How many carbs are in a plain taco from Taco Bell?

A plain taco from Taco Bell is one of the most popular items on their menu. It’s a simple combination of a crunchy corn taco shell filled with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, and cheddar cheese. But for those watching their carb intake or following a low-carb diet, the carb count of a plain Taco Bell taco may be a concern.

Plain Taco Ingredients

The ingredients in a plain Taco Bell taco are:

  • Taco shell – Crunchy corn tortilla
  • Seasoned ground beef
  • Lettuce
  • Cheddar cheese

The main sources of carbohydrates come from the taco shell and the seasoned ground beef. The lettuce and cheese provide minimal carbs.

Nutrition Information

According to Taco Bell’s nutrition information, here are the carb counts for each ingredient in a plain taco:

Ingredient Carbohydrates (g)
Taco shell (1) 11
Seasoned ground beef (1 serving) 1
Lettuce 2
Cheddar cheese 1

Adding up the carbohydrates from each ingredient, a plain taco from Taco Bell contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Plain Taco Macros

Looking at the full macro nutrient profile of a plain Taco Bell taco:

  • Calories: 170
  • Total fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Net carbs: 13g
  • Protein: 8g

The 15g of total carbs includes 2g of fiber. So the net carbs come out to 13g per plain taco.

How Carb Count Compares to Other Taco Options

Taco Bell offers many taco varieties beyond just the plain taco. Here’s how the carb counts compare for some other popular taco options on their menu:

Taco Variety Total Carbs
Plain taco 15g
Soft taco 20g
Doritos Locos taco 17g
Crunchy taco supreme 24g
Soft taco supreme 21g

The plain crunchy taco is one of the lowest carb options. The supreme versions with added sour cream and tomatoes have slightly higher carb counts. A soft taco shell also adds a few more carbs compared to the crunchy shell. But overall, all of Taco Bell’s basic taco options are relatively low carb compared to other menu items.

Tips for Ordering a Low Carb Taco

Here are some tips for reducing carbs if you want to order a taco from Taco Bell while limiting carb intake:

  • Stick with a crunchy taco shell rather than soft taco.
  • Avoid the supreme versions with added sour cream and tomatoes.
  • Skip rice, beans, tortilla chips, and other sides.
  • Request extra lettuce instead of rice in burrito bowls.
  • Use hot sauce instead of higher carb creamy sauces.
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea instead of soda.

Focusing your order on the taco meat, lettuce, cheese, and crunchy shell can help satisfy a Taco Bell craving while keeping carbs to a minimum.

Should You Eat a Taco Bell Taco on a Low Carb Diet?

At 15g net carbs, a plain Taco Bell taco fits into a moderately low carb diet of around 50-100g net carbs per day. However, it may be too high in carbs to fit into a stricter keto or under 20g net carb per day diet.

Here is how a plain taco could fit into some different low carb diet approaches:

  • Keto (under 20g net carbs): Doesn’t fit due to being over 15g net carbs.
  • Low carb (50-100g net carbs): Fits within daily limit.
  • Slow carb diet: Permitted on 1 “cheat day” per week.
  • Atkins 20 phase: Fits within daily 20g net carb limit.
  • Atkins 40 phase: Easily fits within 40g net carb limit.

So a Taco Bell taco can fit into a moderate low carb diet, but may be too high in carbs for very low carb and keto diets. It’s best to mix in plenty of lower carb sides like lettuce and cheese to help balance out the taco carbs. And limiting higher carb sauces, drinks and sides will help reduce carb intake for the entire meal.

Comparing Taco Bell to Other Fast Food Tacos

Taco Bell isn’t the only fast food restaurant with tacos. Here’s how its plain taco carb count compares to some others:

Restaurant Taco Variety Total Carbs
Taco Bell Crunchy taco 15g
Del Taco Crunchy taco 13g
Taco John’s Original crunchy taco 17g
Taco Bueno Crunchy taco 19g
El Pollo Loco Crunchy street taco 12g

Taco Bell is fairly comparable to other leading fast food chains when looking at carb counts for basic crunchy tacos. They range from 12-19g of carbs at most spots. So Taco Bell is not an outlier and offers reasonably low carb fast food tacos.

