A taco salad with beef, cheese, lots of fresh veggies, and Doritos! Enjoy Dorito Taco Salad again or try it for the first time. You’ll love it either way!
Taco Salads are ideal because you get all the flavors of crunchy tacos without the mess. They are easy to make and fun to serve and everyone loves eating them.
For a party, though, your standard Taco Salad needs a kick. Crunchy Doritos and French Dressing add a little something extra that makes the whole salad feel less like, well, a salad.
I learned about Dorito Taco Salad late in my mid-20’s during the era of Dance Club USA.
Dance Club USA, you say? Basically, my friends and I were all engaged and planning weddings. We would get together in my basement in Wisconsin and make up coordinated dances to popular songs WHICH we performed at all of our weddings.
It is exactly as cool/lame as it sounds.
Dance Club USA always started with lots of food and wine, potluck-style. My friend Jess brought Dorito Taco Salad and I was pretty excited about it.
Why we thought it was a good idea to eat and drink BEFORE dancing into the middle of the night, I’ll never know. Blame it on the ignorance of youth.
These days, I make a smaller batch when my kids are BEGGING for Doritos but I want to balance them with something less offensive. Not pretending this is a healthy meal option!
It IS, however, always a hit at parties. If people have had Dorito Taco Salad in the past, they might be excited to try it again. If they’ve never had it, they just might fall in love.
It makes the most giant batch ever and it won’t keep overnight, so your best plan is to make sure everyone eats his or her fair share. :)
Dorito Taco Salad
For the French dressing:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar or less to taste (see note 1)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup light olive oil (see note 2)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika (see note 3)
For the salad:
- 1 pound ground beef (see note 4)
- 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 1 packet store-bought (see note 5)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 head lettuce shredded (see note 6)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1 bell pepper sliced or chopped
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 bag Nacho Cheese Doritos crushed
To make the French dressing:
- In a food processor or blender, add sugar, ketchup, olive oil, white vinegar, celery seed, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon). Process until smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator until serving time, up to 4 days in advance.
To make the salad:
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Stir in taco seasoning and water and simmer until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, add lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, cheese and beef mixture. Toss to combine. Right before serving, add Doritos and salad dressing and toss to combine.
- Granulated sugar: The ½ cup sugar in the dressing may sound like a lot, but it tastes just like the ones at Wisconsin supper clubs of my youth (they'd bring a small salad dressing caddy to your table with 4 different kinds of dressing: Ranch, Italian, Thousand Island, and French). If you don't love sweet dressings, start with 2 tablespoons of sugar, taste, and increase if desired. Or, substitute a bottle of store-bought French dressing.
- Light olive oil: Light olive oil is milder than extra virgin which allows the other flavor-boosters to shine.
- Paprika: Use regular paprika (often simply labeled “Paprika” on the package) rather than hot or smoked paprika.
- Ground beef: I prefer 80/20 beef for flavor. Drain off the fat (in a colander or on a paper towel-lined plate) after cooking, if desired.
- Taco seasoning: A store-bought packet works great. To DIY a packet's worth of homemade taco seasoning, whisk together 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, ¾ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and salt to taste (I like ½ teaspoon). Add 1 teaspoon cornstarch if you prefer a thickener in your taco seasoning.
- Lettuce: Choose something mild and crisp such as romaine, green leaf, or iceberg.
- Yield: This Dorito Taco Salad makes 12 servings for a light meal or satisfying side dish.
- Storage: This salad is best enjoyed the day it is made because the dressing will make the lettuce and Doritos soggy.
- Make ahead: The French dressing can be blended together up to 3 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator and shake to recombine before using. If you make your own taco seasoning, that can be prepared up to 6 months in advance.
- Chip swaps: Try this taco salad recipe with Cool Ranch Doritos, Fritos, or regular tortilla chips instead of Nacho Cheese Doritos.
- Taco time: For more twists on Taco Tuesday that think outside of the tortilla, try my Easy Taco Dip, Taco Pizza, Taco Stuffed Tomatoes, Easy Taco Soup, or One Pot Taco Spaghetti.