Review: Quesalupa from Taco Bell

We got our first look at the Quesalupa a little over a year ago when Conan O’Brien tried one on a visit to the Taco Bell headquarters.  Since then we saw its test market campaign in Toledo, Ohio and then even a breakfast version months later.  The Quesalupa is a highly anticipated item for Taco Bell fans and the national release is finally upon us.  I got my Quesalupa two days before the wide release via Taco Bell’s pre-order promo.QuesalupaTaco Bell’s Quesalupa is described like this:

The Quesalupa has melted pepper jack cheese stuffed inside a flaky, crispy shell.  It’s layered with premium seasoned beef, crisp lettuce, real cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream and diced ripe tomatoes.

Rearranging familiar ingredients is something that we’re used to from Taco Bell.  With the Quesalupa, we are introduced to a new cheese stuffed shell, but what’s inside is everything you’ll find in a typical Crunchy Taco Supreme.QuesalupaSo right off the bat we know that the Quesalupa opens up a lot of new ideas for consumers to customize something truly unique using the new shell stuffed with pepper jack cheese.  On the inside you’ve got the seasoned beef, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and diced tomatoes.  Why go into the details of these individual components again and again?  I guess to showcase this new shell, Taco Bell decided it was best to just use the most basic stuff on the inside in order to keep the real focus on the outside.QuesalupaI’m sad to say I found the Quesalupa’s shell to be lacking in both taste and texture.  The texture is not exactly Chalupa-like… I’d say it’s surprisingly thinner than a Chalupa because it lacks that crisp, bubbled-fried puffed quality.  It’s close to a Chalupa on the surface, but flattened and pressed.  The cheese inside the shell lays towards the center and taste-wise I found it to be more Monterey Jack than pepper jack so that was a disappointment.  Having this semi-Chalupa type of shell comes with some oily areas and adding in melted cheese impacted it even more.  The chew of the shell was a little off too because of the pressed layers involved.  To throw out one minor positive, there was a nice stretch of melted cheese when I pulled the Quesalupa apart in some areas. Even though it lacked impact in most areas,  knowing you’re working with a cheese-stuffed shell has its novelty.QuesalupaAt a suggested price of $2.99, the Quesalupa is a so-so value that might work alright featured around some Dollar Cravings Menu selections.  Make a complete meal out of the Quesalupa and a couple of a la carte selections for a buck and you’ve got a filling fast food fix for five dollars.QuesalupaWas all the hype worth it?  Nope, not for me.  Honestly, even as a fast food fan and a fan of Taco Bell LTO’s, it’s almost never worth all the build up.  I feel the best Taco Bell products are able to combine crunchy, chewy, cheesy textures and the Quesalupa was more chewy than anything else. The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is a great thing… the Doritos version too… even the standard Chalupa shell is better than the Quesalupa shell.  My experience with the Quesalupa was underwhelming and I’m disappointed about that.  I really wanted the Quesalupa to be the next great thing at Taco Bell and it just fell short.

Pros: Golden wrapper and Quesalupa carrier. The ability to customize so easily at Taco Bell will still make me want to revisit the Quesalupa shell again.

Cons: Texture issues... too chewy. Cheese didn't have much flavor impact.

Taste: 4.50/10
Value: 5.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.25/10
Price: $2.99

Overall GrubGrade: 5.00/10

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35 comments on “Review: Quesalupa from Taco Bell

  1. Matt says:

    I appreciate your review. But I don’t believe you. I can’t! This has to be excellent … It … Just … Has … To … Be.

    • Ryan says:

      I hope you have a better experience than I did. I’ll get it again in the future and customize it… my first experience was a letdown.

  2. Random Taco Bell Employee says:

    In all honesty, I think the shell is better on its own. The first and last bite stink because there’s no cheese. Also, if it’s not super fresh, it gets really, really greasy. But put together it does seem bland. Needs about 5 fire sauces for me, although most of my coworkers are adding nacho cheese.

