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Crowd-Pleasing Taco Salad Recipe

Crowd-Pleasing Taco Salad Recipe

While this recipe might sound involved, it can be fixed in just 30 minutes. It's a hit at the potluck table—and I don't have to bring any home after the shindig! —Ann Cahoon, Bradenton, Florida
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min. YIELD:10 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup taco sauce
  • 1 package (10-1/2 ounces) corn chips


  • 1. In a large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives and beef mixture. Combine mayonnaise and taco sauce; pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with corn chips. Serve immediately. Yield: 10 servings.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Swap in crushed tortilla chips for the corn chips.
  • Lighten this up by using ground turkey instead of beef and light mayonnaise instead of regular.
  • We love the fresh crunch of iceberg lettuce in this potluck star, but romaine or green leaf lettuce works well, too.
  • Nutritional Facts

    1 cup: 413 calories, 29g fat (7g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 689mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 2g fiber), 13g protein.

    Reviews for Crowd-Pleasing Taco Salad

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    6cows running User ID: 5485046 271642
    Reviewed Aug. 11, 2017

    "I couldn't bring myself to use mayo on my taco salad. This was otherwise a good basic recipe. But where was the salsa, the sour cream, the guacamole, and yes, the refried beans? I guess I am talking a whole different recipe. Taco Bell used to make the best taco salad I ever tasted and they served it in a fried tortilla bowl. I don't care for the salty tortilla chips, so I fry slices of fresh tortilla (usually flour) and stick some of those in the top of the salad. Love taco salad no matter how you make it."

    annrms User ID: 2649709 254241
    Reviewed Sep. 18, 2016

    "Made a double batch of this for a large gathering. I added some diced red bell pepper and red onion, and used halved cherry tomatoes. I also chopped the lettuce to make it easier to eat with Tostitos Scoops. I placed a bottle of Sriracha on the table for folks to spice their bites. Definitely a keeper!!! Delicious!!"

    C1PNR User ID: 87128 252636
    Reviewed Aug. 13, 2016

    "Only change I'd make is to serve it in a Taco Bowl made of a flour tortilla baked in a Bowl shaped form, sans broken chips."

    mustbeoutside User ID: 4526185 252579
    Reviewed Aug. 12, 2016

    "very easy to make and tasted delicious. I used medium taco sauce but for our tastes I should have used a hot taco sauce. We did not care for the Mayo/taco sauce dressing so we used additional taco sauce in lieu of the dressing mix. When I make it again I think I will use some salsa and add some sour cream. Overall a good recipe but needed a bit more kick for my family's taste buds."

    moonbeam36 User ID: 7841760 236362
    Reviewed Nov. 4, 2015

    "This was so delicious, I didn't want to stop eating. Moonbeam"

    Sue Zappa User ID: 1094741 233975
    Reviewed Oct. 4, 2015

    "One of our family's favorite recipes! Will have to have it this week! I don't change a thing. Leftovers are even better the next day!"

    Angel182009 User ID: 6228642 233662
    Reviewed Sep. 28, 2015

    "This was simple and easy to put together. The whole family enjoyed it and I loved how much it made! I entertain a lot at my house and the next time I have a big gathering I'm definitely making us! Great flavor the only thing I did differently was you salsa instead of taco sauce because I was out."

    SimpleFoods User ID: 7160373 229978
    Reviewed Jul. 22, 2015

    "Similar to the recipe I use, but I add a packet of taco seasoning with the ground beef (and water needed); also, I have used Russian dressing rather than the mayo mixture. Pass the taco sauce."

    twinkiedog User ID: 8053636 229745
    Reviewed Jul. 18, 2015

    "We all loved it!"

    Brenda D User ID: 1438504 228151
    Reviewed Jun. 18, 2015

    "My family loves this recipe. I have made it several times. Occassionally, I change it up and make it with boneless skinless chicken breast that I cut into very small pieces. I have left the seasonings the same every time and we have always enjoyed it. About a month ago, for my niece's graduation, my sister asked me to bring my taco salad, but it was going to have to sit for a while. We decided to serve this cold. It turned out really, really well. I cooked the beef and spices according to the directions. I then cooled it in the fridge and assembled as described. I added the dressing and chips just before serving. I had tons of requests for the recipe. OH and I frequently add a can of drained and rinsed black beans."

    momio User ID: 2526647 226488
    Reviewed May. 17, 2015

    "We loved it. A good basic taco salad and I loved the taco sauce mayo dressing. I will definitely make it again."

