Cold Taco Salad

I am so excited to share this Cold Taco Salad recipe with you. A church friend brought this dish to our church fellowship meal, and it was all but too familiar to me.

Interestingly enough, upon closer inspection, I realized this is practically the same taco salad I have made for YEARS. The one, my kids, would have eaten every night of the week when growing up if they could have.

No wonder I loved it! Instead of tossing ours like a salad and serving it with everything already mixed up – we would build ours in layers buffet style. We have always eaten ours with the browned hamburger warm right off the burner.

As we make ours, it’s a sure bet that a big ole dollop (pronounced “dallup” in the south) of sour cream would get mixed in with everything else.

I’m always open to fresh ideas, and I love the salad with the meat cold. I will be doing it this way for summer get-togethers for sure.

I’m still surprised at the difference it makes between serving it already tossed up together and layering the ingredients directly on your plate, and I like it both ways.

A lot! I love that Melissa uses the Honey BBQ Twist Fritos. We always used plain Fritos or tortilla chips. The honey BBQ adds a nice twist. I’m pretty sure it’s my new favorite taco salad chip now.

Cold Taco Salad

I made this later that evening and decided to take pictures outside. Our deck is in the woods. Literally.

The lighting is fantastic out there about any time of day. It comes in handy when it’s too dark in the house to use natural light for a photoshoot.

Cold Taco Salad

Here’s a little peek at a tiny section of the deck. (Please pretend you don’t see the mildew on the handrails. We haven’t pressure washed back there yet. Thanks!) It is ideal for retreating to in the evenings for a relaxing meal.

Pete and I enjoy eating outside and will be back at it again this summer and fall. This is a nice, shaded place where we’ll entertain and eat many meals with family and friends – everything from Cold Taco Salad to all things grilled.

You will be seeing more happening out here before too much longer.

Cold Taco Salad

This delicious Cold Taco Salad is a perfect summertime meal. I thought we had cheese at home and didn’t get any while at the store, so there’s no cheese in these pictures.

However, it was still plenty tasty without it. The version of the recipe brought to church doesn’t even call for cheese.

As the name suggests, the salad is cold. Chill the ingredients before tossing, even the hamburger mixture. You’re going to love how easy it is to make.

Cold Taco Salad is a perfect weeknight meal when you’re in a hurry to get to the ball field and need something quick to make for supper that night. You can even prepare the hamburger and freeze it.

It’s served cold, so you’ll have to take it out in enough time to thaw completely, and then you’re good to go. SO. EASY. I had fun mixing it up a little between both versions. I think you will love it too!

I love using my homemade thousand island dressing when making the “sauce” for this taco salad.

Cold Taco Salad
Cold Taco Salad

Cold Taco Salad

Serving Up Southern
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 medium head of lettuce, shredded or torn into smaller pieces ( I use romaine)
  • 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 packet taco mix, divided
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bag Frito Honey BBQ Twists, corn chips, or tortilla chips


  • 8 ounces Thousand Island (I prefer Ken’s)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, reserved from packet
  • 1 tablespoon taco sauce


  • Reserve one tablespoon of taco seasoning from the packet.
  • Brown hamburger and onion and drain. Add kidney beans and the remaining taco seasoning packet, stirring to coat.
  • Layer hamburger in a bowl, then add lettuce and tomato.

For Dressing:

  • Mix all ingredients.
  • When ready to serve, add the dressing and chips. Toss all ingredients together and serve immediately.


If serving buffet style place all ingredients in individual bowls allowing everyone to build their own. When serving this way, I always double everything.

Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

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    1. You were the first person I thought of when I posted this! You can still call me to get the recipe when you need it! ;)

  1. Oh, my!!!!! This looks wonderful!! I cannot wait to try it. I found you through Sarah Coller’s website. So happy to “meet” you!! God bless.

  2. Kim at Serving Up Southern says:

    Thanks for stopping by Cheryl! Let us know how you like it. :)

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