This is one of my favorite main dishes since it’s super easy to put together, delicious and bonus! it’s my son’s favorite meal too (with buttery mashed potatoes of course).
There are so many different ways to make meatloaf, try a simple classic style or gourmet, with ground beef or even turkey, full-sized loaves and even mini-muffins.
Here’s a handpicked collection of recipes that I’ve scoured the ‘net for that include all the above and more…but first…
Here’s a vintage Ann Landers recipe that brings back memories, this was one of dishes I grew up on since my aunt was so fond of serving it during family gatherings (she always praised that it never failed her)…
Ann Lander’s World Famous Meatloaf:
2 pounds ground round steak
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. Accent
1/2 cup warm water
1 package Lipton’s onion soup mix
Directions: Beat thoroughly. Put into loaf pan, cover with two strips bacon if you like that flavor. Pour over all one 8-ounce can tomato sauce. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serves six. Source.
Ready to see what I’ve found? Here are over two dozen ways you can make meatloaf, they all look so good and how to pick just one! I separated the mini loaves, ground turkey, crockpot and stuffed versions into their own groups (under the main list) for easier browsing. I’ve also added a bunch of tips to the bottom of this page…lots here to keep you busy, enjoy!
*All of these are made with ground beef unless otherwise noted, ingredient lists are summaries only and not complete
- With Bacon: Made with finely diced bacon, grass-fed beef, fresh bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, dried mustard, fresh oregano, fresh basil and lightly beaten eggs. Glaze ingredients: ketchup, soy sauce, Dijon, honey, smoked paprika and cayenne. From Minnesota Monthly.
- Old-Fashioned With Glaze: Onion, bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes, quick-cooking oats, salt, black pepper. Glaze: ketchup, brown sugar and prepared mustard. From Paula Deen.
- Simple Classic: Quick or old fashioned, Quaker Oats, catsup, lightly beaten egg, Worcestershire (or soy sauce), minced garlic. From Quaker Oats.
- With Horseradish: Chuck, dry bread crumbs, ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire, salt, brown sugar, pepper, dry mustard, minced garlic. Topped with a mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, horseradish, brown mustard and mustard powder. From Fanksgiving.
- Beef & Pork: Ingredients include bacon or pancetta (medium dice), carrot, celery, olive oil, garlic cloves, dried porcini mushrooms, nutmeg, full-bodied red wine, panko flakes, fresh parsley, fresh tarragon leaves, fennel seed and hot sauce. From Stephen Cooks.
- With Buttermilk & Brown Sugar: Chuck, butter, dried tarragon, dried Italian herbs, buttermilk, Worcestershire, hot sauce. Topped with a glaze of brown sugar, Dijon and cider vinegar. From Food Wishes.
- Italian Loaves: (makes 2 smaller loaves) Made with a beaten egg, Italian bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, green bell pepper, tomato paste, olive oil. From The French Kitchen.
- Classic: Recommends cooking on a baking sheet for a nice all-over crust. Made with slices of white sandwich bread, whole milk, beef chuck, pork, grated onion. From Martha Stewart.
- Classic with Turkey: Ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, green bell pepper, carrot, celery, minced fresh parsley, Worcestershire, Italian style organic tomato paste, fat free ground turkey breast, lean ground beef, Italian style bread crumbs and ketchup. From Veggie By Season.
- Quick & Savory: Egg, Rice Krispies cereal, milk, Worcestershire, dry mustard and topped with a mixture of mushroom soup (can) and red wine. From Kellogg’s Rice Krispies.
- Italian Style: Beef chuck, spicy Italian sausage, Italian parsley, Italian Seasoning, crushed red pepper, cayenne powder, chili powder, tomato juice, dry red wine, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes (or fresh) and fresh mozzarella. From la Petite Chef.
- Honey Barbecue: Slice of white bread, Worcestershire, spicy brown mustard, smokey barbecue sauce, honey. From Can You Stay For Dinner.
- With Sauce: Broken or finely chopped sliced bread, vidalia onions (or sweet onion), table salt, black pepper, whole milk or half & half. Topped with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar and ketchup. From Food.com.
- Spicy With Glaze: Chopped yellow onion, carrots (peeled & chopped), celery, garlic, rolled oats, cayenne powder, fresh thyme, organic ketchup, cumin and Worcestershire. From Sarah Fit.
