For decades, I had missed one of my favorite childhood snacks: Taco Doritos. Imagine my excitement when I heard they had returned!
Taco Flavor Doritos: A Comeback Chronicle
We all mourn when a favorite corporate-manufactured food is taken away from us. And one of the foods I have sorely missed for decades is Taco Doritos.
Imagine my excitement when I saw that this flavor had returned! This article chronicles my quest to reunite with this long-lost friend.
(All of the photos on this page are by me, except one. Do not copy my photos without crediting me and linking to this page.)
The History of Taco Doritos
According to an article I read on GenXtinct.com, Taco flavor debuted in 1967. It was the second flavor of Doritos ever made, right after the plain Toasted Corn flavor. That is consistent with my own hazy memory that the Taco flavor had preceded the Nacho Cheese flavor.
Over the years, the recipe for Taco Doritos was changed a few times, and eventually they were taken off the market (I haven't been able to find a reliable timeline on all of this).
So the question would be: If Taco Doritos are back, which version is it that returned? The ones that I loved so desperately were the original recipe from the 1970s; I ate tons of them in my childhood. Is my first love returning to me?
What Did They Taste Like?
The first word that I would use to describe the flavor of the old Taco Doritos is BOLD. They didn't pull any punches. Whatever spices they used, they used a lot of them. The flavor was deep and savory in a smoky, spicy way. Spicy, yes, but not in the way that means hot—just heavily seasoned. The spices were reminiscent of the flavors you would associate with Mexican cooking, but they weren't hot.
Some people might have thought of them as overpowering, but I adored them. One of the best junk foods, ever.
1977: A New Recipe
In 1977, a TV commercial with Avery Schreiber announced that Taco Doritos had a "new spicy flavor." This suggests that already they were not the same Doritos that I first fell in love with in 1975. But as I recall it, the Doritos I had in the late '70s were still fantastic.
When the Taco Flavor Doritos were first re-released, they were only available in selected stores. I used the product locator on the Frito-Lay website to search for a source near me. Fortunately, there was one close by. During my next morning walk, I went to the Crystal Produce Meat Market on Atlantic Avenue.
I had already told my kids how much I had loved Taco Doritos back in my day, and how exciting it was for them to be back. They are fans of all junk foods, so they were eager to try them with me.
Once inside the store, the Taco Doritos were easy to spot. The little market had plenty of them, on a shelf surrounded by other, less-worthy chips.
I took a bag, admiring the retro look to the package. I scanned the ingredients, but since I had never paid attention to the ingredients when I was a kid, I had no idea whether it was the same recipe or not.
Was my dream coming true? I would know soon. I paid for my chips and returned home.
I Take the Plunge
I grabbed a Dorito and bit.
It was good!
But ... it wasn't awesome.
I tasted another one. Good! But ... the old magic wasn't there.
Was it just me? Was I not remembering accurately what Taco Doritos used to taste like? Had my taste buds dulled over the years? Had I set my expectations so high that nothing could ever match them?
But these Doritos had a flavor that was not there before. A bit of a cheesy taste. The old ones had no cheese or dairy-like flavor at all. I had to admit that they really did not taste the same. The experience was a letdown.
My kids loved them, though.
Is the Evidence on My Side?
My personal opinion, like that of many other people, was that today's "original" Taco Doritos are different from the old ones—and not as good. But could I determine for sure that it was the Doritos that were at fault and not my memory?
I tried to search for information about the original recipe. The odds didn't seem that great since corporations are very good at only sharing the information they choose to share and the old Doritos pre-dated the internet by a long way.
But I found what I was looking for!
There's a guy on Flickr who has a collection of photos of old product packaging, and he took a picture of an old Taco Doritos bag. Jason kindly gave his permission for me to use his photo on this page, and I present to you the smoking-gun proof that the current Taco Doritos are NOT the original recipe. You can compare this list to the ingredients on a modern bag.
The other remarkable thing about Jason's photo is the price on the bag. They used to cost 15 cents!
Tell Me What You Think!
How do you feel about the new Taco Doritos? I've compiled some readers' comments in the following table. I'd love to hear what you think, too!
