Review: Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell

In my Doritos Locos Tacos review from last year, I mentioned how Taco Bell has reinvented the taco.  Fast forward a year later with plenty of Doritos flavored taco shells under my belt, has the novelty worn off?  That’s what I aimed to find out with Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. Cool Ranch Doritos Locos TacosTaco Bell describes their Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos like this:

A crunchy taco made with premium seasoned beef, crisp lettuce, and real cheddar cheese, in a shell made from Cool Ranch® Doritos® Chips.

To get a feel for whether this taco works better in “Supreme” form (added diced tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream) I grabbed one of those too.  But all in all, it’s basically just a typical crunchy taco with a Cool Ranch Doritos flavored shell.  There is absolutely nothing new besides the shell.  Taco Bell hopes the shell, which is normally void of much flavor, will define the overall taste of the taco.  Well there’s some good and some bad where Cool Ranch is concerned.Cool Ranch Doritos TacoThe good: It’s still just a taco.  It’s everything familiar to you (except the flavored shell) when it comes to a crunchy taco… and who doesn’t like a crunchy taco?  It’s a simple mix of seasoned beef and cheese nestled in a crispy corn shell.  I can eat these by the box-full.  Major points go to just the fact that I really like the idea of Doritos Locos Tacos. Toying with a shell flavored by one of the most popular American tortilla chip brands is something that could easily have been executed all wrong.  This is a product I respect Taco Bell for offering because it’s a good example of their fast food identity.  Enough with trying to be like Chipotle (Cantina Bell menu) because your wacky Americanized-Mexican food creations are what makes you the leader in your category.   Cool Ranch Doritos Locos TacosThe bad: I was expecting to like Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos more than the original, but something went a little wrong.  There’s something that is a tad off with the Cool Ranch flavor.  The same sour kick with a subtle cool, creamy finish I’ve come to love from Cool Ranch Doritos chips was not completely there.  It’s as if the flavor is slightly reminiscent when it first hits your tongue, but kind of just gets lost after that.  Even when breaking off a piece of the shell to sample, I felt Cool Ranch flavoring was too weak.  The flavor is a decent attempt, but just didn’t follow through enough with an arc of savory hints of garlic and onion powders.  I came away a little shocked at how the original nacho flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos worked better than Cool Ranch.Cool Ranch Taco BellI gave the original Doritos Locos Taco an 8.25/10 because I felt it was truly an original idea and not just a recycled mix of familiarity.  While I wasn’t blown away by it, I felt it made a solid enough impact to be a great new addition to the Taco Bell brand.   I personally prefer the taste Nacho Cheese Doritos chips over Cool Ranch, but the idea of these flavors in a taco shell had me thinking it would work a lot better with Cool Ranch.  In taco shell form, the Nacho had a more pronounced, saltier flavor that blends well with the taco ingredients.  The Cool Ranch was decent, but fell short of making enough of an impact with me.  Even with sampling both the regular and the Supreme, I didn’t notice that one stood out much over the other.Taco Bell Cool Ranch Doritos Locos TacoThe Cool Ranch taste is there, just not all the way there. The biggest issue most people will have is with the price.   The regular Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco was priced at $1.39 while the Supreme was $1.89. Sure, anything under the 2-dollar mark will draw your eye and not really have you over thinking the purchase, but a flavored taco shell shouldn’t cost 50 cents extra.  The Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos falls under the “decent” category for me and I’m having trouble deciding if the original novelty has already disappeared.  The Flamas flavor is next in line and maybe it will be the tie breaker to convince me the novelty is alive and still kicking.

Pros: It's a new flavor of taco shell. Ingenuity in fast food. Taco holster.

Cons: The impact of the Cool Ranch Doritos flavor missed the mark a bit. The only thing difference from this and a regular taco is the shell and it's about a 50 cent upcharge.

Taste: 6.75/10
Value: 6.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.50/10
Price: $1.39 for regular, $1.89 for supreme

Overall GrubGrade: 6.75/10

More Info: http://www.TacoBell.com
Nutrition Facts:
Regular - 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbs, 8 grams of protein
Supreme - 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 370 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbs, 9 grams of protein

44 comments on “Review: Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell

  1. rondoman says:

    One of the most overrated and overhyped fast food “inventions” of all time. The original isnt that good because it tastes nothing like an actual Nacho Cheese Dorito. This is the same thing, it doesnt taste like a Cool Ranch Dorito.

