Taco Meat Loaves Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
Picante sauce, corn, olives, kidney beans and cheese kick up your everyday meat loaf, transforming it into our flavor-packed taco meat loaf.

Updated: Dec. 01, 2023

If you’re a lover of all things taco recipes, you’ll want to try our taco meat loaf recipe. It turns the old meat loaf standard into an exciting dish that even the kids will dig into. Ground beef gets spiced up with taco seasoning, picante sauce, olives, corn and other Mexican-inspired ingredients, and it all bakes up under a layer of cheese.

The recipe is just as easy as any other meat loaf recipe: You mix everything, shape it, then bake it. While it bakes, you can make a few Mexican-inspired side dishes—or simply kick back and relax.

Best of all, this recipe makes two full-size meat loaves for 12 hearty servings total. You can feed a crowd, or just serve one loaf and freeze the other for a future dinner.

Taco Meat Loaf Ingredients

 Taco Meat Loaf IngredientsTMB STUDIO

  • Ground beef: It’s the star protein of this dish. Use a lean 90% ground beef for a less greasy meat loaf.
  • Picante sauce: Instead of milk to help bind the loaf together, picante sauce does the job while also adding lots of spicy flavor.
  • Taco seasoning: This blend of spices like chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic gives our loaf the best taco flavor. Use a store-bought packet, or try a homemade taco seasoning.
  • Cheddar cheese: Most meat loaves are topped with ketchup, but our taco meat loaf is topped with melty, gooey cheese.


Step 1: Mix the ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and have two ungreased 9×5-inch loaf pans ready to go. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, 1/2 cup of the picante sauce, beans, corn, onions, olives, bread crumbs, taco seasoning, cumin and chili powder. Crumble the ground beef into the mixture. Mix it all gently just until everything comes together.

Step 2: Bake the loaf

Press the meat mixture evenly into the two loaf pans. Pop the pans into the oven. Bake until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each loaf reads 160°, 50 to 55 minutes.

Step 3: Add the toppings

Spoon the remaining picante sauce over the tops of the loaves. Then, sprinkle 1 cup cheese onto each loaf. Put the pans back in the oven, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melty. Pull the loaves from the oven, and let them rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Editor’s Tip: Serve slices of taco meat loaf with extra picante sauce, sour cream and salsa.

Recipe Variations

 Taco Meat Loaf served on dinner tableTMB STUDIO

  • Use chips instead of bread crumbs: For even more taco flavor, swap the bread crumbs for finely crushed tortilla chips or corn chips. To make it really spicy, use crushed hot flavored corn chips.
  • Change up the meat: Make a leaner meat loaf by using ground turkey instead of ground beef. The eggs and picante sauce in the recipe will help keep the turkey moist.
  • Experiment with add-ins: Try adding other ingredients like canned green chiles, sliced jalapenos, black beans and diced chipotle chiles.
  • Try different cheeses: Cheddar cheese is delicious on our taco meat loaf, but other cheeses like shredded pepper jack or a Mexican-blend cheese would also work great.

Can you freeze meat loaf?

Yes, you can freeze meat loaf. In fact, meat loaf is one of the best freezer meals out there! To freeze the loaf before baking it, press the loaf mixture into disposable foil loaf pans, then wrap them well, and freeze them. (Save the picante sauce and cheese toppings until you’re ready to bake them.) The loaves will stay good in the freezer for up to three months. Before baking, allow the loaf to thaw completely in the fridge, then bake it according to the recipe.

Another option is to freeze slices of already-baked meat loaf. Freeze the slices in a single layer, then transfer the slices to a freezer-safe resealable bag for storage. You can reheat them in a skillet or toaster oven, and they’re great for making meat loaf sandwiches.

Taco Meat Loaf Recipe Tips

 Taco Meat Loaf served with rice TMB STUDIO

What’s the secret to moist meat loaf?

The secret to moist meat loaf is not to overcook it. An instant-read meat thermometer is inexpensive, and it will tell you precisely when the meat loaf is cooked. Also, be careful not to overmix the loaf batter. This can make the meat tough. Just gently mix until the ingredients are combined.

What do you serve with taco meat loaf?

There are many great sides for taco meat loaf, like classic mashed potatoes, cornbread, a buttery avocado salad or Texas-style Spanish Rice.

How do I make mini taco meat loaves?

It’s easy to transform this recipe into individual servings—just use a muffin pan instead of loaf pans. Press the meat loaf mixture into each cup to fill them about a third of the way full. Bake the meat loaf muffins at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into each loaf registers at least 160°. Once cooled, they can be frozen, then later reheated in a 350° oven or in the microwave.

Taco Meat Loaf

Prep Time 25 min
Yield 2 meat loaves (6 servings each).


  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups picante sauce, divided
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Additional picante sauce, optional


  1. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, 1/2 cup picante sauce, beans, corn, onion, olives, bread crumbs, taco seasoning, cumin and chili powder. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
  2. Pat into 2 ungreased 9x5-in. loaf pans. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and a thermometer reads 160°.
  3. Spoon remaining picante sauce over each meat loaf; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with additional picante sauce if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 354 calories, 18g fat (8g saturated fat), 112mg cholesterol, 1001mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 23g protein.

We live in Texas and love the Southwest style of cooking. This taco meat loaf recipe spices up plain ol’ meat loaf! —Susan Garoutte, Georgetown, Texas