This Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with Spinach is like an upscale cheeseburger! It's topped with cream of potato gravy and is so delicious. This has been my go-to meatloaf recipe for decades!
I wondered aloud if I should call this "Company-Worthy Meatloaf" or "Man-Pleasing Meatloaf."
They're both accurate, but vague.
My husband and son looked at me like I had three heads and said, "Why don't you just call it 'meatloaf?'"
So, yeah, I'll stick to the headline writing. Besides, I also have an Italian Meatloaf recipe.
But this Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with Spinach is most definitely company worthy and man pleasing...almost comically so. Every time I serve it to guests, they love it and request the recipe.
But the guys...they go nuts.
They look at me in awe and say, "That's the best meatloaf I've ever had!"
It must be the oozing cheddar and the flavorful, creamy gravy. This is basically, an upscale cheeseburger meatloaf. Yum!
Cheese-stuffed meatloaf ingredients
And, don't be alarmed by the spinach. It works really well to add moisture (and veggies)! Even children love this meatloaf.
In fact, this cheesy meatloaf recipe is inspired by a long-ago article in Parents Magazine about what chefs serve to their children. Wolfgang Puck served something like this to his kids.
It's best to use ground beef that's 85% lean. Meatloaf can be dry if the meat is leaner.
The original recipe used canned cream of sodium — I mean mushroom — soup as the gravy. I started making mine from scratch, which was delicious too.
But then, instead of serving mashed potatoes on the side, I decided to just incorporate the potatoes in the gravy so it's a complete dinner. So, the gravy here is actually a quick cream of potato soup.
How to stuff the meatloaf with cheese
You'll shape the meatloaf mixture into a long rectangle, with the middle patted down and the edges forming a taller border. You'll sprinkle on the cheddar in the middle.
Then, you'll push the sides of the meatloaf up and over the cheese to enclose it. No one will know what's inside until you bake and slice it!
Making the cream of potato gravy
You'll cube a few potatoes and cook them in the microwave. Then, you'll throw them in the blender (affiliate link) with some chicken stock and blend until creamy.
You'll stir melted butter with flour in a pot on the stove to make a roux. You'll add in some milk and seasonings and whisk until it thickens.
Finally, you'll stir in the potato mixture, more stock, and voila!
Cream of potato soup, A.K.A. gravy.
Frequently asked questions
If you're not in the mood to make the potato gravy, you can simply spread ketchup on the baked meatloaf. You also could substitute canned cream of mushroom soup mixed with some water. Or, turkey gravy would work nicely.
Make sure to cook meatloaf to an internal temperature of 155 degrees F. Take it out of the oven and that point and let it rest at least five minutes before slicing it.
This recipe uses three pounds of ground beef (enough for leftovers!), but you could halve the ingredients for a smaller loaf.
Behold, Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with Spinach. Yum, yum and yum.
And I'm not even a guy.
Other recipes you may like
Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with Spinach
- 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
- 3 large garlic cloves (peeled & finely chopped)
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar (shredded or grated)
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- 3 pounds ground beef (85% lean works well)
Cream of Potato Gravy
- 1 pound potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock (divided)
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (2% or whole)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set out a rimmed baking sheet (no need to grease it).
- Place the frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and thaw it on high. Do not drain the spinach, as it will help add moisture to the meatloaf. While the spinach is thawing, peel and finely chop your garlic.
- Shred or grate your cheddar if starting with a block. Use a blender or food processor if you have one. Set aside the cheese to be used later.
- Add the spinach, garlic, oats, eggs, Worcestershire, seasonings and ground meat to a large mixing bowl. Use clean hands to gently mix everything together until the spinach, oats, eggs and seasonings are distributed evenly.
- Transfer the meatloaf mixture to your rimmed baking sheet. Shape the meat into a large rectangle. It should nearly reach the top and bottom edges of the pan. Use your hands to make a rectangular well or indentation in the meat, starting from a couple inches inside the edges. Place your cheddar inside the borders of the well.
- Starting at the outside edges, gently push the meat toward the center, covering the cheese and enclosing it completely. Pat the meatloaf into a level rectangle, so it will cook evenly. Wash your hands well.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour, or until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.
- While the meatloaf is baking, make the potato gravy. Peel your potatoes and cut them into cubes. Cook them in the microwave, in a microwave-safe bowl, on high for about 8 minutes, stirring halfway. Potatoes are done when you can easily insert a fork in them. Place the cooked potatoes and ¾ cup chicken stock in your blender and mix until smooth.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and whisk in the flour, stirring for a minute. Add the milk, salt, pepper and onion powder and whisk constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and get bubbly. Cook for another minute and then add the potato mixture, stirring to combine. Add the remaining ¾ cup of chicken stock. Continue stirring until the gravy is mixed and heated. Turn off the heat. You can reheat the gravy for a few minutes when the meatloaf comes out of the oven.
- When the meatloaf is done, let it rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing, to give the cheese a chance to set a bit. (Otherwise, it will run out as soon as you slice.) You can reheat your gravy at this time, if needed.
- To serve, spoon some potato gravy onto each slice of meatloaf. Store leftover meatloaf and gravy separately in the refrigerator for up to four days.
(Recipe Source: Inspired by a Wolfgang Puck recipe I saw in Parents Magazine many years ago. Creamy Potato Gravy adapted from cream of vegetable soup in Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1989. This post was originally published on January 19, 2015 and has been updated with new photos and text.)