Fast food tacos ranked from worst to first

While tacos have a long history in Mexico, possibly dating all the way back to the 18th century, they've increasingly become a staple of the American diet. In fact, Taco Bell is one of the top 10 fast food chains in the United States, with more than 7,000 locations spread across the country.

Whether you love crispy tacos, soft tacos, breakfast tacos, fish tacos, authentic Mexican tacos, Americanized tacos, or any type of taco in between, you can likely find what you want a short drive from your current location — but you don't have to go to Taco Bell.

These days, you don't even need to go to a Mexican restaurant to find a tasty taco. A lot of fast food joints now have tacos on their menu, as more and more people specifically seek the deliciousness and affordability of a good taco. Don't know where to start? This definitive list, ranked from worst to best, will help you locate the best fast food tacos around.

16. Crispy Taco at Burger King

You can find some hidden gems on Burger King's value menu that are perfectly edible and amazingly cheap. For example, their chicken nuggets can be had for a ridiculously low price. However, the Crispy Taco at Burger King is a complete and utter abomination and an embarrassment to tacos everywhere.

Everything that can be wrong with the Crispy Taco is wrong. First of all, it lacks any type of pleasant flavor. Secondly, the texture is too mushy. And to put a somber sombrero on the top of the disappointment, this Burger King disaster is even smaller than you're imagining.

The ingredients in the Crispy Taco are nothing out of the ordinary. It's a crispy tortilla shell filled with seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, taco sauce, and a slice of American cheese. Unfortunately, Burger King apparently forgot to factor in taste. The beef doesn't have enough seasoning, the taco sauce is basically reddish water, and the shell is about as exciting as a stale tortilla chip.

15. Double Decker Taco at Taco Bell

While Taco Bell is home to a lot of tacos that are worth ordering, the Double Decker Taco should be avoided. In theory, it makes sense because it basically combines the best aspects of a soft taco and a crunchy taco. Unfortunately, in the real world, it's just a failed, loveless marriage.

The middle of a Double Decker Taco is a regular crunchy taco with seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheese. That crunchy taco is then wrapped with a flour tortilla that has been slathered with refried beans.

The problem is that if you even wait a couple of minutes to eat this taco, the refried beans turn the inner crunchy taco into a soggy mess. Once the crunchy shell loses it's crispy texture, it becomes more of a liability than an asset. The Double Decker Taco not only disappoints taste-wise, it's also a taco that tends to fall apart in your hands while you're eating it — and that only amplifies the despair.

14. Crunchy Beef Taco at Carl's Jr.

The Crunchy Beef Taco tries really hard to be worthwhile taco — but it's just not happening. Unless you're stranded at a Carl's Jr. and you really, really want a taco, this thing isn't worth your hard-earned money.

Carl's Jr. goes with the typical formula when creating their Crunchy Beef Taco: seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and taco sauce resting inside of a crispy shell. While the seasoned beef isn't anything to write home about, and the shell is forgettable at best, you will be pleased with the cheese and the sauce. The cheese is actually a blend of four different kinds of cheeses, while the sauce adds an acceptable amount of kick to the equation.

If you insist on ordering the Crunchy Beef Taco, ask for extra cheese and extra taco sauce. The result will be far from spectacular, but it will scratch your itch for a taco if your options are limited.

13. Grilled Shrimp Taco at Baja Fresh

If you want to live dangerously, order the Grilled Shrimp Taco the next time you visit Baja Fresh. This taco is either quite good or really bad. It all depends on the quality of shrimp Baja Fresh has on hand. It seems to vary from day to day and from location to location, so whether you'll be happy or sad will rely completely on luck.

The grilled shrimp is held by two corn tortillas and is joined by avocado salsa, avocado slices, pico de gallo, and shredded cabbage. The pico de gallo, which is made fresh at the restaurant, is particularly tasty.

But, again, it all comes down to how the shrimp tastes that day. Sometimes at Baja Fresh, biting into a grilled shrimp is like biting into a piece of rubber. Other times, the shrimp is everything you're hoping for. Also, be advised that the Grilled Shrimp Taco is small so you'll need to order a pair of them to make anything close to a meal.

12. Jack in the Box's Two Tacos

Nobody knows why the Two Tacos deal at Jack in the Box is so addictive. The tacos don't taste amazing and they're certainly not authentic — but despite their mediocrity, they will have you coming back again and again.

Jack in the Box has been serving tacos since the 1950s and there's no chance that they will stop anytime soon. In fact, they sell more than half a billion tacos per year. While these tacos aren't revolutionary by any means (they're just seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, taco sauce, and American cheese in a crunchy shell), don't be surprised if they become one of your quick go-to snacks when you're pondering your fast food options.

