11 Vegan Options Available At Taco Bell

Taco Bell's vegan-friendly nature has long been well-known among the vegan community. So, it makes sense that the Mexican-inspired fast food chain would eventually run with it. In 2015, Taco Bell became the first quick-service restaurant to get its veggie menu items certified by the American Vegetarian Association, the primary supplier of vegetarian certification in the United States. Today, Taco Bell has 25 certified vegan ingredients on its menu, allowing customers to customize many menu items to be plant-based.

When ordering, the simplest way to ensure an already vegetarian item is free of sour cream and cheese is to order it "fresco-style." This quick hack tells employees to swap in tomatoes for the creamy ingredients in your dish. To ensure your food is tasty and filling, take advantage of adding ingredients to your meal, such as guacamole and potatoes. While there might be an upcharge for this, Taco Bell's prices are pretty reasonable to begin with, so you'll still get a great value. And if you're worried about being that vegan, your can order through the Taco Bell app or online. It's a great way to ensure your customized meal comes out correctly, without holding up the line behind you. Now that you know some basic hacks to veganizing Taco Bell, here are 11 items you can enjoy.

1. Cinnamon twists

Cinnamon twists are dessert items that are certified vegan as is. These mini churro-like treats are the perfect ending to your plant-based Tex-Mex meal. You may be interested in the surprising way Taco Bell makes its cinnamon twists. As you can see in this TikTok video, these sweet and spicy treats are basically deep-fried noodles. Taco Bell doesn't officially list noodles as an ingredient, instead citing the makeup of the twists themselves as, " wheat flour, yellow corn meal, rice flour, [and] salt."

While cinnamon twists may seem like a pure Taco Bell invention, they are essentially chicharrones da harina or flour rinds. This is a popular Mexican street food, also called duros, which are deep-fried wheat fritters. Though the classic shape is pinwheels, you can buy them in the twisted form Taco Bell famously sells. Traditionally, they are served with the savory flavors of chile and lime rather than a sweet cinnamon dusting.

2. Veggie Mexican Pizza

Taco Bell's Mexican pizza is iconic and well-beloved. Its fans were not happy when it temporarily disappeared a few years back. The Mexican pizza was originally retired because its packaging wasn't very green, and Taco Bell wanted to become more eco-friendly. On September 15, 2022, the dish, known initially as the Pizzaz Pizza, came back to stay. They didn't stop at making a song about it. Nope. They went the whole enchilada, so to speak, with "Mexican Pizza: The Musical," a mini-show starring Dolly Parton and Doja Cat, which premiered the same day as the pizza's revival. The musical and the dish earned their own cult following, with outlets such as the LA Times reporting on the event.

These days, vegans don't even have to ask for "beans instead of meat" on their Mexican pizzas. Now even a vegetarian Mexican pizza called, wait for it — the Veggie Mexican pizza. Order it fresco style or simply without the cheese to make it vegan.

3. Burritos

Despite having taco in the name, the fast food chain is at least as well known for its burritos. That makes sense, considering burritos were one of the original five menu items sold at the very first Taco Bell all the way back in 1962. Today, the spot's burritos are loved for their great price and filling ingredients.

You have a couple of options when ordering a delicious vegan burrito. You can order the classic bean burrito without cheese, leaving you with beans, onions, and red sauce. Another option is to pick the cheesy bean and rice burrito without cheese or creamy jalapeño sauce. Vegans don't even have to miss out on crispy fried colored chips in their burritos. Order the fiesta veggie burrito without chipotle sauce, sour cream, and cheese. This choice is also an excellent replacement for fans of the now-discontinued 7-layer burrito. Add potatoes to any of these options, and you've got yourself a filling meal or a satisfying snack.

4. Crunch Wrap

According to Taco Bell's timeline on its website, the original Crunchwrap Supreme was introduced in 2005. It was the company's most successful product launch, and the restaurant permanently added it to the menu a year later. To enjoy this fast-food creation vegan style, order the black bean crunch wrap supreme, remove the sour cream and cheese, and add on any of Taco Bell's vegan items. Fried potatoes and creamy guacamole add a satisfying texture and taste.

For those craving some vegan meat in their Taco Bell, that reality may not be far off. According to VegNews, 12% of the Mexican-inspired chain's sales come from vegetarian orders, which explains why the brand has been testing out faux-meat products. As recently as the fall of 2022, Taco Bell and Beyond meat collaborated on a carne asada that was available at about 50 Dayton, Ohio, locations for a limited run. Time will tell if the Beyond Meat carne asada makes it big.

5. Veggie Power Bowl

What should you know before ordering a Power Bowl? This bowl is everything you love about a Taco Bell burrito — minus the tortilla. To make it vegan, make sure you order yours sans sour cream, cheese, and avocado ranch sauce. Taco Bell power bowls are meant to be high-protein options lower in carbs than its other menu items. Note that the online menu recalculates calorie totals when you make adjustments, a handy feature for those who like to count calories.

The bowl isn't light on fat or sodium, though a fair portion of these come from the cheese and ranch sauce, which vegans will remove. If you hold the rice, ask for extra lettuce, and top it with hot sauce, you've got yourself a salad. Or, add some yummy potatoes for a well-rounded meal. The Power Bowl is also gluten-free. However, due to cross-contamination risk, it is not certified as such.

