These Are The Secret Menu Items You Need To Try At Taco Bell
Taco Bell began with a single location in California in the 1960s and grew over the following decades, helping to popularize Mexican cuisine (or at least Mexican-inspired, American-style fast food) throughout the rest of North America. During this time, the chain slowly amassed a vast menu full of delectable and savory entrees and sides, as well as various takes and expansions of tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and more. Some favorites have come and gone over the years (especially after a strict, corporate-ordered menu pare-down in 2019 and 2020, per Nation’s Restaurant News). However, Taco Bell’s food remains quintessentially Taco Bell — all the more remarkable for its breadth and variety because everything seems to be made out of a relatively short list of ingredients.
In the wake of the shorter menu and knowledge of what ingredients are on hand, Taco Bell employees and customers alike have perpetuated rumors about a "secret" Taco Bell bill of fare — items that aren’t officially on offer, but which someone in the know can easily prepare. Here are all the great, subtle, off-menu items quite possibly available at a Taco Bell near you — if you know how to ask for them and describe them correctly.
The Cheesarito used to be on the main Taco Bell menu before the company discontinued the item. However, it didn’t completely disappear from the nation’s biggest Mexican-style fast food chain, it merely went underground and lives on the secret menu. The Cheesarito is easy for an employee to make because it only involves a few ingredients, all of which the average well-stocked, fully functional Taco Bell will have on hand. You can either order it by name or by giving an explanation of the dish.
The Cheesarito (per #HackTheMenu) is a simple dish, consisting of a soft tortilla filled with a melted cheese blend, some Taco Bell taco sauce, and scallions. It’s not unlike a quesadilla — it just isn’t grilled and lacks meat – making it a vegetarian-friendly secret menu treasure. It’s probably easiest and fastest to order the Cheesarito as a soft taco without meat, but with cheese, taco sauce, and scallions.
"Queso" essentially translates to "cheese" in Spanish, but in Mexican-American and Tex-Mex restaurants, queso might also refer to a spicy bowl of melty cheese used for dipping or as a sauce. There’s none of that queso involved in the Quesarito, but it is seemingly named so as to avoid confusion with another Taco Bell secret menu favorite, the Cheesarito.
Like the quesadilla-riffing Cheesarito, the Quesarito is also a stomach-stretching take on the quesadilla. On the inside, you’ll find a standard but agreeable mixture of Taco Bell ingredients — that seasoned ground beef blend, its familiar red sauce, sour cream, and lots of rice. But what turns this from a basic, beefy burrito into a Quesarito is what’s on the outside. Rather than coming all wrapped up inside of a soft and squishy tortilla, the Quesarito’s outer shell is a full-on quesadilla — two tortillas stuffed with hot, melted cheese.
Once a temporary regular menu item, the Quesarito was officially discontinued by most Taco Bell outlets in 2020, according to People. If it’s not available by name, it’s a secret menu offering — just order a quesadilla with the extra fillings (beef, sauce, sour cream, and rice) on the side, and then assemble it at home.
The Superman Burrito
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman, in the form of Taco Bell’s secret menu stalwart the Superman Burrito. This massive entree has a more flavorful wallop of necessary ingredients than its namesake has dazzling superpowers.
To obtain this secret menu item fit for the Man of Steel, head to a Taco Bell (or fire up the Taco Bell smartphone app) and order the Clark Kent equivalent, the mild-mannered Beefy Melt Burrito. That’s already a fairly sizable burrito, seeing as how it’s loaded up with rice, cheese, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, tortilla strips, and a large portion of seasoned ground beef. The Superman truly takes things up a notch, piling on the ingredients until they can barely fit into that big, thin tortilla keeping the whole thing together. Order that Beefy Melt Burrito, but ask for the addition of seasoned potatoes and guacamole, according to Secret Menu Source.
Double Grilled Quesadilla
Taco Bell already has a line of quesadillas on its menu, and grilled ones at that, so this Taco Bell secret menu item is more about a preparation than it is an assembly of familiar ingredients into some new kind of Mexican-American culinary permutation. The Double Grilled Quesadilla is exactly what it purports to be — it’s a from-the-menu quesadilla, which is already grilled, but then, after a bit of agency on the part of the customer, is grilled a second time. This makes for a quesadilla with all the same ingredients as a standard one, only with more time on the heat, resulting in more and darker grill marks and an overall stiffer final product.
The Double Grilled Quesadilla, according to Secret Menu Source, is more or less a fancy name for a quick fix to account for the flaws of the quesadilla proper, in that it can be too floppy and gooey. This double grilled endeavor is crispy and firm. It can’t, however, be ordered so easily off of Taco Bell’s app, as there’s no option for extra cooking listed. But a customer can certainly ask the clerk or drive-through attendant for an extra-lengthy cook time on the grill for their quesadilla.
