Ground Beef Taco Salad Bowls — Making homemade taco salad bowls is so easy and they’re perfect for holding this family-favorite taco salad including seasoned ground beef, black beans, cheese and more! Everything is topped with a creamy lime-cilantro dressing that’ll have everyone finishing their salad!
100% Homemade Taco Salad Bowls
I remember eating taco salad at many picnics and potlucks growing up in the midwest. Everyone made them a little different from thinner on a sheet pan to deeply Layered Beef Taco Salad to Loaded Beef Taco Salad served in a big bowl.
These beef taco salads are served in homemade taco bowls which adds to the fun and flair and are a cinch to make.
What I love most about taco salad — apart from it being full of Mexican-inspired flavors, easy, and hearty — is that the sky is the limit with all the various ingredient options and variations you can incorporate.
Flexible recipes are what it’s all about! More ideas below for how to customize your taco salad.
Ingredients in Beef Taco Salad Bowls
Although the ingredient list may look a bit long, there are three components to beef taco salad and I broke the list down accordingly.
Everything is easy to find in your local market. You’ll need the following:
- Tortillas – Medium to large is best if you want a nicely sized tortilla bowl.
- Vegetable or canola oil – Although you can use almost any oil you prefer.
- Oven safe bowls
Lime Cilantro Dressing
- Food processor or blender.
- Sour cream – Can use reduced fat or Greek yogurt.
- Olive oil – If you like a thicker dressing, you can use mayonnaise.
- Garlic – Fresh or preminced.
- Salt and pepper
- Lime juice
- Ground beef – You can use ground turkey, ground, cubed, or shredded chicken, sausage, pork, or any meat you like.
- Taco Seasoning – I used a whole package or you can make a homemade blend. Use mild, medium or hot based on your preferences
- Lettuce – I used Romaine, but iceberg lettuce or another favorite is fine
- Tomatoes – Any type or variety from Roma to cherry.
- Jalapenos – Optional.
- Corn – Fresh, frozen or canned.
- Black beans – Canned or make your own.
- Avocado – Guacamole is also great.
- Limes – Optional.
- Black olives – Optional.
- Salsa – Any kind including red, green, mild to spicy.
- Onion – Red or white, optional
- Cheese – I used a Mexican blend, but any is fine.
- Chips – Fritos, Doritos, Tortilla chips, or your favorite.
How to Make Taco Bowls with Tortillas
As a disclaimer, you don’t need to make homemade tortillas bowls. You can use store bought, mix up the salad in a big bowl, or plate the taco salad individually.
However, if you are going to make tortilla bowls, it’s a fast and easy process!
- Begin by preheating your oven and add a bit of oil to a large skillet.
- Heat a tortilla until it starts to bubble, flip it over, and allow it to bubble again.
- Remove it, place it in an oven-safe bowl, and press down gently making sure not to rip the tortilla, but keep the sides up.
- Alternatively, flip the bowl over so the opening is face down on your counter, and drape the tortilla over the bowl. Then make sure the sides are pressed down fairly firmly over the bowl, taking care not to rip the tortilla.
- Repeat this process with how many taco bowls you want to make. I made 6 in total.
- Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- Tap the tortillas to make sure they are nice and crisp before removing. If the bottoms are not crisp enough, bake an additional minute or two or until done.
How to Make Creamy Lime Cilantro Dressing
It doesn’t get any easier than that to make homemade lime cilantro dressing in practically one minute!
Place this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Tip: As an alternative to making your own lime cilantro dressing, feel free to use Ranch, a lighter vinaigrette, or simply mix salsa with some sour cream.
How to Make Taco Salad Bowls
You’ve prepped the taco bowl shells and the cilantro-lime dressing — now you’re on the home stretch!
- To a large skillet, add the ground beef, evenly season with taco seasoning, and cook until done and browned.
- Add lettuce to the taco shell bowls followed by tomatoes, meat, olives, black beans, cheese, avocado, onion, salsa, and sour cream.
- Top with creamy lime cilantro dressing and serve with a freshly squeezed lime if desired.
Can the Ground Beef Be Substituted?
Yes! As an alternative to ground beef, you can change up the meat and use preseasoned chicken fajita or beef fajita meat.
Or try ground, cubed, sliced, or shredded chicken or turkey. Sausage and ground pork are also great options.
Can I Use Different Salad Toppings?
Of course! Feel free to mix and match the taco salad fixings to suite your tastes.
Being that there are lots of ingredients involved in these taco bowl salads, many of which are optional, but you’re bound to have leftovers.
Store most everything in the airtight containers in the fridge, and store them separately when possible for best results.
The homemade taco bowls can be stored airtight at room temp for up to 1 week.
What Kind Of Bowls Should I Bake the Tortillas In?
Recipe Variations for Taco Salad Bowls
Aside from the various protein alternatives to ground beef I mentioned such as chicken, turkey, sausage, or pork, there are tons of other ways to customize and personalize these taco salad bowls.
- Whether it’s black beans, olives, jalapeño, or another ingredient that may not be popular with the whole family, feel free to simply omit things as desired.
- Pickled red onions, radishes, jicama, shredded carrots, cucumbers, celery, or most fresh and crunchy vegetables work perfectly in taco salad.
- Rather than using taco bowls made from tortillas, if you’re plating the taco salad or serving it from a large serving bowl, you can add chips on top like Fritos, Doritos, or corn tortilla chips. The crunch factor shouldn’t be missed!
