Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (2024)

Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (1)

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In This Post

  • Why You’ll Love My Big Mac Salad Recipe
  • How To Make Big Mac Salad
  • Tips About The Dressing
  • Storage Instructions
  • More Meal Salad Recipes
  • My Favorite Tools For This Recipe
  • Big Mac Salad (Cheeseburger Salad)Recipe card
  • Recipe Reviews

I’m not big on fast food these days, but I do have fond memories of rare stops at McDonald’s as a kid. And every once in a while, I still get a craving for it. That’s when I know to get creative in the kitchen! I developed this 20-minute Big Mac salad recipe (or simply cheeseburger salad) on one such occasion on a whim, and it was so good that it became a permanent staple in my family. Now we can all enjoy the same flavors at home, all the time — and so can you!

Why You’ll Love My Big Mac Salad Recipe

  • Tastes like a Big Mac in salad form – This dish combines the best vibes of the classic cheeseburger with the crisp freshness of a salad. I also gave it a Mickey D’s upgrade with my sweet, creamy (dreamy!) copycat Big Mac sauce (just like my casserole version of this burger). It’s as satisfying as it sounds!
  • Simple, natural ingredients – Anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about clean eating, so the processed ingredients at the drive-through are a no-go! My hamburger salad uses fresh, simple staples instead. You get all the best parts of a Big Mac, without the unnecessary “stuff”.
  • Healthier alternative – This salad is naturally low carb, keto friendly, gluten-free, and just simply packed with protein and vegetables. You’ll feel so much better about eating it!
  • Ready in 20 minutes – You can whip up this easy, healthy dinner in just 20 minutes! I make it for busy weeknights, lazy weekends, and even meal prep it for lunch.
  • Tried and tested recipe – This Big Mac salad is one of my oldest, most popular low carb salad recipes, with hundreds of reviews from readers! So don’t take my word for it. 😉
Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (2)

Ingredients & Substitutions

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for my Big Mac salad recipe, what each one does, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

Cheeseburger Salad:

The main ingredients for this salad are very similar to what you’d find in a Big Mac:

  • Ground Beef – I usually use 85/15 lean ground beef, but you can opt for lean ground beef (90/10) or more flavorful 80/20. Feel free to swap in ground turkey or ground chicken for something lighter.
  • Romaine Lettuce– McDonald’s uses iceberg lettuce, but I prefer romaine for extra nutrients. You can opt for iceberg if you prefer, or use other greens, like spinach or arugula.
  • Tomatoes – I used chopped Roma tomatoes for this recipe, but I also often use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, which my kids like better. You can also omit the tomatoes altogether, as a traditional Big Mac sandwich doesn’t have any.
  • Cheddar Cheese– McDonald’s uses processed cheese on their burgers, but I’m using shredded cheddar for this salad. (Real food only around here!) You can omit it for a dairy-free option.
  • Dill Pickles– For a salty contrast and crunchy texture. You can also add diced or sliced red onions for even more crunch!
  • Sesame Seeds– Instead of a sesame seed bun (can you hear the song in your head?), I like to garnish with sesame seeds for the same flavor. I actually forgot to include them in my first version of Big Mac salad and it was still amazing, so don’t worry if you don’t have any.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper – For seasoning the beef.

Big Mac Sauce:

Let’s be real — the key to this hamburger salad is the Big Mac salad dressing, a.k.a special sauce! This version is a lot like my sugar-free Thousand Island dressing, but without the ketchup. (McDonald’s doesn’t use ketchup in theirs, either, but if you want to add it, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of my sugar free ketchup.)

  • Mayonnaise – I use my own avocado oil mayonnaise when I can, but store-bought works as well (this is my favorite store-bought brand).
  • Pickles– Use dill pickles and dice finely. You can also use sweet pickle relish instead, but beware that this will have added sugar or corn syrup.
  • Mustard – I used classic yellow mustard, but you could use Dijon instead, or even keto honey mustard if you like extra sweetness.
  • Vinegar – Adds tang to the dressing. My recipe calls for white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar also works well.
  • Smoked Paprika – Adds a subtle smokiness and that signature color. Regular sweet paprika would also work.
  • Besti Powdered Monk Fruit Allulose Blend– The sauce at the fast-food joint is loaded with sugar (and corn syrup), but I sweeten mine with Besti instead. It dissolves better than other sugar substitutes, and doesn’t leave an aftertaste or gritty texture. Regular powdered sugar works from a recipe standpoint, but I can’t recommend it because the whole point of this Big Mac salad is to make it better for you!
Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (3)