The Hulk and Incredible Hulk Burritos
There aren’t a lot of green vegetables on the menu or in the kitchen at Taco Bell. The most brightly colored, flavorful, plant-based item in that particular hue is guacamole. In its prepared state at Taco Bell, guacamole just so happens to come in a shade almost exactly like that of the Hulk, a.k.a. the Incredible Hulk, the monstrous Marvel character of comics, television, and film who smashes things with his huge fists. The green-colored scientific disaster-turned-hero inspired two items on the Taco Bell secret menu: The Hulk Burrito and The Incredible Hulk Burrito.
The Hulk Burrito is barely its own entity at all, but rather a normal menu item with a colorful ingredient added to hulk things up — it’s the regular bean (and cheese) burrito with guacamole (via #HackTheMenu). The Incredible Hulk Burrito, like the character that gave the secret menu item its name, is complex and messy. It’s Taco Bell’s familiar Beefy 5 Layer Burrito, but with three of those layers purposely removed — sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, and inside tortilla — and replaced with Hulk-green guacamole.
Yes, Taco Bell has nachos, and it has for a long time, although the menu items bearing that name leave much to be desired. In addition to the low-end nachos — a bag of chips and a plastic cup of melted cheese — Taco Bell’s more premium Nachos BellGrande are pretty much that, but with some other ingredients on top, like seasoned ground beef, diced tomatoes, and sour cream. Its star is still that bright orange cheese sauce, not unlike the nacho cheese adorning chips at concession stands or gas stations. Real nachos, meaning chips piled sky high with meat, veggies, sour cream, guacamole, and real cheese, shredded and melted, remain a signature dish at more authentic, or at least non-fast-food-oriented Mexican and Mexican-inspired restaurants, as well as at gastropubs and craft breweries.
There is, however, a way to get actual nachos at Taco Bell, and it involves some secret menu-inspired tweaks. It’s quite easy: Order the Nachos BellGrande at the counter or in the app and ask for the removal of the seasoned ground beef and the nacho cheese. Then, replace them with higher quality meat, like chicken or steak, and the three-cheese blend. Ask for guacamole and jalapeños, too, if the fancy strikes.
Taco Bell is the go-to establishment for brand-new foods made from classic Tex-Mex ingredients, such as the CrunchWrap Supreme and the Naked Chicken Taco. Years before those innovations, Taco Bell launched the Meximelt. The name implied both Mexican flavors and melty cheese, and the Meximelt delivered just that. It was basically a soft taco (with seasoned ground beef and fiesta salsa served inside of a tortilla), but with the addition of the three-cheese blend that is ordinarily found in a quesadilla, served hot and melted.
Per Guilty Eats, Taco Bell eliminated the Meximelt from its menu as part of a major overhaul in 2019. However, it didn’t eliminate a single one of the very short list of ingredients necessary for employees to create a Meximelt according to Quora, meaning it’s been relegated to the secret menu. It’s apparently obtainable by ordering the Taco Bell Cheesy Roll Up (a simple, kid-friendly snack of a tortilla with the melted cheese blend inside) and asking for the additions of seasoned beef and pico de gallo. And there it is — an instant Meximelt in the days after the extinction of the menu item.
There’s an old adage about how we eat first with our eyes, a testament to the importance of how presentation and allure can be as important to a food as taste. That’s the concept behind why the Tie-Dye Freeze, a beverage found on Taco Bell’s extremely unofficial secret menu, has such palpable and undeniable appeal. It’s also important that it looks good because even a Taco Bell die-hard is unlikely to ever be served the exact same tasting Tie-Dye Freeze on multiple occasions. A "graveyard" is self-serve fast food or convenience store beverage fountain slang (via the Portland Mercury) that means to mix a little of every offering on tap into a single cup, and a Tie-Dye Freeze is the Taco Bell-only equivalent. It’s a graveyard, or a mixture, of every slushy flavor that is available at that Taco Bell location.
It’s assembled by carefully dispensing each flavor atop the last, to prevent immediate mixing and to mimic the look of a swirly tie-dye T-shirt. The flavors will vary and mix as much as the colors, but that’s part of the fun — one could get Baja Blast, Mango, and Electric Strawberry Freeze tastes all delivered at once.
The CrunchWrap Supreme is certainly Taco Bell’s most ambitious and complicated permanent offering. There’s just a lot going on with this unabashedly inauthentic Mexican-style gut bomb of a meal in a box. It’s like someone at Taco Bell’s experimental kitchen took a look at their Mexican Pizza and made it more elaborate. First, there’s the flat and crunchy tostada shell that is flanked pizza-style with seasoned ground beef and nacho cheese sauce on one side, and lettuce, diced tomatoes, and sour cream on the other. The whole thing is wrapped up in a massive soft tortilla and then grilled until hot and oozy. What if this layered hot mess approximated an Italian food that wasn’t a pizza, but the pizza’s cousin, the calzone? That exists. it’s on the Taco Bell secret menu and it’s called the Mexican Calzone.
