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Worst to Best: Taco Bell Dollar Cravings Menu


I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

“I’d like one of everything,” I said, rubbing my hands together.

“Haha, yeah,” said the man at the Taco Bell counter, who clearly thought I was kidding.

“No. I, uh, I really want one of everything. Seriously.”

The man stared blankly at me and then twisted his neck to look at the small crew working the fast food restaurant. He seemed concerned.

It turns out that he was right. While I’m sure his band of merry men (and one very nice lady) could have handled the request, my friends and I certainly could not.

We were:

Greg Elwell – Eater-in-chief of I Ate Oklahoma and generally spherical person

Spencer Hicks – comedian, bon vivant, ginger

Sawyer Hicks – Spencer’s eldest child and lover of dinosaur-themed Youtube videos

Holli Hicks – Spencer’s (current) youngest child and squirmy worm

Brian Byrne – founder of the Church of Briantology, beard aficionado, never convicted

While Spencer, Brian and myself were tasked with most of the eating, even a group of five could not take down the entire Taco Bell menu in one sitting. It is like the TARDIS of restaurants — the menu is bigger on the inside.

Rather than eat everything at once, we opted to break the menu down into four parts, which we will publish separately. We’re sorry if this inconveniences any of you, but for the sake of my wallet and all of our bowels, it had to be done.

First up: The Dollar Cravings menu.

As you might guess, these are $1 each and a bit smaller than some of the other items. But there’s still quite a selection, which we found out when we attacked these head-on.

10. Cheesy Roll-Up 

BB: This was some room temperature shredded cheese in a room temperature tortilla. I go to Taco Bell because I wanna dine out; I literally could have made this myself, and I don’t make things for myself.

SH: I agree with Brian, this was easily the least appetizing thing on the menu. It felt and tasted like my depression.

GE: This is meant for children, but not ones you love. This is a nice capper to telling your kids there’s no Santa Claus.

9. Spicy Tostada 

Spicy tostada

BB: I know there was some other shit on there but this was pretty much a tostada shell with spicy mayo on it. Not that that’s a bad thing.

SH: Well, it was food. This didn’t really stand out for me.

GE: I hated it. I would have been happier if they’d just given me a flat corn tortilla and a slap in the face.

7-8. (tie) Spicy Potato Soft Taco

BB: Really expected to like this more than I did. Surprisingly bland! Put that spicy mayo on there, fuckers, it’s on everything else.

SH: Being mostly Irish, I love the blandness of potatoes. But this missed the mark. If I ever take a pilgrimage to the Taco Bell test kitchen, I’m going to find the person responsible for the “spicy” potato taco and bludgeon them with a pillowcase filled with potatoes.

GE: A waste of both potatoes and tortillas, two of America’s most strategic repositories of carbs.

7-8. (tie) Triple Layer Nachos 

Triple-layer nachos

BB: It seems sacrilege, but I’ll be damned if beans, cheese, chips and taco sauce did nothing for me.

SH: A cheaper version of the Nachos Bell Grande, but a tricked out version of the chips and cup of cheese they used to call nachos. It’s like the Ford Taurus of the Nacho family.

GE: I wanted this to be good, but it wasn’t. The beans weigh it down. Clearly they’re there for heft, but the mix of cheese and red sauce was just kind of blah. Triple layer? That’s like ordering a BLT and it’s just bread, lettuce and tomato.

6. Caramel Apple Empanada 

BB: The caramel apple taste was too on the nose. It tasted like what a committee has decided caramel apples taste like. This was made in a bunker in Utah. Good crust though.

SH: Do you like dopamine? Put one of these in your mouth and your brain will give you a nice reward. Thanks evolution! I feel like the McDonald’s Apple Pie tries to get to this level, but just can’t quite get there.

GE: The crust was the best part. It was shiny and crisp and a touch flaky, like your high school girlfriend. The inside was a little mushy, but very sweet. I can see kids loving it and I am a kid at heart.

5. Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito

BB: Usually a favorite of mine, but without sauce I found it a little bland.

SH: I thought this was pretty good. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one, but if ya just had one laying around, I’d give it a good home.

GE: This is a standout for the $1 menu. It’s very filling and the cheese keeps it from getting too dry. But, yeah, it would be better with a heavy squeeze of hot sauce.

3-4. (tie) Beefy Fritos Burrito

Beefy Fritos Burrito

BB: As a huge fan of original flavor Fritos, this was an absolute delight and a huge winner from the Cravings menu.

SH: I think this had onions. It doesn’t need onions. Onions bring nothing to it. The Fritos provide a nice crunch and the flavors of the beef and the chips works. If there was just a few rogue onions in mine, disregard my book about onions.

GE: If you love fried, extruded corn meal, then you will love this burrito. It’s cheap and actually has flavor, which is a nice change from some of the Cravings Menu items.

3-4. (tie) Cinnabon Delights 

BB: Hello, New Problem Food. I look forward to our shameful secret times together.

SH: It made me sad that my diabetic son will never be able to enjoy these without a gallon of insulin… which is what I’m going to need after eating a gross of these. And by “gross” I mean the number it takes for my body to start rejecting the Cinnabon Delights.

GE: These are usually on the breakfast menu, which is insane. It’s like a little spherical churro. A sugary doughnut on the outside, but the frosting injected into the middle turns it kind of creamy and addictive. I was initially sad that cinnamon crispas weren’t on the table, but this completely blows those sweet styrofoam peanuts out of the water.

WINNER(s, because of another tie)

Mini Chicken Quesadilla 

‍‍Mini chicken quesadilla

BB: Utterly delightful, another surprise hit. There’s this spicy mayo kinda sauce in there that does wonders for the chicken. Big fan of this, would order again.

SH: A great little item. The shredded chicken and the spicy mayo make a great combination. It was good, but not near as good as it’s brother.

GE: This blew me away. I have had Taco Bell’s large quesadillas and they are nowhere near as good as this little one. The texture of the chicken was good, the flavor had legit heat and I would definitely order several of these the next time a very sensible woman decides she does not love me.

Mini Beef Quesadilla 

BB: Good, but not as good as its chicken friend.

SH: I disagree with Brian on this. And it makes me think I’ve never really known Brian or Greg. The beef at Taco Bell makes me want to offer a Pepsi to a riot police officer. The Mini Beef Quesadilla was my favorite item on the Cravers menu.

GE: Chicken beats beef for the first time in recorded history. This is like that time Gonzaga beat Duke and then Duke went home and Duke’s dad took off his mustache and it turns out Gonzaga was his dad the whole time!

But, yeah, this was good. Just not as good as the chicken.

Once our stomachs recover, we’ll post the second part of our Taco Bell menu breakdown in which we take on that most dangerous of foes — the Doritos Locos Tacos.

Do you have feelings about our ratings and/or us? Leave us a comment and pick an unnecessary fight!

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.