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Catalina Frito Salad

Catalina Frito Salad is a simple salad with plenty of crunch!

Chopped iceberg lettuce tossed with fresh tomatoes, onions, hot chili beans, and plenty of cheddar cheese is topped with crunchy FRITOS® corn chips and Kraft Catalina salad dressing.

The first time I had the pleasure of eating this tasty Catalina Frito Salad, I thought the combination of ingredients seemed a bit strange, but I found that they really worked well together.

This salad takes less than 15 minutes to put together and makes enough to serve a crowd. Make it a hearty meal that stands on its own by adding cooked taco ground beef or chicken.

A bowl of salad on a table, with Catalina Salad

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Simple ingredients.
  • Feeds a crowd.
  • Easy to prepare.

Catalina Frito Salad: behind the recipe

When our girls were little, we were members of a vibrant young couples church group and at least once a month we were gathering together for a picnic, pool party, or game night.

Everyone would bring a pot-luck dish to share — there were a lot of good cooks in our group! As a result I acquired a lot of tried and true crowd-pleasing recipes, Frito Salad being one of the best!

Armed with a big  salad bowl, a large bag of FRITOS®, and a bottle of Kraft Catalina salad dressing, she would laugh and entertain everyone around with her jokes and antics as she tossed the fiesta salad “table-side” just before the meal was served.

ingredients for catalina salad in a white bowl

Key ingredients and substitutions

  • Iceberg lettuce — rinsed and chopped; use a salad spinner to dry the lettuce as much as possible
  • Ripe red tomato — use your favorite variety, just be sure it is really ripe for the best flavor!
  • Sweet onion or scallions — chopped
  • Hot chili beans (canned) — rinsed and drained
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Frito Corn Chips
  • Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing

How to make Catalina Taco Salad ahead of time

Catalina Salad is best eaten immediately after it has been tossed together, so follow these tips if you plan to transport the salad to a picnic or potluck and assemble it on site.

ingredients for catalina salad in a white bowl

STEP 1 | Prep and pack

  • Prep the lettuce—rinse, chop, and dry in a salad spinner—and place in a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Dice onion and tomatoes and add to the bowl with the lettuce.
  • Rinse and drain a can of hot chili beans and place in small bowl with tight fitting lid.

STEP 2 | Toss and serve

  • When ready to serve, add the beans, corn chips, and cheese to the bowl of salad.
  • Pour the entire bottle of Catalina dressing on top and toss until all ingredients are coated. If you do this step too early, the salad and chips will get soggy.
  • If you like, finish the salad by adding some fresh ground pepper on top.
Catalina Salad on blue placemat

Do you prefer Catalina Salad or Taco Salad?

Cooking a pound of ground beef with taco seasoning and adding to this recipe makes a delicious Mexican Taco Catalina Salad for an easy dinner.

Also, remember this Catalina Salad recipe makes a big ‘ole bowl of salad which makes it perfect for large groups. I think Miss Donna would be proud that I’m sharing her recipe with all of you!

Catalina Frito Salad in a bowl
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  • Cool Veggie Pizza Appetizer – An oldie, but goody, this Cool Veggie Pizza Appetizer recipe hits it out of the park when it comes to popularity.
  • Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole — Chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce with a crunchy topping of Ritz crackers, poppy seeds, and almonds. Pure comfort food!
  • Classic Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake — This no-fuss milk chocolate cake is a definite crowd pleaser—it’s ultra-rich, extremely moist, and a chocolate cake lover’s dream!
A close up of bowl of salad on a table, with Catalina Salad

Let’s cook!

Catalina Salad with FRITOS® corn chips and Kraft Catalina salad dressing is a big hit at every pot luck or picnic!

Let’s be social! Follow me on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Catalina Frito Salad in a bowl
4.32 from 67 votes

Catalina Salad

FRITOS® corn chips and Kraft Catalina salad dressing are the stars of this simple salad.
Servings 8 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword catalina dressing, fritos, iceberg lettuce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 head lettuce cut in layers, then chopped
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 can hot chili beans drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 9-1/4-oz. bag Fritos corn chips
  • 1 cup Kraft Catalina salad dressing


  • Toss together all salad ingredients except for the Fritos and Catalina dressing. Chill until ready to serve.
  • Just before serving add the Fritos, partly crushed, and toss with 1 cup Catalina dressing (add more dressing, if desired). Serve immediately.


Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 911mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g
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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

Recipe Rating

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Thursday 17th of June 2021

I make this salad. It’s great. I serve it with a ground beef Mexican casserole. They are the perfect pairing! Everyone always asked my mom to make this when there were potlucks and now I get the same requests.


Monday 31st of December 2018

I've always made it with sliced black olives and dill pickles. It's a family favorite! Great salad!


Monday 31st of December 2018

That's a very interesting twist...I'll have to try it! Happy New Year!

Toni Crosby

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Just made it and it is chilling in the fridge..cant wait to taste it..yummy!


Saturday 7th of April 2018

Awesome! Hope you like it!


Saturday 13th of January 2018

I made it with Dayia Vegan cheddar and Lower Sodium Fritos for health / dietary restrictions. Delicious!

Carmen Cooney

Monday 22nd of May 2017

The recipe I have has an addition of a can of corn. ..drained. I usually grill corn on the cob and keep an extra to cut off the cob just for this salad. Also, the addition of grilled chicken (great use of left overs), cut into strips.


Monday 22nd of May 2017

Carmen, those are great additions!

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