We Tried Taco Bell's Enchirito To See How It Stacks Up To The Original. A Blast From The Past It Isn't

Who doesn't love meat, beans, cheese, and veggies served in a hard or soft tortilla? Considering we've collectively nicknamed a day of the week to show how much we love Mexican food, we think it's safe to say most of us do. Tacos may be pretty simple to make at home, but whenever a craving strikes, Taco Bell provides any spicy little thing our hearts desire.

Taco Bell's Enchirito debuted in 1970 and was one of the chain's most beloved menu items for two decades. Taco Bell removed the Enchirito from the menu in 1993 but listened to fans eventually, reinstating it in 1999 ... only to ax it again in 2013. Yet this fan favorite never indeed went away. Unlike other Taco Bell secret menu items that require hacks of existing menu offerings, getting an Enchirito at many franchises is as easy as asking for one.

Even though Enchiritos were part of this not-so-secret menu, Taco Bell decided to poll rewards members on the app and on social channels from September 27 to October 6 and find out whether the Enchirito or the Double Decker Taco would make a limited return to the menu. Fans overwhelmingly chose the Enchirito, so we're trying it to see if it's worth the hype.

What's in Taco Bell's Enchirito?

The Enchirito is Taco Bell's version of an enchilada. If you've ever been confused about the difference between an enchilada and a burrito, there's a simple way to break it down. An enchilada is like a boosted burrito; both are made with tortillas wrapped around some combination of beans, meat, cheese, and vegetables, but burritos stop there. Enchiladas go a step further, baking burritos in sauce with plenty of cheese melted on top. It's easy to eat burritos on the go, like a sandwich, but enchiladas are heartier and need utensils.

Looking further into the Enchirito, however, we realized that the beloved dish was originally more like the love child of enchiladas and burritos: Traditional enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, while burritos are made with flour tortillas. Although modern Mexican cuisine uses tortilla varieties interchangeably, Taco Bell used a corn/flour hybrid tortilla for the Enchirito for over 20 years. Stocking its stores with tortillas used for just one menu item might explain why it was discontinued in 1993.

The 21st-century Enchirito is a flour tortilla stuffed with ground beef, beans, and onions, drenched in red sauce, and topped with plenty of melty cheddar. This is one dish from Taco Bell you can't eat in the car, so plan a sit-down with plenty of napkins. Aside from changing the tortilla, the black olives that topped the classic Enchirito seem to be a thing of the past, too.

How much does it cost?

After hearing that Redditors have complained about different prices on the Taco Bell app versus inside the restaurant, we checked. We changed locations in the app for major cities around the country, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and found that the Enchirito was consistently priced at $3.79. We ordered in-store at a Long Island Taco Bell, and the price was identical, leading us to believe that Taco Bell sets the price for this promotion rather than allowing franchise owners to make the call.

The Enchirito is an a la carte menu item, not included in combo boxes. Ordering Taco Bell is usually easy via the Taco Bell app, website, local restaurant, or meal delivery services like GrubHub, but the Enchirito posed a bit of a hurdle. We ordered it early on day one of the promotion, and at that time, it was not listed on the website or the app. It was also missing when we got to the restaurant order kiosk, and we had to ask at the counter. Surprisingly, it took some explanation of what we wanted before the order was successful, but later the same day, the website and app were updated to include the Enchirito. You can find it using the search feature or under particular menu tabs, including "new," "specialties," and even "burritos," even though it isn't a burrito.

Where and when is the Enchirito available?

If you've been looking forward to the Enchirito's return, don't snooze because it's only available from November 17 to November 30. Taco Bell loves fan engagement and uses its app and social media channels for everything from deciding which discontinued menu items come back to helping customers monitor their local restaurant's supply of Truff hot sauce. Although you should be able to get the Enchirito nationwide, Taco Bell is always careful to use the term "at participating locations, while supplies last," just in case a restaurant doesn't offer it.

