Cheeseburger Meat Loaf Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Cheeseburger Meat Loaf

Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min.
This easy and very, very cheesy cheeseburger meat loaf recipe will take your meat loaf from "meh" to marvelous.

Updated: Jun. 12, 2024

There are a million ways to meat loaf (yep, meat loaf is a verb now). From The Pioneer Woman’s meat loaf to Mexican turkey meat loaf, the tried-and-true staple is on family dinner tables everywhere. But our latest obsession (and favorite way to make meat loaf) is this easy cheeseburger meat loaf recipe.

Made with all the basic building blocks of a traditional meat loaf, such as ground beef, eggs and bread crumbs, this version gets a flavor boost thanks to burger-esque additions, including dill pickle relish, American cheese, ketchup and mustard.

Ingredients for Cheeseburger Meat Loaf

  • Ground beef: For this meat loaf recipe, we like to use lean ground beef with a 90/10 ratio, usually packaged as ground round. While a fattier ground beef is more flavorful, it isn’t necessary here since the eggs, bread crumbs and other ingredients help keep the meat loaf soft, tender and moist.
  • Egg: A single egg acts as the binding ingredient. It also helps the cheeseburger meat loaf hold its shape and remain tender and soft.
  • Bread crumbs: As the meat loaf cooks, the dry bread crumbs soak up the juices, helping retain moisture and preventing the meat loaf from becoming dry or crumbly.
  • Ketchup and mustard: These two condiments infuse this cheeseburger meat loaf recipe with rich tomato flavor and a little zip from the mustard. Any type of mustard you enjoy will work, and use whichever ketchup brand you think is best.
  • Dill pickle relish: Just a little dill pickle relish provides some classic burger joint flair in every bite. You could also experiment with finely dicing whole dill pickles (or dill pickle slices) if you don’t keep relish stocked in your fridge.
  • Onion powder: While onion powder simply seasons the cheeseburger meat loaf, you can try adding 1/4 cup grated onion to the ground beef mixture for extra onion flavor and moisture.
  • Cheese: To achieve that picture-perfect molten cheese center, processed American cheese is the way to go. If you’d rather use your slices in other American cheese recipes, you can swap in any type of melting cheese you enjoy for this meat loaf. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, spicy pepper jack, smoked Gouda or Swiss cheese would taste divine.

Directions

Step 1: Combine the meat loaf mixture

Overhead shot of combine 1/4 cup ketchup, egg, bread crumbs and onion powder in a bowl; crumble beef over mixture and mix well; black texture background;TMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup ketchup, the egg, bread crumbs and onion powder. Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix well.

Editor’s Tip: One secret to meat loaf is to mix gently just until the ingredients are combined. Overworking the meat can cause meat loaf to become tough or dense.

Step 2: Shape the meat loaf mixture and add the fixings

Overhead shot of a large piece of waxed paper; pat beef mixture into a rectangle; and spread remaining ketchup; top with mustard and relish; spoon; empty small bowls; black texture background;TMB Studio

Turn out the cheeseburger meat loaf mixture onto a large piece of waxed paper and pat it into a 10×6-inch rectangle. Spread the remaining ketchup over the meat to within 1/2 inch of the long sides and 1-1/2 inches of the short sides. Top the ketchup with mustard and relish, then place four cheese slices on top. Set aside the remaining cheese.

Editor’s Tip: Now is the time to stuff your cheeseburger meat loaf with other burger fixings of your choice. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Step 3: Roll up the meat loaf

Overhead shot of roll up loaf like jelly-roll style; starting with a short side; and pulling away waxed paper while rolling; black texture background;TMB Studio

Roll up the meat loaf, jelly-roll style, starting with one of the short sides and pulling away the waxed paper as you roll. Seal the seams and ends well by pinching the meat closed.

Overhead shot of meat loaf; seam side down in a greased baking pan; black texture background;TMB Studio

Place the cheeseburger meat loaf, seam side down, in a greased 11×7-inch baking pan.

