This cheese-stuffed meatloaf takes the comfort food classic and gives it new life with a gooey, cheesy center!
O.K, I have a confession to make. I seriously love meatloaf. I’m not sure why I feel embarrassed to admit that. It’s probably because the name of the food, the meat + loaf thing doesn’t sound very appealing. And maybe also because the recipe is so old school, and not always in a good way. But if you make it well, it can still be a comforting staple of your dinner table.
I came up with what I think is the perfect Classic Meatloaf recipe (lots of helpful tips there too), and even have a Meatloaf Series over on TheCookful. But I wanted to try something new and what I came up with is… Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf! That’s right, this meatloaf has a delicious surprise inside.
How To Fill Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf
The instructions for making the meat mixture is in the recipe card below, but I wanted to take you step-by-step for the cheese filling.
Transfer your meat mixture to a foil-lined baking sheet. Shape into a 10×5 inch loaf and then I make a trench in the center. Go far down but leave a good inch of meat at the bottom. (Note, I doubled the recipe here and made two loaves, which is why you see two loaves in the pictures.)
Add your cheese. I used cubed cheese because I thought shredded might melt too quickly and escape. It worked really well and there was very little leakage. However, I haven’t done a test with shredded cheese to see if it would be worse. I figured, it worked with the cubes, why risk it? Here you have 4 ounces of 1/2 inch cheese cubes (about 20 cubes).
Smooth the meat up, around and over the cheese.
Bake it at 350°F for 45 minutes. Then add tomato sauce and shredded cheese to the top and bake until the internal temperature is 160°F (use an instant-read thermometer to check this), about another 15 minutes.
After that, it is crucial (CRUCIAL!) that you let it rest for at least 10 minutes, though 15 is better. Just take the pan out of the oven and put it on a pot holder on the counter and leave it there. The resting time lets all the juices settle a bit so that the meatloaf is easier to slice and so that the slices hold their shape. Don’t worry, it will still be hot and full of melted cheese when you cut into it.
Once it has rested, use two large spatulas to transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board. If you choose a nice board, you can slice it and serve it from there. When it comes to slicing, consider using an electric knife. You don’t have to exert as much downward pressure so the slices stay really nice and intact and you can get away with make thinner slices.
There you have it. A delicious meatloaf with a oozing melted cheese filling. Who could ever say no to that?Print
A classic meatloaf with a delicious surprise in the center.
- 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup, divided
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (it’s about 20 ½-inch cubes)
- ½ cup tomato sauce (basic marinara)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer onion to a large bowl.
- To the bowl add ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and egg. Use your hands to squeeze and knead the meat until the seasonings are all mixed through. Do not overmix.
- Line a large baking sheet with foil.
- Transfer meat to baking sheet and shape into a 10×5-inch loaf.
- Make a 2-inch wide trench in the loaf (see image above in post). Go down deep into the loaf but leave at least 1 inch of meat on the bottom.
- Add cheese cubes to the trench. Use hands to smooth meat up and over cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove meatloaf from oven and spread with tomato sauce and top with shredded cheese.
- Return meatloaf to oven and bake until internal temperature on an instant read thermometer is 160°F, 10-20 more minutes.
- Remove meatloaf from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice and serve.
This post originally appeared in October 2017 and was revised and republished in October 2020.