People are very particular about their sauces — especially when tacos are involved. Taco Bell, without a doubt, has one of the best sauce games in the business. Ranking fast food sauces might as well be a rite of passage, and in that spirit, we took up the honorable (yes, honorable, perhaps even admirable!) task of trying all 10 different Taco Bell sauces. While we enjoyed each and every one, this particular flavor journey is all about finding out which of the Tex-Mex chain’s sauces truly bring the heat (as in spice).
From that perspective — though we don’t want to completely spoil the fun — most of the options are rather tame, whether you consider yourself someone who can handle the heat or not. Of course, that can be expected from a fast food joint that’s trying to appeal to the masses. While a few sauces are actually spicy, in determining which is the hottest of them all, it’s evident that there is one clear winner. Here are our findings, ranked from mildest to hottest.
Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce may not be spicy at all, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a welcome addition to your meal. It goes hand in hand with Taco Bell’s tortilla chips, yet the sauce is also a match made in flavor heaven with the burritos that are lucky enough to acquire that liquid cheesy goodness. And the Nacho Fries, which, naturally, are accompanied by nacho cheese sauce, are out of this world.
If you want to turn up the heat a bit, then we suggest adding a sauce packet of your choosing to the cheese cup. At the time of this writing, Taco Bell has four hot sauce packet flavors which we’ll get to know better later on this journey. Though it’s going to be a little while longer until we get to Taco Bell’s spicer sauce options, our next stop is Avocado Ranch Sauce Lane.
Avocado ranch sauce doesn’t come in a packet (we wish it did), but the menu items that feature it, such as the shredded chicken burrito, are worth purchasing just to try the flavor topping. (You can also order a side of avocado ranch for a small fee.) The sauce contains an avocado flavor that swims in a pool of ranch dressing. It’s the perfect blend of zesty and creamy, and we recommend ordering it on the side if you want to dip your entrées into a food puddle of two uber-popular flavors. The combination of avocado and ranch is especially good for sprucing up any burrito or taco.
With that said, if spicy is what you aim for, then avocado ranch probably shouldn’t be your sauce of choice. Yet Taco Bell lovers shouldn’t go into this quest expecting every sauce to make them sweat. Luckily, there are eight other delectable sauces on Taco Bell’s menu that do pack some heat.
The heat, at long last, is about to be raised — if only just a little. Taco Bell’s chipotle sauce is creamy, a tad spicy, and pairs well with virtually any menu item. It’s one of the key ingredients in the glorious Quesarito, which is flooded with the flavors that fans of this restaurant have come to know and love: cheese, beef, rice, sour cream, and, yes, chipotle sauce.
If you’re used to partaking in challenges that are all about the spice, then this chipotle sauce isn’t going to make you flinch. Like the sauces before it, it’s more about the flavor than heat index, which makes it a universally loved sauce — even for the people who didn’t know it was in some of their favorite Taco Bell items. If chipotle sauce is good enough for the mouth-watering Quesarito, it’s good enough for any burrito, taco, or other savory items on the menu, so order a side of it for your next Taco Bell visit.
Spicy ranch sauce is so good, Taco Bell employees recommend adding it to everything on the menu. But given that "spicy" is in the name of the sauce, it’s a bit of a letdown that the heat is tempered. Ranch dressing is one of the best condiments on the planet (it’s a fact … even if it technically isn’t), and it is often used to turn down the heat, which is why it is such a great pairing with hot wings. So with that mind, maybe it’s actually a good thing that spicy ranch doesn’t quite live up to its billing.
Nonetheless, it’s a delicious enough sauce to order on the side, assuming your local Taco Bell has the goods. Though there are hotter sauces on the menu, spicy ranch delivers on flavor. Enjoy it in a Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch or ask to add it to any menu item you’d like.
If you’ve eaten at Taco Bell long enough (and have tried multiple menu items), then you’ve surely bitten into a burrito that features red sauce. Though tangy in all the right ways, Taco Bell’s red sauce likely isn’t going to blow you away with its spiciness, yet everyone has a different level of heat tolerance. Taco Bell describes this signature addition as an "enchilada-style sauce" and that’s, of course, the perfect way to picture it. Enchilada sauce is traditionally on the mild end of the spice spectrum, so it’s no surprise that that is the case here. If you want a taste of Taco Bell’s red sauce, it’s classically paired with the bean burrito, and is also one of several items included in the Burrito Supreme.
