Meatloaf is one of the most traditional and iconic American dishes. Everyone has a meatloaf recipe, but we feel this is the best. It combines all of the best ingredients into one meatloaf topped with a delectable glaze. This dish follows tradition, but we made sure it was the best we could come up with.
Best Meatloaf Recipes
1. Meatloaf with Oatmeal in Tradition
This is a traditional meatloaf recipe, but it’s still delectable! This meatloaf is delicate and moist, thanks to quick oats.
Serve it with a classic ketchup glaze and reminisce about meatloaf dinners from your childhood. This meatloaf is a great classic that is both familiar and comforting.
2. Meatloaf Taco
Ground beef, taco seasoning, crumbled tortilla chips, and pepper jack cheese combine to make this tasty meatloaf. This is a terrific recipe to try when you’re looking for something different.
Instead of ketchup, taco meatloaf is served with taco sauce! It’s zesty, cheesy, and a meatloaf you must try!
3. Meatloaf with Lipton Onion Soup
This Lipton onion soup meatloaf is simple to prepare and packed with meaty onion flavor! This recipe requires relatively little effort, making it ideal for busy weeknights.
I like a ketchup glaze, and there’s an option here as well, but if you don’t like ketchup, you may leave it out. For a complete supper, serve it with red skin mashed potatoes and broccoli salad.
4. Meatloaf with Smoke
If you have a smoker, prepare some excellent meatloaf with it! This meatloaf might not be your first thinking when you fire up your smoker, but believe me when I say it’s tasty and full of smokey flavor!
The meatloaf keeps a lot of moisture when cooked in a smoker, keeping it soft and juicy! A BBQ coating enhances the smokey flavor.
5. Meatloaf in a Cracker Barrel
This is a replica of Cracker Barrel’s famous meatloaf. Green bell pepper and grated cheddar provide moisture and tenderness to the meat.
Using buttery Ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs is the real secret to this meatloaf’s success! This recipe is a kid’s favorite and a crowd-pleaser.
6. Meatloaf on the Stove
Stove Top meatloaf gets its name not from the fact that it’s cooked on the stovetop but from the fact that it’s stuffed with quick Stove Top filling!
This is a flavorful meatloaf with a strong herbaceous flavor. Plus, it’s simple to create and goes well with any glaze.
7. Meatloaf in the Air Fryer
Although some of the other dishes are “simple,” nothing compares to meatloaf cooked in the air fryer! The meat cooks wonderfully in the air fryer while remaining moist and tender.
Cleaning up is a breeze with this recipe! It’ll undoubtedly become a weeknight staple.
I serve this meatloaf with ketchup on top, but you can use another sauce or skip it altogether!
8. Meatloaf Wrapped in Bacon
Everything is better with bacon. There’s nothing quite like a meatloaf encased in more meat!
Crispy bacon adds a special touch to this classic meatloaf. The acidic glaze and bacon make for an out-of-this-world taste combo!
As the meatloaf cooks, the bacon grease falls into it, and the meatloaf absorbs all of the bacon taste!
9. Loaf of Ham
The ham loaf has made a comeback! If you’ve never had ham loaf before, it’s a fantastic retro-inspired take on meatloaf!
This loaf is made using diced ham and ground pork instead of ground beef! Best of all, the tangy-sweet brown sugar Dijon coating on this ham loaf is the polar opposite of what you’d get on classic meatloaf.
This recipe is ideal for using up leftover holiday ham.
Meatloaf: How to Make it?
Meat with High-Fat Content Should be Used
The meatloaf will be dryer and grainier if the beef is leaner. Always use a higher-fat cut, at least 15%, for an all-beef meatloaf.
Add some ground pig and veal to a meatloaf made with leaner beef or turkey to get a moist, tender meatloaf.
Bacon, chopped and added to the mix, is always a good way to add fat. Oh, and smothering it in bacon is always a good idea. More on that later.
Moisture Should be Added at Each Stage
Eggs, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, or a combination of wet seasonings should be included. They give flavor and texture to the meat and aid in keeping it juicy.
Use Crustless Bread that has been Soaked
Soak the bread in milk before making a meatloaf using beef, pork, or veal.
Soak the bread in cream for a ground turkey meatloaf that needs a fat boost.
Lactose-intolerant? Kosher? It’s no problem! If you soak the bread in stock, it will also turn out great.
The best way to tell if the mixture is moist enough is to see if it sticks to the bowl. If it does, it needs more liquid. Add the liquid one spoonful until the mixture no longer sticks to the bowl. Above all, avoid using store-bought breadcrumbs.
The Importance of Sauteed Vegetables cannot be Overstated.
This one more step makes a significant difference. Flavor, texture, and moisture are all added by sauteed vegetables. Try a mirepoix, a fancy French phrase for carrots, celery, and onion. Cook them, then set them aside to cool before slicing.
Do you despise chopping by hand? To save time, puree the sautéed vegetables in a food processor. First, blitz the sautéed carrots. Then add the sauteed onions and celery, which will take less time to prepare because they are softer. It’s exciting to press buttons, but be careful not to overprocess the ingredients.
