12/20/2012 01:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

New Loaded Grillers Taco Bell: Fast Food Review

I'm all about snacking, variety, and doing it on the cheap. A fast food value menu is one of the key ingredients I look for in what makes the restaurant excel where it should. If I want something for 6 bucks, I'll upgrade to fast casual where I can expect the quality to be better. As far as inexpensive variety goes, Taco Bell has always been a top choice for me. The latest entries into the realm of super-quick, snackable, handheld Taco Bell fare are the Loaded Grillers and the variety is there, too -- you've got 3 choices at a dollar a piece: Loaded Potato, Spicy Buffalo Chicken and Beefy Nacho.

So when you see these first get a glimpse of Loaded Grillers in ad pics, what comes to mind? Surely most will think along the lines of, "those are just taquitos with a new name." You're pretty far off with that assessment.

I'd consider the Loaded Grillers to be a shrunken down version of the Grilled Stuft Burrito with 3 new choices on the inside. The Loaded Grillers are small burritos and not thin, crispy, long corn tortilla wrapped taquitos. Loaded Grillers aim to take common appetizer grub like potato skins, buffalo chicken wings and nachos and wrap them up in a tight little package with the familiar Taco Bell twist. At 99 cents, this promo price is a pretty solid value, but you're not going to come away too impressed by the product itself. Coming in to the product sampling, I had a good idea which Loaded Griller would stand out slightly above the rest.

  • Loaded Potato Griller: Delivers the taste of loaded potato skins because we take our crispy potato bites and cover them with warm nacho cheese sauce, flavorful bacon, cool reduced-fat sour cream, then wrap all of those delicious ingredients up in a warm flour tortilla and grill it so it's ready to eat on-the-go! Calories: 420, Total Fat: 22g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 13g
The Loaded Potato Griller was my favorite of the 3 choices. While I didn't really care too much for the Crispy Potato Soft Taco I reviewed a couple years ago, I've revisited it time and time again and it's grown on me. I'll throw the Loaded Potato Griller in with my fondness of the seasoned crispy potato bites and say the package works on most levels. The pieces of bacon hit you with the saltiness to cut through the starchy potatoes and the nacho cheese provides the gooey blanket that envelopes the crispy potatoes. The reduced-fat sour cream would work a lot better as an applied condiment or dipping base as it doesn't do much but slightly get in the way of the consistency harmony of the other ingredients. This is one super salty Loaded Griller, but it remained the most interesting of a less than interesting bunch. The Loaded Potato Griller comes away with a strong 8.00/10.

  • Spicy Buffalo Chicken Griller: Delivers the taste of buffalo chicken wings because we take our marinated and grilled, all-white meat chicken, add spicy lava sauce, cool reduced-fat sour cream, then wrap everything up in a warm flour tortilla and grill it so it's ready to eat on-the-go! Calories: 350, Total Fat: 15g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 15g

The Spicy Buffalo Chicken Griller didn't impress me and was just kind of average. Keep in mind with this one that there is no buffalo wing sauce to speak of. Taco Bell uses the spicy lava sauce used for the Volcano menu items (see also) and throws in some grilled chicken and sour cream. Once again, the sour cream would work best separately and not locked into the product itself. The Spicy Buffalo Chicken Griller seemed to be missing something... like it was one ingredient away from being in "good" territory. It's probably too spicy for the average patron with the wimpy pallet. Overall I'd give this one a so-so 6.50/10.

  • Beefy Nacho Loaded Griller: Delivers the taste of beefy cheesy nachos with our seasoned beef covered in warm nacho cheese sauce and crisp red strips for crunch, wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla and grilled so it's ready to eat on-the-go! Calories: 420, Total Fat: 19g, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 12g

The Beefy Nacho Loaded Griller would get my vote for most uninspired of the 3 choices. This is basically the Beefy Nacho Burrito without the nacho chips, in a smaller sized and grilled for a slightly crisp outer layer. The red tortilla strips are just there for texture and mine didn't hold up too well under the pressure of the beef and cheese. I would've rather had this be more reminiscent of the Beefy Crunch Burrito from a couple years ago because I really liked the Flamin' Hot Fritos. Fritos hold the crunch a lot better and these strips just don't. The Beefy Nacho Loaded Griller is nothing new. It's the most basic, inside the box, of the choices. Middle of the road, 6.25/10.

In closing, Loaded Grillers come away with a case of "same old song and dance." While the Loaded Potato Griller offers up something interesting, the other two choices come up short. All 3 items work in their own way for your particular tastes and it's hard to argue with a fast food deal as good as 99 cents. In the end, Loaded Grillers achieve what I consider to be what good fast food is all about. Loaded Grillers are great for grubbing on the go and are available for some spare change and taste wise what you'd come to expect from the familiar ingredients at Taco Bell.