What Only The Biggest Taco Bell Fans Know About The Chain's Burritos

We know you love Taco Bell's burritos, but there's probably still plenty you don't know about your favorite menu item. Burritos are among the top five best-selling options on the menu and have staying power (via Thrillist). After all, Taco Bell has been serving burritos since day one. Like tacos, they've never left the menu.

At any one time, you're likely to find ten or more burritos on the menu featuring your favorite style of meat or beans. Unfortunately, many fans have found it frustrating to lose their favorite burritos in the past few years while the company cycles through menu items seemingly every other week. You can recreate long-time favorites like the Seven Layer Burrito by hacking the menu with web, app, or kiosk ordering. However, other burritos like the beloved Beefy Crunch Burrito are impossible to procure. No matter which burrito is your favorite, we have all the inside information you want to know about Taco Bell burritos.

The burrito has been on Taco Bell's menu from the very beginning

Glen Bell opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California, in 1962. The original Taco BeIl was a walk-up restaurant that looked very different from the Taco Bell of today. Taco Bell says that the original vision was to nestle the restaurant in a Mexican-inspired setting, surrounded by other attractions. There was even a stage for live Mexican dancers and mariachi performers.

If you were one of the first visitors to the original Taco Bell, Taco Bell says you would have found burritos among its five debut menu items. Along with burritos, the chain's first offerings included tacos, frijoles (beans with cheese), tostados, and chiliburgers. You could get anything on the menu for just $0.19.

Not every item on the original Taco Bell menu remains today. However, the burrito has remained throughout all the changes. Stuffing favorite ingredients into a flour tortilla never fails to please, so burritos have stayed on the menu and multiplied over the years.

Burritos like the ones at Taco Bell have three different origin stories

Corn tortillas first appeared in Aztec cuisine around 10,000 BC (via History of Bread). However, since corn tortillas break easily, burritos weren't born until recently. Jewish colonists who settled in the northern part of Mexico to distance themselves from the Spanish Inquisition began making tortillas out of wheat flour since corn wasn't kosher (via the Houston Chronicle).

The origin of the burrito is debatable. However, all three stories place its origin in northern Mexico in the early 1900s. And all relate to small donkeys ("burrito" in Spanish) in some way. One theory is that a street vendor in Chihuahua named Juan Méndez invented burritos during the Mexican Revolution in the 1910s. He began wrapping his food in tortillas to keep it warm while transporting it on his small donkey. Another origin story places the burrito's invention about 400 miles west in Sonora, where wrapping food in a flour tortilla made it more portable, especially for travel by donkey. Thus, you'd pack a burrito on your burrito for a journey. The third story comes from Ciudad Juarez, 225 miles north of Chihuahua. Supposedly a street vendor in the 1940s sold burritos to school children, whom he called "burritos" because he negatively associated the children with unintelligent donkeys. Gustavo Arellano, author of "Taco USA," finds the Sonora theory most plausible since Sonora grows wheat (via Vox).

You can hack the Taco Bell menu to make several secret burrito menu items

Any Taco Bell burrito fan knows it's become fairly standard to customize burritos with the app or kiosk. Making secret Taco Bell burrito menu items is easier than ever. To get an extra-crispy Double Grilled Burrito, simply ask for any burrito to be grilled and for twice as long as usual. Chili Cheese Burritos (sometimes called Chillitos) start with your favorite burrito. Then, you simply add chili sauce and melty shredded cheese. An original Seven Layer Burrito hack is attainable if you've been missing the version that debuted in the 1990s (via TJ the Sports Geek). Start with a Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito, subtracting nacho cheese sauce and creamy jalapeno sauce. Make it supreme (tomatoes + sour cream). Then add lettuce, cheese, and guacamole.

Several secret menu burritos have superhero names. Ordering The Hulk is as easy as ordering a Bean and Cheese Burrito and adding guacamole. If you're looking for a burrito that will certainly fill you up, give The Superman a try. You'll start with a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito, adding potatoes, crispy tortilla strips, sour cream, and guacamole.

The Grilled Cheese Burrito helped generate profits for Taco Bell

The Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito starts out looking like an ordinary burrito. It's a soft flour tortilla filled with seasoned beef, a three-cheese blend, sour cream, creamy chipotle sauce, and seasoned rice. It acquires even more cheesiness with nacho cheese and crunch from red tortilla strips. To complete the fusion of a burrito with grilled cheese, Taco Bell employees sprinkle a little cheese on top of the burrito before making it toasty and crisp with the grill.

The Grilled Cheese Burrito is appealing not only because it has a grilled exterior but because it's a filling menu item. If you order a more expensive version like the Double Steak Grilled Cheese Burrito, it might come at a higher price point. But at 920 calories, you'll probably not want to order anything else.

