Easy Ground Beef Taco Salad

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


6 servings

Updated: Jan. 09, 2024
Every time I have to bring a dish to a party, friends ask for my taco salad. Even players on my son's football team ask for it. —Lori Buntrock, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn (about 8 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broken nacho-flavored tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup Catalina salad dressing


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 4-6 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with cheese. Top with beef mixture and chips; drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Taco Salad Tips

What sides go well with taco salad?

For a heartier meal, pair this taco salad recipe with a side of Mexican rice or spicy refried beans. You can also try topping your taco salad with black bean & corn salsa or zucchini pico de gallo salsa. Don’t forget to pass the tortilla chips!

Should taco salad be warm or cold?

Although the combination of warm, seasoned ground beef and crisp, cold lettuce can’t be beat, whether you eat this salad warm or cold is certainly a matter of personal preference.

Can taco salad be made in advance?

Yes, you can make taco salad in advance. Simply store the cooked beef, torn lettuce, shredded cheese and salad dressing in the fridge. When ready to assemble, toss the items together with the broken tortilla chips. If you like, gently heat the prepared taco meat in the microwave separately before adding to the salad.

Is taco salad good for you?

Taco salads are often mistakenly considered healthy by virtue of being called a salad. In reality, beef, cheese, dressing and tortilla chips do add extra calories and carbs. However, if you are following a healthier diet and still love to indulge in the occasional taco salad, take heart! You can easily swap out some of the more caloric ingredients with healthier options like avocado, black or pinto beans, tomatoes, low-fat cheese and a low-fat dressing. You can also replace the ground beef with lean ground turkey. Be sure to check out these healthy Mexican recipes, too.

Nutrition Facts

1-2/3 cups: 416 calories, 27g fat (12g saturated fat), 86mg cholesterol, 830mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 25g protein.