Copy Cat Wendy’s Original Taco Salad

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Wendy’s Original Taco Salad, with their famous chili over lettuce, tortilla chips, tomatoes and cheese.

Copy Cat Wendy's Original Taco Salad

My first job was at Wendy’s.  I was that girl in the blue and white stripped uniform you saw first who asked you “Is this for the dining room today?”

As a kid, I had never eaten at Wendy’s.  We rarely ever ate out, and it was even more rare to eat fast food.  The “Now Hiring” sign went up at our neighborhood Wendy’s though, and I decided to apply.  At the time the $3.25 cents per hour (minimum wage back then) sounded WAY better than the $1.00 an hour I was making babysitting!

Copy Cat Wendy's Original Taco Salad

I quickly had my favorites.  Back then, Wendy’s had a great salad bar.  Gone now.  They also had apple dumplings with this cinnamon sauce — to die for — now gone.  They had a chicken ala king potato, gone.  I am starting to think I am jinxing my favorites at Wendy’s?

I typically always order the same things at Wendy’s, chicken sandwich, chili, baked potato with bacon and cheese or a taco salad.

Well, a while ago, they made a “New and Improved” Taco salad, which just isn’t the same.  I truly LOVED the original.  You got a pre-made  bowl of lettuce, topped with tomatoes and shredded cheese.  It came with a small bowl of chili (get that hot chili packet, too!) a package of tortilla chips and a sour cream packet.  Crunch up the tortilla chips, sprinkle them over the salad, pour the warm chili over it, and top it with sour cream, which I rarely did.  It was SO GOOD!  I decided I would have to take matters into my own hands and make them myself, right at home.

Three Bean Chili
My chili recipe — lots of meat and beans!


We love chili, so make up a batch, and build your own taco salads.  I don’t claim that my chili is just like Wendy’s — but let me tell you, folks, it’s darn good! 😉

Copy Cat Wendy's Original Taco Salad An Affair from the Heart

Overhead of Copy Cat Wendy's Original Taco Salad in a white bowl
4.50 from 14 votes
Print Recipe

Copy Cat Wendy's Original Taco Salad

Wendy's Original Taco Salad, with their famous chili over lettuce, tortilla chips, tomatoes and cheese.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Copy Cat Wendy's Original Taco Salad
Servings: 1
Calories: 305kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • Lettuce - combination of Romaine and iceberg
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Chili (your own homemade or try mine
  • sour cream


  • Place a couple of good handfuls of cold lettuce in a bowl or on a plate. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chopped tomatoes.
  • Top with a big handful of broken corn tortilla chips, and pour a cup of chili over the top.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream if you desire.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 267mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 13g

Homemade Frosty's
Make homemade Frosty’s right at home!

For dessert, have a Frosty! I mean, you had salad for dinner, right? 😉

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  1. Hi Michaela: I remember enjoying Wendy’s ‘original’ Taco Salad many times after shopping at the Mall with my mom. I was in my middle teens, on a Salad kick, but totally in love with this paricular Salad. It was always a treat! Fast-forward….. I recently ordered it again, but it was definately not as I remember. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! First of all, their Taco Salad is now approximately 1/2 of it’s original size, & (mine) did not even contain all of the original ingredients. Yes, the price went up through the years (I understand that) but MY Salad wasn’t even worth it’s ‘original’ cheap price. THANKS for posting this recipe. I can now make & enjoy my favorite Salad at home. BTW, your Chilli recipe is great – but Wendy’s also makes a delicious Chilli. I’ll most likely buy a small cup for my Taco Salad, instead of making it. ☺️

  2. 5 stars
    I’m making it tonight. Canned Wendy’s Chili is available in stores now (I add 1/2 can of water to get the consistency I like), so it’s even easier to get the exact copycat.

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