Step 4: Bake the meat loaf

Overhead shot of Cheesebuger Meat Loaf; in baking pan; white and black line base cloth; black texture background;TMB Studio

Bake the cheeseburger meat loaf at 350° for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and an instant-read meat thermometer reads 160°.

Step 5: Top with extra cheese

Overhead shot of cut the reserved cheese slices in half diagonally; place on top of loaf; baking pan; white and black line base cloth; black texture background;TMB Studio

Cut the reserved cheese slices in half diagonally, and place the slices on top of the cooked meat loaf. Return it to the oven for five minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let the meat loaf stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Editor’s Tip: We’d suggest not skipping the 10-minute resting period. This allows the cheese to cool and set a bit so it doesn’t immediately leak out like a river of hot molten lava.

Overhead shot of Cheeseburger Meat Loaf; served on two white plates; with fries and ketchup; cut into small round pieces; cutlery; white and black lined napkin cloth; black texture background;TMB Studio

Cheeseburger Meat Loaf Variations

  • Add more flavor to the meat: The original recipe keeps things straightforward with nothing more than a dash of onion powder to season the meat loaf. For extra oomph, try adding up to 1 teaspoon paprika, garlic powder, black pepper or other zesty spices to the meat loaf.
  • Make it with bacon: Bacon lovers will love the addition of cooked or crumbled bacon to the filling. You can even wrap the meat loaf in bacon before cooking it in the oven. For best results, choose a thin or classic-cut bacon when making a bacon-wrapped meat loaf to ensure the bacon gets crispy in the oven.
  • Switch up the cheese and fixings: Turn this meat loaf into a Swiss cheese recipe by swapping in Swiss for the American cheese. Don’t forget to stuff the meat loaf with a generous amount of sauteed garlic mushrooms before rolling it up.
  • Try some spice: If you like a little heat, stuff the meat loaf with fresh or pickled jalapenos or add a few tablespoons of your favorite salsa to the center of the meat loaf before rolling it up.

How to Store Cheeseburger Meat Loaf

Leftovers of this cheeseburger meat loaf recipe should be kept refrigerated in an airtight food storage container and enjoyed within four or five days.

Cheeseburger Meat Loaf Tips

Close shot of Cheeseburger Meat Loaf; cut into small round pieces; served on large platter with fries and ketchup; black texture background;TMB Studio

Can you use a different kind of ground beef to make cheeseburger meat loaf?

This cheeseburger meat loaf recipe calls for beef that is 90% lean meat and 10% fat, which is typically ground round, but you could also use ground sirloin, which is 85% lean meat and 15% fat. If you use ground chuck (which has an 80/20 ratio), you may need to drain the fat halfway through cooking and before you top the meat loaf with cheese. The best type of ground beef for burgers isn’t the same meat that you would use for meat loaf.

What can you serve with cheeseburger meat loaf?

The best part about this cheeseburger meat loaf recipe is that you can pair it with either your favorite meat loaf side dishes or any traditional hamburger sides. Keep things classic with creamy mac and cheese, roasted green beans or garlic mashed potatoes. Or, go the burger joint route and opt for baked oven fries or homemade fried onion rings.

Cheeseburger Meat Loaf

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 50 min
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
  • 6 slices process American cheese

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup ketchup, egg, bread crumbs and onion powder. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. On a large piece of waxed paper, pat beef mixture into a 10x6-in. rectangle. Spread remaining ketchup over meat to within 1/2 in. of long sides and 1-1/2 in. of short sides. Top with mustard and relish.
  2. Place four cheese slices on top; set remaining cheese aside. Roll up loaf, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side and pulling away waxed paper while rolling. Seal seams and ends well. Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased 11x7-in. baking pan.
  3. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a thermometer reads 160°. Cut the reserved cheese slices in half diagonally; place on top of loaf. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
I created this cheeseburger meat loaf one day when I wanted to make cheeseburgers—my husband's favorite—but it was too chilly to grill outside. I've served it numerous times since then, and it never fails to get rave reviews. Even your most finicky eater will enjoy this oven-baked main dish. —Paula Sullivan, Barker, New York
Recipe Creator