Taco Bell Crunchwrap: Trust Us, It Looks Nothing Like They Promised

Even though every single Taco Bell menu item seems to be made with the same four or five components, the chain still manages to get creative with its offerings. The company finds a way to put its own uniquely American spin on Mexican ingredients, and you can't deny the ingenuity of its creations. 

If you tried to order a Crunchwrap Supreme from a taqueria in Mexico City, for instance, all you'd likely get in return is a funny look. But Taco Bell's signature item is a marvel of intricate fast food construction: Nacho cheese, beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream are all supported by a corn chip backbone and then enveloped in the soft hug of a griddled flour tortilla. At least, that's how it appears in the pictures on Taco Bell's site.

We ordered a Crunchwrap to see how it really looked, and let's just say there's a reason that Taco Bell is a two-in-the-morning food for many people. In the harsh light of day and without the aid of any psychoactive substances, the Crunchwrap wasn't as beautiful or as tasty as Taco Bell's photos led us to believe.

The toast and wrap weren't as perfect as the photo

In Taco Bell's official pictures, the Crunchwrap Supreme always has a beautifully even, golden-brown color on the outside. The tortilla is also folded into a perfectly-pleated, even hexagon every time.

The Crunchwrap we ordered was a bit of an ugly duckling compared to what you see in ads. There was a decent amount of browning on the exterior, but it was quite inconsistent, especially on the flat (non-folded) side of the tortilla. Some spots were even white and completely untoasted, while others were dark-brown and on the verge of being burnt.

The folds in the tortilla held up quite well structurally — they stayed in place and didn't fall apart even when we hacked our Crunchwrap Supreme in half to reveal the interior. From an aesthetic perspective, though, they weren't great. The folds were uneven and there weren't as many pleats in our Crunchwrap as in the photos. Still, they did their main job of keeping the fillings safely contained.

The Crunchwrap Supreme was skinnier in person

The real-life Crunchwrap wasn't large enough to earn the grandiose moniker of "Supreme." In photos, the menu item appears to be a good 2 inches tall at least, but the one we received was barely over half an inch. Part of the problem was the vegetable garnish. The lettuce and tomato in Taco Bell's photos take up a good two-thirds of the overall height of the Crunchrap Supreme, but in reality, all we got was a sad sprinkling of lettuce and barely any tomatoes at all. To make matters worse, since the lettuce was wrapped inside a tortilla alongside hot ground beef and nacho cheese sauce, it steamed a little bit, losing both volume and crunch.

In addition to the underwhelming height, the fillings in the real-life Crunchwrap also weren't evenly spread from edge to edge. Some corners of our Crunchwrap were pretty much empty, with disappointing air pockets where we were hoping to find vegetables or cheesy beef. All in all, this menu item was smaller and less filling than we expected it to be.

Where was the beef?

As of August 2023, Taco Bell is being sued because it is allegedly defrauding customers by depicting an unrealistic amount of fillings (especially when it comes to beans and beef) in its marketing images. The suit contends that Taco Bell's promotional photos count as false advertising because the real-life menu items contain so much less meat than the pictures do.

We already covered how our Crunchwrap Supreme was disappointingly small in person, but we wanted to highlight specifically that it was much less beefy than we would have liked. The beef layer was maybe a quarter of an inch tall, and that's being generous. To add insult to injury, the meat section of the Crunchwrap Supreme contained more nacho cheese than it did actual meat — we wouldn't be surprised if there was only around a tablespoon of beef in the whole menu item. 

The skimpy quantity of beef combined with the smaller-than-expected pile of lettuce and tomato meant that the ratio of filling to tortilla in the Crunchwrap felt off. To us, there was way too much bread and not enough of everything else.

The wrap lacked crunch

Crunchiness is the raison d'etre for the Crunchwrap — it's right there in the name. Sadly, the one we sampled delivered only mild crispiness at best.

The main component of the Crunchwrap that is supposed to be crispy is the large, tostada-like corn chip in the middle. In photos, the tostada looks sturdy and tough, perfectly separating the hot beef and cheese from the cool lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. We all know that's unrealistic, though, right? When a corn chip comes into contact with liquid, it quickly starts to become soggy — that's just how the world works. Taco Bell hasn't come up with a way to defy the laws of physics, as far as we know. So, even though we started to eat our Crunchwrap only moments after it was served to us, the tostada in the middle was already losing its rigidity.

Other components of the dish, like the lettuce and the griddled flour tortilla wrapper, could theoretically have given this item some extra crunch. But, as we've mentioned, the overheated lettuce was soft and the tortilla on the outside was unevenly toasted. What we ate was more of a Softwrap than a Crunchwrap.

The layers of filling weren't very distinct

The idea of the Crunchwrap Supreme, at least as depicted in Taco Bell's photos, is that you have a layer of hot fillings on the bottom, then a corn chip, then cold salad on top. In practice, everything got blended. This wasn't necessarily bad from a flavor perspective, as we enjoyed the taste of every component of the Crunchwrap mixed together. 

Aesthetically, though, it was kind of a mess. We tried to do our best to cut the dish cleanly in half to showcase the interior for the photos we took, but even so, it was hard to tell where one layer was supposed to begin and another was meant to end.

We didn't enjoy what the mingling of the filling layers did for the temperature of the dish, either. The joy of garnishing hot foods with cold salad comes from the contrast of temperatures, but that's not what happens inside a Crunchwrap. Instead, every component was the same lukewarm temperature by the time we ate it. The lettuce was hotter than we would have liked, while the beef was much colder than we prefer.

The verdict: The Crunchwrap Supreme was not picture-perfect

We wouldn't sue Taco Bell over it, but we were disappointed by the looks (and, to a certain extent, the flavor) of the Crunchwrap Supreme. If someone who'd never had a Crunchwrap before ordered one purely based on the beautiful picture displayed on the menu board, we bet that they would be upset with what they received. The one we sampled for this article was smaller, less pretty, and less delicious than one would expect from pictures.

The Crunchwrap Supreme wasn't all bad. We liked Taco Bell's seasoned beef, and the nacho cheese sauce and sour cream combination was quite pleasant, as well. However, we think other items on the menu show those ingredients in a better light. If you like the nacho cheese sauce, why not get Nachos BellGrande instead of the Crunchwrap? And if we're craving seasoned beef, we think it tastes best in a Doritos Locos Taco, where there isn't so much bland tortilla competing with the beef. We ended up drowning our Crunchwrap in Diablo Sauce to give it the extra flavor it desperately needed. Ultimately, it could use more work to match up with the marketing images.