    Rebeccajayne1 User ID: 8254211 222372
    Reviewed Mar. 9, 2015

    "This is a very good healthy recipe easy to make. This could serve as a meal in itself. Sharon Vaughn."

    lvalcani User ID: 4394375 165523
    Reviewed Jun. 5, 2014

    "Mayonnaise+taco sauce=Delicious!"

    jstowellsupermom User ID: 7101358 170125
    Reviewed Apr. 21, 2014

    "Love this recipe!!! So quick & easy & the whole family loves it!! Very rarely do I follow a recipe as is but this is one of them!"

    meggg User ID: 6201180 95750
    Reviewed Apr. 14, 2014

    "Use Catalina dressing instead of ketchup and mayo. Much better flavor."

    love4connor User ID: 7435975 150541
    Reviewed Oct. 9, 2013

    "I have made this hundreds of times. Since making it the first time, I have tweaked it. I do still use the ketchup with seasonings for the meat. I don't think it needs any added flavor by using a taco seasoning packet. And my husband is really big on flavor and spice so I know that it's ok when he doesn't complain. I add an entire bottle of taco sauce to the mayo. I did not think that a quarter bottle was enough. I also add twice the cheese. Other than that, I really like it the same."

    SusieKE User ID: 7166253 95616
    Reviewed Aug. 6, 2013

    "I make our taco salad with chicken burger add salsa for additional spice and a pkg of taco seasoning for additional taste .. it is not too spicy for even our ages 3, 4 & 5 yr old grandddaughters they adore it ... use chopped fresh baby spinach instead of iceberg lettuce and a mixture of taco flavored dorito chips as well as the white corn chips and black beans, substitute olive oil mayo and it is much healthier and absolutely delicious ... lots of garden fresh tomatoes this time of years .. everyone one goes for 2nd been making it for years except for the new addition of the olive oil mayo ... and the spinach changed the spinach a number of years ago and then changed up the ollive oil mayo the last year or so .. make it often as it is always requested!"

    greenies User ID: 6025297 165251
    Reviewed Jul. 9, 2013

    "Just made this for our 4th of July picnic, everyone enjoyed it! Will be making this again!"

    islandgrl1956 User ID: 7194815 104441
    Reviewed Jul. 2, 2013

    "A package of taco seasoning or a can of chili,no other spices necessary, add a can of corn and some big chunks of avocado,chopt red onion and a bottle of FRENCH dressing and there you have the BEST TACO salad EVER !!"

    Miss Marla User ID: 5636791 164840
    Reviewed Apr. 4, 2013

    "Would make with the following changes---I have always used a packet of taco seasoning in the meat(with the recommended amount of water). Also, we use Thousand Island dressing instead of the mayonaise mixture and serve the salsa on the side."

    christycincy User ID: 6445428 165249
    Reviewed Mar. 25, 2013

    "This was super easy to make. Despite the negative reviews regarding the use of ketchup and mayo in this recipe, I decided to try it as is. I am one of those that prefer the reviews to be of the recipe made according to the actual recipe (before making changes). My boyfriend and I both liked it, but it was definitely different than your typical taco salad. We both liked the meat even though it was different than the usual taco meat. I liked the dressing more than he did (he added more taco sauce to his portion). Definitely a quick meal."

    saraWilliamson User ID: 4385550 165522
    Reviewed Feb. 27, 2013

    "I have had this before, but without the ketchup and mayo. When I mke it, I make it portable. I put the beef, lettuce, tomato, etc. in a small bag half full of corn chips. My kids love to eat it out of the bag like that."

    shanag3195 User ID: 7097022 126076
    Reviewed Jan. 20, 2013

    "It was good followed the recipe to the T. My husband & I didn't care for the ketchup taste or mayo you could really taste it. Definitely different I think I will change it a lil next time."

    hondapcgirl User ID: 1737736 68069
    Reviewed Jan. 18, 2013

    "Interesting flavor, but the dressing isn't as good as my usual (salsa mixed with western dressing). 4.2 out of 5 stars."

