How to get the most value out of Taco Bell’s Cravings Box

Illustration for article titled How to get the most value out of Taco Bell’s Cravings Box
Photo: Taco Bell (Other)

On February 5, Taco Bell rolled out a new section of its app called Build Your Own Cravings Box, quietly listed under the My Rewards section. Though it had a sneak preview for reward members only, it’s now available on the Taco Bell website as well. The process is pretty straightforward: You order a starter item, a specialty item, a side, and a drink from a list of select items. While customizing a meal isn’t really exciting by itself, Taco Bell is letting you do it for just $5.

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Back when dining in was a normal thing (I’m one of those weirdos who prefers eating at fast food restaurants, RIP), I’d usually order from the kiosk at Taco Bell, where you could customize the living shit out of each item. I figured out ways to get things like the Burrito Supreme, Nachos Supreme, and even the Taco Supreme for less money than at menu price by finding a base item and adding on upgrades; in some cases, I nearly shaved my bill in half. I know, I know. I’m a fucking champion, and today, I am here for you. (By the way, Taco Bell re-priced everything so you can’t do that anymore, which sucks.)

With today’s $5 combo meal, you’re stuck with the price and can’t customize your way to paying less. Five bucks is good for a full meal, by fast food standards (when it comes down to it, a lot of times, fast food really isn’t that cheap). But what I realized is, not every item on the Build Your Own Cravings menu costs the same on the regular menu. That means certain combinations just aren’t going to net you as big of a deal as others, no matter how delicious they are. So after some messing around, I calculated the best combination order so you can at least feel like your money went a little bit further.

Prices are going to vary from location to location (my Taco Bell appears to be more expensive then some, but I live in a big city). But generally, here’s how to get the most value out of your $5 Cravings Box.

Starters:

  • Crunchy Taco: $1.29
  • Beefy 5-Layer Burrito: $2.49 ✓
  • Bean Burrito: $1.29

After the menu massacre in recent months, the burrito section has been pared down to a paltry five items (including the online-only Quesarito). Out of the selection of starters for the Build Your Own Cravings Box, the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito is the most expensive and therefore the natural pick. It’s also pretty good, and almost like a quesarito in that there’s a nacho-cheese-filled double tortilla that wraps around a filling of seasoned beef, refried beans, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Just typing that out makes me want to high-five whoever Taco Bell’s culinary director is.

crunchwrap cut in half
Photo: Joshua Blanchard / Stringer (Getty Images)

Specialties:

  • Chalupa Supreme: $3.19
  • Black Bean Chalupa: $3.29
  • Cheesy Gordita Crunch: $3.59
  • Crunchwrap Supreme: $3.79 ✓
  • Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme: $3.79 ✓

It’s a tie between the regular Crunchwrap Supreme and the black bean version. It’s fine if you love yourself a Chalupa Supreme, but still. You know. Principles. By the way, if you haven’t tried the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme yet, give it a shot, even if you’re a skeptic. The beans are seasoned well, and I couldn’t get over just how much better they taste than the meat while still feeling substantial.

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Sides:

  • Cinnamon Twists: $1 ✓
  • Chips and Nacho Cheese: $1 ✓

This one’s a wash. I prefer the chips and cheese (which are arguably more filling since they’re not as airy as the twists), but I know there are plenty of you who love those curly cinnamon twists. I’d heard that they were actually made of pasta, but that rumor turned out to be a lie.

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Drinks:

  • Any soda: $2

Soda is soda. Upgrades to a freeze will cost you 60 cents, so no bonus there either. But it’s not a high price to pay if you’re into the slushy stuff.

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How much did we save?

Let’s do some math, English-major style, and find out how much we saved by getting the most expensive items on the menu:

Beefy 5-Layer Burrito: $2.49 + Crunchwrap Supreme: $3.79 + Either Side $1 + Menu Price Soda $2: $9.28!

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Now subtract $5. By my calculations, you’ll be saving $4.28. And you’ll be getting the fanciest two big item combinations! That also amounts to a pretty filling amount of food and drink, maybe even enough to split with a friend. Armed with this knowledge, feed yourselves well. I will always do my best to serve you by looking for a way to mess with a do-it-yourself menu, because you, too, deserve to live más like a champion.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

DISCUSSION

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PedanticEditorType

I figured out ways to get things like the Burrito Supreme, Nachos Supreme, and even the Taco Supreme for less money than at menu price by finding a base item and adding on upgrades; in some cases, I nearly shaved my bill in half. I know, I know. I’m a fucking champion, and today, I am here for you. (By the way, Taco Bell re-priced everything so you can’t do that anymore, which sucks.)

I am not shocked that a restaurant figured out someone (probably a lot of someones) was gaming the system and decided to push back on that :P