    The fact is Taco Bell should make their meat taste better so we dont need a damn flavored shell to distract us from how crappy their meat tastes. A good taco will stand on its own without all the gimmicks and tricks.

    • ReviewScout says:

      I know I’ve thrashed on the Doritos Locos a bit, but the only thing I really ask for are interesting toppings instead of just ranch, wilted lettuce, government cheese, and tomatoes….

      • MP says:

        Taco Bell’s cheddar cheese is beyond bland. They need go to an extra sharp version or even American cheese would be better.

        • Scrape says:

          I accidentally bought shredded sharp cheddar the last time I made burrito supremes at home and they turned out terrible. All you coulf taste was the sharpness of the cheese. Tried it again with the mild and it was perfect. Mild is the absolutely the way to go as to not overpower the produce or sauces.

    • Klee says:

      Mine have always tasted like the nacho cheese Doritos, Also, this is Taco Bell… They are known for gimmicks, basically all they do. Once you accept the fact that its Taco Bell and they aren’t going to be preparing taco meat in a pan and adding their own spices, you can enjoy the gimmicks that come along. If you want a better quality taco, you need to start by going somewhere that makes a better taco. I would never go to Taco Bell during normal hours, far to many better options.., but after 11pm there are not many places open and Taco Bell is quite satisfying.

    • SmoledMan says:

      Taco Bell is making tastier tacos, they’re on the Cantina menu.

  2. Sean says:

    I always pictured beef with the Nacho Cheese, but Chicken with the Cool Ranch.

  3. Chad D says:

    I found this taco to be the exact opposite of the first where I didn’t think the Nacho Cheese complemented the taco very well(still thought it was a good taco though), I thought the Cool Ranch flavor was a great complement to the ingredients in the taco. Will definitely be eating more of these and hope Taco Bell comes up with some neat pairings to other doritos flavors. Like Sweet and Spicy Doritos shell, with an Asian flavored beef.

  4. arjun says:

    tried it today. i didn’t look at it as how close does it taste like the original chip. i looked at it how does it taste? i like the overall combo of the cool ranch flavors and crunchy taco taste.

  5. sherm says:

    The problem you describe about the Cool Ranch Dorito Loco taco is the exact same problem I’ve always had with Cool Ranch Doritos: There’s just not enough flavor. The flavor itself is good, it just needs more “Dorito dust” to push it into the realm of Nacho Cheese.

  6. Crysta says:

    “It’s everything familiar to you (except the flavored shell) when it comes to a crunchy taco… and who doesn’t like a crunchy taco?”

    I don’t. The shells are too fragile and most have little flavor on top of it. I’d rather have a nice, soft tortilla (maybe even a flavored tortilla).

    Though even if I liked them, I can’t eat the Doritos Locos tacos. The seasoning powder has MSG, which triggers my migraines. :/

  7. Scrape says:

    I concur with yout assessment, the Cool Ranch flavor was too subtle to compete with the likes of the seasoned beef. I too broke off part of the shell just to try the seasoning, and just like the original Doritos chip, the cool ranch flavor is additive, it builds as you eat more and more. The disadvantage with the taco form is that there is too many other flavors to comepete, and your palatte gets wiped clean from the lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. There also does not seem to be enough seasoning on the shell compared with the nacho shell.

    On the other hand, the nacho cheese version adds “umami” and complements the mild cheddar already in the taco. The salt in the nacho seasoning adds to the seasoned meat as well. The Nacho Dorito Locos Supreme was the best thing Taco Bell has done since the grilled stuffed burrito.

