Prepare to have your taste buds ignited by Taco Bell’s flavorful journey through the spectrum of heat. We tackle the spicy task of rating Taco Bell’s signature sauces from mild to tongue-tingling hotness in this article. Taco Bell, renowned for its mouthwatering food with a Mexican flair, provides a variety of sauces to enhance each bite. Each sauce has a different level of heat, ranging from the mild but flavorful classics to the bold and scorching options, giving your favorite Taco Bell dishes more depth and spice. Whether you’re looking for a fiery sauce lineup from Taco Bell or just a hint of spice, our guide will help you navigate it and give you insight into the wide range of heat levels. Come along on this spicy journey with us as we rank the sauces according to how hot they are and find out which ones give your Taco Bell experience the ideal mix of flavor and sizzle.
If you’re looking for the hottest sauce Taco Bell offers, go with Diablo. It’s essentially the restaurant’s in-house version of Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot. Diablo – Spanish for “devil” – is packed with different peppers, including aji panca, chipotle, and chili. You can add it to basically any menu item but keep in mind that, while it definitely brings the heat, it’s not Taco Bell’s most flavorful sauce. Diablo sauce first launched on Cinco de Mayo in 2015. It was originally meant as a limited release, but people liked it so much Taco Bell made it a permanent part of the menu.
Fire is Taco Bell’s second-hottest sauce. First introduced in the early 2000s, Fire was the hottest sauce offered by the chain for almost 15 years until Diablo knocked it from the top spot. Taco Bell’s Fire sauce has a Scoville rating of 500, which means it’s hot, but in the lower range of the top category. (For comparison, Cholula has a rating of 1,000 SHU.) Ingredients include water, tomato paste, jalapenos, vinegar, and salt. Notably, Taco Bell’s fire sauce is one of the most popular hot sauces in the world made with tomato paste. Most hot sauces have a base of peppers and vinegar.
Think of Hot as the mildest of the hottest group of sauces. If Diablo and Fire pack too much of a punch, but you still want heat you can taste, Hot delivers a flavor you can’t ignore but which isn’t overwhelming. As with Fire, their Hot sauce has a base of tomato paste. Other ingredients include vinegar, jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, and dried onions. More than in any other Taco Bell sauce, you can taste the chili peppers in their Hot sauce. The Hot sauce has a smooth texture with just enough consistency to stay in place on tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. You shouldn’t have to worry about it running off the edges of flat foods, making it relatively mess-free to eat.
Does Taco Bell’s Mild sauce have any heat at all? It’s a source of debate among Taco Bell fans. The company considers it the mildest option in its “with heat” category. Still, many people think the spiciness is so subtle that the sauce shouldn’t technically be considered a hot sauce. Regardless, it’s incredibly popular, preferred for its flavor instead of kick. I find it sits somewhere between ketchup and a “true” hot sauce, delivering a Mexican-inspired taste that goes well with practically everything on the menu, including the Nacho Fries. Ingredients include tomato paste, Jalapeno Peppers, dried onions, dried garlic, and paprika.
Creamy Jalapeno is one of Taco Bell’s most popular “no heat” sauces. You’ll find it in many menu items, including the Chicken Quesadillas, Quesorito, and Beefy Frito Burrito. Many people substitute this sauce for Chipotle sauce (and vice versa). It’s a light, creamy sauce with jalapeno flavors but without the related kick. Ingredients include soybean oil, vinegar, jalapeno peppers, buttermilk, egg yolk, and chili powder. It’s a creamy sauce with a tan color. The Creamy Jalapeno sauce looks similar to their Chipotle sauce. The biggest difference visually is that the Jalapeno sauce is slightly chunkier with flecks of brown and green from the jalapenos.
Red Enchilada Sauce
The Red Enchilada sauce is similar to the Mild sauce, only without any heat at all. It’s a mild red sauce similar to enchilada sauce you can find in cans at the grocery store. For the most part, Red Enchilada sauce is used as an ingredient. For example, it’s the sauce used in Mexican Pizzas and Bean Burritos. Diners will also add Red Enchilada sauce to tacos, burritos, and other menu items. The ingredients include tomato puree, vinegar, chili spices, and more. It’s essentially the same ingredients used to make the Mild sauce, but with less spice and more emphasis on flavor. Note: The Red Enchilada sauce is also often referred to as simply “Red Sauce.”
Spicy Ranch is one of my favorite sauces, simply because it doesn’t exist in quite this form anywhere else. It’s a tangy, sweet sauce that pairs well with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. While it’s not on the same level as Diablo or Fire, Spicy Ranch does have a noticeable kick, making it the hottest option compared to the Creamy Jalapeno or Chipotle sauce. Still, despite the heat, it retains the coolness you’d expect in a Ranch. Ingredients include soybean oil, water, sugar, salt, egg yolks, buttermilk, and more. It’s a creamy, light yellow sauce with bits of visible spices.
Taco Bell’s Chipotle sauce is available in packets, and it’s also used as an ingredient in many of their menu items. For example, if you’ve ever had a Taco Bell quesadilla, you’ve had their Chipotle sauce. It’s a creamy sauce with light tan coloring made from dried buttermilk, chipotle chili pepper puree, dried onion, dried garlic, and more. Their Chipotle sauce tastes unlike any other chipotle I’ve ever had. It has strong notes of nacho cheese flavoring, as you might expect considering Taco Bell’s menu. I’ve enjoyed it at home on a wide range of foods, including sandwiches, salads, and BBQ. It has a mild, non-spicy flavor that makes it one of the most versatile sauces Taco Bell offers.
Avocado Ranch is another unique offering from the chain. As you’d expect, the two main ingredients are ranch and avocado. It’s a zesty, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with practically everything on the menu, including items that have veggies. There’s nothing else quite like Avocado Ranch. Avocado is normally a topping, while ranch dressing is often used as a dip. Personally, I pour this creamy sauce directly onto my food. I’ve found it tastes awesome on Nachos Bell Grande and similar dishes with chips. The Avocado Ranch sauces have a light green color with flecks of darker green. It’s a thick and creamy sauce that tastes good at room temperature or warmed up.
Taco Bell’s Nacho Cheese sauce has always been a favorite, but it reached a new level of popularity in recent years with the introduction of their Nacho Fries. It’s a creamy, cheesy dipping sauce that’s also found in a few menu items, such as the Five Layer Burrito. The look and feel of the sauce is meant to resemble freshly shredded, melted cheese. In reality, it’s an entirely liquid product made from non-fat milk, whey, cellulose gum, and vegetable oil. Note that the sauce’s consistency is a contentious subject among Taco Bell aficionados. It’s a fairly runny sauce when hot, but it thickens and develops a skin if allowed to reach room temperature.