How To Make Big Mac Salad

This section shows step-by-step photos together with the instructions, to help you visualize the recipe. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. Brown the meat. Add the ground beef to alarge skillet. Break apart with a spatula, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. (I don’t usually need to drain it using 85/15 beef, but you may need to if yours is 80/20.)
  2. Blend the dressing. Combine the mayo, pickles, mustard, vinegar, smoked paprika, and powdered Besti in ablender. Puree until smooth. Adjust sweetener to your taste. Refrigerate until ready to use — it tastes best cold!
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Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (5)
  1. Assemble the cheeseburger salad. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and pickles to a salad bowl.
  2. Add the beef, dressing, and garnish. Top the salad with ground beef crumbles, then drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Don’t forget the sesame seeds for garnish if you have them.
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Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (9)

Tips About The Dressing

  • You can adjust the consistency. I like the salad dressing on the thicker side, almost like a sauce, but if it’s too thick for you, you can thin it out with water or oil and puree again.
  • Use a whisk if you don’t have a blender. I prefer to blend the dressing, because it makes it super smooth without separate pickle pieces. If you want it more chunky or don’t have a blender, you can just mince the pickles super fine and whisk with the other ingredients instead.
  • Try aromatic spices for more flavor. All my healthy recipes have 10 ingredients or less (not including salt and pepper), and so does this Big Mac salad. That’s why I limited the ingredients in the dressing to the most crucial ones. But when I want a more complex flavor, adding 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder tastes great!
  • The dressing gets better with time. If you can make it in advance, I recommend it! The flavors develop even more after a couple hours (or longer) in the fridge.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, preferably with the dressing stored in a separate container. If you already added it, the salad will only be good for 1 day.
  • Meal prep: I’m a big fan of this Big Mac salad for my meal prep lunches! Chop the pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce, precook the ground beef, and make the sauce. Just store in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, and assemble just before eating. If you don’t mind the beef cold, you can even make individual salads in jars (see my mason jar salad post for general instructions).

More Meal Salad Recipes

In many ways, this Big Mac salad reminds me of my populartaco salad. It’s another light salad version of a carb-heavy classic that still has the same flavors — and is hearty enough to be a meal on its own. If that’s your thing, you’ll like these other salads that serve up dinner with minimal cooking:

Cobb Salad

Green Goddess Salad

Steak Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad

  • Large Skillet– One of my faves! It has lasted for years and browns ground beef for this hamburger salad quickly, without sticking.
  • Blender– This high-powered blender is one of my go-to kitchen appliances, and it gets this dressing silky smooth.

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Recipe Card

Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (15)

4.61 from 240 votes☝️ Click stars to rate or click here to leave a review!

Big Mac Salad (Cheeseburger Salad)

This Big Mac salad recipe (cheeseburger salad) makes an easy, healthy, low carb lunch or dinner in just 20 minutes, with simple ingredients.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Total: 20 minutes

Author: Maya Krampf from

Servings: 6 (adjust to scale recipe)

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Recipe Video

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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Add the ground beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat. (You can add a little oil if needed.) Break apart with a spatula and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned and moisture has evaporated.

  2. Meanwhile, puree all the dressing ingredients in a blender. If dressing is thicker than you like, thin out with water or oil and puree again. Adjust sweetener to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and pickles.

  4. Add the ground beef. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat.

  5. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

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Related Easy Recipes

  • Spinach Bacon Salad

  • Chicken Caesar Salad

  • Taco Salad

  • Keto Cheeseburger Casserole

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.




Total Carbs3g

Net Carbs2g



Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

Course:Main Course, Salad


Keywords:big mac salad, big mac salad recipe, cheeseburger salad, hamburger salad

Calories: 368 kcal

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

Big Mac Salad Recipe

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Disclaimer: Big Mac may be a registered trademark. This recipe is my interpretation of a similar dish, but is not to be construed as an endorsem*nt of the company or having been endorsed by the company. There is no affiliation between myself and the company. Trademark remains the property of its owner and is used here only to describe the product.

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Big Mac Salad Recipe (Cheeseburger Salad) - Wholesome Yum (2024)
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