Then again, we didn’t really notice they were ever gone. And from the looks of it, they came back in July, so we dropped the ball on this one right through the floor. Whoops!
Nacho Fries first popped up back in January of 2018, filling a long-pondered-about hole in Taco Bell’s menu. Taco Bell, ostensibly being a Mexican-themed restaurant, has never before offered French fries in America. Their staple cheese-saturated side dish has always been their nachos (officially, ‘Chips and Nacho Cheese Sauce’). But we, as Americans, have a long and storied love of the fried potato that extends back generations; just about every other fast food restaurant has to serve french fries whether they want to or not.
Recognizing this, Taco Bell has added other potato-based dishes to their menu – first and most notably the home fries-esque “Fiesta potatoes”, as well as breakfast hash browns – but the addition of real French fries is a genuine first for the chain.
The real question is, should they have added fries at all? This “nacho” style is an interesting Taco Bell-themed twist on regular French fries, but was it the right choice to move further away from their already distorted view on Tex-Mex cuisine? Let’s find out how we feel about this.
The total price of this order was $1.29 USD – an increase of their original launch price of one dollar.
Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries are, as the order customizer says, an order of ‘Seasoned Fries’ with a cup of ‘Nacho Cheese Dip’. They come in a black and yellow paper box, with a small plastic dipping cup of nacho cheese sauce. The fry container was actually quite satisfying in its structural integrity; most other fast food places give you a paper sleeve of fries that can’t stand up on their own.
At first glance you will probably immediately notice that the seasoned fries are coated in a bright orange dust. Second off you’ll form your opinions on the size of your order – the Nacho Fries only come in one unlabeled portion size, which is roughly equivalent to a small order you’d get at McDonald’s or whatnot. Paula thought it was a fairly generous amount and Warden seemed to think it was a little small, so let’s just say it was about average.
The fries themselves are… well, they’re okay. They’re very fluffy in the middle, with just the slightest bit of crisp at the edges. This might be the softest french fries you could order from any fast food chain, which we found interesting, but it’s up to you if it’s too much of a good thing. These pale fluff sticks stand at stark contrast with the Bell’s fiesta potatoes, which are crunchy and darkly browned.
As for the boastfully labeled “bold Mexican seasoning”: the titular, neon orange seasoning of these seasoned fries is sporadically placed with an effect similar to flicking paint onto a canvas. Maybe it might have been nicer if it was more consistent, but the seasoning was pretty meh as it is. The dominant flavor is the paprika, and it’s not very spicy. We found it to be oddly sweet, and both of us compared it to the cajun fries at Five Guys… which isn’t a compliment, as Five Guys just uses McCormick seasoning.
We’ll keep the cheese talk short: this is the same nacho cheese they serve in pretty much every menu item they have. If you’ve eaten a non-vegan option at Taco Bell, you’ve had this stuff. It has the texture of molten plastic, and a Schrodinger’s quantity of spicy flavor that only exists if you’re forcing yourself to focus on it.
The combination of fries and cheese somehow makes up for the lackluster components, though. The fries are soft, but they’re so thick they hold up perfectly to dipping; any other fast food french fry would be quickly overwhelmed by this amount of cheese.
That said, this is a LOT of cheese for a small portion of fries. Even Warden, a known disgusting glutton for gastrointestinal punishment, could not dip his fries enough to empty out the cup. He ended up resorting to dipping the rest of his burrito into it and pondering over if they would ever release a menu item with that premise (they already did, and Warden was disgusting in that article too – Rolled Chicken Tacos).
Needless to say, for Paula, this was a goddamn nightmare. In their words: “I hate the cheese.”
A minor tangent: what the hell is with Taco Bell’s definition of nachos? The “Chips with Nacho Cheese Sauce” are at least upfront about their deceitful dippage, but these Nacho Fries have nothing to do with the fundamental nacho concept of directly smothering food until it is soggy. They have a loaded option, Nacho Fries BellGrande, that feels like it should have been the main offering – hell, even Wendy’s fries are doing a better job at being nacho fries than these are.
All in all, we mostly found the Nacho Fries to be an overwhelmingly strange choice for Taco Bell. The mediocre components somehow combine into an enjoyable menu item that’s main flaw is just being overpriced, and if they were done at any other fast food restaurant we might have even been crazy about them. But as it is, we think these Dipping Fries are better off as a limited time offer, because we can’t foresee us ordering these regularly.