Southwest Meatloaf

For years I didn’t eat meatloaf. There was just something about it that I disliked. It was basically a brick of meat. Meatloaf like Southwest Meatloaf has changed my ways!

two slices of meatloaf over mashed potatoes topped with corn facebook graphic


 

But like many things (like mayonnaise, sour cream and chili) when I started to make it myself, from scratch, I developed a liking for the dish. And then realized, I really like meatloaf!

I just had to reframe my thinking. Instead of thinking of it as a brick of meat being served by a pearled housewife in petticoats, I started to think of it as a giant gourmet meatball being served by a modern day woman in her active wear (read yoga pants even though I didn’t go to the gym today.)

Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods that have been gracing dinner tables for decades, so I’m glad to have found a way I enjoy it. If you’re finicky about meatloaf too, give this southwest meatloaf a try before you knock it.

overhead shot of southwest meatloaf sliced on a plate

Best Meatloaf Recipes

The best meatloaf has two elements:

  1. meat mix
  2. meatloaf glaze

The mix can be any ground meat, but I prefer just beef or primarily beef mixed with veal and pork.

For healthy meatloaf, try ground turkey, which can be substituted in nearly any meatloaf recipe. Ground chicken works too, but I recommend mixing it with ground beef. You’ll need a little fat to prevent drying and give it flavor.

Traditional meatloaf glaze is nothing but ketchup, baked sweetened tomato. I like to have fun with my meatloaf glaze.

For my traditional meatloaf recipe (even though I stuff it with shredded veggies) I use the same glaze as my famous Grape Jelly Meatballs. You can also go without, but then the top might get a little dry.

My Italian Meatloaf uses marinara sauce. And now, my Southwest Meatloaf uses a zesty lime laced ketchup. Deliciousness!

overhead shot of meatloaf in a baking dish

Southwest Meatloaf Ingredients

  • Ground Beef – You can use whatever grade you have on hand, but lean ground beef is fine for this recipe. You can also use ground turkey. ground pork or ground chicken if you prefer, but it’s generally better mixed with at least some ground beef.
  • Corn tortilla chip crumbs – To really amp up the southwestern flavor, these are used in lieu of bread crumbs as binding agent. They add a whole new flavor profile.
  • Seasonings – I use a blend of smoked paprika (you can use regular if that’s all you have, I just like the smoky flavor it adds,) cumin, garlic powder, white pepper (this is a little more mild than black pepper, but you can also use black,) and Kosher salt.
  • Chunky salsa – Instead of chopping a bell pepper, onion and jalapeno peppers, let the salsa do it for you! It saves a step and makes this an easy recipe for southwest meatloaf.
  • Pepper jack cheese – I like spicy cheese, but you can also use cheddar or plain Monterey jack.
  • Eggs – Along with the tortilla chips, eggs act as a binder for all this deliciousness.
  • Ketchup, lime juice and onion powder – Instead of just plain ketchup, we use a blend of flavors for the glaze. You can even use my spicy chipotle ketchup for an added flavor.
head on shot of slice of southwest meatloaf over mashed potatoes

How to Make Southwest Meatloaf

  1. Prepare oven and pan. Preheat oven and spray a meatloaf pan with cooking spray. You can also line with parchment paper for even easier release if you’d like.
  2. Make meatloaf mixture. In a large bowl, stir together tortilla chip crumbs, seasonings and salsa. Then add the ground beef, breaking apart as you go. Top with beat eggs and cheese.
  3. Add to pan. Gently pack into meatloaf pan. If you don’t have one, you can form it into a rectangle on an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet instead.
  4. Bake. Cover with aluminum foil and bake.
  5. Make glaze. While the southwest meatloaf is baking, stir together ketchup, lime juice, onion powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
collage of southwest meatloaf process shots
  1. Make corn relish. Melt butter over medium heat. Add corn, onion, fine sea salt and smoked paprika and cook until onions are soft and corn is a bright yellow.
  2. Glaze meatloaf. Remove meatloaf from oven and brush ketchup mixture over top of meatloaf. Bake again, uncovered. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing.

Variations and Tips

Some feel that cooking meatloaf can be tricky to get just right. Check to make sure your meatloaf internal temperature should be 160 degrees. Use a meat thermometer to check instead of cutting into your precious loaf.

I also like using a meatloaf pan instead of a loaf pan or molding on a rimmed baking sheet. A meatloaf pan has drip pan, allowing fat to drain while cooking.

If you’re trying to be a bit healthier, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken in your southwest meatloaf instead. These tend to become a bit dry, however, so I still like to use a mixture of ground beef in there.

one slice of southwest meatloaf over mashed potatoes

Southwest Meatloaf Storage

If you’ve got leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. We like to scrape the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and store that with the meatloaf, as well, since it offers a ton of flavor.