Low Carb Taco Shell Alternatives

The biggest source of carbs in a taco comes from the taco shell itself. Some low carb dieters will ditch the taco shell altogether. But there are also a few lower carb taco shell alternatives, including:

  • Lettuce wrap – Use large lettuce leaves like iceberg or romaine instead of a tortilla.
  • Low carb tortillas – Tortillas made from almond flour, coconut flour, or flaxseed can have just 5g net carbs or less.
  • Cheese shells – Make crunchy shells from cheese using a muffin tin.

These lower carb options allow you to still enjoy all the taco fillings and flavors while avoiding the carbs of a traditional corn or flour tortilla shell.

Should You Have Multiple Tacos or Just One?

At just 15g net carbs, a plain Taco Bell taco can potentially fit into some low carb eating plans even if eating more than one. Here’s a look at the carb counts for multiple tacos:

Number of Tacos Net Carbs
1 taco 13g
2 tacos 26g
3 tacos 39g
4 tacos 52g
5 tacos 65g

Whether multiple tacos will fit your diet depends on your specific carb limits:

  • Keto diet: Avoid going over 1 taco to stay under 20g carbs.
  • Low carb diet: 2-3 tacos can likely fit within 50-100g carbs.
  • Slow carb diet: Can have more than 1 taco on cheat day.
  • Atkins 20: Stay with 1 taco to avoid going over 20g carbs.
  • Atkins 40: Up to 4 tacos can potentially fit within 40g.

In general, it’s best to stick to 1-2 tacos at a time when eating low carb. And be sure to balance it out with lower carb add-ons like lettuce, salsa, and cheese to help manage carb intake.

Healthier Low Carb Taco Options

While Taco Bell’s tacos can fit into some low carb eating plans, they are still fast food and not the healthiest option. Here are some ideas for healthier and lower carb taco alternatives:

  • Ground turkey or grass-fed beef instead of processed ground beef
  • Romaine lettuce leaves for shell
  • Extra vegetables like onions, peppers, tomato
  • Avocado slices
  • Greek yogurt or avocado instead of cheese
  • Olive oil, hot sauce, herbs for seasoning instead of sauce packets

Making tacos at home allows you to control the ingredients and quality. Look for ways to boost nutrition and use real, whole food ingredients when possible.

Low Carb Taco Salad

Another way to enjoy taco flavors in a low carb way is to make it into a salad. Simply prepare ground meat with taco seasoning, then add lettuce, cheese, salsa, and other favorite taco toppings. Some ideas for low carb taco salad additions include:

  • Chopped romaine lettuce
  • Ground beef or turkey seasoned with taco seasoning
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese like cheddar or pepper jack
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapenos

Mix it all up for a flavorful low carb taco salad. Serve it without the shell to remove the main source of carbs. This makes a fresh and satisfying low carb meal.

Low Carb Taco Soup

Warm and comforting taco soup is another great low carb option. Simply cook up taco meat and add low carb vegetables like:

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic

Garnish the soup with taco toppings like cheese, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro. Taco soup makes for a filling low carb meal without the carbs of a traditional taco shell.

Low Carb Taco Casserole

For an easy low carb dinner, taco casserole is a great choice. Simply layer taco meat, cheese, low carb vegetables, salsa, and spices into a casserole dish and bake until hot and bubbly. Some good veggie choices include diced zucchini, peppers, onions, cauliflower rice. Top with sour cream after baking. Enjoy the great taco flavors in casserole form without a high carb shell.


A plain Taco Bell taco contains around 15g total carbs and 13g net carbs. This fits into some low carb eating plans like a 50-100g moderate low carb diet. However, it may be too high in carbs for stricter keto and under 20g net carb diets. Sticking to just 1-2 tacos per meal and limiting higher carb add-ons helps keep carbs in check. And making tacos at home using healthier ingredients provides lower carb options. Overall, tacos can be enjoyed in moderation on some low carb and keto diets. Just focus on the fillings like meat, lettuce and cheese over the carb-heavy taco shell.

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