For a long time, the Two Tacos deal at Jack in the Box was just 99 cents. While the price is now a little bit higher, you can usually still find that 99 cent price tag if you order from the Jack in the Box app.

11. Soft Pork Carnitas Taco at Taco Time

If you want a perfectly average taco, hop on over to Taco Time and order a Soft Pork Carnitas Taco. First of all, don't be confused by the appearance of this taco. Taco Time wraps their soft taco like a burrito, but still calls it a taco. This taco is adequately authentic, tastes good enough, and won't set you back much when it comes to your bank account. It's not memorable in any way but if you're new to the world of tacos, it could serve as a gentle introduction to what a quality taco tastes like.

If you've never had pork carnitas, it's basically pork that has been simmered in lard until it has become tender. To do it right, the pork needs to be simmering for at least two to three hours. Give Taco Time credit, they obviously don't take any shortcuts because the pork is tasty and tender.

The minimal amount of disappointment is because of what else is in the Soft Pork Carnitas Taco. The cheese isn't flavorful and the diced tomatoes lack discernible taste. The flour tortilla is often overly chewy, too. That said, the pork is good enough to mask most of the flaws.

10. Beer Battered Fish Taco at Del Taco

If you love fish tacos, you'll enjoy the Beer Battered Fish Taco from Del Taco. The fish in the taco is a crispy fillet of Alaska pollock, much like you might find at a fish and chips eatery or inside of a fish sandwich. The fish has a pleasant taste and the beer batter adds to the yumminess.

In addition to the fish fillet, Del Taco includes pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and a secret sauce that is made mostly with egg yolk and buttermilk. To hold things together, a pair of soft — but not too soft — corn tortillas are utilized.

Del Taco will also give you a lime wedge with each of their Beer Battered Fish Tacos. You need to be warned that you will miss out on how good this taco tastes if you skip drizzling it with lime juice before taking your first bite. The lime wedge is a necessity, not a recommendation.

9. Beef Muchaco at Taco Bueno

Taco Bueno's Beef Muchaco is an Americanized take on what a taco should be — as are most on this list — but it's still worth trying. The ground beef is seasoned scrumptiously, the shredded cheddar cheese is flavorful, and the freshness of the tomatoes and lettuce add to the goodness. Best of all, the refried beans used in this taco are amazing. Taco Bueno claims the refried beans are slow-cooked to perfection — and your taste buds will agree.

The aspect of the Beef Muchaco that may turn some people off is that the tortilla has been replaced by pita bread. Sure, the pita bread is soft, warm, and easy to live with, but there's just something questionable about a taco that uses pita bread. If you order this bad boy, you shouldn't tell your abuela about your decision — let's put it that way.

Taco Bueno also offers a Chicken Muchaco, but that one should be avoided. Their chicken doesn't have much flavor at all and the texture is all wrong.

8. Soft Taco at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Who doesn't love Chipotle? You can get freshly made food at a very reasonable price. That said, while the tacos at this restaurant taste really good, you'd be wise to never order the tacos at Chipotle.

The reason for that stance has everything to do with value. At Chipotle, you get much better bang for your buck if you opt for a burrito, a burrito bowl, or even a salad. If you opt for their tacos, you'll basically be flushing money down the toilet because you'll get less meat and other fillings for the same price — or sometimes even more money.

If you're only talking about taste, the Soft Taco at Chipotle should be near the top of this list. That's especially true if you go with barbacoa as your meat and add their fantastic guacamole and tomatillo-green chili salsa. But when you add value into the equation, Chipotle's tacos take a hit that is impossible to ignore.

7. Grilled Steak Taco at Qdoba Mexican Eats

At Qdoba Mexican Eats, you are free to customize your order however you see fit. When it comes to their tacos, though, there is one rule you should live by: go with their grilled steak. While the other meat options at Qdoba are fine, especially the grilled adobo chicken, nothing really compares to the steak. That's true even though the steak costs a little bit extra.

The meat in the Grilled Steak Taco is not only hearty and filling, it tastes like it's fresh off the grill. While you can order a single taco at Qdoba, go with the platter that comes with three tacos. Along with the grilled steak, don't miss out on their pico de gallo and guacamole. Add either one — or both of them, if you want the ultimate experience — to really take the steak to the next level.

Qdoba has in excess of 750 locations in North America, so it shouldn't be a problem for you to find one in your neck of the woods.

6. Grilled Chicken Taco at Del Taco

If you're ravenous and just need some tacos to fill you up fast, it's tough to beat the Grilled Chicken Tacos from Del Taco. These tacos are easy to eat, as the flour tortilla seemingly melts in your mouth. The grilled chicken is very tender but also very tasty, while the cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, and white savory sauce will leave you salivating as you await your next bite.

