I Got an Exclusive Taste of Taco Bell's 4 New Items and They Were Worth the Wait
Fans of Taco Bell know that the chain often tests new potential menu items on a smaller scale before bringing them to market nationwide. This week, I got an inside look and the chance to taste a handful of these fresh ideas, including two new versions of the Mexican Pizzas, the $2 Chicken Poblano Caesar Burrito, and the Crispy Chicken Wings from the new Ultimate Game Day Box. The pizzas and the burrito are still in the test phase, but the Ultimate Game Day Box, which includes the Crispy Chicken Wings, is launching on Jan. 26.
Many Taco Bell customers were thrilled when the Mexican pizza returned to the permanent menu last year, and they'll be happy to hear that there might be more in store for the cult classic. I got first-hand access to two new variations of the pizza—a Cheesy Jalapeño Mexican Pizza and a Triple Crunch Mexican Pizza. These two new items have been in the testing stage in stores in Oklahoma and Nebraska since late 2022.
Next on the "potentially coming soon" list, and the chain's latest addition to the craveable value menu, is a $2 Chicken Poblano Caesar Burrito. This item is being exclusively tested in Charlotte, N.C. In addition, I got an early taste of the Ultimate Game Day Box, including the iconic queso-flavored Crispy Chicken Wings launching as a limited-time offer for the second year in a row from Jan. 26 until Feb. 9 (or until supplies last).
Here's what I thought of the look, taste, and overall what to expect, when and if these items make it to a Taco Bell near you.
Cheesy Jalapeño Mexican Pizza
The Cheesy Jalapeño Mexican Pizza is an elevated version of the original Taco Bell pizza. It comes layered like the original but with double the cheese (from a mixture of the staple three-cheese blend and Nacho Cheese Sauce) and plentiful slices of spicy jalapeños.
The look: At first glance, this pizza could be a show-stopper. The melted cheese dripped off all sides and the fresh color of the tomatoes and jalapeños had my taste buds eagerly awaiting the first bite. I tried it freshly made, but after sitting at my table for about 30 minutes it started to dry up in spots and look soggy in others (not so pretty).
The taste: I was most excited to try this pizza variation for one reason and one reason only—the spicy jalapeños. But they are much milder than expected and are mostly there to add to the overall flavor instead of adding heat. On another note, the extra cheese in this pizza makes a huge positive difference! If the original Mexican pizza gets old for you then give this one a try for the extra toppings and a zing of flavor.
Triple Crunch Mexican Pizza
The Triple Crunch Mexican Pizza is a three-layer pizza made up of beans and seasoned beef between each crunchy shell.
The look: This variation of Mexican pizza was the least appetizing of all the new items, due to lack of anything new and the little sauce/cheese it came with. However, right off the bat, I could tell that there was a lot packed in the middle because of how thick and dense it was when I picked up a slice.
The taste: When it comes to the extra crunch to this pizza, I thought it had a great overall variety of textures. However, I could only take a bite or two before desperately reaching for something to drink. It's far too dry as a result of the extra beans and meat. While it does have some of the chain's signature red sauce on top, there is nowhere near enough to cover what's inside all three layers.
Compared to the other two versions, this pizza doesn't offer much novelty. It features the same ingredients and the same flavor, but a little too much of it to be enjoyable.
Chicken Poblano Caesar Burrito
After all of the controversy surrounding this chicken Caesar burrito, and the debate about whether it was actually a wrap, I was very intrigued. Inside its warm tortilla, you'll find grilled chicken, a poblano Caesar sauce, fresh lettuce, fiesta tortilla strips, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese.
The look: From the outside, it looks like your average burrito. After finally getting to the middle of it, I realized it was one of the healthiest menu items from Taco Bell I'd ever seen—the interior was bright and refreshing to see. It's small, but that wasn't surprising considering the low price of $2.
The taste: For those wondering if this burrito was secretly just a wrap, I would say it definitely veers in that direction. The veggies taste fresh and light and the crispy fiesta tortilla strips round things out. Plus, since most items at Taco Bell contain ground beef, I completely forgot how tender and juicy the chain's chicken is! This burrito was filling without being heavy, possibly making it one of my new favorites if/when it gets added to the permanent menu in the future.
Crispy Chicken Wings
Coated in Mexican queso seasoning and a light layer breading that gets fried to crispy perfection, these chicken wings will be re-introduced (alongside their handy-dandy spicy ranch dipping sauce) to nationwide menus for a limited time on Jan. 26.
The look: The wings were completely covered in cheesy seasoning, yet they still looked both vibrant and crispy. There was also a wonderful mix of both drums and flats, which I thought true wing lovers would appreciate. As for the zesty ranch on the side, it is dense and full of chunky additions and spices.
The taste: Taco Bell really hit this fried chicken on the nose, each wing I ate was flaky and had an unbelievable crunch. The flavors that come from the Mexican queso dust and other spices are very unique. Unfortunately, when it came to the dipping sauce sidekick, I was not a fan at all. It completely takes away from the immaculate flavor of the wings. They are also not super spicy, but they do have more of a kick than T-Bell's jalapeños. Thankfully, the Mexican fast-food chain has a ton of other sauces and dips (possibly nacho cheese??) you could choose from on the regular menu.