Easy Taco Meatloaf

This Taco Meatloaf is an easy recipe you’ll soon be making over and over. It’s packed with the unmistakable flavors of ground beef, tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream. Close your eyes, and you’ll think you’re eating a taco.

But let me also tell you that this Tex-Mex meatloaf is a lifesaver. That’s because this meatloaf takes only about 15 minutes to make, pop it in the oven and you have time to make salad or attend to the little ones. It turns hectic weeknights more relaxing, and it’s been proven to make meatloaf lovers out of people who don’t like meatloaf.

a bowl with two slices of meatloaf, cavatappi and cheese, braised carrots, broccoli, and spinach
Jump to:

Ingredients

This taco meatloaf, has been on regular repeat any time there are tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream in the house.

  • Use all ground beef or a combination of ground beef and ground pork. I’d recommend the leanest ground beef you can find.
  • Juanita’s are our favorite tortilla chips for this meatloaf or dipping into homemade guacamole!
  • Heat in this recipe can come from your salsa or additions of hot sauce, chopped chili peppers, or chili powder or ground chili peppers. Feel free to turn it up!
  • Not actually an ingredient, but a meatloaf pan is a great thing if you love meatloaf because it allows the fat to drip away from the loaf. Don’t pour the fat down the drain!

Tip from the wise quacker: save your money and stop buying “taco seasoning” and other pre-made spice mixes and just use the spices in your spice drawer! Taco seasoning is just a combination of chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, paprika, garlic or onion powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Use half ground beef and half ground pork.
  • Use ground turkey for a slightly healthier taco turkey meatloaf.
  • Add a half cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels.
  • Add a half cup of cooked or canned black beans.
  • Make the meatloaf in a muffin tin for taco meatloaf muffins.
  • Go wild and wrap your taco meatloaf with a cheddar cheese pie crust or fry taco meatballs battered with crushed tortilla chips!
a muffin tin partially filled with taco meatloaf muffins.

 

Making meatloaf

My taco meatloaf recipe follows the standard formula for meatloaves and is a great recipe for someone learning to cook. For every pound of meat, use one egg and one half cup of breadcrumbs as binder. Tortilla chips take the place of breadcrumbs in this recipe.

You can use this formula to make an infinite number of meatloaves inspired by whatever flavors you love. Use other ground meats. Use different spices. Use crackers or rice or quinoa as binders. Go traditional and glaze the top with ketchup or BBQ sauce. Or get inspired and use salsa for a Mexican meatloaf or Hoisin sauce for an Asian one.

Recipe tips and tricks

Step by step

Meatloaves are one of the easiest meals you can make because it’s nearly one step! All you do is form the mixture, pack it into a meatloaf pan, and bake.

Step 1: Crush your tortilla chips in a large bowl. Then add all of your meatloaf ingredients except for the egg and ground meat. Mix together with a spoon or spatula.

Step 2: Add the eggs and ground meat and mix it all together with your hands gently. There’s no need to knead the meatloaf mixture, or it will become tough!

Step 3: Add the taco meatloaf mixture to your meatloaf pan. A meatloaf pan allows the fat to drain on all sides. You can also shape the mixture into a loaf in the center of a cast iron skillet.

taco meatloaf mixture packed into a meatloaf pan.

Step 4: Bake until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Glaze the meatloaf with some salsa or top with slices of cheese for an even more cheesy taco meatloaf. Just know that the cheese on top doesn’t freeze well if you are hoping to freeze leftover meatloaf.

Step 5: Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. This allows the juices to redistribute across the taco meatloaf and prevents your meatloaf from crumbling apart.

What to serve with taco meatloaf

If you need ideas for what to serve with taco meatloaf, I’d suggest:

two slices of salsa-glazed taco meatloaf with guacamole and sour cream.

Recipe FAQs

What does taco meatloaf taste like?

If you close your eyes while eating this meatloaf, your brain will tell you that you’re eating a taco.

Why does meatloaf fall apart?

Meatloaves fall apart for two common reasons. The first is not enough binder, like egg or breadcrumbs. The second is when the meatloaf is cut right as it comes out of the oven. You should let a meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to make slicing easier.

Should I cover my meatloaf when I bake it?

No, you don’t need to cover the meatloaf. In fact, you want the top of the meatloaf to caramelize and brown. So don’t cover the meatloaf unless it is getting very dark before reaching 160 degrees.

Can you freeze this meatloaf?

Yes, this meatloaf freezes very well. Just slice and wrap and put it in to a freezer bag. Defrost in a pan in the oven.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Taco Meatloaf

5 from 2 votes
Category: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4
Calories: 338kcal
This taco meatloaf is an easy, Tex-Mex-inspired recipe packed with the unmistakable taco flavors of ground beef, tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream. Close your eyes, and you might think you're eating a taco.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (2.5 ounces) tortilla chips, crushed
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup salsa mild to hot based on your preference
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano Mexican oregano, if available
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  • Heat your oven to 375°F.
  • Mix all of the ingredients together with a spoon except for the egg and ground beef. Then gently mix in the egg and beef by hand.
    ½ cup (2.5 ounces) tortilla chips, crushed, ½ cup (2 ounces) cheddar cheese, grated, ½ cup salsa, ¼ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 1 pound lean ground beef, ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Pack the meatloaf mixture into a meatloaf pan or shape it into a loaf in a cast iron skillet.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160°F.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving

Notes

When adding the eggs and ground beef to the taco meatloaf mixture, use your hands to gently combine everything and avoid over-mixing. There’s no need to knead, or you’ll end up with a tough meatloaf!
Variations (see the blog text for even more options!)
  • You can increase the heat in this recipe by using a hot salsa, adding more chili powder, or adding some minced hot pepper to the mixture.
  • Once the internal temperature of the taco meatloaf has reached 160 degrees, top the meatloaf with thin slices of cheddar cheese or glaze with additional salsa and cook for another few minutes.
  • Bake the mixture in a muffin pan for taco meatloaf muffins.

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 1033mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 622IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 4mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

This taco meatloaf recipe was originally adapted from A Meatloaf in Every Oven and published on January 8, 2021. It was last updated on June 19, 2023.

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?

6 Comments

    1. Hi Nicole – thanks so much for letting me know. My family loves this taco meatloaf too. We even had it tonight!

  1. Your Taco meatloaf sounds like that nacho cheese Doritos meatloaf,except the Doritos meatloaf uses spices from garlic,onion powder salt black pepper and Worcestershire sauce and either ketchup or barbecue sauce, it makes your kitchen smells like you were in a Taco Bell restaurant, it also have the taste of what flavor of Doritos chips you put in.

    1. Hi George. Agreed that my taco meatloaf sounds like it’s a cousin to your nacho Doritos meatloaf. Is smelling like a Taco Bell a good or bad thing? 🙂

  2. Well, to be fair, no one could make this meatloaf pretty! But it is beyond delicious. Thank you forever for sharing this recipe with me.

    1. Thanks, Hillary! You are welcome. Always happy to share the goodness.
      I *am* still trying to figure out how to take prettier pictures of my ugly food and do it quickly. I get about a minute before the “I’m hunnnnnnggggry!” starts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.