How much protein is in a Quesalupa?

A Quesalupa from Taco Bell is a chalupa shell filled with melty pepper jack cheese sauce and stuffed with seasoned beef, lettuce, tomatoes, reduced fat sour cream and chipotle sauce. The unique cheesy shell and delicious fillings make the Quesalupa a popular menu item. Many customers who are watching their protein intake wonder, “How much protein is in a Quesalupa?” Here’s a look at the Quesalupa’s protein content.

The Protein in the Quesalupa Shell

The Quesalupa shell is made from a chalupa shell that is filled with pepper jack cheese sauce. The chalupa shell itself is made from wheat flour. Wheat flour contains gluten proteins, which give the shell its chewy, bread-like texture.

A 6-inch chalupa shell likely contains around 5-7 grams of protein. The exact amount can vary depending on the brand of flour used. Since the Quesalupa shell also contains melty pepper jack cheese sauce in addition to the chalupa shell, it likely has slightly more protein.

The Protein from the Fillings

In addition to the protein from the cheesy shell, the Quesalupa gets protein from its many tasty fillings.

Seasoned Beef

The seasoned beef used to fill Quesalupas is a mix of ground beef and Mexican spices. A 1/2 cup serving of ground beef typically provides around 21 grams of protein. The Quesalupa likely contains around 1/4 cup of seasoned beef, with approximately 10-11 grams of protein.


The lettuce in the Quesalupa adds a small amount of protein. One cup of shredded lettuce has about 1 gram of protein. The Quesalupa likely contains around 1/3 cup of lettuce, with less than 1 gram of protein.


The tomatoes offer a negligible amount of protein. One medium tomato contains about 1 gram of protein. The couple small tomato slices in a Quesalupa would contain less than 1 gram of protein.

Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Reduced fat sour cream is another ingredient that adds a bit of protein. One tablespoon of reduced fat sour cream provides less than 1 gram of protein. The Quesalupa likely contains around 2 tablespoons, with about 1 gram of protein.

Chipotle Sauce

The chipotle sauce is made from tomatoes, soybean oil, corn syrup, spices and chipotle peppers. It likely adds around 1 gram of protein per tablespoon. With around 2 tablespoons in a Quesalupa, it contributes another 2 grams of protein.

Total Protein

Adding up the protein from all the ingredients, a Taco Bell Quesalupa likely contains:

  • Quesalupa shell: 5-7g protein
  • Seasoned beef: 10-11g protein
  • Lettuce: <1g protein
  • Tomatoes: <1g protein
  • Reduced fat sour cream: ~1g protein
  • Chipotle sauce: ~2g protein

In total, a Quesalupa likely provides around 20-23 grams of protein.

Benefits of Protein

The protein in the Quesalupa offers several important health benefits:

Muscle Growth & Repair

Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues. The 20-23 grams of protein in a Quesalupa helps support muscle growth after exercise.

Appetite Control

Protein is the most filling macronutrient. Eating protein-rich foods like a Quesalupa helps control hunger and promote appetite satisfaction.

Strong Bones

Protein assists the body in absorbing calcium, contributing to bone strength and health.

Immune Function

Protein plays an important role in the production of antibodies that fight off viruses and bacteria to keep the immune system strong.

Ingredient Protein (grams)
Quesalupa Shell 5-7
Seasoned Beef 10-11
Lettuce <1
Tomatoes <1
Reduced Fat Sour Cream ~1
Chipotle Sauce ~2
Total 20-23

How Does it Fit Your Nutrition Needs?

The 20-23 grams of protein in a Quesalupa represent a significant amount, but how does it fit into your daily nutrition needs?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is:

  • 46 grams per day for women over 19
  • 56 grams per day for men over 19

However, many experts recommend consuming more than the RDA, especially for those who are physically active.

Most nutritionists recommend getting:

  • 0.4-0.5 grams per pound of body weight if sedentary
  • 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight if moderately active
  • 0.8-1.0 grams per pound of body weight if extremely active

So a 160 pound moderately active man would need 96-128 grams of protein per day. In that case, the 20-23 grams from a Quesalupa would provide 15-24% of his daily needs.

A 120 pound sedentary woman would need 48-60 grams daily. For her, one Quesalupa would supply 33-48% of her requirement.

As you can see, the Quesalupa protein totals represent a significant portion of total daily needs, especially for those with lower calorie requirements.

Comparing Quesalupa Protein to Other Menu Items

How does the protein in the Quesalupa compare to other items on the Taco Bell menu?

Here’s a look at the protein content in some other popular Taco Bell foods:

  • Soft taco: 8-10g protein
  • Crunchy taco: 8-10g
  • Burrito supreme: 10-12g
  • Nachos bellgrande: 15-17g
  • Power bowl veggie: 19-21g
  • Power bowl chicken: 35-40g

The Quesalupa ranks on the higher end for protein compared to other Taco Bell items. The seasoned beef and cheesy shell help contribute to its 20-23 grams of protein content.

Only the chicken power bowl provides significantly more protein. But it does not have the unique taste and texture of the cheese-stuffed Quesalupa shell.

Maximizing Quesalupa Protein

There are a few easy ways to maximize the protein you get from a Taco Bell Quesalupa:

Add beans

Add a side of pinto or black beans to your Quesalupa order. One small side of beans contains around 7-8 grams of protein to help bump up your totals.

Swap beef for chicken

Substitute shredded chicken for the seasoned beef in your Quesalupa. Chicken contains slightly more protein ounce-for-ounce than beef.

Extra cheese

Ask for extra melted cheese sauce to be added into your Quesalupa shell. The extra cheese will provide an additional protein boost.

Top with guac

Add a scoop of guacamole on top of your Quesalupa. Guacamole contains around 3-4 grams protein per 2 tablespoons, so this makes a protein-packed addition.

Pair with a drink

Wash down your Quesalupa with a high protein milkshake. A small shake can pack 10-15 grams of protein from whey powder.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

The meat-free options at Taco Bell can also provide a solid protein punch:

  • Bean burrito: 12-14g protein
  • 7 layer burrito: 11-13g
  • Spicy potato soft taco: 8-10g

Vegans can get plenty of Quesalupa protein by substituting beans or potatoes for the beef and swapping dairy-free cheese sauce for the regular cheesy pepper jack sauce.

Should You Eat the Whole Quesalupa?

Taco Bell recommends the Quesalupa as a single serving. But should you eat the whole thing in one meal, or split it up?

Here are some pros and cons of downing the entire 20-23 grams of protein in one Quesalupa sitting:


  • Maximizes muscle building after a workout
  • Keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer
  • Minimizes impulse snacking later


  • Large amount of saturated fat and sodium
  • Excess calories can lead to weight gain
  • May cause digestive discomfort

In the end, it depends on your individual nutrition needs and goals. Very active individuals may benefit from downing the whole Quesalupa after an intense training session. But more casual diners may want to save half for their next meal.


The Taco Bell Quesalupa packs a hefty protein punch, with totals ranging from 20-23 grams. This comes from its cheese-stuffed chalupa shell, seasoned beef, beans, lettuce, cheese and chipotle sauce.

For most people, this provides a significant portion of the daily protein requirements. It can help promote muscle growth, appetite control, bone health and more.

Maximizing your Quesalupa protein can be as easy as adding beans, guac or swapping beef for chicken. Vegetarians also have tasty high protein options to choose from.

So if you’re looking for a delicious Mexican-inspired meal with plenty of protein, look no further than the Quesalupa on your next Taco Bell run!

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