Since 1951, Jack in the Box has been a fast-food company that serves burgers, fries, and shakes.
Most people know about Jack in the Box menu items, but one item, the Jack in the Box taco, has gained a cult following over the years.
Since the 1960s, these tacos have been a mainstay on the menu. They are a bit of an oddity in the world of fast food, but that hasn’t stopped people from eating them.
So why do people keep coming back for more of these tacos? This article will tell Everything You Don’t Know About Jack In The Box’s Tacos
Jack in the Box tacos are sold as a pair, but the nutrition information is for ONE taco
There is (never) a reason to feel bad about a single meal. You can go ahead and swing through a Jack in the Box drive-thru if you want to remember your college days.
But if you like to keep track of your nutrition, it’s important to know that the nutrition information on the Jack in the Box website is for a single taco, even though tacos are always sold in pairs.
If you eat both tacos simultaneously, you will consume 344 calories, 18 grams of fat (6 of which are saturated), 724 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.
Just to be clear, none of these things is bad in and of themselves.
If two tacos are never enough for you and you always order four, then your four-taco meal has almost 700 calories, more than half of the daily suggested sodium intake, and 12 grams of saturated fat.
If you eat pretty healthy most of the time, you don’t have to worry about a taco binge every once in a while.
However, if you eat tacos every Wednesday for lunch, you might want to rethink your eating habits.
Celebrities love Jack in the Box tacos
We’re nothing like celebrities, right? They have huge houses, private jets, huge bank accounts (wouldn’t that be nice?! ), and all the newest and best “toys” to play with.
But just when you think you have nothing in common with the rich and famous, remember that they love fast food too, and that includes Jack in the Box tacos.
Yes, it seems that even famous people want “wet envelopes of cat food,” just like the rest of us.
Or at least, Selena Gomez does. According to an article in The Daily Meal, Gomez has been seen getting cheap tacos from the drive-thru.
For her 21st birthday, she skipped the traditional cake in favour of a “taco cake” made of Jack in the Box tacos and topped with a “21” candle, which she posted on Instagram. If that doesn’t scream “fan,” I don’t know what does.
Jack in the Box tacos cost almost nothing to make
Most places have been selling two tacos at Jack in the Box for 99 cents for a long time.
This is something to think about since the brand (obviously) needs to make money off its food and the cost of food has been going up for the last 30 years.
So how does this work? How can they keep making money without making their tacos more expensive?
The reason is easy: making these tacos is cheap.
According to a 2007 report by a former employee of Jack in the Box on the prices of making Clutch Fans, each taco costs about the following:
- Shell, five cents
- Lettuce, two cents
- Cheese, two cents
- Hot sauce, about a penny
- “Meat-like substance,” five cents
- Single bag, two cents
- The “crack” (i.e., spices) they put on the tacos costs 10 cents. It’s not clear if the former employee meant it cost 10 cents to season one taco or both tacos together but to be safe, we’ll assume it’s the cost for one taco.
In total, it costs about 27 cents to make a single taco, so two tacos cost about 54 cents.
Then add 11 cents for the extra minute of work that the former worker says it takes to fry the two tacos together. That means that two tacos cost about 65 cents altogether.
This means that every time the business sells two tacos for 99 cents, it makes a profit of about 34 cents.
These numbers may or may not be true, but there’s no doubt that they’re making a lot of them for very little money.
Americans eat half a billion Jack in the Box tacos a year
The fact that Jack in the Box’s tacos is so famous is really surprising. A story in The Wall Street Journal from 2017 says that Jack in the Box sells about 554 million tacos each year.
That is more than 500,000,000 tacos. That’s about one taco every second. And since the profit on two tacos is about 34 cents, Jack in the Box makes about $94 million a year just from selling tacos.
There’s really no good reason why they’re so famous. What could it be? Aside from the fact that they are cheap, these tacos are not what most people would call a good meal.
How in the world does Jack in the Box sell more tacos than McDonald’s Big Macs every year? The meat isn’t great, the cheese is American, and most of the time the shells are deep-fried and kind of mushy.
College kids who are drunk and high are a source of income, but they can’t be the only ones digging in.
Maybe it will always be a secret, but there’s no denying that these strange-tasting treats have a huge cult following.
It takes an obscene amount of corn and taco sauce to feed the hordes
Again, each year, Jack in the Box sells more than 500 million tacos. There are a lot of tacos there.
