doritos Gordita Crunch on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Fans of Taco Bell and Doritos' collaborative taco shell can opt to turn up the absurdity of the standard Cheesy Gordita Crunch and instead order what is officially titled the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch - Nacho Cheese. This item is almost identical to its progenitor, simply replacing the standard version's crispy tortilla with a Doritos-flavored taco shell.

For what it's worth, there's practically no difference in taste between the regular Cheesy Gordita Crunch and the Nacho Cheese Doritos version. Because there's so much going on around it, the Doritos flavor of the inner taco shell is difficult to perceive. This also gives the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch a leg up on the two standard Doritos Locos Tacos, because the potential staleness of that taco shell becomes effectively unnoticeable. The reason it ranks higher on this list is because it's a slightly more fun version of an already unhinged menu item, even if it comes at a 20 cent premium.

5. Spicy Potato Soft Taco

Spicy Potato Taco on Plate
Spicy Potato Taco on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The Spicy Potato Soft Taco is one of just two items on Taco Bell's taco menu suitable for a vegetarian diet without needing any substitutions. Compositionally, it's the addition of a Creamy Chipotle Sauce that sets it apart from a standard Soft Taco (and the crispy potatoes instead of beef). In full, the Spicy Potato Soft Taco contains potato bites, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and that chipotle sauce, all within a soft tortilla.

Because of its Creamy Chipotle Sauce component, the Spicy Potato Soft Taco offers one of the taco menu's more distinct flavors — spicy and a little citrusy by default. Unlike the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, in which a unique sauce becomes part of an amorphous whole, the chipotle sauce is the only liquid-y component of the Spicy Potato Soft Taco. Since potato bites are distinctly drier than any alternative protein option, a sauce is absolutely necessary, and it's to the item's credit that it includes a unique sauce rather than, say, a more standard sour cream. Furthermore, those potato bites are well-seasoned and satisfyingly crispy. It's largely because of the distinct risk for some doughy, inadequately sauced bites that this altogether satisfying menu item doesn't rank any higher.

4. Soft Taco Supreme

Soft Taco Supreme in Wrapper
Soft Taco Supreme in Wrapper - Sam Skopp/Mashed

As is standard for Taco Bell menu items with the addition of the word Supreme to their names, the Soft Taco Supreme includes reduced-fat sour cream and diced tomatoes in addition to a flour tortilla, beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese.

Whereas Supreme ingredients simply don't hold up in any of Taco Bell's crispy taco shells, a sturdier flour tortilla can withstand the heft of both sour cream and ground beef. The doughier flour tortilla can also dull the flavor of the ingredients within it, and the sour cream helps overcome that characteristic. The Soft Taco Supreme may well be the foremost representative of the standard Taco Bell flavor — its ingredients are found all over the Taco Bell menu, and combine particularly well in this menu item.

3. Crunchy Taco

Crunchy Taco on Plate
Crunchy Taco on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

For customers with a penchant for tried-and-true classics, Taco Bell may as well be inseparable from its Crunchy Taco. Of course, it was on the shoulders of the Crunchy Taco that Taco Bell was built, and the item's composition has remained largely the same for decades — crispy taco shell with ground beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese. This item holds up today, even in light of new innovations like the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

The Crunchy Taco's straightforward combination of ingredients is what makes it so effective. Without the strain of an overabundant filling, the crunchy taco shell shines — it's like a well-seasoned tortilla chip, serving as a nacho-esque base for its filling. Taco Bell's signature ground beef, meanwhile, is complemented particularly well by just cheese and lettuce. Since it's easy to get each one of these ingredients in every bite, the taco is consistently delicious. Thanks to an ultimately uncomplicated flavor, hot sauce packets add plenty of value too, but aren't strictly necessary. The Crunchy Taco is so good it fueled an international restaurant chain, and that level of quality is apparent even more than half a century after its debut.

2. Black Bean Chalupa Supreme

Black Bean Chalupa in Wrapper
Black Bean Chalupa in Wrapper - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Taco Bell's Black Bean Chalupa Supreme is the second of two menu items that come vegetarian-ready by default. That said, it's no different than a standard Chalupa Supreme, but with black beans instead of beef (make this substitution on virtually any menu item by activating 'Veggie Mode'). In full, the Black Bean Chalupa Supreme contains black beans, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and a blend of cheeses, all within the chain's unique chalupa shell.

The Black Bean Chalupa Supreme succeeds for virtually every reason the standard Chalupa Supreme does. What lands it just behind its sibling is the simple fact that Taco Bell's black beans are not as viscerally satisfying as its flagship ground beef. Nevertheless, due to it fitting into a wider range of diets and the fact that black beans are comparatively healthier than the chain's ground beef mixture, we see the genuine reasons this taco may well be someone's go-to. In short, Taco Bell's chalupa is an ideal representation of everything the chain does well, balancing its penchant for creativity with its signature flavors. The black bean version isn't necessarily the perfect chalupa, but it's a rockstar menu item all the same.

1. Chalupa Supreme

Chalupa Supreme on Plate
Chalupa Supreme on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

While a chalupa is a legitimate taco alternative originating in Mexico, what Taco Bell calls a chalupa is well within the realm of the chain's funhouse-style interpretation of Mexican food. Inside the standard Chalupa Supreme are beef, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and a blend of cheeses. What makes it a chalupa is its taco shell, which is thicker, softer, and airier than a standard crispy taco shell.

Many of Taco Bell's best menu items are, simply put, sloppy. But, instead of becoming a mess, those items keep their ingredients sufficiently contained and manageable. There are few better housings for Taco Bell's signature style of goop than the chalupa shell. It's both satisfyingly substantial and airy enough to add to rather than detract from its contents' flavor. Especially since it's larger in size than any standard taco, the Supreme ingredients don't overwhelm the Chalupa Supreme's meat and cheese component, complementing them instead. In addition to enhancing its flavor, the sour cream's softness pairs particularly well with the pillowy chalupa shell, making this one of the most texturally rich Taco Bell menu items.

The Chalupa Supreme showcases virtually all of Taco Bell's strengths, balancing controlled chaos with simplicity. Both unique and versatile, there's no other item on the taco menu that can single-handedly justify a Taco Bell trip better than the Chalupa Supreme.


Five Tacos in Wrappers
Five Tacos in Wrappers - Sam Skopp/Mashed

In order to come up with this ranking of every Taco Bell taco, we purchased one of each of these items. Every taco came as-is, with no modifications. Assessing each taco meant taking at least one bite plain and at least one bite with the addition of some hot sauce.

Every item was critiqued based on its taste first and foremost. Key factors in determining why one taco might have tasted better than another included the quality of its ingredients and their composition. In cases where it mattered, we took past experiences with some of these items into consideration, but this particular Taco Bell trip held more weight than any past experience, given the unique opportunity to compare all of these items in a single sitting. Since many of these items are priced relatively similarly, value was a consideration when applicable, but never a deciding factor.

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