Mexican Pizza (the best Taco Bell item) is returning May 19

Contrary to the internet lists ranking Taco Bell’s food items, the best thing on the menu is not the Crunchwrap Supreme or the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. It is the humble Mexican Pizza, a Taco Bell concoction that fulfills neither part of its name — but punches so far above its weight class that it’s little wonder there was a celebration when its comeback was announced Monday.

The Mexican Pizza is relatively simple: two tostada shells, a beef-and-refried bean mixture holding the two together and red sauce, shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, tomatoes and green onions that go on top. It’s then split into oven — hence the pizza aspect.

It shouldn’t work, but this unholy matrimony of Tex-Mex and pizza really does feel like a bit of magic. The pull of melty cheese when you grab a “slice” has the appeal of a personal pan pizza. When you dig in, each bite feels like a perfect bite from a plate of nachos, with the slight spice of the sauce and the tang of fresh tomatoes lifting up what would otherwise be too heavy a dish.

You, dear reader, are probably scrolling through, confounded by the social media blitz and the riotous hype over this glorified, two-layer tostada — aided by a viral brand deal with rapper and meme maven Doja Cat. “Who cares?” you’re probably asking. “It’s just Taco Bell.”

And, sure, it absolutely is. I don’t want to sound like an influencer writing sponsored content for a multinational conglomerate. But the item carries a certain level of personal significance beyond its cheesy, beefy goodness.

A Change.org petition started shortly after the Mexican Pizza was pulled off menus in 2020 has racked up more than 170,000 signatures — pushed in large part by a South Asian petitioner and fans who turned to Taco Bell for vegetarian fast-food cravings (including the pizza) long before vegan substitutions and Impossible meats were popularized in fast food. The Mexican Pizza was one of the few dishes that didn’t feel like a compromise when you subbed the meat out, and as a result, won a place in the hearts and stomachs of Indian Americans across generations.


I was introduced to the Mexican Pizza by my older sisters, the biggest bunch of Mexican Pizza heads I know. And it’s since become a comfort staple for my family — a meal for pit stops and bathroom breaks during hourslong road trips, for days when my mom was too tired to cook after coming home. Even my grandmother — a woman not fond of most cuisines aside from Filipino — enjoyed the simple pleasure of the pizza. All this is to say, the item — unassuming and stoner-y as it may be — carries the weight of personal sentiment for me and many others.

So, for anyone who has unsuccessfully attempted to DIY this masterpiece at home or has yet to be convinced by the glory of this dish, Taco Bell is bringing back the item May 19 (and two days earlier for those subscribed to the Bell’s in-house rewards program).

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