Big Mac Salad

Big Mac Salad is a healthier twist on fast food! Easy cheeseburger salad with homemade croutons and copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce, a great summer dinner.

What’s not to love about weeknight meals like Taco Salad that can double as a tasty Side Dish? This easy cheeseburger salad is another recipe that’s great as a light dinner, lunch, or side for any occasion.

Big Mac Salad in bowl


In a perfect world you could eat fast food every day without gaining a pound and be the model of health. Until that world exists, there are delicious ways to get all the flavors of your favorites in a lighter, healthier dish like this cheeseburger bowl complete with famous Copycat Big Mac Sauce!

Tasty Big Mac Salad is great as an easy dinner on summer nights or served as a crowd-pleasing side dish for barbecues. Crisp lettuce is topped with seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, and burger toppings. It’s truly a healthy burger in a bowl! This Big Mac Salad keeps the toppings simple with onions and tomatoes, but feel free to load it up with all your favorites.

It wouldn’t be a Big Mac Salad without a spot-on copycat Special Sauce as the dressing or a sesame seed bun. If you are on a low-carb diet, you can skip the buttery garlic homemade croutons. If you need to make the sauce to fit low carb or Keto diets, check out the variations section on how to cut the carbs.

Big Mac Salad can be served as a light meal on it’s own, especially at lunch time. If you want a more hearty dinner, do a soup and salad combo meal with Tomato Soup and a side of Dinner Rolls. You can even brush the dinner rolls with melted butter and sprinkle them with sesame seeds for mini burger buns.

If you love tasty McDonald’s secret sauce as much as we do and want more delicious burger inspired recipes, be sure to check out our Big Mac Sloppy Joes and Big Mac Pasta Salad. They may not be as light and fit as this Big Mac Salad, but they are every bit as delicious!


Big Mac Salad in bowl


  • Meat: To make this salad lighter and reduce the fat, use ground turkey or ground chicken. For a vegetarian Big Mac Salad, substitute ground Beyond Meat crumbles.
  • Cheese: You can use any shredded cheese you like or have on hand like pepper jack cheese for a little kick or mozzarella for a creamier cheese topping.
  • Toppings: Try burger favorites like dill pickles, bacon, avocado, and crispy fried onions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or everything bagel seasoning for Big Mac bun taste!
  • Keto Special Sauce: You can swap the French Dressing with 3 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar substitute, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. You can also just increase the ketchup to ¼ cup sugar free ketchup.
  • Big Mac Salad Shaker: Prep your Big Mac Salad in quart size mason jars for lunch on the go. Layer in this order: dressing, ground beef, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. Bag the croutons on the side so they don’t get soggy. Shake, shake, shake to mix like the fun McDonald’s Salad Shakers from the early 2000s.



  • Serve: Big Mac Salad is best served fresh and chilled and can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Don’t top with croutons until ready to serve.
  • Store: Store the dressing and croutons separately from Big Mac Salad for best texture. Refrigerate in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Salads with greens don’t freeze well but you can freeze some ingredients to make Big Mac Salad later. The croutons will stay fresh in a freezer safe bag and frozen for up to 6 months. The ground beef mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Big Mac Salad in bowl

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Big Mac Salad

Big Mac Salad is a healthier twist on fast food! Easy cheeseburger salad with homemade croutons and copycat McDonald's Special Sauce, a great summer dinner.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder



  • 2 sesame seed buns , diced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes , halved
  • 8 cups lettuce , cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese , shredded
  • 1 cup Big Mac Copycat Sauce , recipe


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Toss buns with canola oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.
  • Add to baking sheet and cook for 6-8 minutes until toasted.
  • Meanwhile, add beef and onion to a large skillet and cook on medium high heat, breaking it apart as you cook, 6-8 minutes.
  • Let beef cool.
  • Add the tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar, big mac sauce and cooled beef to a large bowl and toss gently.
  • Top with croutons and serve.


Note: If you toss croutons, they'll get soggy if it sits for too long.


Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 779mg | Potassium: 459mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1172IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 197mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Big Mac Salad

Big Mac Salad collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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