If you want to make this Southwest Meatloaf easier, mix and form it the morning of OR the night before. Once shaped, place the meatloaf on the prepared baking dish and wrap tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating.

sliced southwest meatloaf for pinterest

More favorite ground beef recipes:

overhead shot of beef braciole in pan

Italian Beef Braciole Recipe (without Egg)

4.76 from 57 votes
This EASY Beef Braciole recipe is the best Italian comfort food! Juicy flank steak, tomato sauce, herbs and cheese make up this delicious Italian rolled steak!
See The Recipe!
close up of American goulash

Beef Goulash

4.63 from 8 votes
Classic goulash doesn't get any better than this Beef Goulash recipe! The perfect comforting meal for any weeknight!
See The Recipe!
angled shot of sliced slow cooker meatloaf on a platter

Crockpot Meatloaf Recipe

3.54 from 15 votes
This delicious Slow Cooker Meatloaf is moist and tender with an irresistible sweet and tangy sauce — and it couldn't be easier to make!
See The Recipe!
collage of southwest meatloaf for pinterest
two slices of meatloaf over mashed potatoes topped with corn

Southwest Meatloaf

4.48 from 34 votes
Southwest Meatloaf is a classic meatloaf recipe with a southwestern spin. Crushed tortilla chips and bottled salsa give this easy meatloaf a zesty edge.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

Meatloaf Glaze:

Corn Relish:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a meatloaf pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together tortilla chip crumbs, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, Kosher salt and white pepper. Add salsa, stir to moisten and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add ground beef, breaking apart as you go. Top with beat eggs and shredded pepper jack cheese.
  • Using clean hands, lightly toss. Do not over mix. Overmixing will result in tough meatloaf.
  • Gently pack into meatloaf pan. If you don’t have a meatloaf pan, you can form it into a rectangle on an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, stir together ketchup, lime juice, onion powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, heat melt butter over medium heat. Add corn, onion, fine sea salt and smoked paprika. Cook until onions are soft and corn is a bright yellow. Remove and set aside until ready to serve.
  • Remove meatloaf and brush ketchup mixture over top of meatloaf. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered or until a meat thermometer registers at 160 degrees.
  • Let stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve with a serving of corn relish.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was! 

Video

Notes

If you’re trying to be a bit healthier, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken in your southwest meatloaf instead. These tend to become a bit dry, however, so I still like to use a mixture of ground beef in there.

Nutrition

Calories: 679 kcal, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Protein: 65 g, Fat: 33 g, Saturated Fat: 16 g, Cholesterol: 267 mg, Sodium: 1499 mg, Potassium: 1262 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 9 g, Vitamin A: 1295 IU, Vitamin C: 6.9 mg, Calcium: 401 mg, Iron: 7.4 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 679
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meatloaf recipes, southwestern meatloaf
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    So glad I found your recipe! The flavors were spot on! I actually used some of the salsa and just added ketchup to it for the glaze. It was really tasty!
    Using the tortilla chips as the binder was creative but using ground pork rinds would keep it keto.

    1. Hi Patty- thanks for the feedback! Since we don’t eat keto, I don’t recipe test keto either. But I am sure those that do will appriciate the advice.

  2. 5 stars
    First off, I love your description of meatloaf, a giant meatball! Second, this turned out so tender and delicious! Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m a fan of meatloaf and finding new ways to make it. This southwestern version is going on my “must make” list ASAP! My family is going to love this.

  4. 5 stars
    Totally going to be making this YUMMO meatloaf this week. We are all about Southwestern here and I know it’ll be a hit. Love all the flavors going on!!

  5. 5 stars
    What a great recipe with SO much flavor! Adding crushed tortilla chips and pepperjack cheese to the mix is genius. Another winner from Savory Experiments!

  6. 5 stars
    Meatloaf is one of my favorite entrees. I can’t wait to try this Southwestern Meatloaf, I just know I will love it!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times as written. It’s by far the best meatloaf I’ve ever made. Making it again tonight but had to use Doritos because that’s all I had. Hopefully it’s just as good.

    1. Hi Jami! Thank you so much! We are actually taking new pictures of it this week just to make it prettier (not not touching the recipe), LOL. Doritos should be fine 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Great new twist on meatloaf. The whole family loved it better than my classic version, which made me a little sad, but well done to yo!

  9. 5 stars
    I actually made it and it was the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. The flavors were perfect. Mine was made with local farmed ground chicken. and I added some Chipolte because I like a little heat. Ate with a side of corn & black beans.
    Thank you, I don’t think I’ll be making meatloaf any other way again.

    1. Thank for stopping by to let me know! It is also one of our favorites and puts such a fun spin on an old classic.

  10. 5 stars
    Meatloaf, I must admit, is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t think I make it more than once a year, but oh how I love it! I really like the flavors you have going in this recipe – the tortilla chips especially. (I sometimes use Chili Fritos for my meatloaf.)

  11. 5 stars
    I was the EXACT same way. I hated meatloaf … until I started making it myself. And yes, it’s basically a giant meatball. Who doesn’t love meatballs?? I like your spin on this. Can’t wait to try it!

  12. 5 stars
    I love meatloaf! It reminds me of my grandmother, who used to make it every week when we came for Friday lunch. Your meatloaf looks so good!

  13. 5 stars
    We do love our meat and we always look for high-quality beef. This certified beef certainly is high in quality. I really like the flavors you use in your meatloaf and it looks anything but a hard brick of meat.