Are Mexican pizza at Taco Bell gluten-free?

Quick Answer

Unfortunately, Mexican pizza at Taco Bell is not gluten-free. The ingredients used to make the Mexican pizza contain gluten, including the tortillas and likely the seasoned beef. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming the Mexican pizza would cause adverse reactions.

What is Mexican Pizza?

Mexican pizza is a menu item sold at Taco Bell restaurants. It consists of two corn tortillas layered with refried beans and either seasoned beef or shredded chicken. The tortillas are deep fried into crispy shells and layered with the fillings. The Mexican pizza is topped with tomatoes, a three cheese blend, and optional ingredients like lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole. It’s meant to resemble a round pizza pie but with Taco Bell’s Mexican-inspired flavors.

Why Mexican Pizza Contains Gluten

While corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free, Taco Bell likely adds wheat flour to their corn tortillas used for the Mexican pizza shells. Most commercial corn tortillas contain a percentage of wheat flour, which adds flexibility and durability so the tortillas don’t break when deep fried.

Taco Bell does not claim their corn shells or tortillas are gluten-free. Their online nutritional information shows the corn shells contain wheat flour.

Additionally, the seasoned beef and shredded chicken fillings likely contain gluten from wheat-based additives used as fillers and binders. Taco Bell states their beef is not gluten-free.

Finally, the three cheese blend almost certainly contains wheat. Most shredded cheese blends contain an anti-caking agent called cellulose powder, derived from wheat.

So in summary, key components of the Mexican pizza including the tortillas, beef, and cheese are not gluten-free according to Taco Bell’s own information. Those with celiac disease or wheat allergy should avoid this menu item.

Other Taco Bell Menu Items to Avoid

In addition to the Mexican pizza, here are some other Taco Bell menu items that contain gluten:

– Flour tortillas used for burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and other items
– Tortilla chips
– Baja sauce
– Nacho cheese sauce
– Beans (contain wheat as a preservative)
– Rice (may contain hydrolyzed wheat protein)
– Beef (contains wheat fillers)
– Breads and biscuits like the Cinnabon Delights

Essentially all Taco Bell menu items that use tortillas, dough, or seasoned beef should be avoided on a gluten-free diet.

Potential for Cross-Contamination

Even if a menu item at Taco Bell is naturally gluten-free, there’s a high risk of cross-contamination occurring in the preparation process. All foods are prepared in the same kitchen, so wheat flour can easily get transferred onto gluten-free ingredients through shared cooking equipment and preparation areas.

Those highly sensitive should exercise caution when ordering. For example, a rice bowl may seem gluten-free, but could pick up traces of gluten during food preparation at Taco Bell.

How to Order Gluten-Free at Taco Bell

While gluten-free options are limited, people who must follow a gluten-free diet can still craft a custom meal at Taco Bell. Some suggestions include:

– Bean burrito or fresco bean burrito
– Beefy Fritos burrito
– Soft or crunchy taco with a corn tortilla
– Rice bowl or cantina power bowl without tortilla strips
– Ground beef or shredded chicken as protein fillings
– Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream as toppings
– Guacamole (be aware guacamole does contain a small amount of gluten)
– Corn chips
– Drinks like soda, coffee, horchata, and icees

Be sure to request a change of gloves by the staff before they prepare your gluten-free order. Check all ingredients carefully and consider the risk of cross-contamination. A gluten-free diet is difficult to accommodate at a fast food restaurant like Taco Bell.

Gluten-Free Fast Food Options

Here are some fast food restaurants that offer better gluten-free options than Taco Bell:

Restaurant Gluten-Free Menu Items
Chipotle Tacos, burrito bowls, salads using corn tortillas or lettuce shells
In-N-Out Burgers wrapped in lettuce, fries
Chick-fil-A Grilled nuggets and sandwiches
McDonald’s Burgers without buns, salads, fries, hash browns
Wendy’s Burgers or chicken sandwiches without buns, baked potatoes, chili, frosties

These restaurants have dedicated gluten-free menus and procedures in place to avoid cross-contamination. Their kitchens and staff are better trained for gluten-free orders compared to Taco Bell.

