Review: Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell

One of my biggest vices when it comes to grubbing is my inability to put down a full-sized bag of Doritos without almost completely finishing it off.  Don’t get me wrong, I could easily complete the mission and barely come up for air while doing it, but I feel a lot less guilty when I’ve shown a hint of restraint.  My love for tacos would have to rank right up there along side my beloved Doritos… but together, I’m not so sure.  Enter the Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell.

Back in April 2011, I received an email from a reader (Jesse) with some pictures of a Taco Bell item in test market Toledo, Ohio.  A taco with the shell made of Nacho Cheese Doritos?  Is this for real?  I posted the pics and soon enough websites everywhere were linking to GrubGrade about this new Taco Bell creation.  Then in September 2011 I get more pics from a GrubGrade reader (Tyler) showing the Doritos Locos Taco with a Cool Ranch Doritos taco shell.  This was obviously the next big thing from Taco Bell and a nationwide release had to be around the corner.  March 8th, 2012 will be the nationwide launch of the Doritos Locos Tacos (Nacho Cheese flavored shell).

The regular corn hard shell has always been relatively mild and flavorless.  You don’t think of it in any other way but delicate temporary housing for ground beef, shredded cheese, etc.  The Doritos Locos Tacos has really changed the way I look at a taco and now hindsight makes me think, “Why hadn’t this come out years ago?”  While the shell tastes like a Nacho Cheese Doritos chip, it’s a tad more muted.  I found this to be a positive in the overall flavor of the taco because it complements the ground beef and shredded cheese without becoming the front and center taste.

Texture-wise, I was expecting a thicker, crunchier shell than what I’m used to because it was described that way to me before trying it.  I felt the shell was nearly identical to the regular corn shell in crunch and thickness. The same mess you get from a regular hard-shell taco is the same mess you’ll find with the Doritos Locos Tacos (albeit, tastier mess).  An improvement made by Taco Bell to help contain the mess of eating a hard-shell taco has been brilliantly made with its sturdy taco holster.  The shell seasoning will clamp on to your fingers like a Doritos chip, but not to the same extreme. The taco holster will definitely help prevent cheesy fingers.

In 2009 I did a full review of the Volcano Box and I graded the standard Crunchy Beef Taco from Taco Bell a solid 7.75/10.  I felt this was a fair score for a menu item that is simple and done right.  Subbing out the no frills shell with a Doritos shell bumps this up a bit more.  It’s easy to be harsh on Mexican-style fast food and you can only be so original with different combinations of the same ingredients.  I’ve been harsh on some uninspired or just not that good Taco Bell menu items in the past (see here, here and here to name a few), but when you reinvent the taco after over 50 years, you’ve done something right.  Sure there’s a novelty to it all, but that’s what’s fun about the fast food industry.  The cheesy Doritos shell will open the doors for a whole new world of new Taco Bell creations and that in itself should satisfy the fans for years to come.

Pros: The taco has been reinvented. Shell tastes like a Doritos chip, but subtle enough to not overpower the flavor of the taco. Taco holster.

Cons: Not as thick or crunchy as an actual Doritos chip. Cool Ranch Doritos fans will have to wait a little longer.

Taste: 8.25/10
Value: 7.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.50/10
Price: $1.29 standard, $1.69 supreme (complimentary by Taco Bell for this review)

Overall GrubGrade: 8.25/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
Doritos Locos Taco (standard version)
Calories - 170
Total Fat - 9 grams
Saturated Fat - 3.5 grams
Cholesterol - 25 milligrams
Sodium - 340 milligrams
Carbs - 13 grams
Dietary Fiber - 2 grams
Sugars -1 gram
Protein - 8 grams

27 comments on “Review: Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell

  1. TJ says:

    Great review, we got these in the Fresno, CA area a while ago, and I felt pretty much the same way about them.

  2. kikurage says:

    Good review. I can believe it.

  3. Rodzilla says:

    it’s kind of sac-religious to visit a taco bell in San Diego..but I might just have to do it now

  4. Crysta says:

    Interesting. No plans to try it though… Doritos flavor powder usually has MSG, which I can’t eat without getting a pretty serious migraine.

    (Plus our Taco Bells are very hit and miss. For the longest time they were woefully under-filling EVERYTHING, but now it depends on which one we go to, what time it is, who’s making it, etc. Needless to say, we don’t gamble on it being right very often.)

  5. Spencer says:

    I had a moment of worried shock when I saw that you described a Taco Bell taco as ‘done right,’ but then I remembered not everyone grew up in Texas literally surrounded by genuine Tex Mex (more often than not, what people believe to be ‘real’ Mexican food). If you want some quality Mexican fast food head south and find a Taco Bueno!

