Taco Salad

Taco Salad

By Mark Hinds | Updated August 15, 2022

With a sweet and spicy dressing, chunks of cheddar cheese, and crunchy chips this taco salad recipe is all about summer picnics and neighborhood potlucks. If you can brown ground beef and chop stuff up, you can make this dish.

Taco Salad Ingredients
If you can chop stuff up you can make this salad

Growing up, taco salad was the dish my family made for potlucks. Whenever we would bring it somewhere new, you could see people giving it skeptical looks, wondering to themselves why we were bringing a salad featuring Doritos to a potluck – but it never failed, by the end of the night, we were always taking home an empty dish and recipe requests.

I’ve expanded the recipe over the years, adding some more interesting flavors and texture with the poblano pepper, cumin, and chili powder, but at its heart, this salad is still a Midwestern church basement classic. And although the salad started as a potluck favorite, it has become a great summer meal in its own right.

Taco Salad
This taco salad is all about summer picnics and neighborhood potlucks

If you’re going to keep the salad for a while, it’s best to keep the dressing and the chips separate from the rest of the ingredients. If you leave them out and just mix them in when you want to eat the salad, everything can last for up to a week. If you mix everything together right away, it’s only good for a couple of days.

The recipe is designed as a potluck dish. If you’re making it as a main dish, this recipe can easily serve six.

When we’re hosting a big picnic or BBQ, we like to serve this taco salad with some tasty Smoked Drumsticks, Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken Wings, or a big batch of Pulled Pork, along with a pitcher of ice-cold Homemade Lemonade and some Better than Sex Cake for dessert.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

5 from 2 votes
Print Save Pin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 people


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup white onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1/2 poblano pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 4 cups medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Ortega taco sauce medium
  • 3/4 cup Western dressing
  • 1 15 oz bag Nacho Cheese Doritos

Spice Mixture for Ground Beef

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Start by dicing the onion and poblano pepper. Sauté the onion and poblano pepper for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add in the ground beef and cook everything until it has finished browning. Add in the garlic and chili powders, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • When the ground beef has finished browning drain off any excess grease and set aside to cool.
  • A great way to cool and drain ground beef is to pour it into a colander that is lined with a few paper towels.
  • While the ground beef is cooling, chop up the lettuce, cut the cheddar cheese into small bite-sized cubes, half the cherry tomatoes, and cut the red and green peppers into bite-sized pieces.
  • Mix the Western dressing and taco sauce together.
  • To serve, combine the lettuce, cheese, peppers, tomatoes, and ground beef together with the dressing. Add the Doritos before serving, crumbling them slightly with your hands as they are added to the salad.
Tried this RecipeLet us know what you think of this recipe. Leave your thoughts and rating in the comments.
Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 599mg | Potassium: 399mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1095IU | Vitamin C: 31.1mg | Calcium: 349mg | Iron: 1.9mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate based on available ingredients and preparation.

Mark is an experienced food writer, recipe developer, and photographer who is also Umami’s publisher and CEO. A passionate cook who loves to cook for friends, he can often be found in the kitchen or by the grill testing new recipes.

More Info About Mark Hinds

Learn More

Find more recipes, tips, and ideas about these techniques, ingredients, and cuisines.




Let us know what you think

Let us know what you think, and share your thoughts with other cooks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating