Big Mac Salad


5 from 6 votes
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This healthy Big Mac salad tastes just like your favorite cheeseburger! Topped with veggies, ground beef, and copycat Big Mac sauce, it’s even better than fast food.

Looking for more salad recipes? Try my steak salad, keto broccoli salad, and avocado chicken salad.

big mac salad.

Whenever I’m craving my favorite fast food burger, I compromise and transform it into a Big Mac salad. It features all of the best parts of the classic McDonald’s Big Mac, minus the excess oil, calories, and carbs.

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make a Big Mac salad
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. More fast food-inspired recipes to try
  7. Big Mac Salad (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Tastes just like the burger. You get ALL the fix-ins the burger provides, minus the bun (aka the boring part!).
  • Healthy. This salad is bursting with fresh veggies, is naturally gluten-free, and also keto friendly.
  • Ready in 15 minutes. It’s also easy to prepare ahead of time!
  • Versatile. I like to personalize this salad with even more fun toppings or by swapping the beef for another delicious protein. There are endless ways to play with this recipe!
big mac salad keto.

Ingredients needed

  • Big Mac sauce. Also called “special sauce”, click the link on the left to grab my homemade recipe for it. This will be used as the salad ‘dressing’. If you want to use another sauce, you can try Thousand Island dressing, ranch dressing, or homemade spicy mayo.
  • Oil. To cook the ground beef. Use any neutral high-heat oil, like olive oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil.
  • Ground beef. I like using relatively lean ground beef, like an 80/20 mix. It’s still flavorful but doesn’t have as much excess grease.
  • Salt and black pepper. For flavor.
  • Lettuce. Any lettuce will do! I prefer to use romaine lettuce for the classic burger experience or swap it for iceberg lettuce, spinach, or a spring mix.
  • Salad toppings. I like using my favorite burger toppings on this salad, such as sliced dill pickles, red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes.

How to make a Big Mac salad

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1 – Make the sauce. Stir the Big Mac salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

big mac salad dressing in bowl.

Step 2 – Cook the ground beef. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the meat and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

ground beef in skillet.

Step 3 – Assemble. Arrange the lettuce, ground beef, and Big Mac salad toppings in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

how to make a big mac salad.

What to serve with this

Mac salad is filling enough to enjoy on its own or with a few sides. Keto French fries or air fryer sweet potato fries are never a bad idea, or you can keep things healthy with a bowl of roasted cauliflower soup. If you plan on enjoying this salad for healthy family dinners, pair it with roasted balsamic brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash casserole, or cauliflower casserole to round out the meal.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Drain the excess fat. There shouldn’t be much excess oil or fat in the skillet with the lean ground beef, but try to drain as much of it as possible. You don’t want a greasy salad!
  • Upgrade the beef by adding a splash of Worcestershire sauce and/or garlic powder to the ground beef as it’s cooking.
  • Make it ahead of time. When hamburger salad is on my meal prep menu, I’ll prep the dressing and toppings, and cook the beef a few days ahead of time. Everything is stored in separate containers in my fridge so the salad can stay as fresh as possible.
  • Low-carb Big Mac sauce. Use sugar-free ketchup, keto mayo, a granulated sugar alternative, and keto-friendly mustard to make keto-friendly copycat Big Mac sauce.
  • Instead of ground beef, make the burger salad with ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Vegetarian Big Mac salad. Ditch the meat for plant-based ground meat for a delicious meatless meal!
  • Add more toppings. There is no limit to the toppings you could add to the salad! Get creative and add pickled red onions, black olives, chopped bacon, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese sauce, or sautéed mushrooms.

Storage instructions

To make ahead: The dressing can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Keep the chopped salad toppings, cooked and cooled ground beef, and lettuce in separate containers in the fridge for 2 to 3 days before assembling and serving.

To store: It’s best to eat the dressed salad as soon as it’s assembled or else the lettuce will wilt. Still, if you have leftovers, you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.

keto big mac salad.

More fast food-inspired recipes to try

big mac salad recipe.

Big Mac Salad

5 from 6 votes
This healthy Big Mac salad tastes just like your favorite cheeseburger! Topped with veggies, ground beef, and copycat Big Mac sauce, it’s even better than fast food.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup Big Mac sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 1/2 cup dill pickles sliced
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • 1 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced


  • Make the Big Mac sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise, ketchup, diced pickles, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder.
    big mac salad dressing in bowl.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
    ground beef in skillet.
  • In four bowls, arrange layers of lettuce, pickles, onion, shredded cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, and the cooked beef. Drizzle the Big Mac sauce over the top and serve immediately.
    how to make a big mac salad.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 375kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 37gFat: 19gSodium: 1102mgPotassium: 836mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1589IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 365mgIron: 4mgNET CARBS: 5g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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5 from 6 votes

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is so good! I’m a stick in the mud and eat the same things over and over. I always use Hidden Valley Ranch powder mixed with Hellman’s mayonnaise and milk. I don’t like bottled dressings. I made this sauce today and I like it and the salad with meat and onions. It’s very refreshing and will be great to fix in the hot Georgia (US) weather! I have diabetes and struggle with low-carb meals, so it’s a blessing to find one Iike. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. This looks fantastic! I want to eat more salads, but the most I want to eat them is once a week, even with chicken in it. I wasn’t sure about. I’m wondering if you use it cold, room temp, or warm? I also always use a specific ranch made from powder, but I want to try your dressing. I don’t like mayo or mustard, but maybe mixed with other things it will be good to me! I haven’t tried onion in my salad, either, and I’m thinking I will like it. I’m too set in my ways and want to find different things to eat and desire more salads, which I need to do with diabetes. Thanks so much!

    Also, I use 80/20 beef and I never need oil. I put the meat straight in the pan (nonstick), turn it on medium and it almost immediately oils the pan with it’s own grease.

  3. 5 stars
    This looks yummy, definitely trying this. Chef Arman, love your work. Your love, effortless approach to your craft is amazing. Looking forward to more tips, advice and delicious meals. Thank you for sharing your gift. ☺️