A Ranking Of The 10 Best Fast Food Tacos

Ask all of your friends where tacos place on their list of favorite fast foods and at least one of them will undoubtedly have them somewhere near the top. Why? Because what's not to love about tacos, a food so delicious and easy that it even has a day of the week named after it — Taco Tuesday. However, Tuesday isn't the only good day to eat tacos, especially when there's such a variety out there.

Homemade tacos are amazing, but if you don't have the time or you're looking for a big space to meet with friends, then that's where fast food tacos come in. There are so many locations boasting about having "authentic" tacos or some special ingredients that make theirs stand out among the pack, but which ones are truly the greatest?

We've made a list of the best fast food locations for tacos. There are some names that fans will recognize, but also a few locations that are more regional. So, the next time you're traveling and looking to take in some great tacos, these places deserve to be on your radar, as each one is worthy of a spot on this list for its own reasons.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best fast food taco joints.

10. Jack in the Box

This list kicks off with Jack in the Box. As the name implies, Jack in the Box is a fast food restaurant that is a "jack of all trades." The menu contains a selection of items for someone looking for anything, but that means this chain isn't quite the master of any of them. That translates directly over to the Jack in the Box taco, which is one of the many items available.

The wide availability of Jack in the Box food plays a big part in its inclusion here. The tacos at Jack in the Box aren't great, but they are convenient, which counts for a lot when you're in need of a quick taco fix. If you simply want a snack to tide you over after a night of partying, then Jack in the Box tacos are always an option. Don't go to Jack in the Box expecting an award-winning taco, but these tacos will certainly get the job done when you're in a tight spot.

9. Taco Bell

Imagine putting together a list of great taco locations and not including this staple. Taco Bell is a fast food location that millions around the country know about. Some may consider it their favorite fast food chain over big players like McDonald's and Burger King. There are more than 8,000 Taco Bell locations in the United States, plus stores outside the country, as well.

Now, Taco Bell didn't make this list because of its high-quality tacos. Are the meals tasty? Yes, but they are not nearly as excellent as the other locations on this list. What really makes this one of the best taco locations is accessibility. Many Taco Bells remain open late at night, with some even staying open 24 hours. This is important if you're looking for a quick meal after a late shift at work.

Taco Bell offers the classics, including both hard and soft shell tacos. But they've also upped the ante to include specialties like the Gordita, Chalupa, and many more. Don't forget about the variety of nachos available, as well.

8. Qdoba Mexican Eats

Qdoba's tacos are a decent option for those looking to get their taco fix. Customers can create their own tacos from a variety of ingredients available at each location. The mix-and-match flare of Qdoba allows patrons to build their own meals to their own delight. Want tacos with just a soft shell and chicken? You can do that. How about hard shell tacos with every ingredient available? You can do that, too — at an extra cost, of course.

This create-your-own approach makes Qdoba one of the top 10 taco places, but how do the tacos taste? That depends on what you put in them, but in general, the ingredients are not quite as tasty as the ones offered at the top taco joints out there. Another reason that Qdoba isn't higher on this list is that there aren't as many locations available compared to bigger chains, making it harder for many people to visit a Qdoba.

7. Baja Fresh

Baja Fresh is a Mexican grill that features Tex-Mex offerings in a fast food style. The menu boasts enchiladas, salads, burritos, and, of course, tacos. Just like Taco Bell, Baja Fresh offers a wide range of products for anyone looking for this type of food. That variety helps push it up the list when compared to those ranked lower, particularly because the tacos are one of the best things on offer here.

However, there are two big issues with Baja Fresh which push it down compared to some of its direct competitors. For one, the franchise does not have as many locations as Taco Bell. So, while it boasts a robust menu, availability isn't great. Also, while the tacos are one of the best things on offer, they're not as good as the ones offered by the other chains on this list. These spots often stay open late, making it a viable option for a late night meal, but the quality does not match what some customers will look for from their favorite taco spots.

6. District Taco

District Taco is the first regional chain featured on this list of top taco locations. This is a growing chain that is slowly emerging as a leader in Washington D.C, Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. District Taco started out as a modest taco stand. Now, they have 14 locations with two more on the way in Virginia at the time of this writing in 2023.

