Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing

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

Yield: 4 Servings

Serving Size: 445

Calories per serving: 25g


  • 2 tablespoons full-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons full-fat Greek 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 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)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, water, vinegar, relish, onion, sugar, hot sauce, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. 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.
  3. 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 heaping tablespoons dressing. Serve immediately.


Nutrition Information: Calories 445, Fat 25g, Carb 13g, Fiber 4g, Sugars 1g, Protein 43g


  1. Megan says

    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 :)

  2. LouAnne says

    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…


  3. says

    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.

    • Andie says

      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 says

        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 says

          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 says

            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 says

            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.

  4. Rocio says

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

  5. Trista says

    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!

  6. Denise Rivers says

    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.

  7. Anna Lynn says

    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!

  8. Janet Vaught says

    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!!!!!

  9. Mandy J says

    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.

  10. says

    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” :)

  11. Routhie says

    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!

  12. Sharon says

    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,

  13. Odette says

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

  14. says

    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!

  15. says

    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.

  16. Megan says

    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

  17. Kym Donachie says

    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!

  18. Maria says

    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!

  19. Kylie says

    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!

  20. Christine M says

    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!

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  22. Janice says

    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.

  23. Lynda says

    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!

  24. Mike says

    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

  25. Joann Hughes says

    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!


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