Taco Meatloaf

Taco Meatloaf -  BoulderLocavore.com

It never ceases to amaze me how when the weather changes so does one’s palate; as in digital shift.  For me gone are the days of tossed green salads at home to be replaced by soup.  Where I could not bear to turn on the oven for months, I cannot fathom going without eating something warm and soul-satisfying once a chill is in the air.
Though an omnivore I typically don’t eat a lot of red meat.  No big thing behind it, it just works out that way.  When I had a recent household request for Meatloaf it just felt like, well, so much ‘meat’.  I love the classic diner combo with mashed potatoes but it was a bit too much for me edging back into cold weather foods. 
Loving anything with Mexican seasonings I pulled up a meatloaf version up from an old cookbook which I adapted to end up with this.  This meatloaf is the best of both worlds to me; a good hearty meatloaf but with a Mexican twist I love so much.  The recipe makes two meatloaves so is great for a big group, leftovers or to freeze one for later!
Taco Meatloaf -  BoulderLocavore.com
Taco Meatloaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 meatloaves

In this age where we are madly trying to strip fat from our diets we need to remember much of the flavor in ground meats is FROM the fat! I did not want a meatloaf swimming in fat and elected to taper the amount of fat in the ground beef (extra lean and lean) and let the sausage provide most of the fat along with the cheddar cheese on top. As I wrote it up I wondered about adding in some chorizo for the sausage too!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cored and chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeno or Serrano peppers, cored and diced (remember to wear gloves!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder (pick the amount of heat you want)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 28-ounce can peeled, crushed tomatoes , drained
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½ pound ground round or ground chuck
  • ½ pound spicy Italian breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs (if making gluten free use gluten free bread)*
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large, heavy pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos or Serrano chiles, and seasonings until beginning to soften and onion becomes translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
  3. Add tomatoes and cook at low temperature, covered, for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, sausage, vegetable mixture, bread crumbs, eggs, corn and green onion; mix until fully combined.
  5. Divide evenly into 2 9x5 inch loaf pans. Bake for 50 minutes. Drain any juices, spread grated cheddar cheese evenly on the tops of the loaves and bake until melted. Allow to cool slightly before serving (10 minutes).


*you can always make your own Bread Crumbs by processing dried or stale bread in a food processor until forming crumbs. I do this often with the end of homemade gluten free bread loaves and store them in the freezer for use.

Taco Meatloaf -  BoulderLocavore.com
Taco Meatloaf -  BoulderLocavore.com


  1. carol says

    this does look good! and the kids get tired of the “same ole” meatloaf. i think i would add a few cornchips to the topping tho… next to bacon, cornchips make everything better!! hahaha!

  2. kylee says

    I made this tonight for dinner, as directed, and when I pulled them out at 50 minutes, they were not even close to being done. I put them back in for another hour.

    • says

      Hi Kylee. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve made this meatloaf more times than I can count, as have other readers, with no issue. I’m happy to try to help figure out what happened if you like. May I ask if you made any substitutions to the recipe? Is your oven calibrated so you are sure it is baking at 350 degrees? If you can fill me in more I’m happy to work with you. Feel free to respond here or email me too!

  3. kylee says

    I used everything the same except the tomatoes. They were in puree cause thats all I could find. Im thinking because of the extra “moisture” from the puree thats way. Also, when I dished it out it wasnt your typical meatloaf. It didnt stay together, again I think because it was to wet. I knew it was going to be wetter so I added extra bread crumbs. My husband still loved it, but I told him that if I still use the tomatoes in the puree, I wont use nearly as much. Trial and error, it still tasted good!!

    • says

      I think you are on the right track. It’s amazing how additional moisture can change cooking time and consistency. It should turn out as shown in the photos which gives you a frame of reference.

      I’m glad your husband still liked it! Next time it will taste great and look better too!

    • says

      You can do either Melissa. This excerpt from The Food Channel may be helpful to you: “Meatloaf can be frozen either fully cooked and cooled or raw ready to bake. Wrap each meatloaf tightly to prevent freezer burn or contamination from raw meat. Whichever method you use, be sure to defrost meat loaf thoroughly in refrigerator before baking or reheating. “

  4. Verona says

    I made this last night and the crushed tomatoes threw me. They were very runny/saucy, and trying to drain them meant losing about half the volume. Did you mean diced tomatoes instead? It turned out fine and the baking time was spot on, but it seemed like using crushed tomatoes and draining half of them away was a bit of a waste. Any advice? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Verona. This is the way I’ve always made the meatloaf and have not run into any difficulties. Typically I drain canned ingredients by opening the can almost all the way, holding the lid in place and turning it upside down over the sink to drain. If you do substitute diced tomatoes in the future, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Hope that helps.

      • Verona says

        Thanks for the response, Toni! So, just to make sure I’m understanding correctly, you do use the runny crushed tomatoes but just drain off all the puree, correct? My husband thought perhaps I bought the “wrong kind” of crushed tomatoes, but, as far as I could tell, there was only one kind! Anyway, it all worked out–I made the meatloaf for a casual dinner party and it was a big hit with our friends. Thanks for the recipe!


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