The Surprising Way Taco Bell Makes Their Cinnamon Twists

Taco Bell cinnamon twists, the undisputed star of the chain's Cravings Value Menu, are a delicious, almost-addictive, and yet still somehow kind of mysterious snack. For starters, are they even a snack, or more of a dessert? They're too sugary for the former, too crunchy for the latter, so you can't ever quite tell whether you should eat them before or after your Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

The real mystery, however, lies in the fact that nobody seems really sure just how these crunchy little treats are made. Food. has what is purported to be a copycat recipe, but it's A) way too complicated and B) not even close to the real deal. Interestingly enough, though, if you read the comments on that recipe, you'll find out that one Taco Bell employee's mom spilled the frijoles over a year and a half ago about just what goes into the cinnamon twists: "Rice based twisted noodles, Cinnamon, Sugar, Oil for frying." Yep, fried noodles. Evidently that is a thing, and you've been eating it, and loving it, and you had no clue.

The TikTok video that spread the cinnamon twist secret

While Taco Bell employees (and Food. comment readers and this Facebook user) have long known the "secret" of the cinnamon twists, it was still not exactly common knowledge. While Taco Bell's website lists the ingredients for all its menu items, there's very little about "wheat flour, yellow corn meal, rice flour, salt" that actually indicates noodles. Well, now the not-quite-secret is well and truly out, since it's being spread far and wide by 2020's town crier, TikTok.

The TikTok viral video that everyone's now freaking out over shows these rotini-looking things being dumped in a deep fryer, cooked until they poof, then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. It's not exactly the same rotini that you can buy in the grocery store pasta aisle, however. As Taco Bell told Delish (and as we already know, both from reading the ingredient list and that Food. mom's comment), these are no ordinary noodles — they are noodles that also contain corn meal and rice flour. 

A few particularly well-informed TikTok commenters were even able to name the brand: Duritos Pellets Wheat Twists, which currently retail for about $12 on Amazon, although most TikTok users stuck to incredulous exclamations about how they never suspected it was possible to fry pasta (and Amazon reviewers say they don't taste anything like the real deal at the Bell, either). One user, however (obviously a veteran of a state fair or two) remarked, "this is America. We fry ERRTHANG!" Which yes, we do. But why even try frying noodles when Taco Bell's cost just a buck a bag?