  3. Alex says:

    I just had one of these and I noticed no pepper in the pepper jack + the cheese was all in the middle. The flavor of the cheese was quite bland so if I were to get a Chalupa again, I’d stick to a regular one. I ordered via the mobile app without a pre-order (and got 25% off).

  4. Chad Dierkes says:

    This was a 9/10 for me,the only disappointing part was the first and last bites not having the same cheesy bites as the middle. I think next time I’ll replace the shredded cheese with nacho cheese and it should be fast food perfection.

  5. Mickey says:

    We had a free coupon for the “mystery” menu item, so we went out to Taco Bell for lunch. We were asked if we wanted steak, chicken, or ground beef, we both chose steak. The item looked like a chalupa, I felt like the cheese Quesalupa outside “cheese tortilla bun” or whatever to call it, it had the texture of processed pita bread. I didn’t notice any cheese in the middle. It was like a taco in pita bread.

  6. A.M. says:

    Was it amazing no but it was tasty. I want to do a double decker taco with a Dorito shell and this one, mmmmmm.

  7. Brian says:

    I was one of the lucky few to try this thing in Toledo when it was offered last year and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s probably my second favorite thing at Taco Bell ever with the only thing I love more being the Cool Ranch DLT and Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. I made the mistake of never getting back down to Toledo to have it more than once.

    Getting to the 2 hour event today to have one on a break from work, my taste buds were reunited with the Quesalupa once more. I cannot wait until Monday when this thing is available full time. I plan on eating at TB as much as I can possibly afford to.

    I get it’s not for everyone, but I love this thing so so much.

    • Steven says:

      I’ll agree with Brian. When they were offered in Toledo, they were spot on. I never had issues with the cheese being uneven and the shell was pretty crunchy. I’m wondering if they changed something for the national roll out or perhaps the shells are being cooked in advance causing things to settle inappropriately.

  8. MP says:

    So basically it’s a quesadilla as a taco shell. They should do a Doritos version of this.

    • Steven says:

      It’s fried, so I don’t think they’ll be doing any versions featuring Doritos. At least i haven’t heard of any incidences of complete cheese loss like McD’s mozzarella sticks.

  9. Jimmy James says:

    Kind of a bummer to hear that it wasn’t the bee’s knees. I may still pick one up eventually but I won’t rush out to grab one.

  10. Jonathan Wayne says:

    I’m glad you bought this so I didn’t have too. This does not seem to be worth $3, maybe $1.50 to $2 but definitely not $3.

  11. Stephen says:

    I had two on saturday from two different locations. The first one was a bit over fried. It was probably 2 or 3 shades darker than the one pictured in this review. That may sound bad, but it actually led to it being much more crispy than the second one I had which was more like the one pictured here. The first one had a really nice flaky crispiness going all the way around and it didn’t feature a burnt taste or anything. The issue with that first one was that as some others have said, the cheese wasn’t very pepper jacky. Guess what? The second one I had was more spicy! So basically it seems like there’s the capability for a good bit of variation with these things depending on luck of the draw with the composition of the cheese in your given shell and also how the location fries yours up.

  12. Scott says:

    My experience was very similar to yours and I think a 5/10 is about where I’d rank it too. I really don’t think there was pepper jack in mine either.

  13. Andre says:

    After watching the super bowl ad, my criticism of the product is going up one notch. When people pull it apart in the ad, it clearly shows cheese out to the edges – like lots of stringy cheese. After ordering one, such is definitely not the case. Either there is a disconnect between Taco Bell’s test kitchen, marketing department, and the actual restaurants or this is simply a case of false advertising.

  14. Robert says:

    I only tasted the cheese in one bite. Kind of a neat novelty, but I’d rather have an ordinary chalupa. Of course, that’s a baja chalupa, and Taco Bell decided we can’t have those anymore.

