Inspired by Midwestern-classic “walking tacos,” my crowd-pleasing Dorito Taco Salad is fully loaded with taco-seasoned beef, cheese, fresh vegetables, and nacho cheese chips. Try this 30-minute meal for an easy weeknight dinner idea or for a casual party or potluck.

A white bowl filled with Dorito Taco Salad.

Walking tacos (AKA tacos in a bag) were a Midwestern staple when I was a kid. From hot lunches to concession stand menus to potlucks, the concept is a brilliant meal that’s easy to enjoy on-the-go. To make it, simply stuff taco fixings inside a single-serving bag of Doritos or Fritos.

This 30-minute meal transforms that concept into a family-sized dinner. Even veggie-averse diners will beg for seconds of this Dorito Taco Salad recipe.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Dorito Taco Salad Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Dorito Taco Salad

Ingredient notes

  • 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.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. 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 3 days in advance.
A food processor with homemade French dressing in it.
  1. 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.
Taco meat in a skillet.
  1. 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.
A clear bowl filled with Dorito Taco Salad.

Recipe tips and variations

  • 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.
Two bowls filled with Dorito Taco Salad.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Make your own Taco Seasoning at home in minutes with a few common pantry spices. It’s cheaper and tastier than store-bought, and you can easily customize it if you want to.

1 minute
View Recipe

More ground beef dinner ideas

A white bowl filled with Dorito Taco Salad.

Dorito Taco Salad

Inspired by Midwestern-classic "walking tacos," my crowd-pleasing Dorito Taco Salad is fully loaded with taco-seasoned beef, cheese, fresh vegetables, and nacho cheese chips. Try this 30-minute meal for an easy weeknight dinner idea or for a casual party or potluck.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 270

Ingredients 

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)
  • Salt

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

Instructions 

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.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Light olive oil: Light olive oil is milder than extra virgin which allows the other flavor-boosters to shine.
  3. Paprika: Use regular paprika (often simply labeled “Paprika” on the package) rather than hot or smoked paprika.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Lettuce: Choose something mild and crisp such as romaine, green leaf, or iceberg.
  7. Yield: This Dorito Taco Salad makes 12 servings for a light meal or satisfying side dish.
  8. Storage: This salad is best enjoyed the day it is made because the dressing will make the lettuce and Doritos soggy.
  9. 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.
  10. Chip swaps: Try this taco salad recipe with Cool Ranch Doritos, Fritos, or regular tortilla chips instead of Nacho Cheese Doritos.
  11. 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 12gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 245mgPotassium: 322mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1149IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 158mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. Since I live in Ohio, I’ve been making taco salad forever! We’ve always used thousand island dressing, so now I have to try it with French. We add kidney beans, and we don’t use any peppers which sounds amazing. Since we can’t possibly eat the whole salad, I keep the ingredients separate and we assemble it on our plate. It is much better all mixed up together, but still works and we can eat the leftovers.5 stars

  2. I never thought of making a salad using Doritos. They were my favorite lunch snack growing up. And thank you for the nutritional value. That really helps especially as the main cook in the family.5 stars

  3. The Dance Club USA definitely sounds cool not lame, Meggan (teehee!)

    Really suprised to find ground beef in this salad, but yes, I bet it’s delicious! Like an ordinary taco really but much heavier on the salad. Love it!5 stars

    1. Helen, if you ever visit we will restart Dance Club USA just so you can try it out. :) Except there are no basements in California so I guess we’ll have to dance in my living room, ha ha! Yes, just like an ordinary taco but extra lettuce. It’s basically health food! Bwa ha ha! Thank you so much for stopping by. :)

  4. Gotta love how you “healthified” Doritos ;) Eating them is now justified!

    What fun to be a part of Dance Club USA! I would have been a groupie :D5 stars