Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing

by Andie Mitchell on February 20, 2013

cheeseburger salad

So…I turned my salad into a burger.

I burger-ed it.

I Big Mac-ed it.

cheeseburger salad

sauteeing ground beef

Hot salads have a way of satisfying that their cold counterparts lack. They’re weighted. Hefty. They stick to your ribs. And now, apparently, they taste like a loaded cheeseburger—minus the bun.

The dressing is a healthier adaptation of the secret sauce used on McDonald’s famous Big Mac. It’s creamy and sweet with a slightly pickled flavor—similar to Russian dressing. It balances the savory, garlicky flavor of the sautéed beef and onion.

Make this salad if you—like me—love nothing more than cheeseburgers and 20 minute meals.

cheeseburger salad


Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing

dressing adapted from Top Secret Recipes

makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons full-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons full-fat sour cream or yogurt

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish

1 tablespoon minced white onion

1 teaspoon sugar

dash Tabasco sauce, or hot sauce

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground beef sirloin

1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped

2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

dill pickle slices (optional)


In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, water, vinegar, relish, onion, sugar, Tabasco, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the ground beef and cook for about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally and using the spatula to crumble the meat.

Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds, until fragrant. The meat should no longer be pink; if it is, continue to cook until browned. Remove pan from heat and set aside while you assemble the salads.

Divide the romaine, tomatoes, and cheese evenly among four large bowls or plates. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the salads. Drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons dressing. Serve immediately.


Nutrition Information for 1 Serving (1/4th of Entire Recipe): Calories 445, Total Fat 24.8 g, Total Carbohydrate 13.1 g, Dietary Fiber 4.1 g, Sugars 1.2 g, Protein 43.1 g

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan February 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hey there! This salad looks delicious, but for some reason I can’t see the recipe in the post! It ends with the sentence “Make this salad if you…” and then there’s another picture but no recipe. Am I missing something? Thanks :)


LouAnne February 20, 2013 at 9:38 am

Hey … where is the recipe? I can’t wait to try it…. also, where did you get the Rachel Ray bowl it’s in? I have some bowls like that but mine are not that shape and I like that shape…



Maryellen/Andie's mom February 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm

the bowl is from tjmaxx, I believe its labeled (Stonehouse) and cost 4.99


Jess February 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

How interesting! I may try this one out! :)

By the way, did you get a new blog design?? Looks awesome!


DianeKay February 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Ca’t wait to try this – I LOVE cheeseburgers!


Mary @ Fervent Foodie February 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm

This looks AWESOME, especially with the dill pickles!!!!! I love pickles!


Beth February 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Oh man, that looks awesome!


Lindsey Renee February 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Yum! This looks delicious and I’m always excited to get new salad ideas!

By the way, I love the new look and layout! The last one was a little too cluttery and not as user-friendly. This is great! It’s attractive and feels more intuitive.


Stephanie February 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Yup. Making this for dinner tonight. Looks awesome!


megan February 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm

why do you use full fat mayo and sour cream?

the salad looks AMAZING!


Andie February 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Hey Megan,

I prefer to use full-fat versions of many things because flavor-wise and texture-wise, they’re the best. Feel free to swap out lower fat versions to your liking!

Thanks for your comment!



megan February 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm

i figured it had to do with flavor or something! i feel like i, personally, tend to eat less when i use a full fat version and that i savor it more!

but i hate mayo! so i will likely swap in some greek yogurt. this is going on my weekly menu next week! i’m very excited for it!!!!



Mandy J February 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

It’s a good idea to use full-fat (or at least reduced rather than fat-free) dressings and cheese for salads. Your body needs the fat to process the greens. If your’e worried about using too much dressing, use the old Weight Watchers tip and dip your fork in the dressing on the side, then pick up some salad. You use a lot less dressing, but still get the flavor.


Roseanne June 10, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Thanks for the Nutritional Info BUT you forgot the SODIUM – Which I’m betting is SKY-HI. Looks yummy so I’m gonna try it – So how much sodium per serving?