  8. Chefprotoss says:

    I refuse to believe this score! When I refresh this page it had better be a 9.5/10!
    =P

  9. T.J. says:

    The reason for the 50 cent upcharge from the standard crunchy taco is not just the flavored shell. The Doritos tacos come with a cardboard holder as part of it’s packaging. Judging by your pictures your Cool Ranch tacos didn’t come packaged with the cardboard today. I bought two today and they did come with new Cool Ranch cardboard holders. Perhaps your local franchise didn’t have the product yet. Personally, I could go without the stylish packaging if the upcharge were less, but that’s not going to happen now. Prices never go down and that extra packaging does come with a cost.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah mine came with the holsters but I didn’t include them in my pics because they were the nacho version holsters and I didn’t want to confuse anyone. The extra costs makes a little more sense now that you pointed out the holster cost, but 40-50¢ still seems high.

      • Adam Bomb says:

        I’ll tell you what, Ryan. A taco that comes in a holster sounds dangerous. Dangerous and tasty. But yeah, an 1/8 teaspoon of flavor powder and a little sheet of paperboard… 50 cents? No way.

    • Roger C. says:

      A cardboard holder is dirt cheap dude. Give me a break.

      • T.J. says:

        Oh, I agree. They don’t justify 40-50 cents additional cost to a freaking taco, They probably are dirt cheap, but even dirt cheap is not the same thing as free. They cost something and any business is going to both recoup that cost and tack on a little extra to make a profit. They know people will pay for the novelty and they’re going to bilk as much profit out of that as possible. Not saying that’s right, just trying to take a look at it from the business’ perspective.

    • Andre says:

      40¢ upcharge for the Doritos Locos shell vs regular taco. 50¢ upcharge for the Supreme Doritos Locos vs regular Doritos Locos. Corporate execs have admitted in an interview that they like the upcharge. I see it as another way to squeeze more money out of the average consumer.

      On a related note, there doesn’t seem to be a way to order only extra sour cream anymore. What if you don’t care for tomatoes? My local Taco Bells always upgrade my taco, double decker taco, etc. to a supreme, then do a minus tomatoes… boom! Upcharged again.

    • Jonathan Wayne says:

      Are you for real? Those holsters literally cost less than a penny each. You need to take an economics class or two if you think those things are remotely responsible for a 4–50 cent up-charge.

      • T.J. says:

        You suggest to the brass at Yum Brands, who sold 350 million Doritos Locos Tacos in one year (accounting for 7% of all products sold by the brand and netting a 13% boost in company sales) that they eat the $1.75 Million in cost of cardboard holsters (that’s if they actually only cost one half cent).

        I’ll suggest that they include the holsters, upcharge 50 cents, and net a $175 million profit. Who do you think the bosses at Yum will say needs a lesson in economics?

  10. alexg says:

    Meh, I’m waiting for the Taco Flavored Doritos Locos Taco. This will be the best of all worlds where the Taco Shell will be flavored with the awesome taste of a Taco. Your taste buds will get a double whammy of Taco Deliciousness in every bite.

  11. Michael says:

    Instead of pushing another flavored-shell taco at us, why don’t they ‘reinvent’ their Nacho Supreme or Nacho Bel Grande by swapping the standard tortilla chips with Doritos? That would be yummy!

    • Chefprotoss says:

      Taco-ception?

    • Mike N. says:

      That would be going the wrong direction, though, moving from “freshly-prepared daily” tortilla chips to pre-fab store bought chisp that you can get at any gas station. Not that it doesn’t sound tasty, though. :)

  12. Rick Felt says:

    I’m still waiting for the Doritos Nacho Cheese taco kits to be released in grocery stores!!!!! Who else would love having the ability to make your own tacos with better “quality” meat and toppings of your choosing.

  13. Alex K. says:

    Again, click my name for my review … I actually really agree with yours, as I usually do, GrubGrade. You guys got a bit more screwed than me… $1.89 for a single taco… eesh. Taco Bell’s cray.

    Next up? BEEFY CRUNCH BURRITO! (So I’ve heard…)

    • Mike N. says:

      Bringing back the beefy crunch burrito would be awesome! I do like like the new grillers, though; makes a good snack.

  14. Roger C. says:

    Definitely not that good. Taco Bell FAIL.

  15. icedus says:

    I’d been counting down the days to this, and this review pretty much echoes my thoughts after finishing one just now. The Cool Ranch flavor really gets lost in the menagerie.

