I tried Taco Bell's new chicken sandwich tacos and was surprised by how juicy they tasted

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I tried Taco Bell's new chicken sandwich tacos and was surprised by how juicy they tasted
  • I tried Taco Bell's new Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco and Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco.
  • Both feature all-white chicken meat with a tortilla-chip coating and Taco Bell's chipotle sauce.
  • I was surprised by how juicy the chicken was, and loved the jalapeños in the spicy version.

When it comes to fast food, there are few places that get me as excited as Taco Bell.

When it comes to fast food, there are few places that get me as excited as Taco Bell.
Me with Taco Bell's delicious Grilled Cheese Burrito. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

And while I've been loyal to the Crunchwrap Supreme for years, I'm always excited when the chain releases new menu items — like last summer's absolutely delicious Grilled Cheese Burrito.

So when I heard that Taco Bell was diving into the fast-food chicken sandwich wars with its own taco hybrid, I knew I had to check it out.

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Taco Bell is the latest chain to release a new spin on the chicken sandwich.

Taco Bell is the latest chain to release a new spin on the chicken sandwich.
Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos. Taco Bell

From the Popeye's sandwich that dominated 2019 to Burger King's new line (which fellow Insider food reporter Rachel Askinasi loved), chicken sandwiches have been the hot menu item for a while now.

Not one to be left behind, Taco Bell announced back in March that it was testing a new Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco in its Nashville and Charlotte locations in North Carolina.

But after six long months, the sandwich — and its spicy sister — have finally gone national.

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Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco features chicken in a soft flatbread.

Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco features chicken in a soft flatbread.
Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Taco Bell

The all-white chicken meat has been "marinated in jalapeño buttermilk, seasoned with bold Mexican spices, and rolled in a crunchy tortilla-chip coating," a Taco Bell spokesperson told me.

Everything is topped with Taco Bell's signature creamy chipotle sauce and served in a warm and puffy flatbread that's been "shaped in an iconic taco form," they added.

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Taco Bell also released a Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, which got me even more excited.

Taco Bell also released a Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, which got me even more excited.
Taco Bell's Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Taco Bell

Many of the fast-food chains have spicy versions of their chicken sandwiches, so Taco Bell made sure to follow suit.

Its Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco features the same ingredients as the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, along with the addition of jalapeño peppers.

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The new chicken sandwiches became nationally available on September 2. So I recently headed to my local Taco Bell for the ultimate taste test.

The new chicken sandwiches became nationally available on September 2. So I recently headed to my local Taco Bell for the ultimate taste test.
My local Taco Bell. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I ordered both sandwiches (both are priced at $2.49) at the drive-thru, as well as the Blue Raspberry Lemonade Freeze ($2.99) and Wild Strawberry Lemonade Freeze ($1.79) — which are also new on Taco Bell's menu.

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When I unwrapped my Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco at home, I couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed.

When I unwrapped my Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco at home, I couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed.
Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

In its online description of the new menu item, Taco Bell acknowledges that there's "no shortage of chicken sandwiches out in the world."

"Every once in a while, something comes along that shakes everything up," it continues. "The only thing the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco has in common with said sandwiches is the name. Because, honestly, putting chicken between two slices of bread just doesn't cut it anymore."

It's a great message, but when I unwrapped my Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco I was surprised to find that there just wasn't much to it. It's not just chicken between two slices of bread, but it's mostly just chicken in some flatbread. There were no veggies, and I could only see flecks of the chipotle sauce underneath the chicken.

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But the chicken definitely looked promising.

But the chicken definitely looked promising.
The chicken in the taco-sandwich looked thick and juicy. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

There was a substantial piece of chicken right in the middle of the sandwich, its shape reminding me of a chicken tender.

The chicken also had great color, and the skin looked deliciously crispy.

Had I been too quick to judge? It was time to find out.

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The chicken tasted as good as it looked, but the sandwich definitely needed more oomph.

The chicken tasted as good as it looked, but the sandwich definitely needed more oomph.
I was definitely a big fan of the chicken. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I was pleasantly surprised by how juicy the chicken tasted. The meat was surprisingly thick and really nicely cooked, and the delicious chipotle sauce gave each bite some heat.

The flatbread was also softer than I expected, reminding me of the pita you'd eat with a good gyro sandwich. It was sturdy and held the chicken nicely, and was still warm even though I had picked it up at the drive-thru 10 minutes earlier.

But something was still missing. This was supposed to be a sandwich, but there was no lettuce, tomatoes, or anything else to add some more texture and depth of flavor. It was just kind of boring, to be honest.

"It's just chicken with a little piece of bread," my dad told me as he took a few bites of his sandwich taco. "It's not a meal."

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Next up was the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, which benefited from the addition of the jalapeño peppers.

Next up was the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, which benefited from the addition of the jalapeño peppers.
Taco Bell's Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I love anything spicy, so I'm not surprised that I was a bigger fan of the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. The jalapeño peppers gave some extra crunch to each bite and added a nice dose of heat to the whole sandwich.

I topped the sandwich off with some of Taco Bell's hot sauce, which also added some more depth. And, as with the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, the chicken was deliciously juicy.

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Last but not least were the drinks, which took me back to my childhood.

Last but not least were the drinks, which took me back to my childhood.
Taco Bell's Blue Raspberry Lemonade Freeze and Wild Strawberry Lemonade Freeze. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I was a big fan of the Pineapple Freeze, which Taco Bell released for a limited time last summer. But I loved the Blue Raspberry Lemonade Freeze and Wild Strawberry Lemonade Freeze even more.

Both of the freezes are really refreshing and reminded me so much of the ICEE drinks I used to always get at the movie theater as a kid. The wild strawberry is deliciously sweet, while the blue raspberry tastes almost like cotton candy. And the lemonade flavor shines in both beverages without overpowering them.

They'd be great on a hot day, and would also mix really well with some vodka (just saying!).

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Overall, I was impressed with Taco Bell's chicken but think its sandwich-taco hybrid is still missing something.

Overall, I was impressed with Taco Bell's chicken but think its sandwich-taco hybrid is still missing something.
Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco and Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

While the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco would make for a filling snack, I think it still needs at least one more ingredient to add some more dimension, texture, and depth. The Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco is proof that even just throwing in some jalapeño peppers can make a big difference.

But the juicy — and hefty — piece of chicken in each of my sandwich-tacos really impressed me, so I have faith that Taco Bell can still become a game changer in the ongoing fast-food chicken sandwich wars.

It just needs a few tweaks first.

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