Being Gluten-Free at Mexican Restaurants

Authentic Mexican restaurants are another cuisine that can be challenging when gluten-free. Tamales, tortillas, empanadas, and churros are popular dishes but off-limits for those avoiding gluten.

On the plus side, corn tortillas at restaurants are less likely to contain added wheat than Taco Bell. And naturally gluten-free menu items include:

– Corn tortilla tacos, enchiladas, tostadas
– Ceviche
– Tamales made from corn husks or banana leaves
– Corn chips and salsa
– Rice
– Refried beans
– Pollo asado (grilled chicken)
– Carne asada (grilled beef)
– Vegetarian fillings like grilled veggies or mushroom
– Flan for dessert

So in summary, traditional Mexican restaurants have many more gluten-free choices compared to Americanized chains like Taco Bell. With some modifications, those with celiac disease or wheat allergy can enjoy safe and delicious Mexican cuisine.

Gluten-Free Substitutes for Mexican Pizza

While you can’t get Mexican pizza at Taco Bell, there are some gluten-free recipes you can make at home:

Mexican Pizza with Cassava Flour Tortillas

Cassava flour is naturally gluten-free and great for making tortillas. Prepare the tortillas, then layer with refried beans, ground beef, salsa, and cheese for a Mexican pizza.

Mexican Pizza with Lettuce Wraps

Use large lettuce leaves like iceberg or romaine instead of tortillas. Fill with taco meat, beans, cheese, guacamole, and tomatoes.

Mexican Pizza Baked Potato

Bake potatoes, slice open and fill like loaded baked potatoes. Top with taco meat, salsa, beans, etc.

Mexican Pizza Rice Bowl

Cook up rice and layer with taco fillings, veggies, and cheese. Can be eaten as a bowl or spread on a baking sheet for more of a pizza shape.

Quesadillas with Cassava or Almond Flour Tortillas

Fill tortillas with cheese, meat, peppers for a Mexican pizza flavor. Cook quesadillas in a skillet until the cheese melts.

Is Taco Bell Improving Their Gluten-Free Options?

Taco Bell receives frequent requests for gluten-free options. However, they have made few improvements so far compared to other fast food chains.

In 2020, Taco Bell tested out a dedicated vegetarian menu called “Beyond Meat” that included a Beyond Beef Tortada. This was plant-based and did not contain wheat ingredients. However, it was only market tested in one region and discontinued.

Some people report certain Taco Bell locations will make gluten-free tortillas out of lettuce upon request. But this is not advertised or available chainwide.

As consumer demand grows, hopefully Taco Bell will expand their gluten-free menu in the future. More training is needed for their staff to understand allergens and prevent cross-contamination. Dedicated fryers for corn tortillas would be a major improvement as well.

But for now those with celiac disease have very limited choices at Taco Bell and most menu items contain gluten. Consumers need to look to other Mexican restaurants and chains for gluten-free options.

Should You Risk Taco Bell If You Are Gluten-Free?

People with celiac disease or wheat allergy should not consume the Mexican pizza or most other foods at Taco Bell. The likelihood of getting sick from gluten cross-contamination is very high.

However, some people who follow a gluten-free diet for other reasons (i.e. not for medical necessity) report being able to occasionally eat at Taco Bell without major issues. These people do not have an autoimmune reaction to gluten.

It comes down to your own sensitivity level. The safest choice is to continue avoiding Taco Bell entirely if you require a strict gluten-free diet. But some without celiac disease may be able handle small amounts of cross-contamination.


The Mexican pizza and majority of items on the Taco Bell menu contain gluten and are not safe for those with celiac disease or wheat allergy. Corn tortillas likely have wheat flour added, while beef and cheese also contain gluten.

Your best bet is to customize a meal using ingredients like corn tortillas, lettuce wraps, rice, beans, and meat. But even then cross-contamination can occur. Those with celiac disease are advised to continue avoiding Taco Bell until they improve their gluten-free training and procedures.

Gluten-free fast food and Mexican options are still available at restaurants like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and authentic Mexican establishments. At home, you can recreate many of Taco Bell’s flavors by making Mexican pizzas with cassava or almond flour tortillas as the crust.

While inconvenient, the health risks of consuming gluten outweigh any cravings for Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza. By choosing gluten-free foods at other restaurants, you can stay safe while still enjoying Mexican cuisine.

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