Skip the drive-thru and turn your favorite McDonald’s burger into an easy and delicious Big Mac salad! Hearty and satisfying, this low-carb, gluten-free cheeseburger salad has all the flavors and components of a classic Big Mac, including a copycat Big Mac sauce. Plus it’s ready to eat in less time than it takes to go to the restaurant and order. Talk about fast food!
🥗 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- A Big Mac salad takes all the flavors and ingredients you love from a classic McDonald’s cheeseburger, tosses out the bun, and combines everything in a bowl for a lighter alternative to the drive-thru. There’s even a creamy copycat Big Mac sauce to tie it all together!
- This recipe’s naturally low carb and gluten free, but it’s also easy to make keto, dairy free, and even Whole30-compatible if needed. Whatever your needs, we’re using simple, real ingredients so adapting is a breeze!
- You’re probably thinking “But, Cheryl. Why would I take all that time to cook ground beef and make a salad? The whole point of fast food is that it’s fast!” I hear you, I do. But! A cheeseburger salad only takes about 20 minutes, start to finish. Maybe you’ve got a McDonald’s super close by, but I know it takes me longer than 20 minutes to get out of the house, get out of the neighborhood, get through traffic, get to McDonald’s, order, and get my food. Nevermind the actual eating, or bringing it back to the house to eat. And if even one of the kids is coming with me? Yeah, there’s nothing fast about that! A hearty Big Mac salad is way faster and way less effort.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Be careful not to overcook the ground beef. Crumbles stay tender longer than a thick burger patty, but that doesn’t mean they won’t dry out at a certain point!
- Use a lean ground beef (think 85/15 or 90/10) to avoid a greasy cheeseburger salad. You can also use ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, ground bison, or even seitan ground “beef” instead! Each one will give the salad a slightly different flavor overall.
- Remember those McDonald’s salads from back in the day? I think they were called McShakers? Well, you can totally turn your Big Mac salad into a homemade McShaker, and they’re honestly great for meal prepping. Just layer all the components in a mason jar and keep them in the fridge. When you’re ready to enjoy your salad, pour in the dressing, put the lid back on the jar, and shake everything up. All the ingredients get mixed up and covered in sauce that way so you get something in every bite. Make sure to leave a little room in the jar when you’re assembling, so there’s space for things to move around.
🥬 More Salad Recipes You’ll Love
- 7 Layer Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Guacamole Salad
- Chef Salad
- Cajun Chicken Salad with Cajun Ranch Dressing
- Chicken Cobb Salad
- Potato Salad with Raisins
- Amish Broccoli Salad
- Whole30 Southern Fried Chicken Salad
For the Burger Meat
- 1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil avocado oil, olive oil, etc.
- 1 pound lean ground beef 85/15 or 90/10 preferred
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper more or less to taste
For the Big Mac Dressing
For the Salad
- 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup thinly sliced onions white or red
- ½ cup dill pickle slices
- Large skillet
- Large wooden spoon or spatula
- Small mixing bowl
- 2-4 Serving bowls
For the Burger Meat
- Heat large skillet over medium heat. When skillet is warm, add 1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil and swirl or tilt pan to distribute oil across entire surface. Continue heating skillet until oil is hot and shimmery.
- When oil is ready, add 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper to skillet. Cook ground beef, stirring frequently, until beef is crumbled and no longer pink, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
For the Big Mac Sauce
- While ground beef cooks, add ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt to small mixing bowl.
- Whisk ingredients together until fully combined. Once combined, taste sauce and increase amount of any ingredient as desired. When desired flavor is achieved, set sauce aside until ready to serve.
For the Big Mac Salad
- Divide 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce evenly between serving bowls.
- Top lettuce with equal portions of prepared ground beef, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, and pickle slices. Drizzle Big Mac sauce over top of salads and serve immediately.
- Make it Keto: Use a keto ketchup (store-bought or make your own). Replace the sugar with granulated Swerve or a liquid keto sweetener. Shred your cheese from a fresh block rather than using prepackaged shredded cheese that contains added starches and unnecessary carbs.
- Make it Dairy Free: Use a dairy-free cheddar alternative or omit the cheese entirely.
- Make it Paleo: Use maple syrup instead of sugar in the Big Mac sauce. Use a paleo-friendly mayo and ketchup, and top the salad with a paleo-friendly cheese alternative.
- Make it Whole30: Omit the cheese. Use a Whole30 mayo and a Whole30 ketchup, and omit the sweetener in the Big Mac sauce.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate any leftover salad in an airtight container up to 3 days. I recommend storing the ground beef separately from the rest of the components so you can reheat the beef by itself. The sauce can be kept up to 1 week if refrigerated in an airtight container.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.