District Taco features fresh ingredients and the ability to make tacos based on location. For example, tacos the "Mexican way" come with cilantro and onions. Tacos the "American way" come with lettuce and cheddar cheese. There are a variety of options to make your own style of tacos, all of which are available on soft tortillas made from flour or corn. The food tastes great and is one of the reasons District Taco has grown over the years.

However, with stores in only four states, those who live in the area are the only individuals that get to enjoy these up-and-coming tacos. If they were available at more locations throughout the United States, District Taco would be higher on the list.

5. Moe's Southwest Grill

Moe's Southwest Grill is cut from the same cloth as Qdoba and Chipotle. This location offers the opportunity for customers to select from a range of ingredients and include them in their meals. That's possible with bowls, tacos, and the massive burritos that Moe's is known for serving. They offer flavorful ingredients that elevate the taste of their products, especially the tacos.

Not only does Moe's offer the opportunity to build your own tacos, but you can also order some of the original items on the menu. The Frank's RedHot Buffalo Queso Taco is one of the unique items that makes their menu stand out, and there are many more where that came from. Moe's Southwest Grill faces the same challenge that some other locations on this list face: It's not as widespread as some of the more well-known chains. That limited reach stops Moe's from being higher up on this list.

4. Torchy's

Torchy's is the second regional location on our list of best taco restaurants, and it places higher than District Taco for a number of reasons. This local chain from Texas has been gaining steam in recent years — Business Insider recognized it as one of the best in the country in 2018.

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and Torchy's is proof of that. The company boasts a massive menu with a variety of options and many of them come at two and three times the size of regular tacos. And if you like spicy food, this is the taco place for you — Torchy's has some of the hottest sauces you'll find on tacos. It's one of their calling cards, hence the devil-themed décor.

Torchy's offers great taste, a quirky look, a variety of tacos, and even a full bar. If you're in Texas and you want to sip a beer with your taco, then this is the place to be. Another selling point is that they serve breakfast tacos all day, so there's no need to rush if breakfast tacos are your favorite.

3. Chipotle

Chipotle is the perfect mix of mainstream popularity and taco quality. It has become a chain known for its wide range of ingredients and the ability to mix and match options as you create your own meal. Chipotle offers both hard shell and soft shell tacos that can be created with any of the ingredients on the food line. Some individuals even take advantage of a cheeky hack: Purchase a bowl, fill it to the brim, and then use that to build your own tacos.

Another great thing about Chipotle is that it has some secret items that aren't well-known, such as the double-decker taco. Chipotle is rightfully high on this list, but it's not at the top because it does not have a substantial list of unique taco options on its menu. While it's a great place to build your own taco, it would be even better if the company offered some unique takes on tacos as standard menu options.

2. Chronic Tacos

Some people in California will argue that In-N-Out Burger is the top fast food chain in the area, but there's a growing push behind the idea that Chronic Tacos deserves consideration. This is a growing chain that features a full fast food menu packed with taco options. It also features the assembly-line function of Chipotle, but offers many more Mexican dishes such as tamales, tortas, tostadas, enchiladas, and more. Throw in their popular tacos and Chronic Tacos deserves its high ranking on this list.

The ingredients along with the flavor of the tacos easily make Chronic Tacos, which opened in 2002, one of the top options if you're out West. This place offers authentically Mexican dishes that are worth traveling to experience. It has locations all over the United States: Most of them are in California, but there are branches in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. You will even find locations outside of the U.S., with a few restaurants in Canada and Japan. Chronic Tacos is on a mission to take over the taco world, and with tacos this good, it could do just that.

1. Del Taco

Del Taco is familiar with winning awards for its fast food taco: In 2022, Thrillist crowned this chain as the winner in the taco section of its Fasties Fast Food Awards for the second year in a row. This was due to it being "well-rounded, with its nicely seasoned beef, refreshing lettuce and tomatoes, and tangled strands of salty, bright yellow cheese." What's great about Del Taco is that it offers a wide range of Mexican dishes but also mixes in some other staples like French fries that are usually found on other fast food menus.

Del Taco may not boast as many locations as Taco Bell, but, with almost 600 stores across 16 states, it's pretty widespread at this point. That reach, mixed with the popularity of its menu, makes it the best option when compared to all its peers on this list. These delicious tacos come with standard proteins like chicken, steak, or beef, and other ingredients like in-house-made guacamole. If you are a true taco connoisseur, tracking down a Del Taco location is well worth the effort, because you're going to get some of the best tacos available.