Perfect Taco Salad (Quick Meal)

Taco Salad is crispy, crunchy and colorful! Crisp lettuce is topped with a zesty seasoned ground beef, crunchy tortilla chips and all of our favorite taco toppings. 

It’s so quick, it makes an easy weeknight meal or even a build-your-own taco salad bar when feeding a crowd!

A top view of a taco salad in a brown bowl with toppings like salsa, avocado, tomatoes and diced jalapenos on the side.

How to Make Taco Salad

Taco salad is a staple around here! It takes about 20 minutes start to finish (especially if you have other hands in the kitchen prepping toppers) and is a welcome variation of ground beef tacos!

    1. Brown and season ground beef. Stir in beans.
    2. Wash lettuce and top with beef mixture and your favorite toppings.
    3. Scoop into bowls or plates and top with tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa.

If you’d like to make a crispy baked tortilla bowl (like you’d get at a restaurant), they’re easy to bake at home!

To Make a Crispy Baked Taco Salad Bowl

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Spray a flour tortilla with cooking spray (or brush it with butter or olive oil) and season with salt & your fave seasonings (cumin or a bit of chili powder are good).
  • Place the tortilla in an oven proof bowl or a taco bowl maker.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy!

A Taco Salad assembled in a brown bowl. Each fresh topping is shown on top of a bed of lettuce.

Taco Salad Ingredients

The beauty of this tex-mex inspired salad is the fact that you can customize it to what you have on hand or whatever your taste buds desire!

 1. Beef:

    • I use lean beef but ground turkey or chicken will work too, or even juicy shrimp.
    • I prefer Homemade Taco Seasoning but store bought will do in a pinch!
    • Black beans or pinto beans are great additions too.

2. Lettuce:

    • Romaine or iceberg lettuce are crunchy and hold up well.
    • Chop or tear it into bite sized pieces.

All the ingredients to make a taco salad assembled on a wooden board.

3. Toppings:

    • Cheese – Cheddar, marble, mozzarella or Monterey Jack are great.
    • Tortilla Chips – Pick your favorite tortilla chips. Be sure to add just before serving so they stay crunchy!
    • Use flavored chips or Doritos to make this delicious Dorito Taco Salad version.
    • Veggies – Add a delicious assortment of veggies like olives, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, avocado or green chiles on top.

4. Dressing:

    • Classic – Sour cream and salsa is our go-to dressing for this salad.
    • Creamy – Try a Ranch Dressing or Avocado Dressing. These will compliment the ground beef and spicy jalapenos perfectly.
    • Zesty – Or you can use Thousand Island Dressing or store bought Catalina for a yummy alternative.

Avocado, jalapenos, tomatoes, beans, red onion, cheese, ground beef, cheese and tortilla chips all on top of a bed of lettuce in a brown bowl.

What to Serve with Taco Salad

This Taco Salad is definitely a full meal in itself, simply pair it with a cold beverage like horchata, lemonade, or even a fruity Sangria or Margarita!

If you want to keep your menu super simple, serve warmed soft tortillas on the side to create a quick taco or burrito at the ready.

Feeding a larger crowd? Add Spanish Rice or this zesty Cilantro Lime Rice to your menu! In keeping with the Mexican theme and to finish off the evening, try some dulce de leche, Mexican chocolate mousse or Easy Sopapilla Cheesecake for dessert!

More Delicious Taco Inspired Recipes

Taco Salad

This easy taco salad is crispy, crunchy and colorful! It is so much fun to put together because you can customize the toppings, making everyone at the dinner table happy!


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning (or homemade)
  • 1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)


  • 6 cups romaine or iceberg lettuce (chopped)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1 cup tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • toppings as desired (olives, bell peppers, jalapenos, red or green onion)
  1. Brown beef over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat. 

  2. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in beans.

  3. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Top with meat, tomatoes, cheese, avocado and desired toppings.
  4. Top each serving with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream.

While we use sour cream and salsa as dressing, catalina or Thousand Island are also great tossed with this salad.


Top photo - top view of Taco Salad in a wooden bowl. Bottom photo - close up view of taco salad.
Close up of Taco Salad in a wooden bowl.
Close up of Taco Salad in a wooden bowl.