While many restaurants were closing and losing money, Taco Bell started creating higher-caliber menu items with higher price tags. Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs says that customers have been demanding more high-end, premium-value menu items. "That's why you're seeing us do things like the Double Steak Grilled Cheese Burrito at Taco Bell, which is at a higher price point than normal, but still a great value and a big part of our success in Taco Bell" (via The Motley Fool). During the second quarter of 2022, Taco Bell saw same-store sales increase by 8% and its gross operating profit increase by 10% (via Yum! News).

Taco Bell keeps cycling through which burritos it offers on its menu

Finding the perfect burrito at Taco Bell can be a little frustrating since the company tends to cycle through menu items at an alarming rate. We'd like to say that you'll always find the Bean Burrito and Burrito Supreme on the menu no matter what, but even the Seven Layer Burrito, which was a menu staple for decades, disappeared in 2020 (via Taco Bell). 

Ultimately, cycling through burritos helps to keep the menu fresh and customers coming in to try new things. At the time of writing this article, there are 13 different types of burritos on the menu. The burritos use grilled chicken, grilled steak, seasoned beef, refried beans, or black beans for their main protein.

Luckily, if you know the ingredients in your favorite burrito, you can usually recreate it by adding and subtracting ingredients from existing menu items when ordering. You can add tomatoes and sour cream by choosing the "make it supreme" option. And many burritos come with the option to "make it grilled."

If you visit Taco Bell abroad, you'll find all sorts of burritos not available in the U.S.

When we look at all the burrito options available abroad, we're frankly a little jealous. While we tend to occasionally get new sauces in the U.S., the main ingredient combinations tend to remain the same. We've yet to see ingredients like seafood, avocado, or non-Tex-Mex sauces. While there's always the possibility of a fusion menu in the future, we won't hold our breath.

So, what types of burritos can you find in international Taco Bells? Nearly every burrito from Taco Bell India contains fajita veggies, and the cheese is likely to be paneer. Plus, you can order a Tikka Masala Burrito. At the Korean Taco Bell, you can order a kimchi or shrimp burrito. In Cyprus, there is a Fajita Burrito, you can get the Grilled Stuft Burrito with shredded meat, and there are two bacon burritos (the Cheesy Bacon Fries Burrito and the Bacon Quesarito). Costa Rica also has bacon on its burrito menu in the form of its Bacon Cheddar Burrito. In Chile, the Burrito Chilito has chili sauce cooked into the ground meat. However, some burritos you can find around the world are sweet rather than savory. For example, in Cyprus, the Banurrito contains a banana, hazelnut praline sauce, and colored vermicelli sprinkles.

In case of a crisis, you could have an emergency burrito stash

Surely, if you're a Taco Bell burrito fan, you've already started accumulating an emergency burrito stash in your freezer, right? After all, not being able to get to Taco Bell in an ice storm when a burrito craving hits can be construed as at least a minor emergency. Beyond weather emergencies, you can also buy and freeze burritos at discount prices to see you through leaner budget times.

The idea of the emergency burrito stash came from u/OceanMud, a Redditor whose diet involves eating one to two cheesy bean and rice burritos a day. The burritos were super cheap because they were part of a DoorDash promotion or came from the value menu, so this idea is the most cost-effective if you can manage to get the burritos through some type of discount deal. Commenters suggested putting the burritos in freezer bags or another freezer-proof container rather than simply wrapped in their original wrapper to help maintain quality over time. OceanMud said that heating frozen burritos simply requires putting the burritos in the microwave for a minute or air frying them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five to 10 minutes.

One thing to consider if you decide to make an emergency Taco Bell burrito stash of your own is that not every type of burrito will taste as good reheated. For example, creamy sauces, guacamole, and lettuce don't hold up well when you reheat them.

There are several good ways to reheat a Taco Bell burrito

Sometimes, your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you buy far too many burritos. Other times, you may buy extra burritos for lunch the next day to kill two proverbial birds with one Taco Bell trip. You'll want to consider that not every ingredient reheats equally. If your burrito contains lettuce, guacamole, or creamy sauces, the texture and taste will likely change negatively upon reheating.

Microwaving is the fastest way to reheat your Taco Bell burrito. Simply wrap your burrito in a paper towel, place it on a microwave-safe plate, and reheat for a minute. The main negatives are that it may not heat evenly and the tortilla can come out chewy. An air fryer is the next-fastest way to heat a Taco Bell burrito. You should wrap it in foil and heat it at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about five minutes. The resulting burrito will be warm and somewhat crunchy. However, the absolute best way to reheat Taco Bell burritos is in the oven. It will take 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to make them hot and delicious on a baking sheet.

