Taco Bell recently re-released its Crispy Melt Taco, which was out briefly in 2021 under the name “Cantina Crispy Melt Taco.” It’s the same exact thing as before, just with a slightly clipped name (maybe “Cantina” was lopped off because it isn’t sold exclusively at Cantina locations). This item features a fried white corn shell, a layer of nacho cheese, your choice of black beans or seasoned beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and a three cheese blend.
We didn’t review the Crispy Melt Taco in 2021 (forgive me, I do a lot of taste tests), but now that it’s back, we won’t make the same mistake twice. I love you all so much.
On paper, this thing doesn’t sound so impressive, does it? It’s pretty much a crunchy Taco Supreme with nacho cheese added, featuring a slightly different shell. That’s why I wasn’t particularly intrigued by the promotion right away. Turns out I’m a complete dumbass, because I’m going to tell you right now: The Crispy Melt Taco is damn near perfect.
What makes the Taco Bell Crispy Melt Taco so good?
I eat a lot of different stuff for my job. Most of it is only okay, some things are terrible, and a few limited-time offerings leave us scratching our heads. A lot of the novelties rolled out by fast food joints are fine, but they don’t really focus on the fundamental ingredients much. The special items usually try to dazzle you with something silly or new and don’t concentrate on perfecting their basic elements.
That’s why the Crispy Melt Taco is kind of remarkable. While it’s basically a hard shell taco with nacho cheese added, the freshly fried shell is fantastic, and it makes all the difference.
The shell is crisp, light, and almost flaky. Even though each bite shatters in your mouth, the shell has enough integrity to remain intact as you eat it, meaning the whole thing won’t crumble apart like Taco Bell’s classic shells do. Sure, it sounds boring, but that one detail is enough to make this thing so much better than you’d expect.
Plus, the inclusion of nacho cheese inside the taco makes it a showcase of contrasting textures, which improves the experience even more. In terms of base filling, I’d say it’s a straight tie: I like both the seasoned beef and the black beans equally here, so it’s really up to your dietary preferences on this one.
How long is the Taco Bell Crispy Melt Taco on the menu?
What bums me out is that this is a limited-time offering. I checked with a Taco Bell rep, who informed me that it’d be around until the beginning of March or until supplies last, so we’ve all got a bit of time to grab a few.
Frankly, I’d be happy if Taco Bell replaced the hard shell tacos with these things instead, but as Taco Bell giveth, it also taketh away. The Crispy Melt Taco is also priced well for what it is; in fact, it’s the same price of a hard or soft shell Taco Supreme, $2.49 (or slightly more, depending on your location; mine is $2.69). It’s inarguably a better option.
Knowing me, I’m sure I’ll return for more of these things. This is just a reminder that there’s joy to be found in solid execution, and most of the time, that’s all we really need, especially in fast food.