  15. Lance says:

    I think it is delicious. Not better than the nacho cheese chicken chalupa (which for some reason i need to special order now) but it was very good. nacho cheese chicken chalupa is still the greatest fast food item ever. I ordered 2 without sour cream and one of them was better than the other so hopefully they step it up in the consistency dept

  16. Ben Morris-Rains says:

    I had the sausage breakfast version today and few things I noticed: It was FILLED to the brim with sausage, egg, potatoes and cheese. I didn’t know it had nacho cheese on it or else I would have asked to take that off. I don’t really need that in my breakfast item. Second, the cheese inside the shell was for me, very melty and VERY cheesy, thus not needing nacho cheese (plus on eggs it’s just gross). I didn’t taste any spicy flavor in the shell, it just tasted like a lot of mozzarella, focused in the center. The entire item was super hot, so maybe try going in the morning before they have been sitting out, etc. It was fresh.

    It was all underwhelming to say the least and a waste of calories. In theory it should be amazing but it is lacking in execution. 2/5

  17. Kev says:

    I had three today. Fresh shell, cheese oozing out like the commercial. And the cheese was in the whole shell, not the middle like I read in many reviews, so I was surprised. And yes it was fantastic. No complaints here

  18. Raiders757 says:

    When I go to TB, it’s because I’m being cheap, so I never order anything other than regular tacos. This was THE one item I have been looking forward to. Something to break me from my normal order. I love pepper jack cheese with a passion, and everything else involved with this concoction is a go with me. Including the sour cream, which is something I normally frown upon. Sadly between the price, and what I’m reading here, is rather disappointing. Now I am not so sure I’ll even bother trying it. I guess I’ll stick to four crunchy tacos fresco style, as usual. Which is not nearly as often as it used to be, as I might go to TB once every two months these days, if that.

  19. Steven says:

    I had it today. I agree with most of the others. It was just underwhelming. It was all the hype and the year long wait.

  20. FSBlue says:

    Interesting tidbit from Reddit. A verified Taco Bell employee is saying that over 20% of shells that are sent to stores are destroyed during the frying process. If you are hankering for this as a novelty item, act quick

  21. Jonathan Wayne says:

    I just had it today with the steak, it actually wasn’t bad, tasted about right, not that cheesy though. I still think it isn’t worth more than $2.

  22. BoJangles says:

    I seen these when I went to TB the other day.. Seen they had a breakfast one too, and was SO tempted.. but didn’t get it. I might swing by before these end and get one.

  23. JJJ says:

    I tried this last night. It was ok. The cheese was really not that melty or noticeable. Plus, min was barely over halfway full. Remember the days when taco bell would give you a lot of lettuce to at least make the taco look full? Apparently those days are over. I just feel that if you are going to do something like this, go all the way. This felt very halfway to me.

  24. Matt says:

    I’m just really surprised that Taco Bell thinks/expects this will be a bigger product launch than the Doritos Locos Taco.

  25. Srtdave says:

    There is NO cheese in these shells. Or barely any. Got two of them at two different locations, sucked at both. Not worth!

  26. Marcie says:

    Disappointing! Nothing like the advertisememts!

  27. Mark says:

    It’s not good, regular chalupa is better. It’s exactly as you said, not a chalupa shell, it’s more like two soft tacos with cheese in the middle and fried. I didn’t like the flavor of the shell. It tasted just like oil. Also it sounds like consistency is a huge issue with this product, which I’ve also found to be the case with regular chalupas. Sometimes the shell is fried cripsy, other times it’s soft and oily. I can see everyone’s experience differing a lot just based on how cripsy they get the shell. Still just not that good, I’ll stick to cheesy gordita chrunch, it’s easily the best thing TB has.

  28. TheHotToddy23 says:

    Nothing says quality like fish that costs two dollars. Makes you wonder what kind of “fish” this happens to be.

  29. doctorx0079 says:

    So is the Quesalupa completely gone now? I don’t see it on the menu. Maybe I’m just not seeing it? I know this was supposed to be an LTO or whatever, but it seems like it didn’t stick around long. Does that mean the Quesalupa failed? I didn’t care for the one Quesalupa I had.

  30. doctorx0079 says:

    It seems like this is one of the biggest failures in the history of fast food, and yet no one’s talking about it. Taco Bell must have lost big $$$ over this. It’s been almost a year and absolute silence. I wonder if any insiders will ever be willing to talk about it.

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