Don’t Let the Meat Play Patty Cake with you
A meatloaf that has been overmixed will be dry and thick. Begin by whisking together the wet ingredients. Then toss in the sautéed vegetables before you start slamming everything together like a madman, pause. Only fold the mirepoix into the meat, keeping it loose and light. The loaf may appear too loose, but don’t worry; it will firm up quickly in the oven.
What Causes Meatloaf to Fall Apart?
The texture is the key to crafting a crowd-pleasing meatloaf. Unfortunately, a meatloaf that comes out of the oven-dry and crumbly is a typical occurrence, which is an understandable turnoff.
The most common cause of meatloaf falling apart is a lack of binding agents, such as eggs and breadcrumbs. These are important ingredients because they help the meat mixture hold together and stay together while cooking. We use eggs and breadcrumbs in our recipe to keep the meatloaf together and moist.
Another possibility is that it is overdone. People are typically apprehensive about making meatloaf since they won’t know when it’s done until they slice into it. But remember that baking ground beef and eggs doesn’t take long. To avoid overcooking my meatloaf, I always use a thermometer to check for doneness. And what’s the most important step here to ensure that your meatloaf is fully cooked and juicy? Allowing it to sit for at least 10 minutes is recommended. This allows the liquids to be reabsorbed by the meatloaf. Furthermore, it continues to cook in the pan throughout the cooking period. DON’T FORGET TO COMPLETE THIS STEP!
What can I do with the Remaining Meatloaf?
Meatloaf leftovers are one of my favorite ways to consume them, and sandwiches are also a great way to make use of leftovers.
Reheat the leftover slices in a skillet or microwave, then sandwich them between two slices of white bread coated with ketchup. You don’t need to reheat the meat; it’s delicious cold!
You could also make a patty melt with the meatloaf slices as the beef. YUM!
Another option is to crumble cooked bread pieces and use them in place of ground beef in recipes such as chili or casseroles. There’s no such thing as a bad way to eat meatloaf!
Is it Possible to Freeze Meatloaf?
Yes! However, it would help if you froze it in its natural state. Although frozen cooked meatloaf can be used, it is likely to be quite dry once thawed.
To prepare this recipe ahead of time for subsequent cooking, combine all of the ingredients and shape the loaf. Then tightly wrap it in plastic and store it in an airtight freezer-safe bag. In the freezer, raw meatloaf should survive up to six months.
How Many Eggs Should you Use in a Meat Loaf?
2 to 3 (lightly beaten) eggs are commonly included in the normal meatloaf recipe, which calls for roughly 2 lbs. of ground meat. As a result, the recipe’s egg to the ground beef ratio is 1 to 112 eggs per pound of meat. This will also be determined by the sort of meat used. One pound ground chuck, 1 pound ground sirloin, and two eggs, for example, are used in our standard meatloaf recipe (along with the milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings). The ground beef chuck has a higher fat percentage (85% lean, 15% fat), which adds flavor and moisture, while the sirloin (90 percent lean, 10% fat) provides structure.
This yields the ideal amount of 2 eggs. An extra egg may be required to keep the mixture together if you use leaner meats like ground turkey or pork.
What can be Used Instead of Eggs in Meat Loaf?
Perhaps you’ve run out of eggs, or someone in your family has an egg allergy. Even without eggs, you can make a great beef loaf! Here are a few egg alternatives you can use in your recipes.
The following amounts are for one egg substitute:
3 tbsp. Water, 1 tbsp. Ground flaxseed meal ($5, Target) or chia seeds. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes before using.
a third of a teaspoon of mayonnaise
3 tbsp. applesauce (unsweetened) (It may seem strange, but you won’t get the flavor.) It’s only water!)
3 tbsp. Room temperature water + 1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin
Do you have a craving for a delicious, moist pork loaf? Make some tiny loaves in your air fryer, or try one of our favorite variations on the homey dish.
Without a Thermometer, How can you Tell if Meatloaf is Done?
What if you don’t have access to an instant-read thermometer at the moment? If you’re cooking a meatloaf right now, you’ll need a method that doesn’t need the use of a thermometer.
There are a few things you can do, thankfully. Continue reading to learn how to determine when your meatloaf is done cooking without using a thermometer.
Check with a Fork
A common method for checking whether the meatloaf is done is to use a fork. You may have witnessed your mother or grandmother doing this when you were younger.
Take a metal fork from the utensil drawer and insert it into the meatloaf’s center. If you can easily puncture the meatloaf with a fork, the meatloaf is cooked.
You Might be Able to Use your Fingers
The following suggestion isn’t nearly as effective as utilizing a fork, and you should use a fork because it’s more sanitary and convenient.
Alternatively, you might use your fingertips to test the temperature of the meatloaf. The main concept is to stick your finger into the meatloaf to check how hot it is and how it reacts.
When doing something like this, you run the danger of burning yourself. As a result, it’s generally not a good idea.
One of the most traditional American home-cooked meals is meatloaf. And rightfully so! It’s simple to make, filling, and quite pleasant. Everyone in the family has a favorite meatloaf recipe, and this is ours! It maintains the basic taste and texture everyone enjoys but adding bell pepper, onion, and spices elevate it to new heights. It’s also covered with a sweet, tangy glaze that’s a must-have on meatloaf.
We’ve also included some pointers for consistently cooking great meatloaf.