Taco Bell may have just dropped an extensive value menu, but it has a lot more in store for the year ahead.
The company took advantage of the hype around Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas to host Live Más Live, a livestreamed event boasting a bevy of exciting product announcements. Taco Bell introduced its new Cantina Chicken Menu, along with several partnerships with brands like Cheez-It, Tajín and, of course, Mountain Dew.
It also launched TBX, a new program that spotlights emerging chefs, tasking them with infusing their personal culinary style on Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme. The chefs — Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Reuben Asaram and Lawrence Smith — will put their own spins on the Taco Bell favorite, and their creations will debut later this year at select locations.
Here’s what else is coming down the pike for the fast-food chain.
The Cantina Chicken Menu
Taco Bell says its Cantina Chicken Menu will feature a new type of chicken for the brand: It is oven-roasted, shredded and seasoned with savory Mexican spices including pasilla and other types of chiles.
The new menu adds all-new ingredients for Taco Bell, including purple cabbage, pico de gallo, white corn taco shells and a new sauce packet: Avocado Verde Salsa.
On this menu, Taco Bell is introducing five new items that will soon be available nationwide: the Cantina Chicken Burrito, a soft or crispy Cantina Chicken Taco, Cantina Chicken Quesadilla and the Cantina Chicken Bowl.
Nationwide menu additions
Taco Bell says it’s aiming for more boldly Mexican-inspired flavors, introducing over a dozen new menu items at participating Taco Bell locations for a limited time, while supplies last. These include:
- Cheesy Chicken Crispanada: Available nationwide on Feb. 15, the Cheesy Chicken Crispanada features chicken marinated and slow-cooked with garlic, tomato and onion, combined with a blend of Monterey pepper jack, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses inside crispy Taco Bell pastry dough.
- Crispy Chicken Nuggets: Taco Bell is finally bringing its Crispy Chicken Nuggets to the masses after first testing the item in Oct. 2023 in Minneapolis. The item is made with all-white chicken meat marinated in spiced jalapeño buttermilk, breaded then fried. Customers can choose between two new sauces: Bell sauce, made with tomatoes, red chiles, onion and garlic, or Jalapeño Honey Mustard.
- Cheesy Street Chalupas: This item features a cheesy flatbread and a small tortilla with a blend of mozzarella and pepper jack cheeses that are fried together. This is then filled with the customer’s choice of slow-roasted chicken or marinated grilled steak and is finished with a “flavorful” sauce and topped with a layer of diced onions and cilantro. An order comes with two chalupas.
- Mountain Dew Baja Blast Gelato: The gelato dessert infused with the tropical lime flavor of Mountain Dew Baja Blast was first tested in 2023 and will be making its nationwide debut this year, just in time for the drink flavor’s 20th anniversary.
- Cheesy Enchilada Dipping Taco: Taco Bell says it’s riffing on its quesabirria-inspired Grilled Cheese Dipping Taco with a new version that nods to the noble enchilada. This item features slow-roasted chicken and a layered enchilada dipping sauce.
- Dulce de Leche Cinnabon Delights: Taco Bell is adding a new flavor to its Cinnabon Delights: Dulce de Leche.
- Cheez-It: The Cheez-It Crunchwrap will be landing nationwide in what the brand calls “a BIG way” (TBD on what that means, exactly). The returning Cheez-It Crunchwrap features a real Cheez-It Cracker enlarged 16 times its normal size, seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce and all the Crunchwrap fixings wrapped inside a folded tortilla.
- Tajín: Tajín will be adding its spicy, tangy deliciousness to Taco Bell classics in new menu tests — including the Tajín Crunchy Taco, Tajín Twists and Tajín Strawberry Freeze.
- Secret Aardvark: The Portland-based hot sauce brand is partnering with Taco Bell to add its Serrabanero sauce, which combines serrano and habanero peppers with onions, tomatillos and a blend of spices, to Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries nationwide.
- Disha Hot: Singer Omar Apollo’s family’s hot sauce, Disha Hot, is getting its own sauce packet exclusively at Taco Bell.
- Salt & Straw: Portland-based ice cream company Salt & Straw dropped ice cream tacos — a gourmet take on the dearly departed Choco Taco — paired with sweet sauces and dips at Taco Bell’s Live Más Live event. The new Taco Bell x Salt & Straw Ice Cream Chocolate Taco is made with waffle cones, cinnamon ancho ice cream dipped in chocolate and topped with toasted brown rice. It is “currently in the testing pipeline,” according to Taco Bell.
- Beekeeper Coffee: Beekeeper Coffee, known for its ready-to-drink cold brew coffee and latte flavors all featuring a drop of honey, partnered with Taco Bell to create the Horchata Cold Brew Latte, which is “currently in the testing pipeline,” according to the chain.
Vote to bring back a discontinued menu item
Taco Bell is again asking its reward members to vote on which retired menu item should return for a limited time this year. Last year, the Beefy Crunch Burrito won over the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco; this year, the Mexi Melt and Caramel Apple Empanada will go head-to-head.
The Mexi Melt was a cross between a Fresco Soft Taco and a quesadilla with seasoned beef, fiesta salsa and a melted three cheese blend in a flour tortilla, and was on the menu for decades before being quietly discontinued. The Caramel Apple Empanada, which featured chunks of apple in a caramel sauce encased by pastry, was removed from Taco Bell menus in 2019.
Folks interested in heading to the beefy ballot box can vote for their favorite this year via the Taco Bell app, where the voting platform will live.