It comes about by ordering a CrunchWrap Supreme and asking for the Taco Bell kitchen to hold off on the lettuce and nacho cheese and put beans inside instead. It needs cheese, though, so order it with the three-cheese shredded blend. It winds up smooth and cheesy like a calzone.
In the late 2010s and beyond, Taco Bell made a big to-do about the Nacho Fries returning to its menu for a limited time, according to QSR Magazine. Building hype by manufacturing scarcity, the Nacho Fries are a tasty and remarkably simple side dish at the taco conglomerate. They’re french fries, tossed in a Mexican-style spice blend, and served alongside a cup of nacho cheese sauce for dipping. These Nacho Fries are not to be confused with a Taco Bell secret menu item also commonly referred to as Nacho Fries — which can stake a legitimate claim to the name because they’re more like actual nachos, made with fries, and not just some potatoes and dipping goop.
Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes are a low-key side dish on the regular menu at Taco Bell, consisting of seasoned potato chunks topped with orange nacho cheese sauce and a dollop of sour cream. These can easily be jazzed up into full-fledged nachos, but ones made with fried potatoes instead of fried corn chips. Just order the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, maybe have Taco Bell cut out the nacho cheese sauce in favor of the shredded three-cheese blend, and also add on some tomatoes, sauce, and a meat, like ground beef, steak, or chicken.
"Secret menu" can carry a couple of different definitions. It can refer to a series of items available to those in the know that can be ordered with a little bit of explanation to employees and the machination of ingredients when ordering. It can also simply refer to things that the restaurant offers that it just doesn’t widely announce or advertise. Taco Bell’s Fresco Style method of preparation falls under the second category.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Taco Bell introduced the health-oriented program in 2008 with a mini-menu of Fresco items, all promising to contain no more than nine grams of fat each. The chain accomplished this by cutting out ingredients like cheese, sour cream, and sauces in favor of bulky, nutritionally-dense condiments like diced vegetables and salsa.
According to the OC Register, ordering any item Fresco style was possible for years before the standalone menu, it just had never been promoted or publicly mentioned much. And that’s still the case. Most any item on Taco Bell’s menu can be ordered Fresco style, which still means removing all cheese, sour cream, and thick, fat-based sauces and substituting in tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
In 2012, Taco Bell enjoyed one of its most successful product launches ever with the debut of Doritos Locos Tacos. A great idea that proved to be more of a lasting hit than a passing novelty, Doritos Locos Tacos begin with the ingredients found inside standard, entry-level Taco Bell tacos — seasoned ground beef, shredded cheese, and lettuce — but are then stuffed into a crunchy shell made out of Doritos snack chips. The Doritos Locos Tacos shells are just giant, u-shaped chips, available in salty, heavily flavorful varieties like Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. According to Business Insider, Taco Bell sold more than 1 billion Doritos Locos Tacos within a year and had to hire 15,000 new workers to accommodate the increased customer traffic.
But those Doritos-flavored taco shells are also merely one ingredient out of many found in a Taco Bell kitchen. They’re used almost entirely for the Doritos Locos Tacos, but they don’t have to be. With a nod to the secret menu ordering practices, any Taco Bell item that comes in a taco shell can be prepared inside one of those Doritos offshoots.
Let’s take a trip back to the summer of 1995 when Taco Bell paid big bucks to be the official fast food tie-in sponsor of the would-be summer blockbuster "Congo," based on a novel about jungles and intelligent primates by "Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton. Around the time the film came and went from theaters, Taco Bell introduced the "Congo"-branded Volcano Burrito (via YouTube), a tasty and spicier-than-usual-for-Taco-Bell blend of ground beef, rice, red tortilla strips, and Lava Sauce all housed in a big flour tortilla. The Volcano Burrito proved a more enduring hit than "Congo" and stayed on Taco Bell’s menu for a remarkable 17 years, according to Medium. The proprietary Lava Sauce was available as an add-on for another year, disappearing from Taco Bell kitchens in 2013.
That Lava Sauce was a welcome addition of cheese and spice to almost any Taco Bell entree, and it still can be, because it’s the rare condiment available via some secret menu ordering. According to Totally the Bomb, the Lava Sauce can be strongly approximated by mixing a packet of any of Taco Bell’s line of hot sauces (mild, red, fire, or diablo) with a side order cup of nacho cheese sauce. Use as needed on any taco, burrito, or quesadilla.