6. Chalupas

These days, most U.S. Americans are familiar with tacos, gorditas, and chalupas. But in the 1970s, Taco Bell's menu had to include a pronunciation guide to help those new to the cuisine. Even though that's no longer the case, it may still come as a surprise that something as decadent as a Taco Bell chalupa can be vegan, but it's true! The black bean chalupa supreme is vegetarian as is, and to make it vegan, all you have to do is remove the sour cream and cheese — or order it fresco. You can even swap the black beans out with refried ones.

Chalupas are not a Taco Bell invention, though. That said, even the vegan chalupa is not precisely what you'd get in Mexico if you ordered a chalupa. In fact, a Mexican chalupa is thicker and larger than a taco but not quite as crispy as a tostada. The original versions were served with salsa, cheese, and lettuce. Though, in the U.S., the fry-bread-like version you find at Taco Bell isn't uncommon.

7. Black beans and rice

This item is vegan without any modifications, which is good considering vegans are serious about Taco Bell's rice. In fact, the spring 2017 temporary discontinuation of the vegan seasoned rice caused a mini "crisis" among plant-based Bell fans. According to VegNews, Taco Bell meant to bring the vegan rice back in late summer that same year. However, there was so much vegan outcry that the vegan rice was relaunched in June of that year. Taco Bell's spokesperson, Alec Boyle, told VegNews,  "We worked closely with our supplier to make it happen as quickly as possible to let our vegan fans know we were committed."

If you, too, are a Taco Bell rice fan, you'll be thrilled to know that you can add the zesty grains to any item. You can even make pintos and rice if you prefer pinto beans to black — just order pinto beans and cheese, nix the cheese, and add rice. ¡Listo!

8. Tacos

Crunchy or soft, you can order tacos with either black beans or refried pinto beans instead of meat and ditch the dairy to make it vegan. Do note that even though you're removing cheese and subbing in beans instead of meat, your bean taco will cost you more than a regular meat taco. If you don't want to pay the so-called "vegan tax," you can order the spicy potato soft taco. Even without the chipotle sauce and cheese, this spicy potato brings the flavor. Bonus: it's on the value menu and only a dollar.

Ready for some taco facts? Tacos are the namesake of this Mexican-inspired chain, along with its founder, Glen Bell. One might even say Bell and his restaurant popularized the taco and, by extension, Mexican food with people in the US. However, Bell did not invent the taco-shell-making technology as he so claimed. In fact, according to the BBC, Bell more or less stole the recipe from the Mitla Cafe, a Mexican restaurant across from his original burger stand.

9. Sauces

As any vegan can attest, variety is the sauce of life. Plant-based eaters are just wild about condiments and sauces. In fact, vegan sauces are currently worth about $100 million annually and are projected to grow 9.5% a year over the next several years (via Vegan First). Luckily, Taco Bell is there to satisfy sauce-hungry vegans. While its creamy sauces and dressings are not vegan, several other sauces are. The brand even offers the popular TRUFF sauce as an add-on. If you want something more traditional, the brand's mild, fire, hot, and diablo sauces are all vegan, so feel free to collect 'em all. 

Both the red and Mexican pizza sauces are also vegan, as are the guacamole and breakfast salsa. But, some of Taco Bell's hot sauces come and go, such as fire-roasted and Verde. Fans of Taco Bell's discontinued Verde sauce can pick up a similar bottled version online or in the international sections of many retailers.

10. Baja Blast

Constantly innovating, Taco Bell created this vegan beverage with Mountain Dew in 2004. The unveiling of Baja Blast marked the first time a soft drink company partnered exclusively with a fast-food restaurant. It's not exactly a surprising partnership, though, considering PepsiCo owns both brands. At the time of the launch, then SVP and chief marketing officer of Pepsi-Cola North America, Dave Burwick, told QSR Magazine, "Over the years, Taco Bell has helped grow the Mountain Dew brand to the point where Taco Bell customers and Mountain Dew drinkers have become kindred spirits ... They are active, energetic, and constantly looking for something they can call their own." 

Perhaps that explains why the Baja Blast has become a fast food item with a cult following. But, what is a Baja Blast, anyway? The ingredients are, according to the Taco Bell website, "carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid" as well as the addition of natural and artificial flavors and food dyes. While natural and artificial flavors don't always mean a food is vegan, and the beverage isn't certified vegan, the website Can Vegans Eat has investigated. And they say, yes, this Mountain Dew drink is vegan.

11. Hash browns

Taco Bell's hash browns are certified vegan. But as with all its fried items, some locations may use the same fryer oil as animal products. These hash browns are a breakfast item, a meal the fast-food restaurant began offering in 2014. Unfortunately, hash browns are pretty much the end of the road when it comes to breakfast options at Taco Bell for vegans. 

Unlike the lunch and dinner items, you can't add many plant-based choices to their breakfast burritos and crunch wraps. Not all Taco Bell locations have breakfast, but some serve both the breakfast and lunch menus at the same time. So, check out the restaurant's store locator to get an idea of whether you can get something else tasty with those hash browns. Of course, if you do want to make a breakfast of coffee and five (or fifty) orders of hash browns, we wouldn't blame you.