The album was met with positive reviews from critics, who praised its originality and viewed it as an improvement on Kelis' previous albums, Kaleidoscope (1999) and Wanderland (2001). Tasty debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 93,600 copies, earning Kelis the best sales week of her career in the United States. The album also became her highest-peaking album in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 11 on the UK Albums Chart. It spawned four singles, including the international hits "Milkshake" and "Trick Me".
"Trick Me" was released on April 19, 2004 as the second single from the album. The track was successful in Europe and Oceania; it peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, while charting inside the top five in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway, and the top 10 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
"Millionaire", which features André 3000, was released as the album's third single on October 18, 2004. The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the album's third consecutive top-three hit. "Millionaire" attained modest success elsewhere, reaching number 11 in Finland, number 23 in Australia, and number 27 in New Zealand.
The album's fourth and final single, "In Public", features Nas and was released on April 4, 2005. The song reached number 17 on the UK chart and number 22 on the Irish chart.
Tasty received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 18 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Andy Kellman of AllMusic stated, "Despite all the new assistance, Tasty is formatted much like Kaleidoscope and Wanderland, constantly swinging back and forth between bouncy pop and laid-back (not throwback) soul." Ernest Hardy of Rolling Stone praised Tasty as Kelis' "best work" and wrote, "Take away the Dallas Austin-produced tracks [...], two Neptunes rock attempts and 'Milkshake,' and you have a solid R&B album, one that's thickly speckled with hip-hop influences and nods to early Prince and Eighties Latin freestyle music."Entertainment Weekly's Neil Drumming described the album as "Kelis' past—big beats, out-there imagery, and sex appeal—refined" and commented that "much of the beauty of Tasty is in witnessing Kelis rise to the challenge of working with multiple imaginative maestros." In a review for the NME, Tony Naylor found the album to be "[f]ar more complete than Wanderland or Kaleidoscope", adding that "such vacuum-packed musical freshness is maintained throughout."
Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian dubbed Kelis a "parallel universe Beyoncé" and wrote that she "exploits her husky croon like never before, pouring it over lascivious double entendre [...] and, well, lascivious single entrendre", concluding, "She may not be R&B's biggest star, but Kelis remains its most compelling character."The Independent noted that she "certainly takes the sexual initiative in several songs", but "[m]ostly, though, Kelis keeps a watchful eye on her affections in songs such as 'Protect My Heart' and 'Trick Me', and has developed a decidedly jaundiced view of hip hop's lop-sided sexual politics, judging by 'Keep It Down'." Joseph Patel of Blender commented that Kelis is "as good playing a hair-twisting, gum-popping tart on 'Sugar Honey Iced Tea' as an all-grown-up cock-blocker on the crackling funk ditty 'Trick Me.'"Slant Magazine reviewer Sal Cinquemani felt that few of the tracks on the album are "as immediately thirst-quenching as the insta-classic lead single 'Milkshake'", and Pitchfork Media's Scott Plagenhoef opined that Tasty is "far from all doom-and-gloom". Adam Webb of Yahoo! Music expressed that the album is "not as far out wild as Kaleidoscope but it is a consistently inventive and brilliant record." Steve Jones of USA Today viewed that, "guests and idiosyncrasies aside, her honeyed voice is the most important ingredient. It's sweet enough to make you wonder, 'Did she just say that?' No one could ever accuse her of being bland."
Tasty debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200 with 93,600 copies sold in its first week; it gave Kelis the best chart week of her career, and became her second highest-peaking album to date, after Kelis Was Here (2006). The album was certified gold by the RIAA on February 6, 2004, and had sold 535,000 copies in the United States as of December 2009.
The album debuted at number 53 on the UK Albums Chart, climbing to number 21 the following week. In its third week on the chart, the album rose to its peak position of number 11, becoming Kelis' highest-charting album in the UK to date.Tasty was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on October 22, 2004, and by April 2014, it had sold 476,034 copies in the United Kingdom.