Old El Paso Takis Taco Shells Review: They'll Level Up Your Taco Night

If you're a fan of intense flavors in your snacks, you probably love Takis. These sour and spicy rolled tortilla chips pack loads of taste (and red food coloring) in a tiny package. And since acidity and spice go great with Mexican food, it just makes sense to try to combine Takis with tacos. We've seen taquerias add crushed Takis to dishes before, but there's a simpler way to get Takis flavor into your Mexican dinner: Old El Paso Takis taco shells.

Once we found out about this product, we knew we had to try it for ourselves. If Old El Paso managed to do Takis justice, we knew it would make for uniquely irresistible tacos. We're happy to report that the mad scientists at Old El Paso have cracked the code — this experiment is successful. Takis taco shells are the snack food mashup we never knew we needed. Keep on reading to discover our full thoughts on this product.

What's in Old El Paso Takis taco shells?

Each box contains 10 taco shells, which the packaging says equals five servings. We generally like to eat three or four tacos in a sitting, so 10 shells is more like three servings for us, but appetites vary. These are stand 'n stuff shells with a flat bottom, a design feature that theoretically makes your tacos easier to construct since the shells don't fall over. The box recommends heating these up in the oven before eating.

The shells are made mostly out of the typical ingredients you'd find in any taco shell: corn flour treated with lime (aka masa or nixtamalized corn), palm oil, and salt. They're coated (rather unevenly, we must say) with the same fire engine red seasoning dust that's on Takis Fuego chips. A comparison of the ingredients in the chips versus the taco shells shows the seasoning blend is mostly the same in both. It features sugar, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast extract, onion powder, and, of course, a heaping helping of food coloring. One difference is that the chips have real chile powder in them, while the shells seem to get their heat only from the natural and artificial flavors.

How much do they cost and where can you buy them?

We paid $3.50 for the Takis taco shells at our local supermarket. They were on sale; the standard list price was $3.99. That works out to 35 cents per taco shell, which feels like a fair deal to us. They were the same price as the other stand 'n stuff taco shells from the brand, even the unflavored ones; you don't have to pay extra for the Takis dust.

The normal crunchy taco shells from Old El Paso cost $3.99 for a 12-pack, which is equal to just over 33 cents per shell — slightly cheaper than the stand 'n stuff ones, but not really a meaningful difference. Old El Paso is more expensive than some other taco shell brands. A 12-pack of Ortega crunchy taco shells is only $2.29, while the generic brand from Kroger is a steal at $1.59. Prices may vary depending on where you live.

Old El Paso first unveiled its Takis taco shells in 2021. In the beginning, they were available only at Walmart, but they were on the shelves in multiple stores in our area in 2023. They are sold nationwide, and there's no indication they're a limited-time-only item. Anecdotally, this product seems quite popular; we had to visit two stores to snag them as they were sold out at the first place we tried. We bought the last box remaining on the shelf at the second store.

How do Old El Paso Takis taco shells compare to other similar products?

The most obvious comparison to this product is the Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell. Launched in 2012, the Doritos Locos Taco was a pioneer in the flavor-blasted taco shell space. Taco Bell needed a years-long research and development process to create the new taco. There were many failed attempts along the way before the company figured out the perfect formula for combining Dorito seasoning and taco shells. Now you can buy Taco Bell seasoned crunchy taco shells at the store for at-home taco nights, though they're not co-branded with Doritos like the ones in the restaurant.

Taco Bell walked so Old El Paso could run; the latter company now sells four different flavored taco shell varieties including the Takis one. The other three are Bold Nacho Cheese, Bold Ranch, and Hint of Lime. We haven't gotten a chance to taste the other varieties, but the Takis taco shells rival Doritos Locos Tacos in terms of intensity of flavor and faithfulness to the chip inspiration.

Nutrition facts

A two-shell serving of Old El Paso Takis taco shells is 150 calories, which means each shell clocks in at 75 calories. There are 8 grams of fat per serving (3.5 grams are saturated), 340 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein. Somewhat surprisingly for processed food like this, you also get 2 grams of fiber. Of course, these numbers are for the shells only — most of us aren't eating taco shells by themselves, so the overall nutrition of your meal involving these taco shells depends mostly on what you're using to stuff them. This is a gluten-free product. The box says the shells are made with GMO ingredients, which some people try to avoid, but they are considered perfectly safe by the FDA.

As for other potentially concerning ingredients in these shells, MSG is often demonized, but like GMOs, there's no proof it's harmful. The shells' vibrant color comes in part from Red Dye 40, which some research suggests may increase rates of ADHD in children (via the Center for Science in the Public Interest).

How do Old El Paso Takis taco shells taste?

In short, this product tastes really, really good. We were a little skeptical at first because the seasoning dust was so unevenly distributed on the shells. Plus, some of the customer reviews on Old El Paso's site aren't great, but we didn't have any of the quality issues mentioned in the reviews. All of our shells arrived intact, they didn't close up when heated, and the texture was nice and crunchy. The stand 'n stuff format did indeed make it easier for us to put fillings inside the shells.

These shells have the perfect amount of Taki seasoning on them. It adds a new twist to the tacos without completely overpowering the fillings inside (we went with smoked turkey thighs, shredded iceberg, radishes, and salsa roja for our tacos). The Taki dust provides a little heat, but mostly you get a big umami hit from the MSG and a ton of lime-flavored acidity. These flavors would complement just about any type of taco, and we'd definitely buy this product again.

One word of warning: Much like Takis Fuego chips, these taco shells leave a bright red residue on everything they touch. The pan we warmed them up on, the plate we ate them off of, and our lips and fingers all ended up being stained red. The mess is part of the Takis experience; you just have to embrace it.