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- 6 large flour tortillas
- 4 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, or as needed
- 6 oven safe bowls
Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 2 cups fresh cilantro, stems included is fine (1 average bunch)
- ½ cup sour cream (lite okay or Greek yogurt can be substituted)
- ¼ cup olive oil (or use mayonnaise for a thicker dressing)
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic, or more if desired to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more if needed to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more if needed to taste
- ½ jalapeno finely diced, optional (remove the seeds to reduce the heat)
- 2 medium limes, juiced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 one-ounce package taco seasoning mix (or use a homemade version)
- 1 cup corn, (canned, frozen or fresh)
- 6 cups shredded lettuce (1 large Romaine head or iceberg may be substituted)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (Roma, cherry, etc.)
- ½ cup sliced black olives, optional
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed (I use low salt)
- ½ cup sour cream (lite okay)
- 1 avocado, sliced or 1 cup guacamole
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (or another shredded cheese)
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced; optional (remove seeds for less heat)
- 1 cup salsa (red or green, mild to spicy)
- ¼ cup white or red onion, finely diced
- 1 large or 2 small limes, sliced, optional for juicing
- 1 cup lightly crushed chips (Doritos, Fritos, tortilla chips, etc.), optional but if not using tortilla bowls recommended for crunch
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Preheat a large skillet and add a tablespoon of
- Heat a tortilla until it starts to bubble, flip it over, and let it get a couple of bubbles on the second side.
- Remove it, place in an oven-safe bowl (such as a French onion soup bowl, mini Le Creuset, or ceramic bowl), pressing down gently making sure not to rip the tortilla, and keeping the sides up. Alternatively, flip the bowl over so the opening of the bowl is face-down on your counter, and lay the tortilla over the bowl, making sure the sides are pressed down over the bowl securely.
- Repeat the process with the remaining 5 tortillas.
- Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Tap the tortillas to make sure they are nice and crispy before removing. If the bottoms are not crisp enough, bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until done. While the bowls are baking, make the Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing.
- Place the cilantro, sour cream, olive oil, garlic, coriander, salt, pepper, optional jalapeno, and lime juice in the canister of a food processor or high speed blender and process until
smooth. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
- To a large skillet, add the ground beef, taco seasoning, and brown over medium-high heat, crumbling the beef as it cooks. Although taco seasoning packets usually call for adding water, I don't in this situation but use your judgement if you want more liquidy and saucy ground beef.
- After the beef has browned, add the corn, and brown slightly, about 1 minute.
- To the baked taco bowls (or large mixing bowl or individual plates), equally divide all the ingredients* including the ground beef, optional olives, black beans, cheese, optional jalapeno, avocado or guacamole, onions, salsa, sour cream, and optional squirt of lime juice.
- Evenly drizzle with lime-cilantro dressing and serve immediately. Taco salad bowls are best served fresh.
Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
*It isn't required to make taco bowls for this recipe. You can use a store bought version or simply serve the salad from a big serving bowl or as a plated salad. If going this route, I strongly encourage you to use the optional but recommended chips so that there's a crunchy element. I use flour tortillas because they aren't as prone to ripping as corn are. However, you can experiment with corn and see how they work for you.
** As mentioned in the blog post, nearly all the ingredients can be omitted or increased in quantity if you don't like something, don't have it on hand, or want more of something. Additionally, many other ingredients can be incorporated. See blog post for ideas and tips!
Storage: All ingredients/components will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days if store separately. Lime-Cilantro dressing will also keep for up to 5 days airtight in the fridge. Extra baked tortilla bowls will keep airtight at room temp in a ziptop bag or similar for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 961Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 1688mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 15gSugar: 8gProtein: 40g
Favorite Mexican-Inspired Recipes
Loaded Beef Taco Salad – Crisp romaine lettuce, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and more! It comes together in just 20 minutes and is topped with the most incredible cilantro lime dressing.
Layered Beef Taco Salad – A classic taco salad that everyone LOVES, it’s EASY, and it’s ready in 20 minutes!! There’s ground beef, refried beans, red peppers, tortilla chips, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes!!
Cheesy Beef Taco Dip – EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and tastes like an awesome beef taco that’s extra CHEESY in dip form and so good!! The Bakeable Tortilla Bowls are so fun! PERFECT for game day parties and get-togethers!!
Loaded Chicken Taco Salad — Fast, easy, fresh and healthy!! All your favorite taco flavors in one big kickin’ salad that everyone will love!!
Layered Loaded Chicken Taco Salad – Juicy chicken, avocado, tomatoes, corn, black beans, cheese, tortilla chips, and more in this LOADED salad that’s EASY and ready in 15 minutes!! A creamy lime-cilantro dressing adds tons of FLAVOR!!
Buffalo Chicken Burrito Bowls — These chicken burrito bowls are ready in 15 minutes, making them perfect for busy weeknights or a quick lunch! Plus, they’re easily customizable.
Chicken Tortilla Lettuce Wraps – Filled with Mexican flavors, there’s taco-seasoned chicken, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cilantro, and cheese! Easy, healthy, ready in 10 minutes, and a family favorite!
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Al Pastor Tacos — Juicy, flavorful, tender pork served in tortillas with onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salsa! You’ll want every night to be taco night!