But if you think about what it takes to make those tacos, you might change your mind. It blows your mind to think about it.
According to a story in Delish, the company has to use more than 20 million pounds of corn to make all those taco shells.
MSN News says that number is about the same as the weight of three Saturn V rockets, which is the rocket that sent people to the moon in 1969.
That’s not one rocket, not two rockets, but three huge rockets. The company also gives out more than 600 million packets of taco sauce every year.
That’s a lot of sauce, even if not all of it goes on the 99-cent tacos (they sell other tacos, of course, and people love to use the sauce on other things), but it’s still a lot.
The marks on Jack in the Box taco shells are from a conveyor belt
Do your taco plates have “grill marks”?Yes, they’re there—you’re not making them up.
But just because they’re there doesn’t mean that your taco is being grilled in the back of the store before it’s put in its own sleeve.
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, all Jack in the Box tacos are “born” at factories in Texas or Kansas. Stone-ground white corn is used to make tacos in these plants.
A story on Delish says that the grill marks on the tortillas come from a conveyor belt that moves the shells through a 700-degree oven to make them nice and crispy. You know, before they’re fried in oil and sold in shops.
Once the tortillas are cooked, they’re filled with whatever Jack in the Box calls beef (there’s probably real meat in there somewhere, but more on that later).
They package the food in shrink-wrap, freeze it, and distribute it to fast-food chains all across the country.
The Jack in the Box tacos recipe has basically never changed
If something is going well, Jack in the Box seems to know that you shouldn’t change it.
When a lot of people buy a product, it’s clear that something about it is working.
There’s no reason to mess things up by making changes. And Jack in the Box tacos is exactly the same.
According to an article in Mental Floss, the recipe hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years. It still calls for “seasoned meat lump, two triangles of American cheese, some shredded iceberg lettuce, and a little sauce.”
It sounds delicious. And it’s not all bad. A Jack in the Box customer asked in a Reddit thread if the way tacos are fried had ever changed.
A former Jack in the Box employee stated that the method for making tacos has remained unchanged for many years. He had to watch a training video from the 1980s before he could fry his first batch.
Mattsfdg, a Reddit user, states that they keep the frozen tacos (consisting only of tortillas with meat filling) in a fridge located next to the grill.
The person preparing the order takes the frozen tacos out of the fridge and places them in a taco stand. They then put the taco stand in the pan for cooking during “taco time.”
We put the cooked shells on a prep tray and fill them with a triangle of cheese, a handful of lettuce, and a squirt of sauce. All done. There have never been any other steps.
People love to rip Jack in the Box tacos while still ordering more
One strange reason (but still…) why Jack in the Box tacos are so famous is that people love to hate them and hate to love them.
It’s like eating these tacos is a chance to be a self-deprecating food critic, because almost every story about Jack in the Box’s tacos starts by creatively describing how bad they are, and then almost immediately moves on to talk about how addicting they are.
Take, for example, a story in OC Weekly in which the author says, “But I write not to bash Jack in the Box tacos but to praise them. Even with the stomach pains, dem snacks were more addicting than hillbilly heroin.”
Then there are the comments on Cactus Hugs that say, “Jack in the Box tacos are not, what’s the word I’m looking for, real food… [they are] amazing after a few beers.” Or, “I would kill for a JITB taco,” said sparking the fire on Reddit.
I miss those wonderful tacos that were as cheap as f*** but tasted like heaven.
You can order Tiny Tacos at Jack in the Box, but they’re not the same
In 2020, Jack in the Box added Tiny Tacos to its menu. Culture Map Houston says that they are exactly what they sound like a box of 15 small, deep-fried tacos that you can eat in two bites each.
You can order them “loaded” with lettuce, cheese, and taco sauce on top, which is very similar to what is inside traditional tacos, or you can order them simply with a side of avocado-lime dipping sauce.
But as the author says, these tacos aren’t just smaller versions of the originals. The filling for the big tacos is beef, while the small tacos have a chicken filling.
The avocado-lime dipping sauce differs from the original, which typically features taco sauce on top and people often serve it with ranch dressing.
So, if you order the Tiny Tacos (which cost about $3 or $4, depending on the version you choose) and expect them to be smaller versions of the original, you may be dissatisfied. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them. They are different but still good.
