Taco Salad

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 its 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 with Pulled Pork, Homemade Lemonade, and some Better than Sex Cake for dessert.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

5 from 2 votes
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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.
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Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Picnic, Potlucks


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Nutrition Facts
Taco Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 464 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 66mg22%
Sodium 599mg25%
Potassium 399mg11%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 1095IU22%
Vitamin C 31.1mg38%
Calcium 349mg35%
Iron 1.9mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.