Fast Food Review: Volcano Nachos from Taco Bell

The long awaited addition to the Volcano Menu has reached the States nationwide.  I recall making my bold predictions at the Taco Bell Test Kitchen back in May, that the next item to bring the heat would be the Volcano Crunchwrap.  The Taco Bell folks were tight-lipped and as it turns out, I was dead wrong.  My second guess was the Volcano Nachos and it turns out I should’ve never trusted my instinct.  So here we are in the middle of the Summer heat and Taco Bell raises the temps even higher with the fiery New! Volcano Nachos.

Volcano Nachos from Taco Bell

As I mentioned in my Food News post, Taco Bell entices us with that great promo picture and this description:

Crunchy, freshly prepared tortilla chips covered with hearty beans, seasoned ground beef, warm nacho cheese, red tortilla strips, our new cheesy, molten hot lava sauce, jalapenos and topped off with reduced-fat sour cream


At $3.79, you are getting a decent amount of food for the price.  Also when you consider the Volcano Nachos consumed in it’s entirety comes with 910 calories, you should be able to skip a snack/meal later on.  I found it funny that with the behemoth that is Volcano Nachos, Taco Bell points out the “reduced-fat” description of sour cream.  I really do love me some nachos.  There isn’t much better than a plate full of warm tortilla chips completely engulfed in meat, cheese and sauce.  A food that requires a little strategy to stay relatively clean by plucking dry chips to help scoop out the chips that have drowned and melted away under the weight and heat of deliciousness. It’s a digging mission and the sturdy dry chips provide the tools I need to make sure every last morsel makes it out of the mess and into my belly (The Frozen Food Master knows what I’m talking about :) ).

Volcano Nachos (close up)

The Volcano Nachos provided a bit of a struggle in my “digging mission” because I’m a wimp and can’t handle the Lava Sauce as well as I’d like.  While I can destroy most all giant plates of nachos, the Volcano Nachos posed a bigger challenge. Think of it like hiking up a mountain versus hiking up an active volcano.  I was distracted by the molten hot lava sauce coating my palate to the point where I really needed some relief.  My digging mission became one of finding the lost survivors of beans and sour cream to help put out the fire.  Don’t get me wrong though, the Lava Sauce is definitely tasty, but also super hot.  I can only take it in small doses and in this case I would’ve been happy with maybe a side of Lava Sauce to pour on myself (or maybe even dip). When I created my Fully Loaded Cheesy Volcano Chicken Nachos during my trip to the Taco Bell headquarters, my specific control over the situation created one stellar dish.  I clearly applied the Lava Sauce a lot lighter than Taco Bell does.

Volcano Nachos (close)

Who am I kidding though…they are called Volcano Nachos not Gentle Sweet Mountain Nachos.  The beans, seasoned ground beef, warm nacho cheese and sour cream are generally some key components of good nachos and they were present and delicious. I’m just not cut out for it.  Hurl your insults, I can take it!  Oh and I didn’t even mention the addition of sliced jalapenos (which I feared and ignored).  This volcanic concoction is a spicy lovers food orgy.  It’s just not exactly my thing. The Volcano Burrito did a great job in providing the Lava Sauce kick but wasn’t overwhelming to the point where I struggled to finish it.  I would highly recommend the Volcano Nachos to the hot heads out there, but for this lightweight, I’ll say they are just decent.  The bottom line is nachos are awesome, but Volcano Nachos scare me.
Volcano Nachos (chip)

Pros: You may fall in love if you love super spicy. Everything is tasty, as nachos usually are. I like the mix of nacho cheese and Lava Sauce better than just Lava Sauce. Filling.

Cons: You may curse it if you can't handle the heat. The Value Menu at Taco Bell is so good it makes spending $3.79 for one item seem crazy. I always want extra chips to handle the mess. High in calories, fat, sodium.

Taste: 7.50/10
Value: 6.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: $3.79

Overall GrubGrade: 7.25/10

More Info: TacoBell.com
Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 910
Fat - 56 grams
Saturated Fat - 9 grams
Cholesterol - 45 milligrams
Sodium - 1860 milligrams
Carbs - 80 grams
Dietary Fiber - 13 grams
Sugars - 6 grams
Protein - 20 grams

35 comments on “Fast Food Review: Volcano Nachos from Taco Bell

  1. That looks so gross.

  2. Bear Silber says:

    Ry, I had NO IDEA you were a wuss. Man If I’d had known this…. :P

    “and it turns out I should’ve never trusted my instinct.” …I’m not so sure my friend, you were pretty spot on with your test lab creation. I’m sure the Volcano Crunchwrap is on it’s way too.

    “Who am I kidding though…they are called Volcano Nachos not Gentle Sweet Mountain Nachos.” – Hahahahahaha.

    You said they should give you a side of Lava Sauce and I thought you said “can of Lava Sauce” and I was like “right on!” Give me a can of Lava Sauce to go please!!!!!

