Nothing sums up the deliciousness of a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme more concisely than the love letter to it on the daily humor website McSweeney’s. All of the Crunchwrap’s beauty is perfectly summarized in that piece: the convenience of not having to choose between a soft or crunchy tortilla, the patches of sour cream randomly placed throughout it, and a creamy, indulgent nacho cheese sauce that is the ying to the meat’s yang. And it’s all wrapped together in a soft tortilla shell that makes it easy to enjoy one-handed without making a mess.
As one of the most successful products in the history of fast food (until that Doritos Locos Tacos came around), the Crunchwrap Supreme is loved by many because of its south-of-the-border flavors and ingenuity in design. Because it's shaped like a hexagon, the idea of calling it a "Mexagon" was once thrown around, but in the end the three words that perfectly describe it became its name: it’s got crunch, it’s a wrap, and it’s supreme in flavor.
There are many reasons to make a Crunchwrap Supreme at home. It once was a limited-time item on Taco Bell’s menu, and the fear of ever losing it again is still something we hold on to almost every single day. At 540 calories and with 21 grams of fat, it’s no walk in the park for nutrition’s sake, but by making it at home you have more control over what is going in the dish. And lastly, it’s a fast-food item, and there are so many of us out there who can appreciate good taste, but aren’t always willing to line up at the drive-thru for it. And so it is for these reasons and probably even more that we’ve decided to take on the task of making a Crunchwrap Supreme at home.
While the Irvine, Calif., company was unwilling to help us with our endeavor, we think we have been able to create a do-it-yourself recipe successfully for the home cook. We examined every aspect of the menu item, from the consistency of the meat and the spices used to flavor it to the wrap’s exact construction so that it upheld all of the same tastes, flavors, and ease-of-eating qualities that the store-bought one has. We even added a few additions of our own (like enjoying it with taco sauce), to make it special, unique, and — most importantly — homemade. They can’t blame us for copying them; they’re the ones who told us to think outside the box (or is it bun?).
1. The Spices
Like many recipes rooted in flavor, it all starts with the spices. Taco Bell uses the same mixture for all of their beef blends, including the one in the Crunchwrap Supreme, and after some research, we were able to develop one that fit closely enough to the original. The usual taco seasonings like cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne are all in there, with the addition of cornstarch for thickening, and a little sugar for balance.
2. The Secret to the Meat
Along with the spices, there’s another aspect to Taco Bell’s meat that makes it so unique, and it’s the consistency. To make our meat mixture, we browned it in the pan without the spices, breaking it up as little as possible with our spoon while doing so. Once it was halfway cooked, we removed it from the pan and added it to a food processor to pulse — just once — so that it was ground down to a thin and less chunky consistency. We then added the meat back to the pan with the spices and let it simmer until cooked through, flavorful, and thick.
3. The Cheese Sauce
Anyone who has ever enjoyed the Crunchwrap knows that one of the best parts is the nacho cheese sauce. We created our own special recipe using a unique blend of seasoning, different from the taco seasoning, for a rustic and homemade version.
4. Taco Sauce
The last component of our recipe that needed to be prepared before assembly is the taco sauce. Many fans of the Crunchwrap Supreme complain that the construction of it makes it difficult to enjoy with taco sauce, and so it often gets overlooked when enjoying it. We weren’t giving up that easily, and decided to develop our own recipe from a special blend of seasonings different from the meat blend. This sauce isn’t just for dipping, though, so stay tuned to see how we added it to our Crunchwrap Supreme.
5. Get Them Loose
Once you’re ready to begin constructing your wrap, you’ll need to warm the tortillas so that they’re flexible enough to wrap around the other ingredients. Heat the oven to its lowest setting and allow the flour tortillas wrapped in a dampened kitchen towel to warm up in it for a few minutes.
6. First Meat, Then Cheese
When you look at the makeup of a Crunchwrap Supreme, you can see that all of the hot ingredients are on one layer and all of the cold ones are on another. We think they did this intentionally, because it allows the varying temperatures to work in unison without affecting each other, creating the perfect blend of hot, steamy, cool, and crisp with every bite. We followed Taco Bell’s technique and added our meat mixture first, followed by the hot nacho cheese.
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