Slow Cooked Mexican Meatloaf

I have a complicated relationship with meat loaf.  On the one hand, I adore it – the warm, hearty deliciousness, the complete comfort foodness of it all.  On the other hand, it’s pretty much impossible to make meatloaf for two people, and it’s just the Southern husband and me in our empty nest these days.  AND I have this serious habit of photographing every dang thing I cook and meatloaf?  I’m sorry, but you are just not photogenic.  However!  This slow cooker Mexican meatloaf has solved almost all of these issues, and with a spicy Mexican flavor as an extra added bonus.

First, the Mexican part.  Meatloaf is traditionally made with breadcrumbs and ketchup and spices like salt, pepper, maybe a little oregano.  THIS meatloaf swaps out those ingredients for crumbled Fritos, taco sauce and taco seasoning (the kind in the packet), along with a little cheddar and jack cheese, and it gets topped with some sour cream and scallions (chopped tomato and guacamole would also be wonderful!)…so there’s that.

Second, it gets cooked in the slow cooker, and anything that you can toss in the slow cooker, abandon to you and live your life, come back to 8 hours later and have it be perfectly done is my idea of heaven.  One word to the wise about meat loaf in general in the slow cooker: if you are the kind of person that likes your meatloaf in slices, you should make a foil sling (a long, double-thick piece of foil with its ends extending outside the top of your cooker) and place your uncooked loaf on that before you start.  That way when it is done you can grasp the ends of the sling and lift it right out.  If you are like me and are okay with scooping your meatloaf out of the cooker in spoonfuls, then no sling needed!

Third, while I’m a fan of leftover meatloaf in general, this particular meatloaf makes leftovers that make all other leftovers hang their head in shame.  A generous spoonful of leftover Mexican meatloaf crumbled into a warm corn tortilla and topped with melted cheese?  It’s almost better than the original thing.  Swoon.

Which leaves me with the picture.  As I’ve mentioned here and there in the past, I only post recipes where I have gotten what I think is a half-way decent picture (I have made one exception in all the years of this blog…click here for that one), and I was torn about this picture.  The Southern husband finally realized that I had been staring at the shot above for an eternity and figured out that I was agonizing.  I told him I didn’t think I could post it – at which point he invoked the Marital Veto.  (The Marital Veto is a rarely used but handy rule in our house which goes as follows: if one party vehemently disagrees with an action that the other party is about to take, they can invoke the Marital Veto.  We don’t vehemently disagree often, but it does come in handy from time to time.  For instance, when the Southern husband wanted to have a six-foot in diameter version of the Yankees logo painted in the middle of our garage floor.  Marital Veto!!)

And so, for those of you who have waited patiently through all this meandering, thank you, and here’s one of my favorite, favorite recipes – Mexican Meatloaf!

Slow Cooked Mexican Meatloaf
Serves: Serves 6-8
  • 2 pounds ground beef (chuck is the best)
  • 1 cup corn or tortilla chips, crushed into crumbs
  • ½ cup taco sauce, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ⅔ cup shredded cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (the kind from the packet)
  • Sour cream and scallions for garnish
  1. Place ground beef, crumbled corn chips, taco sauce, egg, cheese and seasoning in a bowl and mix together until just combined - you don't want to overwork the meat.
  2. Shape into a loaf and place in the slow cooker. (If you want to be able to slice your meatloaf when it is done, first line your slow cooker with a foil sling, which is a double sheet of foil that extends over the outside edges of your cooker. Place the loaf in the center of the sling, making sure it doesn't extend over the sides.)
  3. Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on the low setting. Let the meatloaf rest for ten minutes.
  4. If you have used the sling, gently grasp both ends and carefully lift out the meatloaf, transfer to a cutting surface and slice it. If not, just scoop out spoonfuls of the meatloaf directly from the cooker, making sure to get some of the crunchy bits from the surface as well as the tender inside.
  5. Drizzle some warm taco sauce on top and garnish with sour cream and scallions.


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  1. Karen Nelson says

    Sounds like a great meal…. yummy after all that time in the crock pot
    and great meal in the tortillia or out for watching
    baseball !!!!!

    • Kate says

      I’m sure you could – I would cook it the usual meatloaf time (about an hour)…it won’t be as tender as you get in the slow cooker, but it should be regular meatloaf consistency. If you try it will you let us know? :)

  2. says

    I definitely have things that I end up not posting just because they’re too ugly…no matter how much the.boy disagrees with me! I actually think your pictures came out great!

  3. says

    So I am waiting to hear also, can this be done without a slow cooker ? just in the oven ?
    And I will try it when we get back to the US .. but with chicken. I know, it won’t be the same to some but we don’t eat red meat. Ground chicken will do .. it looks very tasty.

  4. Stephanie says

    I love your post and I will definitely try this recipe. I’ve hesitated at doing meatloaf in the slow cooker because I thought it would look highly unappealing. Your picture is very appetizing!

    • Kate says

      Thanks Stephanie – it’s amazing what a little taco sauce and some sour cream can do to make things look delicious! I also liked the “scooped” look more than I thought I would!

  5. says

    Sounds delish. I am wondering about the fat? I make meatloaf in a pan where the fat drains down off the loaf so it isn’t sitting it in. Do you think I can turn yours into a regular one so I can cut down the fat? I love meatloaf and find it so comforting. I cook for just hubby and I, and make them and freeze them in small ones so I can have them on a night where I don’t feel like cooking…

    • Kate says

      I definitely think you can cook this mixture like a regular meatloaf – obviously adjusting the timing for the regular oven instead of the slow cooker (about an hour?). And yes, it’s one of the world’s great comfort foods!!

  6. ruthie says

    Hey, that pic looks good enough to eat! 😉

    Don’t you love meatloaf sandwiches??? And you could crumble up leftovers in that Mac’n’Cheese! I’ve even crumbled up leftover meatloaf in tomato sauce when I was desperate an had no ground beef. LOL!

  7. Theresa M. says

    Kate, you are awesome! I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I did bake it in my oven at 375 degrees for about an hour. I used 3 lbs of meat, because my family likes left-overs, I increased all the ingredients by 1/3 to accommodate the extra meat. I also made my own taco seasoning. It came out moist and tender and held together in nice slices. You rock, Sister!

  8. Katen Nelson says

    Theresa M..
    Just had to comment on your post…yes Kate rocks
    doesn’t she? She is our little ray of Foodie Sunshine!

    Oh gosh Kate are your ears burning?!;-)

  9. says

    What a good idea to use chips instead of breadcrumbs!
    Last time I made ​​meatballs (the same recipe can be used with meatloaf) so I crushed dried mushrooms and had instead of breadcrumbs. And then a piece of cheese, do not know if it is in the U.S.) as well as v’fick melt and drain out the fried meatball.
    Next time I’ll try your Mexican!

    Lena from make a head food

    this recipe is without mushrooms but with cheese.

    • Kate says

      I like to serve this spicy version with either rice or corn on the side (to keep with the general Mexican flavor of things)…sometimes I stir in a little salsa with the corn to give it a little zip!


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