El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos Review

El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos

Frozen mini tacos are one of those lazy summer weekend foods. It’s great to just sit out on the patio and enjoy the nice weather while stuffing your face with these tasty little treats. So we’re always happy to try new versions of this classic dish, and today we’re testing out the El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos.

Inside the box, you’ll find a single plastic bag that contains a whole slew of mini tacos. You can expect to find approximately 15 tacos inside (our bag had 16).

El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos

There are two different ways you can go about cooking these. The recommended method is pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit, then sticking some tacos on a cookie sheet and cooking them for about ten to twelve minutes. The alternative is just popping three of these guys into the microwave for about a minute and ten seconds.

When cooked in the microwave, the box’s “extra crunchy” promise doesn’t really hold true. These end up a bit soggy, with just a ghost of a crunch hidden away somewhere in the center of each shell. It’s actually not a bad texture, all things considered; it’s just not what we’d call “extra crunchy.”

El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos

Since a box contains so many tacos, we wanted to give the oven a shot as well. The package recommends cooking six at a time instead of three if you go the oven route, and we were happy to oblige.

This is definitely the way these were meant to be enjoyed. The shells are still a little bit greasy, but they’re actually also quite crunchy. In fact, we’d say these have the perfect amount of crunch — they’re not overly hard, so they’re pleasant to bite into. While it takes a bit more time to cook these in the oven, it’s ultimately worth the effort. And really, what’s ten extra minutes when it comes to mini tacos?

El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos

If you crack one of these things open, you won’t be impressed. You’ll just find a sprinkling of ground beef inside a shell. It’s completely uninteresting to look at.

Yet somehow, these things actually taste quite good. The beef isn’t super high-quality — let’s be honest, this is no gourmet food — but it tastes just fine. It’s accompanied by some textured vegetable protein, which is admittedly a strange choice, yet it doesn’t make these any less appealing.

We didn’t see any cheese when we looked inside, but we could taste it. We’re not sure how the cheese hides so well, but it’s in there. There’s also a tasty blend of spices to, well, spice this up. You can add a salsa and some sour cream to dip these in, but they’re surprisingly satisfying without any fisings.

We do have one big complaint, though it’s something we’re a little embarrassed to talk about. These mini tacos give you some pretty bad gas. We’re not talking about the standard mild burrito toots here; this is some near-apocalyptic gas. You’ll probably be fine if you take the advice in the first paragraph of this review and spend the evening on the patio where there’s a good air flow. However, your coworkers may never forgive you if you decide to bring these in for a lunch at work.

The box recommends three mini tacos for a serving, though we think that’s more of a snack or a side dish than a true meal. Still, a serving only contains about 260 calories (130 from fat). That’s not too bad. Even if you add a fourth taco to that, you’re still going to come in under 350 calories. The sodium is a bit high to make a full meal of these things, though, since a serving contains 540 mg. And those mg pile on as you add more tacos to your plate, so be careful.

The El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos are surprisingly tasty. We try to go into El Monterey’s low-price foods with equally low expectations, but these mini tacos stand out — alongside El Monterey’s quesadillas — as a frozen food we’ll be eating more of, even at times when our wallets aren’t extra light.

To learn more about the nutrition content or ingredients in these El Monterey mini tacos, check out our package scans below.

El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos

El Monterey Extra Crunchy Beef & Cheese Mini Tacos