  16. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cool-Ranch-Doritos-Locos-Tacos-Needs-More-Ranch-Flavoring/166540476831044

    I created a Facebook page to try to get Taco Bell to make the Cool Ranch Taco more ranchy. Please join!!!!! Let’s change the world!

  17. PeterM says:

    I really liked the Nacho Cheese version, they were a nice change from “plain”. I am not likely to try the cool ranch version – whenever we buy a multi-flavor pack of Doritos, the Ranch ones never get eaten. I have a bin of about 20 of them at home waiting for someone to express some interest. And to add insult to injury, the resident “kid” is a Ranch dressing addict – he puts it on the things I use to put ketchup on, which is to say EVERYTHING. He won’t touch those Doritos.

  18. Chefprotoss says:

    Nevermind. I just tried it and it sucks hard. It was the saltiest taco I’ve ever ingested. Seemed like a great idea, too. Oh well…

    My Cheesy Gordita Crunch was delicious though.

  19. Dustin says:

    This was my exact experience with the original doritos taco when it came out.. Just a hint of flavor at first, but most of it just tasted slightly salty and didn’t remind me of a dorito at all. Thought maybe it was just the batch they got but it never changed out of the 3 I sampled throughout the year.

    So really not excited about about trying the new one, and now even less so after reading the reviewer had a similar experience.

  20. TS says:

    LOL @ 1.89 for a taco. Taco Bell really has become only the 4th meal stop since nothing there constitutes a meal anymore unless your going to drop 6+ dollars on crap food. Enjoy your extremely high margins but low sales volume and bill totals.

  21. Jonathan Wayne says:

    These things are seriously overpriced and not that great. The Cantina Bell menu is actually very good, they need to spend more time promoting that. If they can afford to drop the burrito down to $3.50-$3.99, they will sell a ton of them. it is way better than Chipotle or Qdoba but because it is Taco Bell, it will never be able to compete at their price point.

  22. Nick says:

    Are they still not coating the inside of the shell with Dorito dust?

  23. Will Buckingham says:

    I grabbed one of these (as well as a nacho version for comparison) today for lunch. I thought the Cool Ranch version actually worked really well as a complement to the taco, but the comments that it doesn’t actually taste like the chip are correct. Despite that, I thought it made a superior taco to just using the default shells as it added a bit of saltiness and a hint of zesty flavor to an otherwise quite bland taco. The nacho version on the other hand I remembered being better, and I wasn’t as impressed with along side the new version. It also didn’t help that they overstuffed the more brittle Doritos shells and the whole second taco fell apart… I wish the employees had at least some clue about what they’re selling when putting them together, but I guess for Taco Bell’s prices, you don’t get a whole lot of training or critical thinking going on. Chances are good I’ll be buying the Cool Ranch again and just eat it first so the shell doesn’t deteriorate.

  24. Elise says:

    I just had it, after not having Taco Bell for a very long time. I was quite excited, since I prefer Cool Ranch over Nacho Doritos. But I definitely prefer the Nacho DLT. Cool Ranch was good enough, but didn’t have the same tangy punch that the chip has. The Nacho DLT has much more flavor to it and more closely resembles the chip.
    I think I’ll just stick to a cheesy gordita crunch and call it good.

  25. sinchi says:

    i love this flavor. the regular doritos loco taco is good i eat it with lava sauce. i love this dipped in sour cream im eating it as i type

  26. Christine Jordan says:

    I was disappointed last night as not only did we have a wait of over 30 minutes in the drive thru, but they charged us an additional $3.60 for the Doritos Locos 12 pack and they were not the supremes.

  27. […] Taco 12-Pack.  The BCS Taco 12-Pack is a dozen of your favorite taco flavors (Nacho Cheese DLT, Cool Ranch DLT, Fiery DLT, and the original crunchy taco)  for $10.99 $12,99 starting Thursday, December […]

  28. […] creamy chipotle sauce, lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese and reduced-fat sour cream in a Cool Ranch Doritos shell.  The regular will be priced at $1. 59 and Supreme is […]

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