The beef in Jack in the Box tacos maybe isn’t much beef after all
It’s important to know that the “Two Tacos” are never described as having meat on the Jack in the Box website.
At all. It doesn’t say beef. It doesn’t say that the tacos have any kind of protein source.
Instead, it just says, “Two crunchy tacos with American cheese, shredded lettuce, and taco sauce.”All done. What happens if you click on “Ingredients”?
You’ll be taken to a page with information about the company’s allergens, not the tacos’ ingredients.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to know exactly what you’re putting in your body, the fact that the company won’t tell you what’s in the product should worry you.
But if you are ready to look for it, the information is out there. An article on Is It Bad For You says that the taco filling is “an unattractive-looking paste made of texturized protein, which is basically soy flour dyed with caramel and defatted soy grits.”
Yum, that sounds good. The story goes on to say that the tacos do contain beef and chicken in addition to the more obvious textured vegetable proteins and that the company can get away with this because it doesn’t market the tacos as beef tacos.
So go ahead and order more tacos. If you eat enough sauce (or drink enough beer), you won’t even be able to taste the filling that tastes like meat.
Jack in the Box tacos are great for parties
Like Selena Gomez, who made a “taco cake” out of nothing but Jack in the Box tacos, you could get a bunch of tacos from the Jack in the Box drive-thru the next time you need to feed a lot of people.
For example, if you’re having a Super Bowl party, you could put a bowl of chips with a variety of dipping sauces on the table and fill a plate with Jack in the Box tacos.
Just like that, you’re done with your preparations! At about 50 cents per taco, it’s easy to feed a lot of people without going broke.
Even if everyone at a party wants to eat four tacos, which they might not, that’s only $2 per person.
Not only that, but an article on Fansided says that each taco comes in its own wrapper.
This makes it safer because you don’t have to think about a lot of hands touching the food, and it also means you don’t need as many serving dishes.
People can grab a taco whenever they want and use the sleeve instead of a paper plate. What more could you want from party food? It’s fast, easy, cheap, and clean.
There are lots of copycat online recipes for Jack in the Box tacos
If you find it weird that the “meat” in Jack in the Box tacos isn’t really meat, you might want to think about making a healthier version of your late-night snack at home.
If you search “Jack in the Box tacos” on Pinterest, you’ll find a lot of “copycat” recipes that show you how to deep fry tacos at home with items you might already know.
For example, My Bizzy Kitchen and Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes both have beef versions that don’t sound too hard to make.
You can also make them ahead of time and freeze them to fry later, just like Jack in the Box does.
The Bearded Hiker also has a copycat recipe that uses lentils and refried beans instead of taco meat for a vegetarian choice.
Even though these recipes show you how to make your own taco sauce at home, here’s a tip: the next time you go through the Jack in the Box drive-thru, just ask for extra packets of taco sauce.
Then, when you make tacos at home, you can put the proper sauce on top of them. Making the sauce at home is a lot harder.
Even though Jack in the Box’s tacos may not be the best thing on the menu, they have won over the hearts and taste buds of many people over the years.
Their crispy shell, crumbly filling, and signature sauce make them stand out from other fast-food tacos.
Their low price and nostalgic feel also make them a popular choice. No matter if you are a die-hard fan or a curious first-timer, Jack in the Box’s tacos always has something new to learn and enjoy.
FAQs – Everything You Don’t Know About Jack In The Box’s Tacos
The Jack in the Box tacos feature a deep-fried corn tortilla filled with seasoned ground meat, American cheese, shredded lettuce, and a special sauce.
The “mystery sauce” is a mix of spices and sauces that gives the tacos their signature taste. But Jack in the Box doesn’t say what the exact ingredients are.
Jack in the Box’s tacos is not gluten-free, which is disappointing. The corn tortillas used to make the taco shells may contain gluten, and the filling includes soy protein, which might also have gluten.
Jack in the Box’s tacos contains a filling made of ground beef and soy protein, despite the absence of actual meat. So, they are not good for people who are veggie or vegan.
No, tacos from Jack in the Box are not usually hot, but the special sauce may have a little kick for some people.
Yes, you can buy tacos from Jack in the Box via their website or mobile app and pick them up or have them delivered.
Since the 1960s, tacos have been a mainstay on the Jack in the Box menu, making them a standard that many fast-food fans love.