This Taco Meatloaf recipe is a Mexican-inspired twist on this classic American dish. Crushed tortilla chips replace breadcrumbs and the meatloaf is topped with salsa and vegan or regular shredded cheese. This delicious clean eating dinner recipe has gluten-free and dairy-free options.

cooked taco meatloaf served on a wooden cutting board with extra toppings.

If you love Mexican flavors like I do, then you’re going to want to make this Taco Meatloaf ASAP!

This recipe is made gluten-free using crushed tortilla chips instead of breadcrumbs. You can also finish it off with your choice of vegan cheddar cheese or regular cheddar cheese for a super melty and yummy topping.

You really only need about 8 ingredients for this easy cheesy taco meatloaf recipe that will knock your family’s socks off. It’s one of my family favorites.

And, if you like meatloaf, you should also check out my Turkey Meatloaf Muffins or my basic Meatloaf without Breadcrumbs.

Key Ingredients

photo with labeled ingredients for taco meatloaf recipe.

Lean ground beef makes the base of the meatloaf mixture.

Instead of bread crumbs, I recommend using crushed corn chips to help accentuate the taco flavor.

Salsa adds even more Mexican flavor, but you can also use pico de gallo.

Onion and spices are a great way to pump up the meatloaf.

Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Recipe Steps

process photos for taco meatloaf.

Step One

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 

Step Two

Combine the meatloaf ingredients in a medium mixing bowl or large bowl.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the salsa to put on top of the meatloaf meat mixture later.

Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Three

Transfer the mixture to your loaf pan and use a spatula to spread the mixture into all corners of the pan.

Bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes. Then, carefully remove it from the oven and spread the rest of the salsa on top. 

Step Four

Return the meatloaf to the oven to cook for about another 35 minutes. You can always use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees F.

Let the meatloaf cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before slicing it and serving it. Feel free to cover it with aluminum foil while the meat loaf rests.

Feel free to add additional toppings including pepper jack cheese, black olives, black beans, green onions, sour cream or whatever you like. To serve this dish for a Taco Tuesday, you could even crumble the meatloaf and serve it inside taco shells!

I hope you agree that this is a perfect weeknight dinner that the whole family will love.

cooked taco meatloaf sliced and served on two plates with forks.

Recipes Tips & Substitutions

  • Grass-fed ground beef is a great source of protein and vitamins, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). See where to find local grass-fed beef.
  • Because this Taco Meatloaf uses corn-based tortilla chips as a binder instead of traditional breadcrumbs, this recipe is gluten-free.
  • I also used vegan shredded cheese in this recipe to make it appropriate for dairy-free diets. You can use regular shredded cheese, if you prefer.
  • You can also make this recipe grain-free and paleo-friendly by using grain-free tortilla chips instead of corn chips. Check the snacks aisle of your local health food store for grain-free chips.
  • This recipe is very versatile! Feel free to add seasonings such as garlic powder, green chilies, taco seasoning mix, chili powder, or your own homemade taco seasoning.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
front view of the cooked taco meatloaf with cheese and jalapeño slices on top.

Recipes FAQs

Can I use lean ground turkey in this recipe?

Yes, but I would reduce the cooking time so the meatloaf doesn’t get overcooked. Use an internal read thermometer to make sure the loaf reaches 165 degrees F before serving.

Do I need to use a baking sheet when baking meatloaf?

No, you don’t. The baking sheet will catch any drips or spills but it is not necessary to use when baking a meatloaf.

How do I keep meatloaf from sticking to the bottom of the pan?

I like to spray the loaf pain with nonstick cooking spray before adding the meatloaf mixture. This helps keep the cooked meatloaf from sticking and makes for easier clean up.

More Clean Eating Dinner Recipes You Might Like

table setting with serving plates of taco meatloaf.

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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white plate with two servings of sliced taco meatloaf with a side of tortilla chips

Taco Meatloaf (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Options)

Taco Meatloaf is a Mexican-inspired twist on this classic American dish. Crushed tortilla chips replace breadcrumbs and the meatloaf is topped with salsa and vegan shredded cheese. This delicious recipe is made gluten-free and dairy-free.

  • Total Time: 95 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup crushed corn tortilla chips (from about 2 cups of chips)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use up to 1/2 teaspoon for a spicier flavor)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa, divided in half
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (use vegan shredded cheese if you are on a dairy-free diet)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° Spray an 8×4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, tortilla chips, onion, cumin, cayenne pepper, eggs, and ¼ cup of the salsa.
  3. Use your hands or a spatula to mix together the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to your loaf pan and use a spatula or your hands to spread the mixture into all corners of the pan.
  4. Bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes. Then, carefully remove it from the oven and spread the remaining ¼ cup of salsa on top.
  5. Return the meatloaf to the oven to cook for another 35 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf reads 160°F.
  6. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and top it with shredded cheese.
  7. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing it and serving it.
  8. Enjoy warm.

Notes

  1. Use a serrated knife when slicing the meatloaf to help make clean slices.
  2. If you aren’t dairy-free, you can use regular shredded cheddar cheese. 
  3. You can also make this recipe grain-free and paleo-friendly by using grain-free tortilla chips instead of corn chips. Check the snacks aisle of your local health food store for grain-free chips.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 320
  • Sugar: 1.3 g
  • Sodium: 275 mg
  • Fat: 13.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.7 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Cholesterol: 169.8 mg

Keywords: mexican meatloaf, gluten-free meatloaf, dairy-free meatloaf

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with nearly 10 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.