I tried everything on Taco Bell's sides and sweets menu and ranked them from worst to best
My local Taco Bell offers seven side dishes and two desserts, and I tried them all.
The best side, the cheesy fiesta potatoes, could easily be eaten for breakfast.
I enjoyed both of the chain's dessert options, but I preferred the Cinnabon Delights.
In an effort to rank everything on the Taco Bell menu, I tried all the sides and sweets.
In my efforts to try and rank everything on Taco Bell's menu, I wasn't that excited about the sides and sweets portion of the review.
Most Taco Bell sides are just isolated versions of part of the taco or burrito I'd prefer to scrape off.
Though most of the things I tried today were disappointing, my efforts paid off — I found more than one item I'd gleefully order again.
9. Black beans
First Impression: These weren't slimy or weirdly colored by any means, but they looked like the final form of cafeteria food to me. Full disclosure, I'm not a massive fan of black beans anyway.
Review: I'll admit, I was more impressed by these on their own than when they're included in dishes. They had a little flavor, like garlic or another spice. But I still find them too watery for my preference.
8. Black beans and rice
First Impression: I'm just trying it for the sake of posterity. I have about the same expectations for the rice as the plain beans.
Review: If a restaurant gave it to me with my meal, I'd likely devour it first to get to the better dish. That's kind of how I treated this in the scope of the whole taste test.
7. Pintos N Cheese
First Impression: The way the cheese swirls actually looks excellent. It's one of the rare instances when it seems better than the picture.
Review: I'm a fan of these. I had more than a few bites.
I always go for the pinto beans, and there was a good amount of cheese. It also went well with several items on the menu.
6. Chips and nacho cheese
First Impression: I already know what I'm getting with the cheese, so this review will mostly be about the chips.
I'm guessing they won't have enough salt.
Review: As expected, this comes down to your views on Taco Bell nacho cheese.
The chips were dull, with just a little salt. I didn't mind how they were fried and had a little residual oil.
But I wouldn't want to eat the chips on their own. Would it kill Taco Bell to put some lime salt on these?
5. Cinnamon twists
First Impression: I'm excited about the cinnamon twists, but I'm nervous they won't be as good as the cinnamon balls. I expect them to be a little heavier and breadier.
Review: These were interesting — almost like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
I didn't love how crispy they were. They were so crunchy they almost hurt the roof of my mouth.
Though I certainly enjoyed these, they didn't have quite enough flavor.
4. Nacho fries
First Impression: I've already tried and liked a version of this side with the loaded fries, so I expect it to be pretty good.
Review: Again, I was surprised by how flavorful these fries were. They had a decent amount of spices — even a little citrus. The cheese was delicious, but the fries really stood out.
3. Nachos BellGrande
First Impression: I'm at the point where everything is running together in this review.
I feel like I've already eaten this, but I haven't. I'm no more or less excited about this dish than any other.
Review: I understand why the chips are so bland now — the salt from the beef and cheese and whatever else is in this carries the flavor.
Here, the chips are what they should be, nothing more than a vehicle for the rest of the ingredients. You don't need a Cadillac to make a trip to the store.
These ingredients all work well together. I appreciate how the tomatoes change the flavor profile here, and the beef and cheese form an excellent one-two punch.
2. Cheesy fiesta potatoes
First Impression: I have high hopes for these because Taco Bell is utilizing its two best add-ons: cheese and sour cream.
My only fear is they won't be as flavorful as the fries. At best, they could be a good breakfast.
Review: These are quite good. The potatoes were made for this cheese — salty and just a little spicy. The sour cream danced between the two ingredients.
This really could be an excellent breakfast. I'd also pick this to add to any meal because it's unique.
1. Cinnabon Delights
First Impression: I must confess these are one of my favorite fast-food desserts, aside from the apple empanada Taco Bell used to have.
Review: Just as delightful as I remember. I love the perfectly textured cinnamon sugar. Putting the icing on the inside of the dessert feels innovative.
It's just an all-time great combination — these are in a class to themselves.
The potatoes were the best side and Cinnabon Delights were the best sweet. Usually, I only pick one favorite, but these are so different I decided to make an exception.
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