Roseanne June 10, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Me AGAIN – When I make this I’ll OMIT the Oil – for 1 thing you lose the healthy benefit when you heat Olive Oil, so if you insist on using oil it s/b Canola or Veg Oil. I will SUB Pam Spray to sauté the Onions & there’s fat in even Xtra Lean Beef,so you DON’T NEED OIL. just saying. ALSO this would be good with OVEN Fries OR Wedges to take the place of F-Fries (toss in a zip-loc bag with Veg Oil) & sprinkle lightly with HALF-Salt & Garlic Powder (NOT Garlic SALT) & any other herbs you fancy. Bake @ 400F about 30 Mins. YUM.

Rocio February 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Yay I love that you organized the new layout! :D This recipie looks super good! Specially if you’re craving a burguer, you should make a pizza salad for us pizza lovers :P


Diane @ Vintage Zest February 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Yes! I agree with the pizza salad idea too. I haven’t had a Big Mac in forever, but I’m sure this would cause the memories to come flooding back. :)


Trista February 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

This made me smile. I’m gluten-intolerant, and there’s not a whole lot gluten-free to eat in the cafeteria at work. So one day, I served myself up some salad greens with a little bit of shredded cheese, and yep the tomatos and a couple of pickles. I bought a hambuger patty and chopped it up and put it on my salad, which I topped off with a packet of light mayo, mustard and ketchup. And it tasted good!


Denise Rivers February 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I have been daydreaming about this all day. I NEVER do that. All through work, all through 90 minutes of yoga. Could not get it out of my mind! I made the salad dressing and chopped onions before yoga so it was like a 10 minute dish from skillet to table. Served it on heirloom lettuce and it was MAGNIFICENT!!!
This is going in the rotation. As a working mom, dishes like this are my salvation.
Thank you so much.
And thank you for using full fat food. It took me a really long time to understand that there is no “bad” food. I really, really appreciate that.


Erica February 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm

This sounds delicious- It’s definitely going into this week’s rotation :)


Anna Lynn February 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I have had this giant craving for a burger the past few days and I think I may have found the solution! This looks incredible. I want it in my mouth right now!


Jennifer February 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

Oh my goodness, this sounds way better than I would have ever thought! I am going to make this very soon.


Carrie @ Season It Already! February 21, 2013 at 9:26 am

We have Salad Monday in our house. You don’t know how much my husband is going to love this break from our normal salad!!!! Thank you.


Janet Vaught February 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

CAN NOT WAIT to try this! why have i not thought of this myself? five hours and i can go to the store for ingredients!!!!!


Mandy J February 21, 2013 at 11:49 am

Pampered Chef has a similar recipe; I think yours looks better, though! The PC recipe has you toast a burger bun and use it as croutons, which might be a good addition if you’re not watching the carbs.


Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts February 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm

What a fun salad – this would be about the only way I could get my husband to eat a salad for dinner!


jasmine February 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

OMG, this is totally blowing my mind, not only does it sound delicious…..but it looks absolutely AMazing Too!


Jentry Nielsen February 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Ah what a brilliant idea! I’ve only ever had bites of Big Macs as I don’t ever actually want to eat the whole thing, yet those bites are quite delicious! ha This looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try this out! Thanks for sharing the “secret recipe” :)


Sarah Jane February 22, 2013 at 5:22 am

I made this for lunch yesterday! It was delicious :-) Brilliant idea! I will definitely be making it again. Thanks!


Routhie February 22, 2013 at 9:40 am

I’m not a fan of McDonalds at all, but that salad was delicious! Big Macs are my husband’s favorite, and he was skeptical of a hamburger salad, but he loved it. Thanks!


Kelly February 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

That looks and sounds phenomenal! I was planning to have a salad for dinner and was for once not looking forward to it — problem solved! Though I might go for more of a chipotle sauce on top…


Sharon March 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm

This looks good, but it would have to be an infrequent treat. Over 24 grams of fat! As a diabetic, I’d have to make some adjustments,


Odette March 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm

BEST DINNER EVER. I was so excited about making this last night. It did not disappoint. Thanks for making healthy food fun!


