Recreating Taco Bell's Beefy 5-Layer Burrito

When I was in high school, my favorite thing to eat was Taco Bell. Oh, don't judge me for being a cook, someone with amazing taste who enjoys quality food, for liking Taco Bell. When I was in high school, they had 79¢, 89¢ and 99¢ burritos AND it was also when they first came up with the $5 Box that typically featured the newest burrito on the menu. Listen, there may be speculation on if Taco Bell's meat is indeed ground beef, but it's cheap and it's a craving--like White Castle. Taco Bell is trash for authenticity and quality BUT a lot of you would rather eat McDonald's and we don't even need to go into that debate; just remember that tacos have a day of the week and burgers don't. 

Now after this lovely introduction, I'm ready to show you what I got: a Taco Bell item made at home. It's everyone's favorite from the menu, that is right after the Crunchwrap and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch--the Beefy 5-Layer burrito

So, I made this because I wanted to know if I could make a cheese sauce like Taco Bell at home. This is because Bee loves Beefy 5-Layers and often complains there's not a lot of beef in it. Now, I did this in a weird way, I made my burrito first before looking inside Taco Bell's. I made mine purely off of memory and taste.

Building the Burrito

So, first I used a good burrito sized Mission tortilla. I heated it in the microwave a little bit so it would be easier to roll without tearing. To build, I suggest starting on one side of the tortilla. I started to the right. First, I sprinkled down just a little bit of cheddar cheese. Then, on top I added my beans. Popular beans for Mexican American food is pinto or black (hello, Chipotle), but clearly Taco Bell doesn't use black beans here. Now, every layer of any dish should be seasoned. I seasoned a can of pinto beans with garlic, chopped onions, salt and pepper. I stirred them in a small sauce pot until they were soft and could be lightly mashed, then I spooned some on top of the cheddar cheese

Making the Cheese Sauce

Next is the fun part! I made a cheese sauce, which was actually really easy...if you've messed it up before. You have to be careful when you use cheese because of the oils in it. Making a cheese sauce can be similar to making a chocolate sauce or chocolate ganache because cheese melts but has fats that need to be properly stirred so it's smooth (chocolate melts, has cocoa butter and if you don't watch it on the heat and constantly stir, it will seize up). Having said this, if you don't mind eating a processed cheese product, it may be easier to use American cheese. Take any cheese and stir it with some milk or heavy cream. Constantly stir the mix with a whisk.

Seasoning the Beef

For the beef, just season it with store-bought taco seasoning or to taste. I used some garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, Adobo, salt and pepper. For the final layer, add some sour cream on top of the beef and roll the burrito to finish

The Comparison

As far as the comparison, taste probably comes the closest if you use Taco Bell Taco seasoning. But also, a lot of people say they taste too much tortilla when they eat the Beefy 5-Layer from Taco Bell. That's because on the burrito they put the cheese sauce and another smaller tortilla on top of it before building all the other layers. At home, just bypass that to get as much flavor as possible. So, if you're a fan of Taco Bell, I hope this lived up to your expectations; keeping in mind your food is fresh. For those of you who don't eat Taco Bell, try this home version. You won't be disappointed.