Taco Salad with Fritos

Taco Salad with Fritos is the ultimate potluck dish! Everything is layered into a casserole dish to keep it quick and easy, with Catalina dressing on the side for serving.

hand pouring catalina dressing on a taco salad.

The 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were a popular time to add chips to casseroles. Taco Casserole with Fritos, Hot Chicken Salad, and Old Fashioned Tuna Casserole are just a few examples of how corn chips and potato chips weaseled their way into dinnertime (not that I’m complaining!).

This Taco Salad with Fritos is yet another example. This tasty side dish layers lettuce, tomatoes, seasoned beans, red onion, cheese, and Fritos in a casserole dish or trifle dish. Guests can serve themselves, and top it to-taste with a bottled Catalina dressing.

I love this dish for a potluck. It’s easy, travels well, and makes enough for plenty of hungry taco salad lovers.


lettuce, fritos, tomatoes, and other ingredients.

A full list of ingredients and instructions can be found in the recipe card below!

  • Use your favorite lettuce here—romaine, iceberg, or green leaf lettuce all work well.
  • Same with the shredded cheese: cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, or taco seasoned cheese are all excellent choices.
  • Chili beans have chili seasoning added, giving them a little extra flavor. However, canned kidney beans or pinto beans can be substituted.
  • The “original recipe” seems to have called for Catalina dressing, yet I found other recipes in vintage cookbooks that mention a creamy Italian dressing or Thousand Island dressing. Use whichever you prefer.
  • Want to add meat? A pound of ground beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning, transform this into a main dish salad.

How to make Taco Salad with Fritos

This simple salad doesn’t take much—just layer everything in a casserole dish and go!

If you’re making the salad ahead of time, leave the Fritos off the top until right before you serve it. This helps keep them crunchy.

fritos on top of a taco salad in a glass dish.

Serving the taco salad

You can serve the salad one of two ways:

  • With the dressing on the side
  • Dressing mixed in (do this right before serving so the Fritos stay crunchy)

I’ve spotted variations on this recipe a dozen times in vintage cookbooks. The instructions vary for the dressing. Most call for Catalina dressing, but Thousand Island and creamy Italian dressing are mentioned as well.

taco salad with catalina dressing.

How long will taco salad with fritos keep?

As soon as the Fritos are added, they will start to soften as they’re mixed with the other ingredients. The salad will last for several days in the fridge, though the Fritos won’t be as crunchy.

To make the salad ahead of time, leave off the Fritos and add them just before serving.

More classic salads to love

Here are a few more salads from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s!

📖 Recipe

taco salad with fritos and catalina dressing.

Taco Salad with Fritos

Published by Kate
This classic taco salad with Fritos and Catalina dressing is perfect for a potluck or party!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 393 kcal


  • 1 small head lettuce, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can chili beans, drained
  • cups shredded cheddar
  • 4 cups Fritos corn chips (about one 9-oz bag)
  • 1 cup Catalina salad dressing


  • Line the bottom of a 13×9-inch dish with chopped lettuce.
  • Add a layer of tomatoes, red onion, chili beans, and cheese. Top with the Fritos.
  • Pour the dressing over the top, mix, and serve immediately OR serve the salad with the dressing on the side.



This salad has any number of variations. Here are some ideas:
  • Shredded colby jack or monterey jack cheese
  • Ground beef (seasoned with taco seasoning) in place of or in addition to the chili beans
  • Kidney beans instead of the chili beans
  • Green leaf or iceberg lettuce
  • Lightly crushed Doritos in place of the Fritos
  • Thousand Island or creamy Italian dressing in place of the Catalina
If you’re making this for a party, add the Fritos right before serving.
Any extra salad will keep for a few days in the fridge. The Fritos will start to get soggy, though. 


Calories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 9gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 915mgPotassium: 484mgFiber: 5gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 5.833IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 207mgIron: 2mg
Keyword fritos taco salad, taco salad with fritos
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More vintage recipes with chips

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5 from 1 vote

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