If you’re craving a burger, but you know you should probably just eat a salad instead, this Big Mac Salad (and its secret sauce) is your ticket to having it all!
When you crave the Big Mac sauce, you can either run to the drive-thru or make up some of our Big Mac Sloppy Joes. But sometimes the occasion calls for salad. Like when you’ve been eating junk all day, or you’re the last one to the potluck sign-up sheet.
That’s when you should break out this Big Mac Salad Recipe.
Potluck salads usually make one of these crucial errors:
- They’re too simple/boring.
- You’ve gotta at least pretend that you’re trying harder than pouring a bagged salad kit into a serving bowl. Offer us no compelling ingredients and you might as well have just put a sign on the salad that says, “I’d like to take all of this salad home again after it has sat here at room temp all day!”
- OR they include an ingredient that is SO polarizing and niche that only a few people try it.
- Example: This one has raw broccoli, a jar of mayo, and raisins, and this one has some random assortment of crunchy uncooked pasta, cool whip, and vending machine snacks, with an asparagus puree as a dressing. No thanks.
Thankfully, this Big Mac Salad avoids these pitfalls completely.
Why You Are Going to Love It!
- Easy, easy, easy! With simple ingredients, Big Mac Salad is about as painless as they get. Once you pick up the romaine hearts, you’re ready to go.
- It’s healthy! That’s right it’s delicious and healthy, filling that need when you’re craving a Big Mac! But the calories aren’t going to hit the top of the chart! Plus you can tell your mom that you're eating leafy greens.
- This meal is scrumptious, satisfying, and way more interesting than other boring potluck salads. It’s sure to be a hit.
- Packed with Big Mac flavors! Even the croutons are made from sesame seed buns—how cute is that? But I’m telling you the secret really is in the sauce.
And don’t worry if you have picky eaters. Using the same trick as our Pizza Chicken, Big Mac salad pairs something you want them to eat (salad) with something you know they’ll eat (Big Mac) for a dinner that’s sure to disappear.
Whip up a few crinkle fries or some air fryer potatoes, it will feel even more like going out for your favorite burger.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground beef - to stay true to the Big Mac taste, I use an 80/20 mix. Substitute ground turkey or chicken only if you must.
- Spices - salt, pepper, and garlic powder are at the heart of a burger. You can use a steak seasoning or grill spice combo for a different flare. This McCormick Grill Mates Seasoning is a great option.
- Mexican blend cheese - this blend of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla, and Asadero can be replaced with any combination of cheese that you like. An Italian blend is a snazzy substitution.
- Dill pickles - because, what’s a hamburger without a pickle? If you’re a sweet pickle fan, they’re great on this salad too! Get the crunchier thicker pickle chips rather than thin floppy sandwich coins.
- Veggies - any burger I eat must have a tomato, and the color is so beautiful against the green romaine hearts in this salad. Onions are optional.
- The Big Mac SAUCE - You have options. You can purchase Big Mac sauce at McDonalds or you can make your own with a combo of mayo, sweet pickle relish, mustard, ketchup, spicing it up with vinegar, garlic and onion powder, and paprika. And finally, Thousand Island Dressing is another alternative. Super easy as promised!
How to Make Big Mac Salad
- Sear meat - use a large skillet to brown the meat. It only takes a few minutes.
- Vegetable prep - add lettuce to the bowls as the base
- Top with remaining ingredients - and that’s about it! Add your meat, cheese, pickles, tomatoes and onions.
- Prep the croutons - an air fryer works great to make sesame seed croutons. You can also use the broiler or oven toaster.
- Serve - add the Big Mac sauce in a drizzle, and eat up! This recipe is made for four individual bowls or can be served from one large bowl.
Tips & FAQs for Making Big Mac Salad
- This salad can be a complete meal. Or you can serve it alongside some air fried potatoes as a substitute for french fries. I also love it with a fruit smoothie (like this Mango Banana Strawberry Smoothie).
- Mix it up! After browning the meat and air frying your croutons, this is a simple salad layered in a bowl. There is no right or wrong way. Toss it in, and you’re set.
- Storing leftovers? The beauty of this meal is that you can store any leftovers in the fridge. You don’t even need to reheat anything, making it perfect for a fast meal.
- Consult our handy guide for more tips on making perfect Air Fryer Croutons.
Big Mac Salad
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 romaine hearts (chopped)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar ( or Mexican blend cheese)
- ¼ cup dill pickle chips (halved)
- ¼ cup onion (diced)
- 2 tomatoes (chopped)
- 3 tablespoon Homemade Big Mac Sauce (or Thousand Island Dressing)
For the Sesame Bun Croutons:
- 2 sesame seed buns
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up any big chunks, until no pink remains, about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
- Divide the lettuce among four bowls and top with beef, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and onions. Drizzle with big mac sauce.
For the croutons:
- Slice some sesame seeds buns into cubes. Drizzle with a few teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Air fry for 3 minutes, toss, and fry another 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown and toasted.
More Awesome Salads
If you love this Big Mac Salad, but want even more zesty flavors, try our Ground Beef Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette or this Doritos Taco Salad Recipe.
For a meaty and more traditional (and probably classier) salad, don't miss our 1905 Salad (inspired by Columbiana Restaurant's hit recipe).
Or, for a more familiar salad try our Easy Garden Salad Recipe, or WOW everyone with the Best Caesar Salad. Trust us, this one is a winner.