It’s not often that a fast food chain adds a limited-time promotional item to the permanent menu, because such decisions take a lot of deliberation. Ease of assembly for employees needs to be considered, customer preferences must be tested in different markets, and of course, sales and profit margins need to be tracked. That’s why it’s so surprising that Taco Bell has so quickly chosen to make the Grilled Cheese Burrito, of all things, a permanent fixture on its menu.
Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito is a novelty burrito with a three-cheese blend grilled right on top, which creates a slightly caramelized layer that crackles as you bite into it. It’s filled with seasoned rice, your choice of protein (chicken, steak, ground beef, or beans), three-cheese blend, nacho cheese, crunchy Fiesta strips, sour cream, and chipotle sauce.
I’ve eaten this burrito a few times; it’s pretty satisfying, and definitely filling. In my personal Taco Bell opinion, I doubt I’d reach for it over a Crunchwrap Supreme. But it fulfills a different kind of need, and I totally get its appeal.
The Grilled Cheese Burrito originally launched as a limited-time offering in July 2020 and has bounced on and off the Taco Bell menu for the past few years. Its two most recent appearances were during the 2022 holiday season, then (after a brief pause) another rollout this spring, which ousted the Quesarito from the menu. Now the Grilled Cheese Burrito is staying put as a permanent item; QSR reports that this menu addition is due to “strong customer feedback.”
“Highlighting cheese is a long-term core equity of Taco Bell’s business model and this burrito brings this to life for us,” Heather Mottershaw, VP of Pipeline Innovation and Product Development for Taco Bell, told QSR. “This is another great example of how dairy is enhancing our menu.”
In a way, it seems like the spiritual successor to another large burrito that was discontinued some years ago: the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito, filled with seasoned beef, seasoned rice, three-cheese blend, avocado ranch, refried beans, reduced fat sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo. This positively massive onetime menu offering was also grilled, but without any cheese on its exterior. That surface cheese appears to be the key.
Welcome to the family, Grilled Cheese Burrito. I hope you eventually gain more menu siblings, like the Enchirito or the Beefy Crunch Burrito. May you grease up our fingers and satisfy our late-night munchies for years to come.