Mac and Cheese Meatloaf Casserole Recipe


Mac and Cheese Meatloaf Casserole 🧀🍖🤤


Welcome to a comforting blend of two beloved classics—Mac and Cheese Meatloaf Casserole! Imagine the heartwarming flavors of a traditional meatloaf meeting the creamy, cheesy goodness of macaroni and cheese, all baked to perfection in one delightful dish. This recipe is perfect for cozy family dinners, bringing together the best of both worlds to create a meal that’s sure to please everyone at the table. Let’s dive into this delicious fusion, perfect for those evenings when you need a little extra comfort.

Ingredients Overview

Ketchup and Barbecue Sauce: The sweet and tangy combination of ketchup and Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce creates a flavorful glaze for the meatloaf, adding depth and richness.

Lean Ground Beef: Using lean ground beef ensures the meatloaf is hearty yet not overly greasy, making it a perfect base for our casserole.

Ritz Crackers: Crushed Ritz crackers add a buttery flavor and help bind the meatloaf together, providing a tender texture.

Lipton Onion Soup Mix: This adds a savory and slightly tangy flavor to the meatloaf, enhancing the overall taste profile.

Eggs: Essential for binding the meatloaf mixture together, ensuring it holds its shape while baking.

Macaroni Noodles: The base of our mac and cheese layer, these noodles are cooked to al dente perfection.

Milk and Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup: These create a creamy sauce for the macaroni, making it rich and cheesy.

Seasonings (Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder): These enhance the flavors of both the meatloaf and the mac and cheese layers.

Shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese Blend: A generous topping of this cheese blend creates a melty, golden crust on top of the casserole.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the Oven Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures it’s ready to bake the meatloaf to perfection.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of ketchup and 1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce. Set this aside for later.

Step 3: Mix the Meatloaf In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 lbs of lean ground beef, 30 crushed Ritz crackers, 2 oz of Lipton onion soup mix, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of the ketchup and barbecue sauce mixture. Mix until well combined.

Step 4: Shape and Bake the Meatloaf Press the meatloaf mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread the remaining ketchup and barbecue sauce mixture on top. Bake for 30 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the Macaroni While the meatloaf is baking, cook 3 cups of macaroni noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Step 6: Prepare the Mac and Cheese In a large saucepan, combine the cooked macaroni noodles, 2 cups of milk, 10.5 oz of condensed cheddar cheese soup, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tbsp of onion powder, and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy.

Step 7: Combine and Bake Pour the macaroni mixture over the partially baked meatloaf. Top with the remaining 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend. Bake for an additional 17-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Step 8: Rest and Serve Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This helps the layers set and makes it easier to serve. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use a different type of pasta? Yes, you can use any short pasta like penne, rotini, or shells.

2. Can I substitute the Ritz crackers? You can use breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes as a substitute.

3. How do I store leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

4. Can I freeze this casserole? Yes, you can freeze it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then freeze for up to 3 months.

5. How do I reheat this casserole? Reheat in the oven at 350°F until heated through, or microwave individual portions.

6. Can I use a different cheese blend? Feel free to use any cheese blend you like, such as a Mexican blend or Colby Jack.

7. Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Use gluten-free crackers and pasta to make it gluten-free.

8. What can I serve with this casserole? Serve it with a side salad or steamed vegetables.

9. Can I add vegetables to the meatloaf mixture? Yes, finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers or carrots can be added.

10. Can I use ground turkey instead of beef? Ground turkey can be used as a leaner alternative to beef.

11. Is it okay to use a different brand of barbecue sauce? Any brand of barbecue sauce will work, but the flavor may vary.

12. Can I make this casserole ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble it ahead of time and bake it when ready.

13. How can I make the meatloaf spicier? Add some chili flakes or hot sauce to the meatloaf mixture.

14. What kind of milk should I use? Whole milk is best for a creamy texture, but you can use any milk you prefer.

15. How can I make the cheese sauce richer? Add a bit of cream cheese or heavy cream to the sauce.

16. Can I use fresh onions instead of onion soup mix? Yes, finely chop and sauté onions before adding them to the meatloaf mixture.

