This easy taco meatloaf is a tasty combination of ground beef, seasoning, pepper jack cheese, and crushed tortilla chips topped with taco sauce. It makes for an irresistible and delightfully cheesy meatloaf recipe that the whole family will love!
Let’s give meatloaf a Mexican makeover with my easy, cheesy taco meatloaf! I load the meatloaf with crushed tortilla chips, pepper jack cheese, and taco seasoning mix.
Then, I top it all with zesty taco sauce! It’s a meatloaf full of delicious Tex-Mex flavor that’ll knock your socks off!
The best part about this recipe is that it’s easy to make and freezes well! Make it ahead, and you can have an amazing meatloaf dinner whenever you’d like!
I love how cheesy and zesty the pepper jack and taco sauce make this dish! It’s a meatloaf like you’ve never had before! It truly tastes like a taco!
- 2 Pounds Ground Beef – I like to use leaner ground beef, around 80/20. You can also use ground chuck or sirloin.
- 1 ½ Cups Tortilla Chips – For an extra spicy kick, try Nacho Cheese Doritos! You want these to be crushed up well so they blend into the meat.
- ¾ Cup Pepper Jack Cheese – I love the delicious, slightly spicy flavor that the shredded pepper jack gives to the meatloaf! You can also use a combination of pepper jack and cheddar or Colby jack.
- ½ Cup Milk – Milk gives the meatloaf some moisture to ensure it doesn’t dry out!
- 2 Eggs – The eggs should be at room temperature to help blend into the meat.
- 1 Packet Taco Seasoning Mix – Feel free to use your favorite brand or use my homemade taco spice mix!
- ½ Tablespoon Dried Minced Onion – Minced onion is great in this recipe! The tiny pieces perfectly flavor the meatloaf without having to spend time chopping!
- ⅓ Cup Red Taco Sauce – You can either use mild or medium! This will top our meatloaf and add loads of zesty flavor.
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
- Can’t find dried minced onion or prefer to use fresh? You can substitute ¼ cup or 1 small yellow or white onion. Mince or grate it so it melds well into the meat mixture.
- Don't have tortilla chips on hand? Use hard taco shells or tostada shells, or make my air fryer tortilla chips from soft tortillas. Crush any of these options as you would tortilla chips and continue with the meatloaf instructions.
🔪 How To Make Taco Meatloaf
Cheesy taco meatloaf is so easy! It only takes about 10 minutes to prep the entire meatloaf. You can make sides or relax while this delicious main course cooks up!
- Prep the meatloaf mixture. You should start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C) to make sure it’s properly heated. Then, in a medium to large-sized mixing bowl, combine the meatloaf ingredients: 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 ½ cups crushed tortilla chips, ¾ cup pepper jack cheese, ½ cup milk, 2 large, room temperature eggs, 1 packet of taco seasoning mix, and ½ tablespoon of dried, minced onion. Save the taco sauce for topping the meatloaf later. Mix just enough to combine – do not over-mix the meatloaf.
- Transfer. Transfer the meatloaf ingredients to a 9x5-inch loaf pan and shape the loaf (make sure to leave a well around the edges to give the fat a place to run off to).
- Bake. Place the oven in the middle of your oven’s center rack and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45 minutes. Then, after 45 minutes, remove the meatloaf and top with ⅓ cup of red taco sauce. Make sure to evenly spread the sauce! Next, return your meatloaf to the oven and continue cooking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (55-60 minutes total. If using a thermometer, the meatloaf should reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) before serving.
- Rest and serve. When the meatloaf is fully cooked, remove it from your oven and loosely tent with a sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the meatloaf to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
💭 Tips & Notes
- Crushing Tortilla Chips: Ensure the tortilla chips are finely crushed before adding them to the meat. Place the chips in a gallon storage bag and use a rolling pin or mallet to crush them until they're very fine.
- Egg Preparation: Beat the eggs before adding them to the meat mixture. This helps evenly distribute the eggs without over-mixing the meatloaf, which can lead to a tougher texture.
- Managing Carryover Cooking: Remove the meatloaf from the oven just before it's fully cooked. The carryover cooking during the resting period will bring it to the perfect internal temperature, preventing overcooking and drying out.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Everyone knows meatloaf tastes even more delicious the next day! Transfer the meatloaf to an airtight container, and it will keep in your fridge for 3 to 5 days.
The best quality will be in between 1 to 3 days, so keep this in mind when planning meals.
Meatloaf also freezes very well! You can freeze a whole, cooked meatloaf or individual slices. (see my guide on freezing meatloaf)
Wrap the meatloaf or meatloaf slices in plastic cling film, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer storage bag. When stored properly like this, the meatloaf will last about 3 months!
Use your oven to best reheat the meatloaf without it getting dried out. Preheat your oven to 250°F (121°C), then place the meatloaf or slices into a baking dish.
Add a splash of water or beef broth and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the meatloaf is steaming, and when checked with a digital meat thermometer, the meatloaf reaches 165°F (74°C). (see my reheating guide for more details)
Tortilla chips in this recipe are so delicious because they make the meatloaf really taste like tacos! Not to mention, it keeps the meatloaf gluten-free for wheat-intolerant folks! If you prefer, you can use regular breadcrumbs to help bind the meatloaf. I definitely recommend trying the tortilla chips in this recipe, though!
You should be able to find dried minced onion in the spice aisle of most grocery stores! It’s typically with onion powder and salt. You can also visit a specialty spice store, like Penzey’s, for dried minced onion.
If you’d like, you can reconstitute the dried minced onion with a little water before adding it to the meatloaf to make it more tender! Save the liquid, too—you can add that to the milk (make sure you’re still using ½ cup of liquid total) for extra flavor!
🌮 More Taco Night Recipes
Do you love a recipe you tried? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Stay in touch with me through social media @ Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! Subscribe to the newsletter today (no spam, I promise)! Don't forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes!
📖 Recipe Card
- 2 lbs ground beef (lean ground beef up to 80/20 ground chuck)
- 1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)
- ¾ cup pepper jack cheese (or a combination with cheddar or Colby, grated)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 packet taco seasoning mix (1 ounce, or see recipe)
- ½ tablespoon dried minced onion
- ⅓ cup red taco sauce (mild or medium)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a medium to large-sized mixing bowl combine the meatloaf ingredients (ground beef, tortilla chips, cheese, milk, eggs, taco seasoning, dried minced onion) with the exception of the taco sauce. Mix just enough to combine, and do not over-mix the meatloaf.
- Transfer the meatloaf mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf pan and shape the loaf (leaving a well around the edges gives the fat somewhere to drain off to).
- Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45 minutes, then remove the meatloaf and top with red taco sauce if desired. Return to your oven and continue cooking an additional 10-15 minutes (55-60 minutes total) or until the meatloaf has an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) before serving.
- Remove the fully cooked meatloaf from your oven and loosely tent with a sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Beating your room temp eggs prior to mixing will help to cut down on the chance of over-mixing the meatloaf.
- If you would like to use fresh minced onion, use a ¼ cup or 1 small yellow or white onion.
- Meatloaf will continue to cook during the resting time (carryover cooking) which can raise the meatloaf's internal temperature by about 5°F.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!