    • Raiders757 says:

      There’s really no excuses anymore for most, considering that in almost every town in the U.S., there is a Mexican migrant worker population, and with them, one should be able to find a great family run taqueria. Where I live in Virignia, we have a bunch of them, and I’m not talking about the family run Tex-Mex joints that have popped up a dime-a-dozen and ran Chi-Chi’s out of town either. I’m talking about the kind of places where when I walk in, heads are turning waiting for me to flash an INS badge. These little hole in the wall joints offer up some really tasty truly authentic Mexican grub from whatever region of the country they’re from. The owner of the little place near me rolls out his barrel smoker and stokes the flames right in their tiny parking lot. Damn is it some tasty stuff.

      • Chefprotoss says:

        I don’t think it’s fair to compare Taco Bell to that stuff. Sure some may think of Taco Bell as Mexican cuisine, but I think that says more about the person than Taco Bell. I just think of it as its own wacky thing. That’s my two cents anyway.

        • Raiders757 says:

          Don’t get me wrong, Chef, I wouldn’t dare hold TB to that standard. For me, TB is what it is, and when I pull into their drive through, I know what I’m getting myself into. Cheap tacos for a cheap price.

          Hell, if it wasn’t for Taco Bell, it’s possible that I would have never even tried anything closely related to Mexican cuisine. I was so picky in my childhood, I refused to take part in taco night, ignoring the fact that I could make them the way I wanted to. I ignorantly turned my nose up at them like a spoiled brat. It wasn’t until I was a teen in the 80’s that a friend of mine broke it down and pointed out that if you like beef, lettuce, cheese, hot sauce, and tortilla chips, that there was no way I wouldn’t enjoy a basic taco. He took me to a TB and forced a crunchy taco on me, and I have been hooked ever since.

          Obviously I’ve expanded my enjoyment for Mexican inspired grub, but TB still calls out to me. Sure, it’s mass produced corporate slop, but you can’t beat four tacos for under $5 after an evening of 12oz. curls.

      • Sherm says:

        There are usually a few good (if not great) burger joints in every area, too, but that doesn’t mean people don’t still go to McDonald’s for a Big Mac. Fast food is just that: cheap, convenient, hassle-free and, sometimes, damn tasty to boot. I have a few ridiculously good taquerias in my area, but I still get the craving for Taco Bell every now and again. Is it authentic? Not even close. Is it good when you’re liquored-up and/or baked? Absolutely. And it can even be good sober. Just not *as* good haha.

  6. Tony says:

    This has peaked my interest for sure. I foresee a fourthmeal in my near future.

  7. Raiders757 says:

    …so these are going to cost more than the regular crunchy taco? I’m going to try one anyway, but what a bummer. I was in hopes of halving a twelver of crunchy tacos with six Locos and six regulars.

  8. Scott says:

    I am pretty excited to try these. With finally trying Taco Bell breakfast next week and then this in March, I am going to get pretty fat…

    Great review though, glad to see they seem to not taste too processed. That was my biggest concern. I was worried it was going to just taste like greasy powdered cheese.

    And man I wish they would bring back the blackjack taco.

  9. Andi says:

    This review deserves some slow clapping. Can’t wait to give these a try.

    Won’t make me go to Taco Bell any more often though. All the locations are pretty inconvenient to my normal daily route thanks to them closing the one close to my house.

  10. Matt says:

    Can’t wait to try one of these.

  11. Rob says:

    Had this in testing while in Bakersfield. Spot on review. Love these things.

  12. somesteve says:

    cool tacos, bro

  13. Bob says:

    Someone get me a time machine so I can go to a taco bell that actually has something I would eat.

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  20. HomerJ says:

    The shell texture is completely wrong. And what’s worse us that they’ve changed the texture of the chips themselves that come with the value menu. A long long long time TB and Nacho Dorito fan was sent running home in tears. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE???

  21. pina says:

    mmmmmmmmm que rico

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  24. MP says:

    “While the shell tastes like a Nacho Cheese Doritos chip, it’s a tad more muted”

    Bullseye. I’d consider Nacho Doritos one of my all-time favorite snacks in the past 30+ years and this taco was disappointing in comparison. No snap, thinner & light on seasoning. Based on my preferences & tastes as a taco, it was fine & could barely taste any Doritos flavoring but I would save the 20 cents & stick to the crunchy taco. For some odd reason, the 3 times I got this, they were all soggy & moist including the taco card cover. Also I found it weird to try to eat it with the card cover and just discarded it.

    To me this was just a new gimmick that people were looking for something new. It’s not a bad idea but it could be better executed.