A Taco Bell crispy chicken taco contains between 15-20 grams of net carbs, depending on size and ingredients. The crispy chicken taco is one of Taco Bell’s most popular menu items, providing a crispy corn tortilla shell filled with juicy marinated chicken, lettuce, cheese, and creamy sauce. With its palate-pleasing blend of textures and flavors, it’s easy to see why this taco is a fast food favorite. But for those monitoring their carb intake, the crispy chicken taco may seem off-limits. This article will break down the total and net carb counts in Taco Bell’s crispy chicken taco, and provide tips for enjoying this treat while staying within your daily carb budget.
The Basics: What’s in a Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Taco?
A standard Taco Bell crispy chicken taco is made up of the following ingredients:
- Crispy corn tortilla shell
- Marinated, shredded chicken
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Creamy chipotle sauce
The crispy corn shell provides a satisfying crunch and holds all the ingredients together. Taco Bell marinates and shreds white-meat chicken for a flavorful, hearty protein. The lettuce adds freshness and crunch, while the shredded cheddar cheese melts over the hot chicken and sauce. The creamy chipotle sauce ties everything together with a mild, smoky kick.
How Many Carbs are in a Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Taco?
The total carbohydrate count in a standard Taco Bell crispy chicken taco is around 21 grams. However, about 6 grams come from dietary fiber. When you subtract the fiber, you’re left with a net carb count of 15-20 grams for the entire taco.
Here is the carb breakdown for each ingredient:
- Tortilla shell: 15 grams total carbs, 3 grams fiber = 12 grams net carbs
- Chicken: 0 grams net carbs
- Lettuce: 1 gram net carbs
- Cheese: less than 1 gram net carbs
- Sauce: 2-3 grams net carbs
As you can see, the tortilla shell contributes the greatest amount of carbs to this menu item. The chicken, lettuce, and cheese are very low-carb, while the creamy sauce adds a small amount of carbohydrates.
How Portion Size Affects Carb Count
It’s important to note that the carb count can fluctuate based on the size of the taco you order. For example:
- Regular taco: 15-17 grams net carbs
- Medium taco: 17-19 grams net carbs
- Large taco: 19-22 grams net carbs
The regular crispy chicken taco has the lowest amount of net carbs. If you size up to a medium or large taco, you’ll be getting a bigger tortilla shell, which increases the carb count. Sticking with a regular-sized taco is your best bet for carb control.
How to Reduce Carbs in Your Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Taco
If you want to enjoy Taco Bell’s crispy chicken taco but really minimize carbs, there are a few tweaks you can make:
- Skip the shell: Order the crispy chicken taco as a salad or bowl without the shell to eliminate about 12 grams of carbs.
- Sub lettuce wrap: Ask for your crispy chicken taco filling wrapped in a lettuce leaf instead of the tortilla.
- Skip sauce: Request your crispy chicken taco without sauce to save 2-3 grams of carbs.
Low-Carb Taco Toppings
To add flavor and crunch without extra carbs, top your crispy chicken taco with these low-carb ingredients:
- Pico de gallo
- Hot sauce
Healthy Low-Carb Side Options
Pair your Taco Bell crispy chicken taco with these fresh, nutrient-packed low-carb sides:
- Crunchy taco supreme salad – Romaine lettuce, seasoned beef, cheese, guacamole, red strips, diced tomatoes, and sour cream.
- Chicken power bowl – Grilled chicken, rice, black beans, red strips, medium salsa, and guacamole.
- Beefy Fritos burrito – Beef, rice, cheese, Fritos, and chili sauce. Remove rice and Fritos to lower carb count.
- Chicken soft taco – Marinated chicken, lettuce, and cheese in a soft flour tortilla.
Low-Carb Taco Bell Taco Sauces
Enhance the flavor of your crispy chicken taco with these lower-carb Taco Bell taco sauces:
|Sauce||Total Carbs||Net Carbs|
|Red Chili Sauce||1g||1g|
Opt for mild, medium or fire salsa, guacamole, or red chili sauce to add a flavor punch without spiking your carb intake. The creamy chipotle sauce is slightly higher in carbs than the red chili sauce.
Low-Carb Taco Bell Drink Options
Wash down your crispy chicken taco with these refreshing low-carb beverage choices at Taco Bell:
- Iced Tea – Unsweetened. 0g net carbs.
- Diet Mountain Dew – 0g net carbs.
- Diet Pepsi – 0g net carbs.
- Water – 0g net carbs.
Opt for unsweetened iced tea, diet soda, or water to keep your meal low-carb. Regular sodas like Mountain Dew and Pepsi have around 40g net carbs per 12oz serving.
Is a Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Taco Keto-Friendly?
At 15-20 net carbs for one taco, the Taco Bell crispy chicken taco can potentially fit into a keto diet, but it depends on your specific macro needs:
- Standard keto diet: 50g net carbs per day. A crispy chicken taco would use 1/3 to 1/4 of your daily carb allowance.
- Strict keto diet: 20-30g net carbs per day. One taco may exceed your entire carb budget.
On standard keto, enjoying a crispy chicken taco once in awhile is doable if you strictly limit carbs elsewhere in your day. If you’re following strict keto, this menu item would be too high-carb to fit into your diet.
Making Keto-Friendly Modifications
You can make the Taco Bell crispy chicken taco more keto-friendly by:
- Ordering without the shell and eating the filling as a salad.
- Getting it as a lettuce wrap instead of the tortilla shell.
- Leaving off high-carb ingredients like rice and sauce.
- Sticking to keto-approved toppings like salsa, guacamole, and jalapeños.
With smart modifications, you can still enjoy the classic flavors of this crispy chicken taco while keeping your net carbs low.
Crispy Chicken Taco Nutrition Facts
Here are the full nutrition facts for a regular Taco Bell crispy chicken taco:
With 170 calories, 15g net carbs, and 12g of protein, this menu item can fit into a balanced diet with careful portioning and pairing with low-carb sides and toppings.
Enjoying Taco Bell’s crispy chicken taco on a low-carb or keto diet is absolutely possible by making small swaps. Opt for a lettuce wrap or bowl, skip the sauce, and load up on low-carb toppings like salsa and guacamole. Pair your taco with a side salad or low-carb beverage to round out the meal. While the tortilla shell does contribute a significant amount of carbs, you can still incorporate this favorite fast food into your diet with careful carb counting and planning.