Forget a basic green salad, my super easy Doritos taco salad makes a wonderful lunch or dinner and it is so full of flavor! Perfectly seasoned ground beef, veggies, and Catalina dressing are combined with Nacho Cheese Doritos for a salad like you’ve never had before!
Doritos Taco Salad is a super tasty bowl of crunchy goodness!
Taco salads are good, but why not add Nacho Cheese Doritos? This is a modern take on the classic dish we all know and adore.
Better yet, it’s a take your kids will love! It’s not often that chips get incorporated into the main dish.
With the drool-worthy flavors of taco seasoning-covered beef, sweet and tangy Catalina dressing, and all the cheddar you can handle, this dish is a real winner. The crunchy Doritos are the proverbial icing on the cake.
So gather your friends and family and make next Taco Tuesday one to remember! With all the colors and flavor in this recipe, you’ll wonder why all recipes aren’t this fun.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Super Flexible! Add any of your favorite taco toppings!
Family-friendly! Who doesn’t love tacos? It's a family-favorite dinner for great reason!
It's Easy to Scale! Extra dinner guests? This easy meal scales effortlessly to make as many servings as you need!
Doritos and Catalina dressing make this version of taco salad unique. There’s also lots of room for creativity here!
- ½ pounds Ground Beef - Any fat ratio will work; excess fat will be drained off.
- 1 package Taco Seasoning (optional) - If you want to make your own, try my recipe!
- 1 head Iceberg Lettuce - Iceberg gives it a nice, refreshing crunch without a lot of flavor interference.
- 16 ounces Catalina Dressing - Try my easy recipe or use your favorite brand!
- 2 medium Tomatoes - Romas have limited juice and will lower your chances of making other ingredients mushy.
- ½ cup Yellow Onion - While yellow onions are sweeter, you can also chop or finely dice a white onion.
- 2 cups Cheddar Cheese - Regular sharp cheddar has loads of flavor, but you can also try something like habanero cheddar or cheddar with peppercorns.
- 15.5 ounces Nacho Cheese Doritos - Crush up a 15.5-ounce bag.
This salad is extremely versatile. Here are a few ideas for switching it up:
Your Favorite Dressing - Not a fan of Catalina? No problem! Use any of your favorite dressings. I also love ranch dressing or French dressing, but thousand island and Italian dressing are also popular with this salad!
Greens - While I usually use iceberg lettuce in this recipe, take your pick of greens! Mixed greens or romaine are also fresh and delicious.
Jalapeños - Sliced jalapeños add a kick for anyone who wants to add some spice.
Salsa - If you like a bit of a sauce in your taco salad, salsa makes a great addition. Pick any kind you’d like!
Black Beans - Black beans go well with anything related to tacos, so why not throw some in? Refried beans would also work well as a bottom layer. Don’t mix the latter in with the other ingredients, or it will be one large glob.
Corn - Freshly steamed or butter boiled sweet corn sweetens things up a bit and makes a colorful dish even brighter.
Shredded Chicken - Ground beef is traditional and fantastic. But if you want to shake things up, try replacing it with shredded chicken! Just be sure to cook it thoroughly in step one. Pan fry it then steam it with water and taco seasoning before shredding.
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
With only 3 steps, this is as easy as it gets! All you need is a skillet, a spatula, and a mixing bowl.
- Brown the beef. To begin, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 ½ pounds ground beef and cook until completely browned, no pink remaining. Carefully drain off any excess grease. Either set beef aside or add the optional 1 packet taco seasoning (with water and simmer) and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool.
- Mix. Add 1 head of shredded iceberg lettuce, 16 ounces Catalina dressing, 2 medium chopped tomatoes, ½ cup diced yellow onion, and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to the bowl of cooled meat. Mix until well combined and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Add the Doritos. When you’re ready to eat, remove the bowl from the fridge and mix in 15.5 ounces crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos. Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Layer the ingredients. This recipe can easily be made ahead of time, but in order to keep things fresh, ingredients should be layered. Start with the ground beef, then add layers of the tomato, onion, then cheese. When you’re ready to eat, add the dressing and shake, topping it all off with the Doritos. Doritos will get soggy if not added at the last minute.
- Cooking for a small family? You can easily cut all the ingredients in half. If you'd like, cook and season all the ground meat and save extra in the freezer to make another salad later!
- Spice up the meat. If you really want to bring the heat, add chopped jalapeños to the meat when it is browning. It will release the oils in the peppers and flavor the whole dish. Be careful, though. It will get spicy quickly, so start small.
When it comes to taco salad, the fresher the better. I would recommend eating this dish within 3 days. Leftovers can be tightly covered or stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
If possible, store Doritos separately. Don’t freeze.
🍽️ More Easy Main Courses!
- Doritos Chicken Casserole with Cream Cheese
- Chicken and Peppers
- Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
- Bisquick Chicken and Dumplings
- Mac and Cheese with Hotdogs
It’s totally up to you! While the dish as a whole shouldn’t be warm, you can certainly serve it while the beef is warm. If you don’t like the combination of hot and cold ingredients, taco salad is also amazing when served completely cold.
I really like pork, but I would suggest making carnitas out of it first. Slow cooked pork is hard to beat, so follow my carnitas recipe the night before or the morning of your dinner. Then, simply start with step 2 of this recipe.
Doritos Taco Salad
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef
- 1 package taco seasoning mix (optional, or see recipe)
- 1 head iceberg lettuce (shredded)
- 16 oz Catalina dressing (see recipe or use your favorite brand)
- 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
- ½ cup yellow onion (or white onion, chopped or finely diced)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 15.5 oz Nacho Cheese Doritos ( 1 15.5-ounce bag, crushed)
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until no pink remains. Drain off any grease and set aside, or add taco seasoning per packet instructions (with water and simmer) if desired.1 ½ lbs ground beef, 1 package taco seasoning mix
- Next, in a large mixing bowl combine the lettuce, Catalina dressing, tomatoes, onions, and cheddar cheese. Place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.1 head iceberg lettuce, 16 oz Catalina dressing, 2 medium tomatoes, ½ cup yellow onion, 2 cups cheddar cheese
- Just before serving the salad, mix in the bag of crushed nacho cheese Doritos.15.5 oz Nacho Cheese Doritos
- In place of Catalina you may use your favorite salad dressing, such as ranch, thousand island, Italian dressing, or French dressing.
- I use iceberg lettuce in this salad, but you may also use mixed greens or romaine.
- To make this salad ahead of time, layer the ingredients. Start with a layer of ground beef, then tomato, onion, and top it off with cheese. Add the dressing and shake to combine when you're ready to eat. Keep it airtight in the fridge and always wait until serving to mix in the Doritos.
- Top this salad with any of your favorite taco toppings like avocado or guacamole, pico de gallo, or fresh, chopped cilantro.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!