Taco Bell includes a strange ingredient in many of its burritos

According to the Los Angeles Times, Taco Bell has been transparent about its use of cellulose in its ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, and chips. However, some people have been concerned. After all, unlike termites, we don't have helpful bacteria living in our stomachs to help us digest wood. So, why is Taco Bell adding cellulose to its burritos?

Let's back up a bit. While you may think of cellulose as being a component of wood, it's also a natural component of the fruits and vegetables that our stomachs are designed to digest. It's not like they're putting pieces of shredded wood in your food. You're not in danger of splinters. The truth is that cellulose helps thicken food, reduces clumping in cheese, and improves the texture of creamy sauces. As a bonus, it provides fiber to your diet. So, while cellulose may look like a suspicious ingredient for your burrito, there's really nothing to worry about with the small amounts you'll be consuming (via Slate).

The tortillas in Taco Bell's burritos are from Mission

Chances are, if you've tried to make burritos at home, you've used the same brand of tortillas that Taco Bell uses: Mission. After all, Mission is among the top five best tortillas you can use. Astronauts even use Taco Bell tortillas during their space missions. According to the manager of food for the International Space Station, the tortillas that Mission makes for Taco Bell are packaged in a way that allows them to stay fresh for nine months (via Cnet).

There are several options for getting a Taco Bell tortilla to use at home. For a tortilla that's closest to what Taco Bell sells, you can buy Taco Bell Soft Taco Dinner Kits or Soft Taco Mission Restaurant Style Flour Tortillas. However, soft taco tortillas are eight inches rather than ten inches (the size that's ideal for burritos). Mission also sells super soft Burrito Flour Tortillas, which are likely somewhat similar to Taco Bell tortillas, and reviewers seem to like them just fine.

Copycat Taco Bell burritos are easy to achieve at home

Many of the food brands that Taco Bell uses in its burritos are probably already familiar to you. If you have Mission tortillas, Tyson chicken, and Taylor Farms lettuce, you're already shopping the same brands that Taco Bell does. Our recipe creators at Mashed have worked hard to determine which ingredients, sauces, and spices you can use at home to get extremely close to your favorite Taco Bell burrito flavors at home. The Copycat Taco Bell Bean Burrito is easy to make because it only has five ingredients: refried beans, a flour tortilla, Ortega mild taco sauce, a yellow onion, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Making a Copycat Taco Bell Quesarito is a little more complicated since you need to make Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce and Copycat Taco Bell Ground Beef first. Additionally, you'll need tortillas, Mexican cheese, rice, Caldo de Tomate, sour cream, and nacho cheese sauce. However, the results are worth it.

The Bean Burrito is Taco Bell's most popular burrito

None of Taco Bell's burritos satisfy its customers quite like the Bean Burrito. In fact, Thrillist confirmed with Taco Bell that it was actually the third-best-selling menu item Taco Bell had in 2017. Only the crunchy taco and soft taco beat the bean burrito in popularity. No other burritos made the top five. This five-ingredient burrito is so simple that you can recreate it easily at home. However, somehow, it just tastes better from The Bell.

Part of the Bean Burrito's popularity likely lies in its price point. The Taco Bell Bean Burrito is only $1.69 and is filling enough for a meal at 350 calories. Sure, it's a favorite with vegetarians. However, its simple and comforting melty shredded cheese, refried bean, red chili sauce, and onion combination makes even carnivores happy. And if you add guacamole to make The Hulk, it's even more filling.

There's been a big movement to bring the Beefy Crunch Burrito back

Of all the burritos that have cycled on and off the Taco Bell menu, the Beefy Crunch Burrito is one that fans have lamented most when it's been gone. The ingredient combination of seasoned rice, seasoned beef, sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, and Flamin' Hot Fritos was comforting, filling, and hit just right with texture and spice (via Tasting Table). The Beefy Crunch Movement Facebook page has 67,000 likes and 66,000 followers, and it's still going strong after twelve years. At least eight members of the Facebook group have expressed their love by getting Beefy Crunch Burrito tattoos.

Taco Bell listened long enough to bring it back in 2022, but it's gone again (via Mexicali Blue). Unlike many other discontinued burritos at Taco Bell, there's no way to hack the menu to get these, which gives fans that much more anguish. However, you can order a Beefy Melt Burrito without the three-cheese blend and fiesta strips and add your own Flamin' Hot Fritos. Unfortunately, Redditors say that Flamin' Hot Fritos are difficult to find. However, you can sometimes find them online or with Frito Lay's product finder.