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You'll Never Guess What Taco Bell Uses to Season Its Beef

Would you add this surprising ingredient to your soups, stews, and chilis?

We know the secret behind why McDonald's fries are so addictive and how Chick-fil-A cooks its signature chicken to perfection. But when it comes to Taco Bell's oft-raved-about beef tacos, we couldn't help but wonder what makes them the tac-o' the town.

In order to demystify the delectability behind the iconic snack, we sifted through the ingredient list of Taco Bell's best-selling item. The seasoned beef, which hides under a pile of lettuce and sprinkle of shredded cheese, is spiked with a handful of expected spices such as chili pepper, onion powder, and tomato powder. But one seasoning stood out to us the most: cocoa.

Sí, the Bell adds a dash of cocoa to its beef recipe, which — surprisingly enough — works wonders. Chocolate is often used to add a subtle flavor and deepness that counteracts piquant peppers in Mexican dishes such as mole and stews. While Taco Bell admitted in 2011 that it added cocoa powder to its recipe to enrich the meat's color, the joint stated that "cocoa powder doesn't add any flavor to our recipe," ABC News reports. However, the Bell's beef recipe has changed since then, when it tidied up its menu of unnecessary additives in 2017 such as high fructose corn syrup and unnatural dyes. Now, instead of cocoa powder, Taco Bell uses real cocoa.

Besides the tacos, the fast food giant fills its Crunchwraps, Chalupas, Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and even its Fiesta Taco Salad with the cocoa-spiked seasoned beef. What's more, it also sprinkles cocoa powder into a handful of more unassuming offerings such as in its grilled steak marinade as well as the creamy jalapeno sauce. Who would've thought?!

Now that you know what's really in the seasoned beef, find out what orders you should steer clear of with the help of our exclusive report, Every Menu Item at Taco Bell — Ranked.

April Benshosan, MS
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April
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