Taco Bell likes to tease customers with limited-time offers, but that's simple supply and demand; we'll rush to buy something we know won't always be on the menu. The chain tends to listen when fans make noise about bringing back favorites: Recent examples are Mexican Pizza and Nacho Fries. While the promotion might be testing the waters for a permanent Enchirito comeback (after all, Taco Bell has no other similar menu items), buying them in bulk for the freezer could serve diehard fans well.

How does the Enchirito stack up with other popular Taco Bell menu items?

First, if you crave a filled tortilla baked in sauce and covered in gooey cheese, the Enchirito is what you want. Although the Enchirito's return is limited, in 2013, Taco Bell replaced the Enchirito with the Smothered Burrito, a burrito filled with chicken, rice, and beans and covered in a chipotle sauce and melted cheese, then garnished with swirls of sour cream. Maybe this is all a setup for Taco Bell to repeat history?

If you're willing to lose the sauce and cheese, several of Taco Bell's burritos echo the Enchirito's flavor. The Beefy 5-Layer Burrito is a decent compromise because the nacho cheese layer between tortillas mimics sauce and melted cheese at once. The center tortilla's fillings are the same as the Enchirito: seasoned beef, onions, and beans. The Burrito Supreme has beef, beans, and onions but adds lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, red sauce, and sour cream. These might provide enough saucy satisfaction once the Enchirito disappears from the menu.

Since Taco Bell lets you customize your order, you could order Truff sauce or green sauce for dipping to make your burrito more enchilada-like. Although Truff Nacho Fries are already a thing of the past, you can request a side of Truff sauce while supplies last. This spicy blend of chilis and black truffle makes a perfect addition to any meal at Taco Bell and instantly elevates any burrito.

What's the nutritional value?

Taco Bell has earned a reputation for healthier fast food options, including vegetarian and vegan offerings as well as Fresco style, which removes sour cream and cheese in favor of pico de gallo for flavor without all the fat. The Enchirito is not exactly the healthiest choice, but if you're in the mood for an enchilada with sauce and cheese, you don't need to stress too much. The Enchirito clocks in at 350 calories. If that's your entire meal, it will fit into a healthy day's nutrition. If you're starving, adding some of the Bell's healthier options would help balance your meal.

Now for the bad news. The Enchirito, like many restaurant options, packs a lot of sodium into a small package. If you're watching salt in your diet, be aware you're getting 1,340 milligrams per serving. The American Heart Association suggests we should aim for a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, with an ideal goal of only 1,500 milligrams. As for fat, half of the Enchirito's 16 grams of fat is saturated. Since guidelines from the American Heart Association suggest we eat just 13 grams per day of saturated fat (based on a 2,000-calorie diet), you need to decide how the Enchirito works for your goals.

Bad news aside, it does pack 18 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, and since its calorie count is reasonable, many fast food options wreak more havoc on your diet than the Enchirito.

Bottom line: Did we like it?

We have to say, considering the Enchirito scored 62% of the fan vote over the Double Decker Taco for a return engagement, we expected a bit more. There was a lot of red sauce, which had a tiny kick of spice, but it also made the tortilla soggy. The beef and beans, while identifiable, didn't provide huge flavor. We snagged sauce packets with our order and found the Diablo and Fire varieties gave the Enchirito extra heat and made it more tempting. The amount of cheese melted on top looked promising but didn't offer the luxurious mouthfeel it might have.

For our money, Taco Bell has plenty of options that are tougher to duplicate at home than the Enchirito. Enchiladas are a beginner chef's dream; browning ground beef with onions is the hardest part of the recipe. After that, all you have to do is roll tortillas around refried beans and the seasoned meat mixture and bake with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese (refried beans and enchilada sauce can be purchased or homemade). Chalupas, Crunchwraps, or the 7-Layer Nacho Fries are Taco Bell favorites that are harder to imitate at home -– we say if you're going out for Taco Bell, go all the way.