Readers Weigh In
|Thumbs Up!||Thumbs Down!|
Like you, I couldn't believe when they took the Taco Flavor off the market. I thought it was just me - that they didn't taste the same when they re-released them. I still like them, however! - Country-Sunshine
My husband read your articles and wanted me to take the side of thumbs down. He does not eat anything with cheese and was horrified when he found the new ones cheesy. He used to eat the whole bag as a snack so was also horribly disappointed. Per Gary, the new Taco Doritos gets a major thumbs down! - Ann Hinds
I've had the new Taco Flavor Doritos, and I think they're pretty good! But I don't remember eating the original ones -- I don't think I liked Doritos way back then. So I just don't know what I missed out on! - KarenHC
I agree with you. They just don't match up to the original and you're right, they taste cheesy. - tjustleft
I can't compare them because I've never tried the original taco flavor, but I did like the new, supposedly original, taco flavor. But I really enjoyed your review quite a bit. It was informative and quite humorous "on a shelf surrounded by other, less-worthy chips" Haha! - PapaKork
I'll go with thumbs down. Why do they change some things that are perfect? - Scarlettohairy
Hi Joan. I showed my 70s-crazed 16-year old son your article last night. He absolutely had to have these Doritos, and insisted I drive the 25+ miles one way to town to get them. His verdict is....a great chip! He can even taste the taco beef. I asked about the lettuce, but iceberg has no taste. Ahh, yes. So, now a definitive thumbs up can be delivered from our house. - joannalynn lm
I think they should have stuck to the original flavor. - getmoreinfo
I can't accurately remember the old flavor very well, but when I saw the bag with the little sombrero hat on it I was excited enough! The taste is not bad after all. I'll buy them again! - anonymous
These are not the same chips we ate in the 70's. The recipe is different they were better in da 70's - anonymous
I think they are the best flavor doritos has. I like that they aren't overpowering like the other flavors and the taste is perfection. I have a very hard time finding these lately though. Very frustrating. I am wondering if they are pulling them again. If I do spot a bag I have to buy for fear it's the last I will see. - Deeders
They don't taste the same... At least I don't think they do. I am gonna stick to the nacho cheese and cool ranch. These are tasty but not as good as I remember. I am saying thumbs down but of course they are tasty enough for me to finish the bag. :) - anonymous
I remember a 70s version of "Taco" Doritos, and I found this page searching for it. What I'm not sure of: Am I remembering the circa 1975 chips or the "new " 1977 chips? I loved them, but as I've often told people, they were insane. They'd burn a hole in your stomach. I also remember them having a lot of reddish powdery coloring that would come off on your fingers. I found them addictive, but in a rare case of childhood self-control, I found it was crucial to limit myself to, say, 15, or I'd feel physically bad. One of the current flavors I've tried resembles them; it may be the "spicy sweet chili" flavor, though I doubt it is identical. Sweeter? Still, the closest that seems to be in Brooklyn bodegas. avavaavra - Steve Espinola
Why oh why does Frito Lay insist on putting that nasty sour cream flavoring into every taco flavored Doritos they keep releasing! I had high hopes that these chips would be like the awesome taco flavor Doritos of the 70s and early 80s, but alas, it was not to be. Almost as soon as I put the chip into my mouth and chewed, I spat it out. The disgusting sour cream flavoring overpowers every other flavoring this chip has. Without the sour cream, this would probably be a pretty damned good chip. - Tom Hawkey
I agree with you Joan. When I was a kid a local fishing tackle store owner started stocking chips, candy and gum because he was located near the grade school that I attended. Doritos were part of what he stocked. At that time he only had the original taco flavor. I was bummed when they went away and excited to see them return. but I too was disappointed with the flavor. I even wondered if these were the original flavor. remember them being bolder and I loved them. - MHF
Back in the day Doritos and all the flavor chips had WAY less "flavor sprinkles" on them. The corn chip flavor predominated and augmented what we think of as "the flavor". Maybe if you ate a plain corn chip with a modern dorito you could approximate the old-school flavor? The old saying goes a long way "sometimes, less is more". - Jay B.
These newfangled Taco Doritos are such a major disappointment, I'm about ready to write my disappointment to the factory. These chips don't really have a taco taste at all. The flavors of cumin, chili, and oregano are missing. It tastes like a different flavored Dorito. Now personally I can't stand blue cheese or ranch flavor for dipping things into or to dress up. Blue cheese and Ranch flavors are in the new Taco Doritos, as both those ingredients are listed, and my tongue detected it right away before I even read the ingredient list. Definitely not the same flavor as the one's I ate in high school in the mid-seventies. These things are awful, I should just take them to work and leave them on the lunch table for the rest of the guys to eat. I'll never buy them again. If I buy any Frito Lay product, I'll stick to the kettle chips, that's one of the only one good things that they have left. All the Doritos taste weird, but the Tostitos light and crispy Cantina style chips? Those are a winner hands down! - Ted Hess
Found them en route to the Grand Canyon and have been hunting ever since. We love them! - Kathyanswer
In 1977 I tried Doritos Taco Flavored chips for the first time. I was ten years old. I absolutely loved them! The bold, spicy flavor was what I craved all through my teen years and into my early 20s but unfortunately Frito-Lay stopped making them and focused on the nacho cheese flavor. Sorry ,but I felt betrayed and banned nacho cheese Doritos for quite a few years! When I had seen the old familiar Doritos bag in Market Basket I was in freakin' heaven!! As long as my grocer was selling them; I was buying them. Two or three bags a week. But the recipe was not the same, not as I remember the boldness, the spices and how I could devour a bag of those chips in about an hour. I would love for Frito-Lay to reintroduce the original taco flavored tortilla chips to the northeast US; I think the market for them here will do well. - Dan K
I cannot believe there are others out there like me and my sister. We loved the original recipe! I don't understand why when something is so great they feel the Need to fix it. Thank you for your article it's perfect and mimics our thoughts exactly. - Michelle
The original 60s and 70s taco were the best. The new taco (from 1980 to 2016) is just a shadow of the original...too much cheese and sour cream...not enough true spices of the 1970 version. Do not be deceived...the new taco is worthless, and yes, it is a huge quality decline in taste from the original 1970 version. - Scorpio
I grew up in Dallas, home of Frito-Lay, and was born the same year that Taco Flavored Doritos were introduced. They were a staple of my junk food habit. I loved and still love them dearly. While I agree with most reviewers that the "new" version is not as good as the original, I do think it's closer than anything else I've tried. It's like a memory of the original... It's a little faded and lacking some detail, but it is enough to remind you of the original item. I still like them better than anything else in the Doritos brand family. - Larry M
Available on Amazon: They Might Not Be Awesome, but They Are Good
Questions & Answers
Question: Where can you buy taco flavored Doritos? I've tried Wal-Mart and other supermarkets, but I cannot find them.
Answer: I see them sometimes in convenience stores. There is a page on the Frito-Lay website (https://www.fritolay.com/find-in-store.htm), where you can search for stores that sell any Frito-Lay product. They can also be purchased on Amazon.
Question: Do you know where I can find the original corn chip flavored Doritos? I am about to decide they have taken them off the market, too.
Answer: I don't think they sell the plain corn chip flavor any more.
Question: Where can I buy the original corn Doritos? I live in the Dallas area.
Answer: I don't think they sell them any more.