Save on Pinterest

Taco Salad for a Large Crowd

I made this huge taco salad to bring to a party and people were scrambling to figure out who made it. Needless to say I only brought home an empty bowl and the guests went home with a full stomach! Everyone loves this taco salad recipe. —Lisa Homer, Avon, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 10 min.
  • Makes
    26 servings (1-1/3 cups each)


  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning, divided
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 package (10 ounces) nacho-flavored tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1-1/2 cups Thousand Island salad dressing
  • 1-1/3 cups salsa
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef with 1 envelope plus 2 tablespoons taco seasoning until no longer pink; drain.
  • In a very large serving bowl, combine the lettuce, chips, tomatoes, beans, olives, cheese, onion, chilies and beef mixture.
  • In a small bowl, combine the salad dressing, salsa, sugar and remaining taco seasoning; pour over salad and toss to coat.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Using lean ground beef in the meat loaf instead of beef that’s 80% lean saves 45 calories per 4-ounce serving of beef. Lean ground beef is also 29% lower in saturated fat.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese has been aged longer than regular cheddar. As cheese ages, its flavor becomes more pronounced. Using aged cheese in a recipe can add complexity and rich flavor, even to humble favorites like mac ’n’ cheese.
  • Check out our best taco salad recipes ever!
  • Nutrition Facts
    1-1/3 cups: 262 calories, 15g fat (4g saturated fat), 24mg cholesterol, 696mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 3g fiber), 10g protein.


    Click stars to rate
    Average Rating:
    • Pam
      Apr 19, 2019

      I take this for work lunches. I place ingredients in separate baggies and chill over night. Mix when it is time to serve. This way it does not get mushy. Also, I do not use black olives or the sugar. Try Catalina dressing, it adds a nice flavor.

    • Tanya
      Jan 19, 2019

      Sugar ? Didn't see it in the recipe.

    • lemonfreeze
      Mar 15, 2018

      I made this recipe exactly as specified, except that I halved everything. It was good, but next time I would omit the beans or substitute something else for them - they didn't seem to go with the salad. (Maybe use corn instead?) I had leftovers, and it did get very soggy - if you expect to have leftovers, you might want to serve tortilla chips or dressing separately.

    • daniellem02
      Jan 18, 2018

      This is a solid recipe, and even the kids liked it! I did omit the sugar--it's really not necessary with all the sugar that's in the thousand island dressing. I subbed fritos for doritos, as I prefer those. You can really customize this recipe. I did also use an additional head of lettuce, because the ones at my store were small, and I'm really glad I did.

    • carolebrohard
      Dec 28, 2017

      Is this served hot or cold?

    • Steff
      Sep 3, 2017

      I have the same question as Victoria. Can this be made ahead of time? Also, can it be refrigerated and served cold? If so, what's the best easy to store it? Thanks.

    • victoria
      Aug 25, 2017

      can this be made ahead of time?

    • Denise
      Aug 8, 2017

      This is always well received at parties. I stick with my original version of Catalina dressing, NO taco seasoning, green onions, corn & etc. I skip the sugar also. I crush some nacho chips in salad, but leave some extra out to crumble on top, same with dressing. Delicious!

    • Teri
      Jul 29, 2017

      We love a combination of Wishbone Italian, Original Hidden Valley Ranch and Dorothy me it's that good. Just Ranch and DL are excellent together as a salad dressing. I don't use beans and if I did I'd use pinto. Just another suggestion, put lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and beans together first and when you are ready to serve add meat and dressings then add your crushed nacho doritoes. Another past time favorite is some crumbled crispy bacon. NO sugar.

    • tillmandee
      Jul 6, 2017

      I have used this recipe for many years. My family's favorite dressing is Green Goddess. I like to leave the dressing off so everyone can add as much as they like. (and the kind they like...just put several out for their selection)