Classic Taco Salad {aka Potluck Taco Salad}


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The Classic Taco Salad is a fun, hearty, and healthy potluck dish. It comes together quickly, serves a crowd, and is everybody’s favorite salad.

I happily make and eat this salad at least once or twice a month all year round.

Big Potluck Taco Salad

This was a favorite salad growing up. I remember my mom making it to take to the Sunday School Picnic and other potlucks.

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I also remember her making it for supper with fresh garden lettuce. It is a hearty salad perfect for a summer meal.

Classic Taco Salad Recipe

Growing up, we ate a bigger meal at noon most of the time, and then our evening meal was simpler, often soup. It fit well into the farming, homeschool family I grew up in.

My body loves eating like that still, and this salad is perfect for the main meal at lunch or at dinner.

This salad is hearty enough that I’ve served it for supper several times with no complaints from my meat and potato loving husband.

Classic Taco Salad Ingredients

What Goes In A Taco Salad?

  • lettuce
  • ground beef
  • taco seasoning
  • onion
  • tomatoes
  • green bell pepper
  • kidney beans
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • tortilla or corn chips.
How To Make A Taco Salad

How To Make A Taco Salad

This salad recipe uses a mixture of red French and Italian salad dressing which is what makes this classic salad great. And of course, the dressing is going to be best if you make them both homemade.

If that isn’t your thing, you can always substitute your favorite dressing. Ranch or a Cilantro Dressing works well too. This avocado dressing from Pinch of Yum is one I’ll probably try soon.

This salad is an easy make-ahead Potluck dish. Just prep all the ingredients ahead of time and toss them together right before serving.

You can make it with chicken instead of ground beef and spice things up with homemade chicken taco seasoning.

Hearty Classic Taco Salad

Hearty Taco Soup is another easy dinner favorite that you might want to try. For another light dinner option, try the Southwest Avocado Chicken Wraps too.

What’s not to love about a fully loaded Bacon Pasta Salad filled with chewy bites of bacon and chunks of hard-boiled eggs?

Lastly, for another great potluck option, the Classic Potluck Pasta Salad always disappears fast when we serve it!

Hearty Classic Taco Salad

Big Picnic Taco Salad

A fun, healthy potluck dish. Try this Big Picnic Taco Salad. It comes together quickly, serves a crowd and is everybody’s favorite.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and crumbled (double this for an even heartier salad)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (double as needed)
  • 1 large bowl lettuce, we like a combination of spinach and garden lettuce about 12 cups worth
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 16 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 cups slightly crushed tortilla or corn chips
  • 1 cup French catalina dressing
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing


  • In a large skillet, cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with taco seasoning as it cooks.
  • Prepare all vegetables and toppings. Stir together the French Catalina and Italian Dressing. Keep ingredients separate until ready to serve.
  • When ready to eat, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss and serve immediately.


Serving: 1serving · Calories: 432kcal · Carbohydrates: 37g · Protein: 17g · Fat: 24g · Saturated Fat: 7g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g · Monounsaturated Fat: 7g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 44mg · Sodium: 613mg · Potassium: 500mg · Fiber: 6g · Sugar: 10g · Vitamin A: 550IU · Vitamin C: 15mg · Calcium: 156mg · Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

{originally published 6/25/18 – recipe notes and photos updated 7/20/21}

Picnic Taco Salad

Looking for some other Potluck sides that are sure to be a hit? Try these:

Classic Zucchini Bread

Apple Dumpling Bake, an easy way to make apple dumplings for a crowd

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