Taco Bell has many appeals—it’s fast, there’s a drive-thru, the food is consistent, and with over 7,000 Taco Bell locations in the US alone, there’s always one nearby.
In July 2020, the chain caused an uproar by removing its beloved potatoes—in addition to other items—to make way for new plant-based options in the then-undetermined future. Thankfully, after more than a six-month hiatus, the brand reintroduced this starchy staple (the chain’s vegan menu just wouldn’t be the same without it).
Is vegan meat coming to Taco Bell?
Taco Bell has launched a number of innovative vegan eats, complete with plant-based meat—albeit, for a limited time only in select markets.
One such test took place in Irvine, CA for just four days. Starting on June 23, 2021, Taco Bell tested the Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell at a lone Irvine location. Developed as a meat-free version of the Naked Chicken Chalupa, the test item featured a shell made entirely from a pea protein-based vegan chicken.
The following year, in August 2022, the fast-food chain tested its own proprietary vegan beef across select locations in Birmingham, AL. More recently, Taco Bell began testing a vegan carne asada option in the Dayton, OH area for a limited time last fall.
Taco Bell’s vegan Crunchwrap
While Taco Bell has long been innovating and testing vegan meat, the chain has yet to implement plant-based dairy—until now.
On June 8, 2023, the fast-food chain rolled out its first, fully vegan entrée: the Vegan Crunchwrap with plant-based beef, dairy-free sour cream, and warm vegan nacho cheese sauce. Taco Bell’s Test Kitchen worked for years tasting and testing to make sure the vegan version, certified by the American Vegetarian Association, could stand up to the original.
For this limited-time launch, Taco Bell chose to test the Vegan Crunchwrap in cities with sizable vegan populations: Los Angeles, New York City, and Orlando. The Vegan Crunchwrap can be ordered in the following locations while supplies last:
- Los Angeles—6741 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
- New York City—976 6th Ave, New York, NY 10018
- Orlando—11893 East Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32826
The new plant-based beef, nacho sauce, and sour cream cannot be used to modify other items at this time. Taco Bell will determine the national viability of its Vegan Crunchwrap during the limited-time test in these three, vegan-friendly cities.
How to order vegan at Taco Bell
Ordering “fresco-style” made getting vegan food at Taco Bell decidedly easier. This would let employees know to replace all the dairy-based ingredients and mayo-based sauces with tomatoes. The term was essentially code for “make it vegan.” However, the fast-food chain no longer utilizes this terminology.
Despite Taco Bell retiring “fresco-style,” ordering vegan requires just a few swaps. Ask for beans in place of beef, and remember to forgo cheese and sour cream. Make your order even heftier by asking for extra tomatoes or adding potatoes or guacamole.
We love ordering for pickup via the website or the app. Why? Because it makes custom orders—which you need to do a lot of when you’re ordering vegan—as easy as the tap of a button. You can remove, or add, any ingredient from any item on the menu. That beats asking for a Crunchy Taco Supreme with beans instead of beef along with any add-ons you’re craving.
Here are 14 vegan menu items and extras to order the next time you’re at Taco Bell.
1Vegan Crunchwrap and Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme
Taco Bell managed to invent a food item even more portable than the burrito: the Crunchwrap. Vegans in Los Angeles, New York City, and Orlando can get a taste of the all-vegan Crunchwrap at one of the three locations previously listed.
Outside of these cities, opt for the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme. Order this without the sour cream and nacho cheese sauce, and you’re left with a hot, freshly pressed soft tortilla filled with black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and a crunchy tortilla shell. Ask for a side of guacamole for dipping. Pro tip: add potatoes, too.
2 Black Bean Chalupa Supreme
This fluffy, fried, flour-based shell is thankfully vegan. Ask for this without sour cream and cheese and you’ll get a crunchy chalupa filled with black beans, tomatoes, and lettuce. We love it with jalapeños.
3 Bean Burrito
Surprisingly, the bean burrito isn’t vegan as-is (it contains cheese). However, order it sans cheese, and you’re set with a warm flour tortilla wrapped around refried beans, red sauce, diced onions, and chopped tomatoes. Not a fan of refried beans? Ask for black beans or potatoes instead.
4 Fiesta Veggie Burrito
This gem from the Cravings Value Menu is vegan if you order it without cheese, sour cream, and chipotle sauce. It’s a delicious combination of black beans, seasoned rice, guac, tomatoes, and Fiesta Strips, which are pieces of red tortilla chips.
5 Spicy Potato Soft Taco
This one-dollar wonder becomes vegan when you order it without cheese and chipotle sauce. Adding onions and jalapeño peppers is highly recommended.
6 Soft and Crunchy Tacos
Aside from the Spicy Potato Soft Tacos, all tacos, soft and crunchy, can be vegan so long as you swap the meat for black or refried beans and leave off the cheese, sour cream, and chipotle sauce. Try the Crunchy Taco Supreme with beans instead of beef and load up on add-ons. Unfortunately, the Doritos Locos shells are not vegan.
7 Black Beans and Rice
Rejoice! The good ol’ black beans and rice is vegan and even better when you load it up with toppings. But if you really want a veggie bowl, then check out the next option.
8 Power Menu Bowl - Veggie
All you need to do to make this rice bowl vegan is order it without cheese, sour cream, and avocado ranch sauce. Do that and you’ll have a wonderful meal of seasoned rice, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and guac. If you want to go the extra mile, then pile on all of the veggie add-ons at your disposal.
9 Nachos and Nachos BellGrande
The nachos come with cheese by default, but these salty, crunchy chips are vegan if you get them with guac and tomatoes. You can also make the Nachos BellGrande vegan by getting it without cheese and sour cream and swapping the beef with black beans.
10 Veggie Mexican Pizza
Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza made a much anticipated return to the menu last fall. The Veggie Mexican Pizza already omits beef, but order it without cheese to make it vegan. This will leave you with a crunchy “pizza” shell, refried beans, tomatoes, and Mexican pizza sauce. Add jalapeños or a side of guacamole for a heftier meal.
11 Hash Browns
Need breakfast? You won’t find much at Taco Bell, but you will find hash browns and coffee. It may be humble, but potatoes and caffeine will get the job done when you’re in a pinch with no other options around you.
12 Cinnamon Twists
No shame if you order more than one bag. These crispy, light-as-air snacks are slightly reminiscent of churros and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
13 Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze
This is the famed Baja Blast but in slushie form. Unfortunately, the other Freezes are made with confectioner’s sugar, but this light blue frozen treat will cool you off on a warm day.
Apart from everything else that we mentioned above, the hot sauces from Mild to Diablo are all vegan, so you can feel free to pour them over everything. What a lovely thing. Be sure to save some for your home-cooked meals, too.