Riss March 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Mmmmm… This looks amazing. I’m gluten intolerant so I have to nix the bun anyway, and a salad is the perfect way to get all those yummy flavors in. Yeah! Burger, my favorite burger place in Atlanta (which actually has gluten free buns, by the way!) has this amazing sriracha mayo that I bet would taste incredible on this salad as a dressing!


Hannah March 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I cannot wait to try this! I even think my fiancé will like it, too!


Marc March 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

I love it! A Big Mac without the bread, and without having to stand in line at the temple to metabolic syndrome known as McDonalds.


andris lagsdin April 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Love this one! I have tried this on pizza, hadn’t thought about a salad until now. Thanks for sharing this!


Stephanie April 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I made this tonight & my salad-loving 6-year-old & I gobbled it up! Awesome!


Megan April 18, 2013 at 3:48 am

OH My Lordy, this is hands down the best salad I have eaten in a longggggg time. Loved it. Left of the cheese (I am allergic) and substituted soy yoghurt, added a pile more veggies, capsicums, crunchy sprouts, cucumber ( I know, not on a Big Mac) it was sooo delicious. Thansk very much for your ingenuity, respect and full bellies from New Zealand


Kym Donachie April 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I pulled this recipe from the back of my brain (put on hold a while back) and pulled it up on my phone at the grocery store. Absolutely one of the best salads I have ever made (salads NEVER taste as good when you make them yourself IMHO)…I was skeptical about the dressing, but oh my gosh – delicious! I have Burger leftover and will be having another cheeseburger salad tonight for dinner – well done and thanks for sharing!


Maria April 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

Whenever we have burgers for dinner (we have turkey burgers here at our house – bad beef experience… never quite got over it), I always cook a few extra patties to make a burger salad for myself the next day. It’s one of my favorite “left over” lunches & I have to say I can’t wait to try this version! It looks very yummy & I might even convince my husband to try it (McD’s special sauce is one of his favorites). Thanks!


Kylie May 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Loved this; the boyfriend asked me to add it in the usual dinner rotation, an honor usually reserved for meatloaf, tacos, and spaghetti!!! Way to go awesome lady!


Christine M July 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

That sauce is delicious – my Big Mac loving hubby thought it was perfect!

I had the Cheeseburger Salad for lunch. The sauce reminded me of a sandwich they used to sell at Kresge’s (now known as K-Mart). I slathered the sauce on the middle third of a Flax/Oatbran wrap then added chopped turkey, chopped ham, chopped dill pickles and salad mix. Very tasty!


Kitchen Recipes August 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Love this one! I have tried this on pizza, hadn’t thought about a salad until now. Thanks for sharing this!


Robin August 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Had this for dinner tonight. It is my new favorite!!!


Nikki Rae October 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I used double greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and it was delish!


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Janice March 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Thank you for such a wonderful idea! We just had it for supper tonight and my entire family loved it. I ended up using the Top Secret Recipe version of the dressing and added a bit of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to the beef but kept everything else the same. Quick, simple, and really yummy. I look forward to making it again soon.


Lynda July 24, 2014 at 11:50 am

I made this last night. My daughter ate 3 bowls! Yummie! I’m working on a pinterest board of salads with a restaurant twist. This was perfect! I did find the meat needed salt. The previous commenter that used Lawry’s, good idea. Thank You!


Mike December 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Looks delicious the only problem is it’s almost the same amount of calories to just eat the Big Mac…if you remove the middle piece of bread they are only about 50 calories apart :)

Still…looks awesome


Joann Hughes January 4, 2015 at 5:14 pm

this looks great! I used to get the cheeseburger salad at a restaraunt here called Benji’s. I’ll have to bake some French fries to throw in it too? You can’t imagine what this adds!


Jennifer June 1, 2015 at 2:23 am

Do you drain the oil from the meat and onions?


Andie Mitchell June 5, 2015 at 10:49 am

Hi Jennifer!

No, I do not, but you can if you want to!



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