Taco meatloaf looks like your classic meatloaf but is filled with Mexican-inspired flavors from the salsa, spices, cilantro, and taco seasoning. Next time Taco Tuesday rolls around, try it with a fun twist and go with this easy dinner recipe.
Traditional meatloaf has always been a family favorite and screams pure comfort food. So I thought it would be fun to create something a little different for our next taco night since we have been wearing out the classic recipes lately like Tater Tot Chicken Pot Pie and Stuffed Chicken Alfredo Shells.
While this cheesy meatloaf recipe is great by itself, we recommend serving it with other faves like black beans, Spanish rice, a side of Mexican rice, or refried beans. End the night with churros, churro cupcakes, or mixed berry cheesecake tacos.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- ground beef – the leaner the better so there is less grease in the pan.
- milk – adds moisture, so it doesn’t get dry.
- eggs – helps to bind the ingredients and keep the meatloaf together.
- taco seasoning – you’ll need 1 packet of store-bought seasoning.
- white onion – we like to chop the onion really fine before adding it to the beef mixture.
- green chiles – drain the juice from the can before using.
- tortilla chips – any variety will work.
- minced garlic – could also use garlic powder if that’s all you have.
- cheddar jack cheese – freshly grated tastes great and gets extra melty.
- salsa – we used mild salsa.
Garnish this easy taco meatloaf recipe with fresh cilantro and serve with taco sauce, sour cream, or pico de gallo. Since it’s full of taco flavors, it goes great with traditional toppings.
- Loaf pan – Using a loaf pan makes it easy, but you can also use a glass casserole dish or baking sheet and just shape it into a loaf. We used a 9×5 pan, but you can also use a 9.5×5.5 and keep the same cooking time.
- Gloves – make less of a mess when mixing the ingredients together.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Swap protein – you can use lean ground turkey or chicken for this recipe if desired.
- Cheese – Cheddar cheese, pepper Jack, Mexican blend, and Monterey jack shredded cheese can all be swapped for the cheddar jack.
- Corn chips or taco shells – try the meatloaf with corn chips instead of the tortilla. You can also put a slice of the meatloaf into a taco shell for an extra crunch.
- Homemade taco seasoning – use our homemade taco seasoning mix instead. You’ll need ¼ of a cup.
- Using up leftovers – this recipe can also be used for meal prep as is, or you can crumble a few slices into taco salad bowls and add lettuce, tomato, and sauce for a new lunch dish.
- Homemade salsa – our canned tomato salsa recipe is better than the restaurants!
- Spicy – add chopped jalapeños to the meat mixture before baking.
PREP: Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the group beef, milk, eggs, onion, chiles, taco seasoning, crushed chips, garlic, a cup of cheese, and ½ cup of salsa. Mix the ingredients with your hands until they are combined.
Step 2: Shape the meatloaf mixture into a loaf and place it into the pan.
Pro Tip: The meat mixture is easy to work with when wearing gloves.
Step 3: Spread the remaining salsa on top of the meatloaf.
Step 4: Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then top the loaf with the remaining cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.
SERVE: Slice the loaf and serve with your favorite Mexican side dish and toppings.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature (center of loaf) reaches 160 degrees before serving.
- If it needs to cook longer, you can cover it will aluminum foil, so the cheese doesn’t burn.
- The onions and chiles can be left out if desired. It will still have a great taste.
- Do not add more taco seasoning than what we have listed. It will be too salty and over-seasoned.
Did you know that Americans consume over 4 billion tacos a year?
Keep leftover meatloaf in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 packet taco seasoning ¼ cup
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 4 oz. canned green chiles drained
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ cups grated cheddar jack cheese divided
- 1 cup salsa divided
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, milk, eggs, taco seasoning, onion, green chiles, crushed tortilla chips, garlic, 1 cup of grated cheese, and ½ cup salsa. Use gloved hands to mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Shape meat mixture into a loaf and place in the prepared pan. Top with the remaining ½ cup of salsa
- Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Top with the remaining ½ cup grated cheese and return to the oven to bake for about 5 minutes longer, until the cheese has melted and the center of the meatloaf registers 160°F.