Taco Bell Is Testing Crispy Chicken Wings
In recent years, Taco Bell’s menu has gotten a lot of attention for what it doesn’t have. It wasn’t until 2018 that the Tex-Mex chain finally added one of fast food’s main staples, French fries. And with the recent plant-based meat boom, until backtracking recently, Taco Bell insisted that—despite its commitment to vegetarians—it was wary of diving in on the fad. In the past year alone, the chain has axed products to streamline their menu at least twice. However, some eagle-eyed Taco Bell fans noticed that the brand is testing a new item that could prove to be an unexpected new direction: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Wings.
The site Foodbeast spotted the new item at a Taco Bell location in Fullerton, California. The sign describes it as “five piece crispy chicken wings with spicy ranch sauce,” along with the promise that the breaded mix of bone-in drums and flats are flavored with “bold Mexican seasoning”—all for $4.99.
Just last week, Taco Bell’s Vice President of Product Development Heather Mottershaw told Forbes that the most recent menu reduction was actually just the first step in what she called a “menu evolution.” Last month, in announcing the items that were being discontinued, Taco Bell promised that though the primary concern was streamlining operations, the extra space would also “leave room for new fan favorites, continued progress in categories such as plant-based diets, and even opportunities for the return of some classics on a limited time basis.”
Mottershaw specified that chicken was a big part of these “new options and new innovations.” “When we think about the acceleration of new trends, it’s really clear for us that it’s chicken, and that means chicken as a whole category,” Mottershaw was quoted as saying. “We’re focused heavily in this area at the moment, so expect lots to come here.” (A bit off-topic, but for the record, Mottershaw also said Taco Bell has “a lot of work going on right now to create a broader vegetarian platform, as well as specifically plant-based proteins,” which is something we “will definitely see.”)
Taco Bell has been getting pretty high marks for this new foray into chicken. Foodbeast’s tester said the “very crispy” wings were solid, and the fast food review YouTube channel Peep This Out! called the high-quality, meaty menu item “absolutely worth” the money. Both reviewers also said that adding Taco Bell hot sauce really upped the enjoyment.
As to when you’ll be able to try these wings near you, unfortunately, a Taco Bell spokesperson wasn’t particularly forthcoming to multiple news outlets, stating only, “We’re always innovating and listening to our fans, and chicken is just one category that we’re excited to explore further and put our Taco Bell spin on.”