Home Dinner Beef Best Ground Beef Taco Salad (+ Easy Recipe)

Best Ground Beef Taco Salad (+ Easy Recipe)

Try this colorful ground beef taco salad for a mess-free Tex-Mex meal!

Normally, the idea of salad does NOT excite me. But if the word salad is preceded by “ground beef taco…” 

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Ground Beef Taco Salad

Well, now, that’s a different story.

This salad is just tacos in a bowl! It has all the necessary ingredients, including savory beef, lettuce, and cheese- the works. Plus, Catalina dressing. 

But it’s so much less messy. I like my tacos in my mouth, not on the table!

Are you looking for a delicious, hassle-free alternative to traditional tacos? My recipe for ground beef taco salad has you covered.

Ground Beef Taco Salad 

I think this delicious ground beef taco salad will be your new best friend. 

It’s the perfect way to satisfy your taco cravings. And you don’t need to struggle trying to keep all the ingredients in the shell. 

Every bite is delicious. How could it not be? With ingredients like seasoned ground beef, crisp lettuce, and all your favorite taco mix-ins.  

It’s a fiesta in your mouth!

Even picky eaters won’t mind eating this salad for lunch or dinner. It’s just so darn good! 

Plus, you can customize the ingredients. So, whether you like your salad on the healthy or decadent side, it’s no problem.

You can enjoy this salad hot or cold. Got a potluck or family dinner coming up? Make this taco salad.

You won’t regret it. 

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And it’s also a cinch to make. The only thing that needs to be cooked is the taco meat. Once that’s done, all that’s left is to toss the ingredients in a bowl. 

It takes 20 minutes, tops.

So, grab a fork, dig in, and enjoy the convenience of the ground beef taco salad!

Ground Beef Taco Salad Ingredients - Ground Beef, Taco Seasoning, Iceberg Lettuce, Cheddar Cheese, Tortilla Chips and Catalina Salad Dressing


You’re free to customize your taco salad as you please with your favorite Mexican toppings and mix-ins. But don’t skip these essential ingredients:

Ground Beef

Any kind works, but my ground beef of choice is 85/15. I find it has a nice balance of lean and fat.

You can also use ground turkey or chicken for a leaner salad.

Taco Seasoning

The seasoning is for the beef. You can make your own taco seasoning, but store-bought taco seasoning is also great! 

Use low-sodium seasoning to help control how much salt goes into the dish. You can always season the beef with more salt if necessary.

  • To make your own taco seasoning, you’ll need several spices:
    • They are paprika, cumin, chili powder, coriander, dried oregano, onion powder, salt, and pepper. 
    • Add cayenne pepper or red chili flakes for heat!

Iceberg Lettuce

While you can use leafy greens for this salad, I prefer iceberg or romaine lettuce. Their distinct crunch gives the salad more character.

Be sure to chop them up into small bits for a better bite. You can also shred it if that is easier for you.

Cheddar Cheese

I like to shred the cheese myself because it’s more flavorful. But pre-shredded cheese works in a pinch. 

I use cheddar, but I imagine a Mexican cheese blend will taste fantastic. You can try pepper jack for a nice kick. And queso fresco is absolutely delicious!

Nacho-Flavored Tortilla Chips

Chips give the salad a nice crunchy element reminiscent of hard-shell tacos. Pick any brand and flavor you like! My go-to for this recipe is Doritos.

Catalina Salad Dressing

This dressing features ketchup, sugar, vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper.

It has a lovely balance of sweet, tangy, savory, and spicy.

You can make it yourself, or get a bottle from the grocery store.

Homemade Ground Beef Taco Salad with Chips, Cheese and Lettuce

How to Make Ground Beef Taco Salad 

The best thing about ground beef taco salad is it only takes 20 minutes to make! Once the ground beef is ready, it’s just a matter of assembling the salad.

1. Cook the ground beef.

  • Add the ground beef to a skillet over medium heat. Stir the meat to break it into pieces and cook until no longer pink.
  • Drain the liquid and mix in taco seasoning and water.
  • Let the mixture simmer until the sauce is thick. Set aside to cool.

2. Prepare the salad accouterments.

  • Chop the lettuce, crush the tortilla chips, shred the cheese, and ready the dressing.

3. Assemble the salad.

  • Toss together chopped lettuce, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, Catalina dressing, and taco beef.
  • Top with your favorite Mexican mix-ins.

Enjoy it as a light meal. Or pair it with chicken fajitas, Spanish rice, elote, or any Mexican dish. Serve it with chips for a delicious, scoopable treat!

Bowl of Homemade Ground Beef Taco Salad with Lettuce, Cheese and Sauce

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Make the salad your own. Add corn salsa, black beans, avocado, sour cream, or pico de gallo.
  • Use pre-washed salad greens. It’ll speed up the prep and give you more variety.
  • Add some heat. A few chopped jalapeños will do the trick.
  • Make it veggie-friendly. Skip the cheese and replace the ground beef with 2-3 cups of beans.

How to Store 

Ground beef taco salad is best served right away. But if you already know you’ll have leftovers, don’t toss the components together just yet.

Instead, assemble only what you can finish and store the ingredients in separate containers.

That way, the lettuce will stay crisp and the tortilla chips crunchy. It also makes reheating the beef easier.

To Store

Place individual salad components – beef, lettuce, tortilla chips, dressing, etc. – in separate airtight containers. Be sure the meat has cooled before storing it.

Store everything but the tortilla chips in the fridge for up to 4 days. The tortilla chips can be stored at room temperature.

To Reheat 

Reheat the ground beef on the stove at medium-low heat until warmed through. Or microwave for 1 minute.

Allow the meat to cool slightly before assembling the salad.

More Mexican Recipes You’ll Love

Easy Taco Casserole

Taco Bell Quesadilla Recipe

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza

Easy Taco Spaghetti Recipe

Easy Crockpot Taco Soup Recipe

Best Ground Beef Taco Salad (+ Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





Want the best ground beef taco salad? Well, you just found it! This easy recipe is loaded with bold Tex-Mex flavors, fresh ingredients, and savory beef. YUM!


  • 1 pound 1 ground beef

  • 1 1 envelop reduced-sodium taco seasoning

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 water

  • 1 medium 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

  • 2 cups 2 shredded cheddar cheese

  • 2 cups 2 crushed nacho tortilla chips

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Catalina salad dressing


  • Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium heat, about 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink. Break the meat into crumbles and drain. Mix in taco seasoning and water; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes, or until thick. Let the beef cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, toss lettuce, cheese, beef mixture, crushed tortilla chips, and Catalina dressing. Serve and enjoy!
Ground Beef Taco Salad

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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