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This Taco salad recipe is packed with flavor and whips up in only 20 minutes! This twist on a taco is a tasty dinner for any night of the week.

We sure love Mexican food at our house, and this taco salad hits the spot! Try Taco Pie, Taco Soup, or Homemade Taco Pizza for some more taco-tastic twists.

White bowl filled with taco salad.

An Easy Family Dinner!

We’re all about Taco Tuesday, or really any Mexican food any day of the week. Turn those Beef Tacos into something special with this family-favorite taco salad!

Taco salad ingredients can really be anything that you love. We love fresh avocado, tomato, and green onions. I love that each person can customize their bowl-full and make something really delicious.

For a heartier version, add some Spanish rice or beans. Feel free to pour on your favorite Red or Green salsa as well!

Lettuce and taco ingredients set out on a kitchen counter.

How to Make Taco Salad

This taco salad recipe is incredibly simple and completely customizable!

DRESSING. Combine sour cream, dressing, salsa, and chili powder in a small bowl. Mix until well combined and refrigerate until ready to serve.

GROUND BEEF. Add ground beef to a large skillet and cook on medium-high heat. Cook the beef until no longer pink and crumbly. Drain grease.

Add water and taco seasoning mix and cook until water is evaporated, making sure to stir occasionally (about 5 minutes).

LAYER. Assemble as one large salad with lettuce on the bottom, followed by meat, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. (This can also be pre-assembled in individual bowls or in an assembly line fashion for everyone to dish their own.)

ENJOY! Serve with Chips and dressing. Sour cream, Guacamole, and Salsa also make great additions, especially if not making the dressing.

Seasoning and browning beef in a pan.

Taco Toppings + Tips

Taco salad ingredients are simple and can easily be changed up to make it your own!

Toppings. One of the best things about cooking from home is that you can control exactly what you want to include.

Salads are particularly easy recipes to change things up: 

  • Additions. Add in some black beans, diced green or red onion, black olives, and Spanish Rice.
  • Mix in corn. Using Grilled Corn on the Cob kernels is particularly delicious. 
  • Seasonings. Add extra flavors with cilantro, salt, pepper, or cumin.
  • Chips. Tortilla chips or tortilla strips are classic additions. Doritos or Fritos are another great chip to use.
  • Spice. Add flavor with hot sauce, Pico de Gallo, or salsa.
  • Toppings. Add a dollop of sour cream. Garnish with a lime wedge.
  • Cheese. I also love using a Mexican cheese blend, but change it up with your favorite.

Meat. This recipe uses beef taco meat. You can use any fat content, just be sure to drain excess grease before mixing in the seasoning. If desired, switch the beef taco meat out for ground turkey or ground chicken.

Seasoning. Should you wish to make your own seasoning for the meat try out this recipe Homemade Taco Seasoning using pantry staples like onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, paprika, and cumin. There are about 2 tablespoons of mix in a packet of taco seasoning.

Topping lettuce and chips with seasoned ground beef.

Make a Hard Taco Bowl

A really fun variation of this best taco salad recipe is to serve it in a homemade tortilla bowl. You’ll need oven-safe bowls or taco molds, tortillas, and cooking spray.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray.
  3. Place each tortilla in a separate bowl. The sides of the tortilla will crinkle. Just arrange the crinkles/waves so that they are evenly spaced around the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Allow the tortillas to cool inside the bowls before removing them. They’ll keep in a plastic bag for up to 2 days.
Topping ground beef with chopped avocado and tomatoes.

Storing Info

Make ahead of time. Easily prepare the different elements the day before and keep them stored in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your salads. 

STORE. Storing leftover taco salad gets a little tricky because some of the ingredients do not reheat well. Try to remove any produce that will get soggy. Store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Reheat easy taco salad in the microwave and add fresh toppings.  

White bowl filled with taco salad topped with shredded cheese.

Recipe FAQ

What meat goes in a taco salad?

I like to make taco salad using ground beef, but ground chicken or ground turkey can also be seasoned with taco mix and used in the salad.

Is taco salad authentic Mexican food?

Taco salad originated in Texas where much of the food is influenced by Mexican culture. So even though some classic Mexican flavors and food can be found in taco salad, it is not authentic Mexican food.

What is the best way to serve taco salad?

Some people like to pre-assemble individual plates/bowls of taco salad, but I like to set out all the different elements in a buffet style so each person can build their own dish.

for Some Mexican Sides, Check Out:

5 from 8 votes

Taco Meat Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Our favorite taco meat recipe is perfectly spiced and completely customizable to your taste. Enjoy it with your favorite Mexican dishes!
Servings: 8
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 12 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • cup water
  • 1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning mix


  • Add ground beef to a large skillet and cook on medium-high heat. Cook the beef until no longer pink and crumbly. Drain grease.
  • Add water and taco seasoning mix and cook until water is evaporated, making sure to stir occasionally (about 5 minutes).



Serving: 1g, Calories: 144kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.1g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 49mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 0.02g, Sugar: 0.02g, Vitamin A: 12IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Looking forward to your cookbook.

    I especially liked the add ons for the taco salad and dressing. My favorite light meal!!

  2. 5 stars
    I absolutely love making the taco salad bowls that are mentioned in the post. I love coming across all the fun ‘extras’ you write about as much as I love the main recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    We make this at least once a month!! It’s a quick & tasty meal that my family will eat any night of the week!

  4. 5 stars
    I love making taco salad! It takes hardly any effort. Can feed alot of people and usually can pick and choose what you put on it.