How to Make Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme at Home

Mind-blowing in taste and flavor, the popular fast-food item is easy to make at homeNothing 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.

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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.

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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.

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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?).

Credit: Patricia Stagich 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.



Credit: Patricia Stagich 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.


Credit: Patricia Stagich 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.







Credit: Patricia Stagich 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.


Credit: Patricia Stagich 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.






Credit: Patricia Stagich 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.


Credit: Patricia Stagich Bring in the Crunch
Next we added the crunch, which acts as the line of separation between the hot and the cold ingredients. A tostada is not to be confused with a tortilla chip, because it's perfectly round and flat. To the top of the tostada we added a small dollop of sour cream in the center, not spreading it intentionally, so that when the whole thing came together, the sour cream would be randomly distributed.



Credit: Patricia Stagich The Taco Sauce - Again
Here's the secret to the taco sauce: we toss the tomatoes in it for a little extra flavor before adding it to the wrap.










Credit: Patricia Stagich The Garnishes
Last are the garnishes: freshly shredded lettuce and the tomatoes that have been marinating in our flavorful taco sauce.










Credit: Patricia Stagich It's a Wrap
Now comes the most important part of the process: wrapping the Crunchwrap Supreme. Thinking of it like a clock, we started at 6 o'clock and worked our way counterclockwise around the tostada, folding the flour tortilla over it in overlapping edges.







Credit: Patricia Stagich Seal It Together
You could stop there, but we all know that a Crunchwrap Supreme's beautiful golden brown exterior doesn't just appear out of nowhere. The final step to our recipe is frying it for one to two minutes on each side so that it's sealed together and the tortilla has a nice crisp finish. We even used a cast-iron skillet for authenticity's sake.





Credit: Patricia Stagich The Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme
There you have it. While widely obsessed about and craved, the Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme is not an anomaly when it comes to the home kitchen. Follow this carefully crafted recipe to enjoy the fast-food sensation any time you'd like, in the comfort of your own home.

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INGREDIENTS

For the taco sauce:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes

For the nacho cheese sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup milk, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon seasoning from taco sauce

For the Crunchwrap Supreme:
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon beef bouillion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup water
6 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed
6 tostadas
1 cup sour cream
2 tomatoes, chopped, tossed with 1/4 cup of the taco sauce
2 cups shredded lettuce
Cooking spray, for frying


DIRECTIONS

For the taco sauce:

Combine all of the spices together in a resealable container and set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, purée the tomatoes until smooth. Add to a small saucepan and add 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) to the tomatoes. Simmer until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Reserve the leftover spice blend for later use.

For the nacho cheese sauce:

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch and cook for 1 minute, and then slowly whisk in the milk. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes, and then add the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and seasonings. Keep warm until ready to use.

For the Crunchwrap Supreme:

Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat until halfway cooked, breaking it up as little as possible with the spoon. Remove the par-cooked meat from the skillet and add to a food processor. Pulse once or twice until the meat is a finely ground consistency. Add back to the skillet over medium heat and add the rest of the spices, including the cornstarch. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to evenly distribute the spices, and then add the water. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is thick and flavorful.

To assemble the Crunchwrap Supreme, place 1 flour tortilla out on a work station. Add a spoonful of the meat mixture to the center and top with a similar size spoonful of nacho cheese. The amount you add is up to your personal preference, but make sure to evenly distribute the meat and cheese sauce between all 6 tortillas. Top the meat and cheese mixture with a tostada, and then place 1 tablespoon of sour cream on top. Add a sprinkle of the marinated tomatoes and shredded lettuce on top and then, working counter clockwise, fold the edges of the flour tortilla up over the meat, cheese, tostada, tomato, and lettuce pile. Continue to fold until it is completely wrapped and in the shape of a hexagon.

Heat another medium skillet over high heat and grease it with some cooking spray. Fry the Crunchwrap Supreme on each side for about 1-2 minutes, until it gets a nice golden brown crust. Serve with a side of taco sauce.


Recipe Details

Servings: 6

Notes and Substitutions:

Special thanks to Patti Stagich of Comfy Cuisine for helping us develop and test this recipe.


- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal

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