17. How do I prevent the casserole from drying out? Cover it with foil if it starts to dry out during baking.

18. Can I add bacon to this recipe? Crispy bacon pieces can be added to the mac and cheese layer for extra flavor.

19. How do I make sure the meatloaf is fully cooked? Use a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should reach 160°F.

20. Can I add herbs to the recipe? Fresh or dried herbs like parsley, thyme, or oregano can enhance the flavor.

Helpful Tips

Use Fresh Cheese: For the best melt and flavor, grate your cheese from a block rather than using pre-shredded cheese.

Don’t Overmix the Meatloaf: Mixing too much can make the meatloaf dense. Mix just until everything is combined.

Cook Pasta Al Dente: Slightly undercook the pasta as it will continue to cook in the oven.

Let it Rest: Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes after baking to let the flavors meld together.

Adjust Seasonings to Taste: Always taste and adjust the seasoning of the mac and cheese sauce before adding it to the casserole.

Storage Tips

1. Cool Completely: Let the casserole cool completely before storing. 2. Use Airtight Containers: Store in airtight containers to maintain freshness. 3. Refrigerate: Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 4. Freeze for Longer Storage: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil before freezing. 5. Label Your Containers: Always label with the date to keep track of freshness. 6. Reheat in the Oven: Reheat in the oven for the best texture. 7. Microwave Individual Portions: For quick reheating, use the microwave. 8. Add Extra Cheese When Reheating: Add a sprinkle of cheese when reheating to refresh the casserole. 9. Store Sauce Separately: If possible, store the mac and cheese sauce separately for better texture. 10. Portion Before Freezing: Freeze in individual portions for easier reheating.

Recipe Secrets

1. Freshly Grated Cheese: Always use freshly grated cheese for better melt and flavor. 2. Low and Slow: Baking the meatloaf low and slow ensures it’s cooked evenly and remains moist. 3. Al Dente Pasta: Slightly undercooked pasta prevents it from becoming mushy in the casserole. 4. Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ketchup and barbecue sauce for the best flavor. 5. Let It Rest: Resting the casserole allows the layers to set, making it easier to serve. 6. Even Layering: Spread the mac and cheese layer evenly for a consistent texture. 7. Proper Mixing: Mix the meatloaf ingredients just until combined to avoid a dense texture. 8. Season Generously: Don’t be afraid to season the mac and cheese sauce well. 9. Cheese Blend: A mix of mozzarella and cheddar provides a perfect balance of melt and flavor. 10. Fresh Herbs: Adding fresh herbs to the meatloaf mixture can enhance the flavor. 11. Bacon Bits: Adding crispy bacon bits to the mac and cheese can elevate the flavor. 12. Onion Flavor: Using both onion soup mix and fresh onions can deepen the flavor. 13. Meat Thermometer: Ensure the meatloaf is cooked to the right temperature using a meat thermometer. 14. Cover if Necessary: Cover with foil during baking if the top browns too quickly. 15. Homemade Sauce: Homemade barbecue sauce can be a great addition. 16. Extra Creaminess: A bit of cream cheese in the mac and cheese sauce makes it extra creamy. **17. Experiment with

Different Cheese: Experiment with different cheese blends for unique flavor profiles.

18. Spicy Kick: Add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper for a spicy twist. 19. Garnish: Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color and freshness. 20. Family Favorite: Customize the recipe with your family’s favorite ingredients for a personal touch.


With its blend of savory meatloaf and creamy mac and cheese, this Mac and Cheese Meatloaf Casserole is a true comfort food masterpiece. Perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends, it combines the best of both worlds in a single dish. From the tender meatloaf base to the gooey cheese topping, every bite is a delight. Remember these tips and secrets to achieve culinary perfection every time you make this casserole. Enjoy the warmth and satisfaction of this comforting meal—it’s sure to become a favorite at your table!

This revised recipe article offers a comprehensive guide to creating a delightful Mac and Cheese Meatloaf Casserole, tailored to capture the essence of comfort and culinary excellence.

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