  3. Ya I’m with Jamie. This is not for me.
    @Ryan you are a brave man! Props to you! Hope your belly didn’t explode after you ate that. :D

  4. Heather says:

    I’m with the other girls on this. Lava Sauce isn’t for me. I do love their other nachos though and their new Fresco menu is great!

  5. Justin says:

    What is with Taco Bell and their prices now? Something like this would only have cost $2.50 in the past. They’re getting greedy now and it’s sad. I mean, that’s more than the Grilled Stuft Burrito Steak!

  6. Bunny says:

    $3.79?! I don’t think so.

  7. ratbuddy says:

    They look nasty, cost a lot, and are pretty much a health disaster. Meh.

    Also, how do they get a 6/10 for grubbing on the go? It looks like a 3 at best..

  8. Ryan says:

    @ ratbuddy … Haha…I guess I’ve had so much practice grubbing on the go that the score would probably benefit from being graded on a scale now. :)

  9. Jon says:

    @Justin. It doesn’t seem greedy to me at all. They’re trying to run a successful business. If everyone would’ve paid $100 for a taco a year ago they would’ve charged it.

  10. I have a feeling if I let this sit out for about 2 hours I could pick it all up by one piece! Gloppy… I would probably give them a try though.

  11. Justin says:

    @Jon, it doesn’t seem greedy at all? Running a successful business is not about overcharging your customers, I don’t know what business school you went to. That’s the kind of mentality that’s destroying the American economy.

  12. Ryan says:

    I wouldn’t say Taco Bell is being greedy. I brought this up actually during the Taco Bell trip. I asked how they figure charging $3.00+ for a Volcano Double Beef Burrito when there is something a tad bit smaller (Cheesy Double Beef Burrito) on the value menu for only 99cents. They explained that there is a balance with the prices…premium/featured items sometimes may seem more expensive…they are in the spotlight…but at the same time Taco Bell’s “Why Pay More” Value Menu is so absurdly inexpensive, they probably should be and could be charging more and still getting a ton of sales. Earlier in it’s life, the now 99cent Cheesy Double Beef Burrito was definitely more expensive than the current 99cents. So in the end, there is a balance if you look a little deeper. You could argue that sales of new items are on par or under sales of value menu items. In my opinion, 99cents for the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito or 79cents for Triple Layer Nachos feels underpriced. Yeah a featured item may shock you because it’s over 3bucks but I can’t call Taco Bell greedy because that Value Menu is one of the best in the business. Right now, the Volcano Nachos are on the stage, in the spotlight and have the current $3.79 (prices may vary by the way) …when the smoke clears and the Volcano Nachos are no longer the featured new item of the menu, the price will most likely change…especially if it becomes popular enough to be on the permanent menu. :D A place like Wendy’s has tilted me because of their prices as of late…they could learn a lot from Taco Bell.

    Oh and another thing…the Volcano Nachos are $3.79 but it’s seriously an entire meal…a lunch for under $4 is hard to argue with….Taco Bell’s Value Menu is so good it makes paying over $2.00 for anything seem strange. :)

    Oh and yet another thing…Taco Bell IS running a successful business. That balance of prices will have me obviously going for the “Why Pay More” menu more often, but I’m fine with shelling out a little extra when a new item makes it’s way into town.

  13. Bear Silber says:

    Very very good explanation Ryan. Pricing is a funny and tough trick. Take Subway for instance…they’ve completely changed what an acceptable price for a sangwich is….prior to the whole $5 footlong campaign Quizno’s could get a long with selling $10 hoagies….but now a consumer looks at that and thinks “eff that….I’m heading over to the ‘way!”

    It’s a tough line….quality/pricing/premium/special items, etc. I know, I have to compete with Pizza Hut’s endless offerings or pretty good food and a low low price point. In all likely hood it’s a loss leader (something they make little to no money or potentially loose money on in order to bring customer in hoping they buy more) as I’m assuming the nachos on the value meal are.

    It’s tough out there right now, you can tell with all the coupons, free offerings, value meals, and specials. Hats off to TB for doing it so well and remaining successful.

  14. pav777 says:

    Taco Bell’s Lava Sauce isn’t that hot. Order some jerk chicken at a Caribbean take-out and you’ll see what truly hot food is like. Even TB’s Fire sauce taste more like ketchup than hot sauce. Good review!
    BTW, anyone remember Extreme Nachos? A large portion of red nacho chips with a dish of layered dip. Good stuff, everything was extreme back in the 90′s.

  15. Justin says:

    @Bear and @Ryan, those were much better explanations than that other guy that just said, “It’s business.”

    Still, the prices are too outrageous.

  16. Adam Bomb says:

    The nachos look really tasty to me, but it takes a lot for me to go to Taco Bell. I just can’t seem to make myself go there anymore. I did like the volcano tacos, and this just might be worth the trip. Definitely a bit pricey, though. I miss the old days when I was a kid and they had the “59, 79, 99″ menu! I could knock out tacos all day long at 59 cents each!

  17. Evan says:

    … I’m just glad to see Taco Bell bring back their Jalapenos.