- Yule Log: Has a mashed potato topping, ingredients include white bread slices (stale and torn), whole milk, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, celery, carrot, dry sherry or dry white wine, beef chuck, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, dried mustard, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire, lightly beaten eggs. Potatoes: half & half cream (or heavy cream), butter and paprika. From Rachael Ray.
- Brooke’s: Topped with a glaze, ingredients include finely chopped onion, ketchup, eggs, a slice of white bread (torn into pieces). Glaze: ketchup, Dijon and packed light brown sugar. From the Deen Bros.
- Mozzarella: Pizza style topped with mozzarella cheese, ingredients include saltine cracker crumbs, milk, grated Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, pizza sauce, part-skim mozzarella cheese. Optional: green pepper rings, sliced mushrooms, butter and chopped fresh parsley. From Taste of Home.
- Vegetarian: Serves 6, ingredients: butter, celery and carrot, vegetarian bouillon cubes, mushrooms, chopped bell pepper, block tempeh (crumbled), smoked sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, dried thyme, paprika, half & half and topped with a glaze (ketchup, soy sauce, Tabasco, black pepper and sorghum). From Chubby Vegetarian.
- Blue Plate Special: Promises to be the very best, made with a combination of beef, veal and pork and a fantastic glaze. From A Feast For The Eyes.
- Mashed Potato Topped Cupcakes: Both beef and pork, grated onion, garlic powder, panko crumbs, Worcestershire, minced fresh parsley, milk and beaten eggs. Also has chili sauce, dark brown sugar, dry mustard. Potato “Icing”: Chunks of boiled potatoes, half & half (or heavy cream) and melted butter. From Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy.
- Minis: Ingredients include packed brown sugar, both beef & pork, Original Bisquick mix, small onion and an egg. From Kathie Cooks.
- Cheesy: Chopped onion, diced white cheddar cheese, fresh parsley, grated Parmesan, prepared horseradish, Dijon, dried oregano, sirloin. From My Recipes.
- BBQ: Sirloin, celery, green bell pepper, an egg (with a splash of milk), grill seasoning, smoky barbecue sauce, tomato salsa, Worcestershire, vegetable oil or Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Found at Food Network.
- Lighter Bacon Cheeseburger: Serves 6, ingredients include whole-wheat bread (torn), low-fat milk, canola oil, mushrooms, shredded zucchini, turkey or chicken, fat-free shredded mozzarella, reduced-fat bacon, ketchup, spicy brown mustard and topped with French friend onions. From Paula Deen.
- Greek Version: Includes nonfat plain Greek yogurt, large eggs, Greek seasoning, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, fresh thyme or oregano, zest and slices of lemon. From The Perfect Pantry.
- With Mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms (sliced), small leeks, shredded fontina or gouda cheese, a slice of day old bread (cubed), a large egg, vegetable oil, prosciutto, fresh sage leaves, lean ground turkey. From Chasing Tomatoes.
- Taco Style: (crockpot) Cooks on low for about 4 hours. Crushed tortilla chips, shredded Cheddar, salsa, egg substitute, sliced ripe olives, taco seasoning, packed brown sugar and Louisiana-style hot sauce. From Taste of Home.
- Italian Crockpot Version: Cooks on low for up to 8 hours. Milk, olive oil, dried oregano, chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, fresh parsley, Parmesan cheese, and both beef and turkey. Topped with shredded provolone cheese, fresh parsley and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. From Food & Whine.
- Stuffed With Prosciutto & Spinach: Carrots, spinach, both lean beef and pork, freshly grated pecorino cheese, eggs, all-purpose flour, thin slices of prosciutto, caciocavallo or provolone cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, rosemary sprigs, dry red wine and water. From Food & Wine.
- Italian Cheese Stuffed: Ingredients include soft French bread crumbs, shredded Parmesan, chopped fresh basil (or dried), pizza sauce, shredded Provolone cheese, roasted red bell peppers and chopped ripe olives. From Betty Crocker.
