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Taco Bell Sauces Ranked by Heat

Check out Taco Bell’s sauce options from hot to not-so-hot

Does any fast food restaurant have a better sauce game than Taco Bell? From sauces that bring the heat, to sauces packed with flavor, each helps create that one-of-a-kind Taco Bell experience. Their sauces are so delicious and popular that you can even buy them in most major grocery stores.

taco bell hot sauce packets

I’ve eaten at Taco Bell regularly since college. Although my taste in food has changed since then, Taco Bell’s many sauces allow me to customize the flavors of each menu item, adding a new twist to familiar favorites.

In this article, I’ve ranked the Taco Bell sauces from hottest to mildest. Of course, there’s more to great taste than just heat, so I’ve made sure to describe what each sauce tastes like, popular menu items they’re eaten with, the ingredients used to make the sauce, and more.

Ready to learn more about the sauces available at Taco Bell? Let’s bring the heat!  

Taco Bell’s Sauces

  1. Diablo 
  2. Fire 
  3. Hot 
  4. Mild
  5. Creamy Jalapeno
  6. Red Enchilada Sauce
  7. Spicy Ranch
  8. Chipotle Sauce
  9. Avocado Ranch
  10. Nacho Cheese

Read on to learn more about these sauce flavors so you can find your favorite!

Diablo

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

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.   


Hot

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.


Mild

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

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

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.


Chipotle Sauce

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

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.  


Nacho Cheese

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.


Final Thoughts

It’s hard to believe Taco Bell started out with only three sauces, and many of their popular options were introduced after the year 2000. They’ve certainly made up for the lost time by becoming a fast-food leader in sauce flavor and variety.

Whether you enjoy a sauce with a spicy kick or you’re interested in something more flavorful and mild, Taco Bell has plenty of options.

If you’re looking for the hottest Taco Bell sauce, try Diablo or Fire. If heat isn’t your thing, go with Mild or Red. Of course, beyond the hot sauces, you also owe it to yourself to try their Chipotle, Spicy Ranch, Avocado Ranch, and Nacho Cheese.  

From the sauces they use in their food, to the ones you can add, Taco Bell is truly a sauce lover’s paradise!

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.