The key to enjoying the Grilled Chicken Taco is to make sure you eat it shortly after you order it. The flour tortilla loses a lot of its luster if you don't eat it while it's still warm. The white sauce can also turn gooey if you let it cool off.

Del Taco has been around for more than a half century and they have nearly 600 locations in 14 states. While they aren't known for having fancy food, you will leave pleased — and filled to the brim — if you eat your way through three or four Grilled Chicken Tacos.

5. Breakfast Taco at Taco Cabana

A breakfast taco is a South Texas staple that might be difficult to find elsewhere across the United States. It's similar to a breakfast burrito but instead of being wrapped, it's only folded. Beyond that, a breakfast taco is typically smaller, features less ingredients, but manages to pack in more taste.

At Taco Cabana, a chain of Mexican fast food restaurants that has locations in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, you will discover some of the best breakfast tacos on the planet. While there are a number of breakfast taco options, if you want to take baby steps go with the bean and cheese or the potato and egg. Alternatively, if you want to dive right in, a brisket, egg, and cheese breakfast taco will open your eyes to a whole new world of breakfast food you never knew existed. Before you leave Taco Cabana, make sure you get some salsa roja from their salsa bar. A breakfast taco needs salsa to truly be a breakfast taco.

4. Grande Chicken Avocado Taco at El Pollo Loco

The chicken at El Pollo Loco is legendary. The main reason for that is the chicken is authentically Mexican, as the founders of El Pollo Loco are actually from Mexico. You can taste the knowledge and the love that goes into each of their tacos. If you're looking for the best taco on their menu, you have to go with the Grande Chicken Avocado Taco.

This taco is wrapped with corn tortillas and features their legendary chicken along with lettuce, cabbage, and pico de gallo. To cap off this fiesta, slices of avocado are added. Even if you think you don't like avocado, taste El Pollo Loco's avocados before you finalize that opinion. Their avocado is perfectly ripe, never stringy, and has a strong but not overpowering taste. Apparently, along with knowing how to cook chicken, they know how to pick the exact time when the avocado is ready to be sliced.

3. Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi Taco at Rubio's Coastal Grill

People from coast to coast who love fish tacos have Rubio's Coastal Grill to thank. Why? Ralph Rubio, the man behind Rubio's Coastal Grill, is the person credited with bringing fish tacos to the United States and making them popular.

Nearly 40 years later, Rubio's Coastal Grill is still leading the way when it comes to fish tacos. While they still have the Original Fish Taco on their menu, that innovation has now been surpassed by their Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi Taco. Ask for the fish to be blackened and you'll think you've died and gone to fish taco heaven.

After the mahi mahi has been blackened, it gets doused with olive oil. It's then put in a corn tortilla and is accompanied by cilantro, roasted corn, cabbage, onion, and a chipotle sauce. Although most locations of Rubio's Coastal Grill are in the West, the fish tacos here are so good that it's worth a trip if need be.

2. Crunchy Taco at Taco Bell

While there is a Taco Bell on seemingly every corner in America, and while Taco Bell has been the butt of many jokes, there is nothing laughable when it comes to their Crunchy Taco. This taco is legitimately good. Sure, it's not the most authentic taco you can find, but it's a taco you can enjoy if you're new to Mexican food or if you've eaten Mexican cuisine every day of your life.

The simplicity of the Crunchy Taco is undeniably part of its allure. It's just a crunchy tortilla shell filled with seasoned beef, finely shredded cheese, and lettuce. You can also add hot sauce to the mix but it's not absolutely necessary.

The Crunchy Taco's awesomeness revolves around how good the crispy tortilla shell tastes. And while Taco Bell's seasoned beef isn't going to win any awards, it goes perfectly with the tortilla shell and the combination of the cheese and lettuce. Another big plus about Taco Bell tacos is you can order them by the 12-pack.

1. Overachiever Taco at Moe's Southwest Grill

You shouldn't be surprised that the best fast food taco is served at Moe's Southwest Grill, as it's the best Mexican fast food restaurant. The taco is appropriately called the Overachiever Taco and it's sure to win over each and every one of your taste buds, no matter which of the protein choices (adobo chicken, chicken breast, steak, ground beef, pork carnitas, or tofu) you select.

Joining your chosen protein inside of this taco is pico de gallo, cheese, beans, and mind-blowing guacamole that is made from scratch. You can get this taco in a crispy tortilla shell, but it's better to go with a flour tortilla because you don't want one drop of the greatness to fall out of the taco while you're eating it.

While Moe's has only been around since 2000, they've quickly made a name for themselves. And with the Overachiever Taco, they're now home to the best taco you can find in any fast food eatery.