Easy Taco Salad Recipe

Are you looking for a quick and easy taco salad recipe? Look no further! This recipe for taco salad is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a casual get-together with friends. It’s full of flavor and can be customized to your liking by adding your favorite toppings. Plus, as a major bonus, it is ready in 15 minutes. So gather your ingredients and let’s get cooking!

taco salad recipe

Why I Love This Taco Salad Recipe

As a mom with six very busy kids, quick and delicious dinners on a busy weeknight are a must-have in Casa Jones. Between all the running around every day after school, I need as many 15-minute meals as I can get. This taco salad recipe is a staple for us. When I am looking to stretch the expensive ground beef even further, I love to mix it in with three types of beans, and that more than doubles the amount of “meat” we have for our salads.

Plus, if you’ve been a reader long enough here at MKE, you know that my kids do most of the cooking for dinner and this taco salad recipe is one of their favorites to make (and eat). In fact, this is the first recipe my kids learn to make once they are old enough to safely use the stove. Once they’ve mastered this recipe, our favorite Southwest Chicken Quesadillas are always up next!

What is Taco Salad

Taco salad is a Mexican-inspired dish that typically consists of a bed of lettuce topped with various ingredients such as seasoned ground beef, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, black beans, and a dressing of some type. Taco salad can be served in a fried flour tortilla bowl. Popular additional toppings include avocado or guacamole, black olives, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, and ranch dressing. There are also variations of taco salad that use grilled chicken or seafood in place of the ground beef.

taco salad recipe

Taco Salad Recipe Ingredients and Tools

  • Ground beef, turkey, or chicken
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Black or pinto beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Corn
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Ranch dressing or sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Large non-stick skillet

How to Make Taco Salad

Not only is this taco salad recipe healthy, but it is also very quick and easy to make on a busy weeknight!

Time needed: 15 minutes

How to Make Taco Salad

  1. Season and brown the ground beef

    Add kosher salt and black pepper to the ground beef, then cook in a very hot skillet until no pink remains in the meat.

  2. Add the Tex-Mex seasonings to the ground beef

    Remove from the heat and add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic, and onion powder.

  3. Prepare the salad ingredients

    Layer the romaine lettuce with the cooked and seasoned ground beef, cheese, beans, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and corn.

  4. Toss with a dressing

    Use either ranch dressing, salsa, or sour cream as the salad dressing and toss to coat.

  5. Add tortilla chips

    While not required, the chips add a great salty crunch to the finished salad.

taco salad recipe

Taco Salad Recipe FAQs

What goes well with taco salad?

Taco salad pairs very well with cilantro lime rice, fresh fruit, flour tortillas, and tortilla chips.

What nationality is taco salad?

Taco salad is a Tex-Mex fusion of Mexican food that has been Americanized in the states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Consequentially, most Americans consider it Mexican food but it doesn’t have original roots in that country.

Can I make a taco salad with ground turkey or chicken?

Yes, this taco salad recipe can easily be made with either ground turkey or chicken in place of the ground beef. To keep the best flavor possible, use ground turkey or chicken that has a higher fat level.

salad with ground beef

Can I use taco seasoning instead?

While technically the answer is yes, that doesn’t make it the best answer. The pre-made taco seasoning includes many fillers and preservatives that are not only unhealthy but significantly change the flavor and texture of the ground beef. So, follow the seasoning on the taco salad recipe for the best results.

Can I make taco salad ahead of time?

Yes, this taco salad recipe can easily be made ahead of time. In fact, you can prepare the ground beef as instructed in the recipe and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Simply reheat the taco salad meat in the microwave when you are ready to use it. The toppings can also be prepped ahead of time, but only a couple of days before you need them. If you do it further out than that, you run the risk of the toppings getting mushy.

taco salad recipe

Recipe Variations

Being a home cook provides endless opportunities to experiment with recipes, personalizing them to your tastes and creativity. Any of the following variations would be great spin-offs of this taco salad recipe.

  • Use ground turkey or chicken if you are looking to reduce the amount of red meat in your diet. However, be sure to use a ground turkey or chicken that has a higher fat ratio because it adds so much flavor.
  • Add spice with a few shakes of red pepper flakes or your favorite hot sauce to the ground beef. Or, add a few slices of pickled jalapeño peppers.
  • Make it vegetarian by omitting the ground beef and instead adding more beans, or even some sauteèd mushrooms.
  • Add brininess with some black olives or pickled onions.
  • Add sweetness with some mango salsa or some diced fresh pineapple.

Looking for More Great Salad Recipes?

If this taco salad recipe was perfect for your family dinner tonight, be sure to check out these other delicious salad recipes. Go click on the pictures below to grab even more free recipes!

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taco salad recipe

Easy Taco Salad Recipe

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Healthy taco salad recipe that is ready to go in 15 minutes!

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4



1 pound ground beef, turkey, or chicken

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 avocados, sliced

15-ounce can corn, drained

15-ounce can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup shredded cheese

Chopped cilantro

Sour cream or ranch dressing

Tortilla chips


  1. Preheat a large skillet over high heat. Add ground beef, kosher salt, and pepper. Cook on high heat until all the pink is gone. Add the remaining seasonings and set aside.
  2. Assemble the salad on 4 individual plates. Divide the ground beef and toppings evenly between all four plates. Serve with sour cream or ranch dressing, as well as tortilla chips.
  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 675 kcal
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 1258 mg
  • Fat: 30 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41 g
  • Fiber: 13 g
  • Protein: 40 g
  • Cholesterol: 113 mg

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Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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