Taco Salad

LAST UPDATED: Mar 11, 2021 | PUBLISHED: May 22, 2018 | By:

This Taco Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, juicy chicken, tomatoes, fresh shredded cheese, red peppers, and optional cilantro and red onion for a light but flavorful effortless lunch or easy weeknight dinner. 

taco salad in tortilla bowl with gold utensils

This post was originally published May 22, 2018 and updated with fresh details March 11, 2021.

I love soup and casseroles in the winter, but when the weather starts to warm I find myself craving meals that are light and fresh.

I also start looking for ways to simplify our meals to make dinner at home feel more appealing and less like a chore. I’m drawn to spend more time outside enjoying the warm weather with my family, not inside working in a hot kitchen.

This taco salad recipe fits the bill. It is the perfect combination of light, fresh, quick, and easy – all to make a delicious salad that everyone will love.

Talking about quick and easy, I make this baked chicken breast early in the week, then use it in meals all week long. It’s a huge timesaver and makes throwing together this salad a breeze!

taco salad with chicken in tortilla bowl

Try the recipe the next time you bake chicken – you’ll love it! It delivers delicious, tender chicken that you can serve on its own or shred to use in meals like taco salad, chicken tacos, chicken nachos, chicken enchiladas, and creamy chicken pasta with Cajun sauce.

This taco salad is hearty enough to hold its own as a main dish, but it can also be served as a satisfying side dish.

Want more delicious chicken recipes? Try my lemon pepper chicken, zesty blackened chicken, 3-ingredient pesto chicken, and incredibly easy chicken kabobs.

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Taco Salad Recipe

  • Fast – ready in less than 10 minutes with pre-baked chicken
  • So flexible- easy to customize with ingredients
  • Fresh and light
  • Fun to serve for parties
chicken taco salad in tortilla bowl

What to Put in Taco Salad

There are several required components for a taco salad, and lots that are totally up to you! Here’s my favorite necessities, with many more ideas for toppings as you scroll.

A tortilla bowl full of chicken, cheese, lettuce and more, on a white plate

Ingredients for Chicken

  • 2 Chicken Breasts – fresh or frozen, thaw before baking
  • Olive Oil or Lime Juice – for flavor and to help seasoning stick
  • Fajita Seasoning – for that delicious taco flavor

How to Cook Chicken for Taco Salad

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Lightly coat chicken in olive oil or lime juice. Sprinkle both sides with fajita seasoning. 
  3. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes – it will continue cooking. Slice or shred to serve.

How to Layer a Taco Salad

  1. Cook chicken and chop lettuce and vegetables.
  2. Make your taco bowl.
  3. Fill with a bed of lettuce and top with fresh vegetables.
  4. Top with cheese, sour cream, salsa or salad dressing – like this incredible ranch dressing – plus chicken or your choice of meat.
chicken taco salad in a tortilla bowl on a white plate

Homemade Taco Bowl

It comes together so quickly. You can throw it all together – including the fresh Taco Salad Bowl – in less than 30 minutes start to finish. Actual hands-on time is only 15 minutes!

If you’ve precooked and shredded your chicken, your time drops to just 10 minutes. It’s hard to believe that something so good can take so little time to prepare. It’s delicious!

Serving taco salad in a tortilla bowl definitely ups its appeal. There’s just something so fun about eating out of a Taco Bowl, don’t you think?

taco salad in a tortilla bowl on a white surface

You can also purchase premade taco boats – just bake for a few minutes and they’re ready to go! Of course, it’s totally fine to eat the salad from a regular dish too. You can always serve a warm tortilla on the side. Either way is delicious!

You’ll love the buttery flavor and the little bit of crunch! Tear off a bite whenever you feel like it. It’s so good!

This is the perfect summer recipe for a family meal or an impromptu get together with friends. It is easy to prepare and light to eat. The flavors are so fresh and satisfying!

A tortilla bowl filled with chicken, lettuce, vegetables and more, on a white surface.

Chicken Taco Salad Topping Ideas

  • cilantro
  • tomatoes
  • pico de gallo
  • red onions
  • salsa
  • beans
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • cilantro lime crema
  • avocado
  • guacamole
  • lettuce
  • cabbage

What Goes With Taco Salad?

If you serve it as an entrée, simply include all of the food groups to make it a stand alone meal. That includes your meat of choice. If serving as a salad or side dish, I like to serve it with chicken or tacos.

The beauty of taco salad is that everyone can tailor it to suit personal taste. Family and friends can serve it with all the toppings or just pick and choose their favorites.

It’s also perfect for a spread on Cinco de Mayo. There’s no better way to celebrate a favorite Mexican holiday than with a classic Mexican dish.

chicken taco salad on a white plate, gold flatware to the side


  • As always, fresh grate your cheese – it makes a world of difference!
  • Try a variety of toppings for a flavor combo that is out of this world.
  • If you’re eating low carb, skip the taco bowl and use a base of lettuce or sautéed peppers for a delicious option.
Is taco salad healthy?

Like a lot of our favorite foods, the answer depends on what we put in the taco salad! This chicken taco salad recipe is made with baked chicken and packed with fresh veggies, so it’s not only delicious, it’s light too!

If you’re on a lower carb diet, it’s important to eliminate the tortilla bowl or choose a low carb version.

Love that cilantro lime flavor combination? Don’t skip this Cilantro Lime Crema and Cilantro Aioli!

Join the club! You can find daily updates on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and see my latest YouTube videos here!

A chicken taco salad topped with tomatoes and cilantro in a tortilla bowl.

More Mexican Flavor

A chicken taco salad on a white surface, gold silverware and cilantro to the side.

Taco Salad

Author: Julie Blanner
This Taco Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, juicy chicken, tomatoes, fresh shredded cheese, red peppers, and optional cilantro and red onion for a light but flavorful, effortless lunch or easy weeknight dinner. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 430 kcal


  • 4 taco bowls prepared
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or squeeze of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
  • 4 cups lettuce chopped
  • 1 cup tomato chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper chopped
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese shredded
  • ½ cup red onion chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped {optional}
  • ½ cup sour cream {optional}


  • Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  • Lightly coat chicken in olive oil or lime juice,. Sprinkle both sides with fajita seasoning. 
  • Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes – it will continue cooking. Slice or shred to serve.
  • Fill taco salad bowls with toppings and chicken or your choice of meat.
  • Toss to serve.


Additional optional ingredients include: avocado, cilantro, beans, corn, pico de gallo, salsa, or salad dressing.
Learn how to make taco bowls with flour or corn tortillas here.


Calories:430kcalCarbohydrates:28gProtein:35gFat:19gSaturated Fat:9gCholesterol:112mgSodium:524mgPotassium:878mgFiber:5gSugar:6gVitamin A:1880IUVitamin C:34.2mgCalcium:419mgIron:4.9mg
5 from 1 vote
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner

Don’t forget, if you try this easy recipe, please come back to let me know what you think using my 5 star rating system, I always appreciate it and know readers do, too!