  18. Adam Bomb says:

    Yeah, jalapenos always make things better :D

  19. ratbuddy says:

    That reminds me Evan, didn’t Taco Bell used to have black olives? I coulda sworn there used to be more stuff in a taco supreme.

  20. Justin says:

    Time to bring back the green onions. I’ll pay $3.79 for that!

  21. Joseph says:

    I had some today, I’d eat ‘em again. I thought they were pretty good, actually, and I don’t even like Taco Bell that much.

  22. Raiders757 says:

    I think Bear nailed it, when he mentioned the term “lossleader” in the debate over Taco Bell pricing. I go to Taco Bell only for their lossleader items, such as crunchy tacos and anything else under a $1. Other people do a swell, but many of them get tempted into the pricier items and impulse buy. That’s why some items seem unfairly priced, because the mark up seems to be where Taco Bell can gain ground on their lossleader items.

    @ Bear

    If you make great pizza, they will come. Screw the chains and their low prices. I am guilty of buying a hot & ready pizza from Little Sleazers from time to time, but when I crave great pizza, I am willing to pay for it, or make it myself. I always make sure to go out of the way to do my part in helping the mom & pop shops stay in business near me. They treat me right, and customer relations, along with a great product, go a long way towards bringing me back through their doors. Pizza Crud and the likes of just can’t match that.

    On the topic at hand…

    Count me in as one of those who can say “this just isn’t for me”.

  23. Swampfox says:

    They didn’t put lava sauce on mine! Epic failure! I’m going to demand a bucket of lava sauce next time!

  24. Adam Bomb says:

    No lava sauce on your Volcano Nachos? That would be like a cheeseburger without cheese! How can they forget the key ingredient? lol

  25. I got my hands on an order yesterday and was very, very satisfied. Like you said, it’s like an entire meal for under 4 bucks. Unfortunately I spent the four hours after my lunch break on the toilet and got some flak from my bosses :) Thank goodness the union protects workers suffering from chronic diarrhea.

  26. [...] honor of a the new Volcano Nachos and it has been 8 days from our last review… I thought that I would release this from the [...]

  27. Some Guy NM Chile Capital of the World says:

    These nachos disappointed me, much like any food that claims to be spicy anywhere. Hell, my cousin who is 2 years old eats raw jalapeno as a snack and she eats the hell out of it too. I’m going to take the buffalo wild wings challenge soon and I hope they don’t let me down.

  28. Byron says:

    If you really want to round out your nacho eating experience, watch Kurt Russell gobble down his nachos in the movie, Death Proof, while pigging out on your own. And have a few beers to wash it all down.

  29. sarah says:

    I ate these today and they were not that hot/spicy and it was quite delicious. However, if I had known that this dish contained 910 calories I would not have consumed it! I am now feeling really defeated and have to workout now to help burn it off…grrrr.

  30. Im the type of girl who is just getting use to her spicey foods. I never use to like spice but after having a bf who eats hot sauce with everything! My taste buds sure did changed. I order jalepenos with every comfort food (potatoe skins, nachos, mac and cheese, burgers, and even just by themselves) Ordering the new volcano nachos was no different. Already having jalepenos on them, I figured those 5 strangling jalepenos they throw on the top will definantly not be enough; so, I order an extra heap of jalepenos. Boy was I wrong =.= The lava sauce itself gives more than enough heat than the spicy nacho cheese and jalepenos can give all by themselves! I was dying for a glass of milk after 2-3 bites =.= And yet i loved it! Never being able to finish it, I keep ordering it when im low on doe. The plate is soo spicey it fills ur stomach with spice so much, you force yourself to stop before your stomach explodes! Therefore its a great price in my opinion and I usually hold off on the beans and meat when ordering this product. The nacho cheese, lava sauce, red tortilla strips, sour cream, jalepenos and tortilla chips are just enough for me. I completely agree about the “side” of lava sauce. I had just finished eating a batch of volcano nahcos and everytime I say to myself “dammit i should’ve definantly ordered the lava sauce on the side!” I have no idea whats in the sauce but its spicey as hell. So yeah, if you love nachos and really hott spicey food I would definantly recommend the volcano nachos! If your on a diet….i’d skip this all together lol

  31. amanda says:

    tooo hooootttt!!

    I got some for lunch and couldn’t finish half so assuming i ate 1/3 and not the whole at 900 calories- i guess i’d say i’m glad they were waaay too hot for me (i like jalapenos, i unwisely made them disappear quick).

  32. Ashley says:

    I love the volcano nachos~!~ They are awesome~!~ I love spicy food and this Lava sauce that they have now is amazing~!~ I would get them everyday if I had a chance~!~ If you haven’t tried them yet don’t knock them at least try them

  33. Robby says:

    I want this in my mouth. Like, all the time.

  34. Ethan says:

    $3.79 is NOT overpriced. This is a MEAL. With a drink, that’s just over $5, which is pretty competitive with most combos at other fast food restaurants. These things are AMAZING.