First published April 17, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization
- Mixing It Up Helpers: Some say meatloaf HAS to be mixed with your bare hands. Others say a thick wooden spoon or even a potato masher will do the job just fine. You could also put all the ingredients in a large ziploc bag, seal, then mash all ingredients together without getting your hands messy. Mix until everything’s blended fairly well, overmixing can give a tough result.
- Make Ahead: Try mixing up 2 or more batches at once. You can cook then freeze or shape into loaves, wrap the raw loaf well and freeze. Just take it out of the freezer and it’s ready to go. I’ve also mixed up all the ingredients, taken out the amount needed for one loaf and packed it in a ziploc bag (without forming into a loaf first). Squish all the meat in from side to side, top to bottom to force out all the air and to make the package really flat. Seal then freeze, it’s a real space saver in the freezer since you can stack the flat packs one on top of the other. All that’s needed is to shape into loaves once the mix has thawed.
- Loaf Sizes: You can make a single loaf in a loaf pan or shape into smaller, individual loaves by cooking them in muffin tins–great for portion control and kids love them too! You can also make them “free form” and placed directly on an oven rack which results in a nice crust all over (have a pan on the rack underneath to catch drippings).
- Cling: If your loaf always sticks and clings to the bottom of the pan, try laying a strip of raw bacon on the bottom of the pan before filling. The bacon not only helps prevent it from sticking to the bottom, it also adds flavor.
- Crumbling: If it’s always crumbling apart when you slice it, let it sit for a few minutes first and then cut into pieces. The loaf will hold together better.
- Filler Ideas: These help bulk up the loaf and stretch your meat, also used to help bind the ingredients. You could use cracker crumbs, bread crumbs (seasoned or plain), quick oats, corn flakes, mushrooms, garlic or seasoned croutons, Stove Top Stuffing and even rice or chopped/grated veggies like carrots.
- Flavor Mix In Ideas: Kick up the flavor with one or more of these ideas–dry onion soup mix, Italian seasonings, chopped onion, horseradish, thyme, sage, oregano, chopped green olives, celery, generous amounts of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Topper Ideas: Try pouring a can of mushroom soup over top 20 to 30 minutes before it’s done for a tasty mushroom gravy. You could also use your favorite tomato or chili sauce–the zestier the better! Also slices of bacon over top is another tasty idea.
- Lazy Stuffing Trick: Place half of the meat in the pan, cover with grated cheddar cheese or mozza cheese and onions then top with the other half of meat. Lightly sauteed mushrooms, garlic & peppers are a nice addition too.
*First published January 12, 2010 and moved to this page for better organization
- How long to cook for? It depends on the size of the loaf (especially how deep it is) and the temperature, but a good rule of thumb for a standard loaf size (between 1 and 1.5 pound meatloaf) is between 50 to 70 minutes (and about 75 to 90 minutes for a two pound loaf in a 375° oven). You’ll know when it’s done when the middle is no longer pink and the temperature is 160°F. (see below).
- What temperature should it be when it’s done? The internal temperature (for ground beef) should be at least 160°F. Anything higher will result in a drier meatloaf, anything lower may not be hot enough for food safety.
- How to make it less greasy? Here’s a tip: instead of using a loaf pan, select a larger baking pan and then shape the mixture so it will fit in the middle of the pan with at least 1″ space between all sides. This gives more room for the grease and your meat won’t be swimming in it from top to bottom. Also lay a single layer of sliced bread on the bottom of the pan before filling with mixture, this will absorb a lot of the grease.
- Is it better to bake on the top or bottom rack? Usually on the center or middle rack of the oven unless instructed otherwise.
- Is there a way to cut cooking time? Sure! Instead of making one loaf, make several mini-loaves by filling muffin tins and cooking between 20 and 30 minutes at 375°F (just until the internal temperature is 160°F. and the middle is no longer pink).
- Should it be covered? It depends on whether or not you prefer a crusty or a moist/soft exterior. Covering it will “steam” the meat and results in a moister meatloaf (with some difference in texture). Either way is fine (covered or uncovered) or you could do both: cover for the first half and remove cover for the last half. What’s my pick? I prefer not covering it, I like a crusty outside.
- Can it be mixed ahead of time? You can mix all the ingredients the night before or the morning of, just make sure to refrigerate until you’re ready to heat it.
Do you have a tip or secret not listed above? Please share it below–we’d all love to hear it!