    miller.kassandra User ID: 6432138 104440
    Reviewed Dec. 27, 2012

    "I want to read the reviews of the people that made the recipe as is...... not full of substitutions!!"

    kuchenmaker User ID: 5609293 164838
    Reviewed Jun. 8, 2012

    "I make a similar salad, but I add a can of drained kidney beans. I might try it with black beans next time. Also, I use lightly crushed taco-flavored tortilla chips instead of corn chips."

    skelly12 User ID: 3590664 77535
    Reviewed May. 1, 2012

    "This was a huge hit with the family! I grew up eating this at potlucks so it was nice to find the recipe and be able to share it with my kids :) I used Greek yogurt in place of the mayo and it was delish!"

    Lakewaymom User ID: 6662196 150540
    Reviewed Apr. 24, 2012

    "I am going to make this tonight for dinner but am curious about the taco that salsa or is there a special kind of taco sauce I should use?"

    mallgirlie2 User ID: 6660990 126073
    Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

    "It tasted more like a Burger King Whopper salad than a taco salad (I think because of the mayo). Tasted just like a hamburger with mayo. So next time, I will omit the mayo completely and try sour cream (maybe not the same proportion - but to taste). Otherwise, it was wonderful because it incorporated all of the food groups and it was still tasty!"

    RonSchnabel User ID: 3610931 150539
    Reviewed Apr. 13, 2012

    "Added tsp of Tony's taco seasoning to meat & used 2 cans diced tomato's, skipped the mayo. Definately make again. LIked someone's idea of the black beans."

    5xamom User ID: 787516 95612
    Reviewed Apr. 2, 2012

    "My family loved this! We had this for dinner tonight and it fed the seven of us perfectly! I did some changes because my youngest son is on a low sodium diet. I took out the ketchup and used low sodium tomato sauce instead- it worked wonderful! I took out his portion and added 32 Fritos to it. (a serving size) He was thrilled. He also didn't get the black olives. I bought unsalted black beans which only have 10 mg of sodium in them and added it for everyone. I also added the suggested avocado. It was a HUGE hit! Thanks for sharing!! And made our way, the sodium level was VERY low!"

    cookiemouse User ID: 3900007 166872
    Reviewed Apr. 2, 2012

    "We substituted chicken breast for the ground beef and ranch dressing for the mayo, also added the black beans, avocado and chopped red bell pepper. It is wonderful for potlucks!"

    sstetzel User ID: 158954 165521
    Reviewed Apr. 2, 2012

    "[quote user="karma923"]

    Do you put the hamburger in salad hot/warm, or do you cool it off?
    Personally I like it warm, the contrast of the hot meat & the cold salad is yummy."

    karma923 User ID: 5369748 208896
    Reviewed Apr. 2, 2012

    "Do you put the hamburger in salad hot/warm, or do you cool it off?"

    caroline.morse User ID: 6005591 96960
    Reviewed Jul. 16, 2011

    "awesome, I made with gr turkey and used sour cream instead of the mayo because I had it on hand ... outstanding!"

    sharonWaco User ID: 5592353 77534
    Reviewed Nov. 11, 2010

    "Our family favorite. So easy, unique favors & everyone wants the receipe."

    jenniemsrich User ID: 1772477 208895
    Reviewed Jul. 15, 2010

    "EXCELLENT!!!! I also added 1 can of drained black beans and chopped avocados. This is definately a keeper!!!"

    kafaughn User ID: 3552105 170124
    Reviewed Jun. 28, 2010

    "This recipe was a hit at my daughter's birthday party. I added a can of drained and rinsed black beans, chopped green, yellow and red peppers and a chopped avocado."

    dianaolivera User ID: 4553142 95611
    Reviewed Apr. 12, 2010

    "I tweeked this recipe a little bit when I made it, I used 1/2 lb hamburger and 1/2 lb sausage and added a can of drained and rinsed black beans to my meat was delicious!"

    Smrtiipanntz User ID: 4503790 170122
    Reviewed Dec. 15, 2009

    "Took this to the annual Christmas holiday luncheon at work today and everyone loved it! Thanks for the great recipe, will certainly be making this again and again!"

    dverzic User ID: 762717 170118
    Reviewed Mar. 17, 2009

    "easy and tasty. Good warm weather dish since it isn't too heavy."

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