Mom’s best 6-ingredient meatloaf is now the ultimate comfort food: Stuffed with cheese! Double the recipe; you’ll want leftovers for sandwiches!

Stuffing a meatloaf with cheese was inevitable. It just feels like the right thing to do.

But getting there wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. While I slaved over versions using “meatloaf mix” or Kenji’s genius in The Food Lab, the best method was right in front of me – Mom’s Meatloaf with a cheesy upgrade.

Cheesy meatloaf with two slices cut away on a wood cutting board.

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I used ground beef :JUST ground beef. If you add pork, the mixture is way too greasy. If you add veal, well, never mind. You can’t even FIND veal at the grocery store. Let’s just do beef.

I also added some finely chopped onion. You could add carrots, celery, peppers… whatever. But if you start adding all the vegetables in your crisper, you’ll probably need to cook them down so they’re not crunchy. But if you just add onions, and if you chop them small, they can go in raw.

Finally, I added some eggs, oats, ketchup, Worcestershire, and S&P. And that’s it.

Loaf pan with meatloaf with a well in the middle.


I like to dump all of this in to a standing mixer and mix it up that way. It does a better job than I do, and that’s how my grandma made meatloaf. That’s how my mom does it. You can do it by hand if you want; no problem.

I packed the mixture in to a loaf pan just for the shape. Give the pan a quick rinse on the inside with cold water before filling so the loaf pops out easily. Then, carve a well in the loaf and remove some of the meat. That’s where the cheese goes.

Speaking of cheese, I used a full block of Havarti cheese. It’s an ideal melting cheese and tastes PERFECT in this meatloaf.

A loaf pan with meatloaf and cheese sprinkled in the middle.


Once the cheese is locked and loaded, seal the top with the excess meat mixture you pulled out. You’ll be flipping this pan over and the sealed part will become the bottom, so try to cover any obvious holes.

Loaf pan with stuffed meatloaf ready to be turned out into a baking pan to be placed into the oven.


Then, flip it out onto a preparing baking sheet or baking dish (line with foil if you like to lessen cleanup) and bake it for an hour.

When the meatloaf is baking, you might get worried and think all the cheese is leaking out the sides. Not very likely! It’s more likely grease and egg mixture. I understand your concern. I made 7 meatloaves to make sure I got this right, and it was never cheese leaking out. So hang in there!

Meatloaf in white baking pan ready to be placed in the oven.


At this point, it should be 165 degrees in the middle. Take it out, crank up the oven to 400 degrees, and brush the meatloaf with the reserved ketchup.

Put it back in the oven and fire that glaze! Once it’s done, let the meatloaf rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This gives the meat a chance to soak up any moisture and for the cheese to congeal slightly. Don’t worry – it will still be ooey, gooey, and delicious!

Finished meatloaf on a wood plank. There are two slices of meatloaf cut so you can see the cheesy centers. the remaining part of the loaf is on the board, and you can see the ketchup topping. There is a piece of green parsley on the board.

Cheesy meatloaf with two slices cut away on a wood cutting board.

Cheesy Meatloaf

Mom's classic meatloaf recipe gets even more cozy once you stuff it with cheese! Double this 7-ingredient comfort food dinner and transform leftovers into meatloaf sandwiches.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 583


  • 2 pounds ground beef 80% lean (see note 1)
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 eggs (see note 2)
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (see note 3)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup divided
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces Havarti cheese shredded (see note 4)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  • In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl by hand, combine beef, onion, eggs, oats, ½ cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix on low until combined.
  • Rinse a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with water (to help the meatloaf release). Pack the meat mixture tightly in to the pan.
  • Leaving a 1/2-inch wall on each side, carve out a well about 5 inches long and 1 inch wide and set the excess meat mixture aside. 
  • Fill the well with shredded Havarti cheese. Using the reserved meat mixture, cover and seal the shredded cheese carefully.
  • Flip the pan over the prepared baking sheet and jiggle carefully until the meatloaf slides out. Bake 60 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush remaining ¼ cup ketchup on all sides of the meatloaf. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer.
  • Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before serving. 

Recipe Video


  1. Ground beef: No need to seek out a special meatloaf mix; regular 80% lean, 20% fat ground beef tastes terrific.
  2. Eggs: The yolks lend moisture and flavor, while the whites add structure and help the meatloaf maintain its shape.
  3. Old-fashioned rolled oats: I prefer this no-prep-required ingredient as the binder in meatloaf, but you could certainly substitute crushed crackers or bread crumbs, if desired.
  4. Shredded havarti cheese: Or any other semi-hard, easy melting cheese such as gouda, cheddar, Swiss, Colby, or Monterey Jack.
  5. Yield: This Cheesy Meatloaf recipe makes six thick slices, ideal as an entree-sized portion. Double the batch to ensure plenty of leftovers for sandwiches!
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. Make ahead: The meat mixture can be made, filled with cheese, and packed in to a loaf pan a day in advance. Turn out on to a baking sheet right before baking.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 583kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 37gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 187mgSodium: 665mgPotassium: 641mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 463IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 226mgIron: 4mg
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  1. What remaining 1/4 ketchup? There is no stipulation in the recipe telling me to divide the 3/4 cup. It says add ketchup. Then at end says use remaining ketchup? Could you please review.

    1. Hi Natalie, thanks for finding this and sorry for the typo. Step 2 should have said “1/2 cup ketchup” and then the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup goes on top of the meatloaf in Step 7. So sorry about that! I’m guessing if you used 3/4 cup ketchup in Step 2 the results would not vary dramatically.. it would probably still work fine and taste awesome. But yes, there wouldn’t be any leftover to brush on the outside. Sorry again. I’m fixing it right now!

    1. Hi Tami! Yes, sure. I haven’t tested it so I don’t know what will happen, exactly, but it should just work fine. Worst-case scenario it would melt everywhere, but even if that happened it would still taste good, might just look messy. But considering regular cheese stays put (because it’s sealed in the meat) I *think* cream cheese would behave the same way. If you try it, and if you feel like reporting back, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Thanks for the question. And I’m adding this to my recipe testing list, because the world needs to know!!

  2. This looks really cool! I like to grate my onion into my meatloaf or other things I’m adding raw onions to! Always makes me cry though.5 stars

    1. Thank you Patrick! Yes I cry all the time too with the onions. Especially grating them.. that seems to bring out the worst in them! But yeah that would improve the texture of the meatloaf. I’m just too lazy. :)

  3. I don’t eat red meat. Can ground turkey or chicken be a replacement. I make a killer turkey meat loaf but this one sounds interesting.

    1. Yes!!! Turkey would be great, I’m sure chicken would be fine too. What’s nice is neither of those are too greasy; that’s what you want to avoid. I want to make (and post) a turkey meatloaf myself. Sounds yummy! Thanks June. :)