Copycat Taco Bell Cinnamon Twist Recipe

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who secretly like Taco Bell and people who openly love it and don't care who knows. Seriously, even the most dedicated low-carb/low-fat/high-glycemic eater probably harbors a hidden longing for a Doritos Locos taco, one food item that's sure to be forbidden on anyone's diet.

If there's one thing that's even more crave-worthy than Taco Bell's eponymous tacos, however, it's an odd little item that can be found on the value menu: the crunchy snack/dessert mashup known as cinnamon twists. Although these twists are priced pretty reasonably, there are times you just don't want to make a Taco Bell run. With this copycat recipe from Kristen Carli, you won't have to run any farther than your own kitchen to enjoy a big batch of cinnamony, twisty goodness. Carli tells us, " I love the Taco Bell cinnamon twists," but she tells us this copycat version tastes "just like Taco Bell's!"

A TikTok video revealed the secret to making cinnamon twists

One of those puzzles we thought we'd never solve was just what, exactly, went into Taco Bell's cinnamon twists (besides cinnamon) and how they got them so twisty. This mystery endured for many years, with Taco Bell shedding no further light on the matter besides the basic ingredients list.

A few whistle-blowing employees did actually share the inside information with their nearest and dearest, plus however many social media followers they had, but the true story of cinnamon twists wasn't exactly common knowledge. Then one day, a Taco Bell employee turned TikToker made a soon-to-be video showing exactly how these twists are made, and soon, the whole world was in the loop. Surprisingly enough, the secret ingredient in Taco Bell's cinnamon twists turns out to be a type of noodle!

The ingredients you'll need to make these cinnamon twists

Carli says when she found out how to make Taco Bell's cinnamon twists, she was "very surprised at how easy this recipe is." The most difficult part of the recipe may be finding the type of noodles that turn into twists. These are not just your garden or grocery variety rotini. Instead, cinnamon twists are made from a type of Mexican noodle known as duros. They may not be widely available in standard supermarkets just yet, but most Hispanic groceries will carry them, and of course, you can order them from Amazon, as Carli did.

The only other ingredients you'll need to make these cinnamon twists are a few things you probably already have on hand: vegetable oil for frying, cinnamon, and sugar. That's it — just four ingredients!

How to make the cinnamon twists

To make the cinnamon twists, you'll first need to heat up a few inches of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Carli says she used about three cups. It's best to use a thermometer to check the temperature because oil that isn't hot enough may result in your food being soggy, but oil that's too hot may result in a call to the fire department. If you have a thermometer, it should read 350 degrees by the time you drop your first duros in the oil.

Fry the duros in small batches, a few at a time, for about 20 seconds. At this point, Carli says, "they puff up and rise to the top of the oil," and this means they're done. As the duros finish cooking, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat the process until all of the duros are cooked.

While they're still warm, place a quarter of the duros in a Ziploc-type bag with a quarter cup of sugar and a tablespoon of ground cinnamon. (Note: this makes a very strongly cinnamon-flavored twist. If you prefer something a bit sweeter, you may wish to use just a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon for each quarter cup of sugar.) Zip the bag and shake until the duros are coated, then repeat with the rest of the duros, adding more sugar and cinnamon to the bag as needed.

Ways to serve your cinnamon twists

The classic way to serve cinnamon twists is, of course, out of a small paper bag accompanied by a Baja Blast. In fact, if you wish, you can even make a copycat Baja Blast freeze and enjoy your copycat cinnamon twists after a tasty meal of copycat Doritos Locos tacos, Crunchwrap Supremes, Mexican pizza, and other faux Taco Bell delights.

Of course, you're not obligated to adhere to a strict Taco Bell theme. These cinnamon twists would be delicious with a glass of horchata or a cup of coffee (we'd definitely eat them for breakfast!), or you could even get creative and repurpose them in other recipes. Crumbled cinnamon twists could add a little crunch to cookies or puddings, or you could sprinkle them on a cake or even use them as a crunchy coating for fried ice cream.

Carli calls these cinnamon twists "delicious and very versatile" and notes that "you can have fun with the flavor combinations beyond cinnamon sugar." One other out-of-the-bag use she suggests for them is dipping them into chocolate hummus. If you're not a fan of sweetened chickpeas, however, you could always dip them into chocolate syrup, as well.

Copycat Taco Bell Cinnamon Twist Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
If there's one thing even more crave-worthy than Taco Bell's eponymous tacos, it's an odd little item that can be found on the value menu: cinnamon twists.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Copycat Taco Bell cinnamon twists
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 1 pound wheat pellet twists (duros)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Pour a few inches of vegetable oil into a large pot and heat over medium until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
  2. Once the oil is hot enough, drop in a few duros. Cook for 20 seconds or until they have puffed up and risen to the top of the oil. Scoop the duros out with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Repeat with remaining duros.
  4. Place ¼ of the puffed duros inside a large Ziploc-type bag with ¼ cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon. Zip the bag and shake well to coat.
  5. Remove the twists from the bag and repeat with the remaining duros until they are all coated with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Serve and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 326
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56.2 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
Total Sugars 20.2 g
Sodium 1.4 mg
Protein 4.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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