With that said, not everyone is a fan of red sauces. Some people prefer green sauce, and others opt for toppings like sour cream and guacamole. If this particular shade of red isn’t your color, there are still plenty of other Taco Bell sauces to choose from, including five spicier options that are still left on this journey.
Jalapeño has a distinct flavor that’s, of course, associated with spicy food. You could argue that the creamy jalapeño sauce is tamer than the mild sauce, but, in all honesty, neither sauce really brings it in the heat department (but we’re getting ahead of ourselves). While it’s still not that spicy, like basically all of Taco Bell’s sauces, creamy jalapeño can pleasantly go on any menu item you desire.
As we have made clear, many of Taco Bell’s sauces (even the so-called "spicy" ones) are rather mild, so, in some cases, it’s not easy to decide which sauces bring more heat — until you get to the three spiciest sauces on the menu, that is. But alas, this creamy jalapeño sauce is a great dipping companion and it will surely add some spice, as well as a creamy finish, to whatever you decide to pair it with.
We’ve finally arrived at our first Taco bell sauce packet. If you’ve ventured to a Taco Bell pretty much at any point in the last forever, you’ve likely encountered the mild sauce. It comes in an orange packet emblazoned with tiny orange flames which seem to suggest heat. But in terms of the sauce packets, as the name "mild" would suggest, it’s Taco Bell’s least spicy sauce.
Though it’s not going to totally blow you away in terms of spice, the mild sauce has a great flavor and it’s a natural option for virtually any item on Taco Bell’s menu, from burritos to tacos to nachos. But if you want to add a wee bit of spice to your meal, then the mild sauce is the perfect option, and it’s also delicious. We’re not going to judge you if you decide to eat an entire sauce packet by itself (minus the packaging, of course), but you might want to check with your esophagus before performing this tasty feat.
At long last, we reach the point of this voyage when we come across a Taco Bell sauce that might not be manageable for everyone. This titular hot sauce is spicy, but it’s still not going to be impossible to wash away if you have too much. It is, without a doubt, spicier than the mild sauce packet, but it’s still not overwhelmingly hot. Of course, not everyone can handle the same amount of heat and some people prefer non-spicy foods.
If you want to add more heat to your Taco Bell feast yet aren’t used to spicy foods, then you should definitely start with the mild sauce, though you could get away with beginning such an adventure with the hot sauce. Countless grocery store hot sauces are spicier than this one — and two Taco Bell sauces are as well, for that matter. If you’re ready to try a sauce that packs more of a punch, then move on with caution.
Taco Bell’s fire sauce surely isn’t for everyone. It’s a bit chunky, at least when compared to other sauces on the menu. It can also be a little spicy for even those who are used to heat-packed foods — yet it does have a great flavor. Similar to other Taco Bell sauces, the fire sauce is so good that it’s now available for purchase in stores. Taco Bell’s sauce lineup has had some changes over the years, but the fire sauce will forever be a fan favorite, though you can pretty much say that about all of its sauces. The company knows how to make dippings and gives its customers exactly what they want.
The fire sauce was Taco Bell’s hottest sauce … but along came the diablo sauce. After its unveiling, everything changed and Taco Bell’s sauce lineup was never the same. If you can’t handle the fire sauce, then the diablo sauce will surely be too spicy.
There’s no doubt about it: The diablo sauce is Taco Bell’s hottest sauce — and it’s not even close. It’s ideal for anyone who believes they can handle the heat. Though the spicy meter is turned way up, the overall taste takes a bit of a hit. Countless fast food fans sing the diablo sauce’s praises. It has, after all, been available for quite some time. Yet the spiciness of the sauce could turn a lot of people in the opposite direction.
Even still, there are certain hot sauces and spicy foods that stick with your tongue the moment you bite down. The spiciness is impossible to shake and becomes an uncomfortable experience. The diablo sauce is not that, though it is, without question, a legitimately spicy sauce, especially when compared to the other sauces on the menu which are manageable when it comes to heat. People who routinely eat spicy foods might not even notice the slightest kick until they reach the fire sauce. If you fancy spicy foods, then the diablo should do the trick.