How to Cook the Best Meatloaf

Of one of the many dishes globally, few notable dishes are on top of the dishes’ hierarchy. Famous dishes that many countries in the world have their version of it. That’s a measure of how popular a recipe is. 

And in this article, we will be sharing with you a famous recipe, that it even made its mark in popular culture – films, cartoons, and even in tv series – that’s how renowned this recipe is. No one who loves to eat hearty and filling meals would be able to resist its culinary charm. One look, and it’s undeniable, that this recipe symbolizes the festive and celebratory spirit of any holiday. 

Photo Credits to Sweet and Savory Meal

Its appeal and popularity transcend culture and heritage, as it was able to incorporate itself as a traditional dish for events that calls for a festive dish. All across the globe, this recipe is a mainstay of many holidays. 

By now, we know that your mind and your palate is teeming with curiosity, and we understand that. So let us not prolong this chit chat and dive in, straight ahead with all the information you need to learn to cook the Best Meatloaf at home, even on ordinary days. 


What is Meat Loaf

Meatloaf is what its name implies: ground meat mixed with herbs, spices, and extenders that are then baked in a loaf pan in the oven until cooked. That’s the general idea behind a meatloaf, but that’s easier said than done. But that’s why we’re here, to help you out with recipes that you might have trouble cooking. 

The origin of this festive meal is quite complicated. Others may claim that meatloaf came from the United States, where its popularity is massive, which is evident especially during the holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

However, if we refer to history books and their claims, historians would say that this meaty dish goes back as far as the 5th century. That’s because meatloaf was mentioned in the Apicius, a book that contains a collection of Roman cuisine. 

Photo Credits to Allrecipes

In countries such as Scandinavia, Belgium, and Germany, meatloaf is hailed as a traditional dish. And that is evident, as we can often see meatloaf being shared by people, most notably in films. 

The origin and the history of this dish may be complicated. Still, we can all agree on one thing: that Meatloaf is genuinely a festive dish and deserves a place on our dining table, especially if we want to be a bit more generous during occasions that call for extravagant and festive recipes. 


Ways to Cook

The traditional way of cooking Meatloaf that even kids are familiar with is by baking them. The baking process is why this dish has that slightly charred crust appeal that many people are looking for. 

But then again, cooking flavorful traditional dishes sometimes needs some upgrade, not necessarily with the taste, but how we can cook them better and conveniently. That’s what modern kitchen equipment offer to cook dishes more efficiently. 

So we did some research and found out about the other ways that you can cook Meatloaf at home, especially if you’re the kind of cook that is always looking for ways to innovate. 

Instant pot

Ahh yes, the instant pot, a friend of home cooks who are tired of transferring and using multiple kitchen appliances in just one cooking session. This upgraded and remodeled version of the classic pressure cooker can handle the job of numerous kitchen equipment, all with a flick of a button. 

This cookware principle is the same as its older cousin: using pressure and steam to cook foods much faster. The pressure that builds up inside the pot pushes the water beyond its boiling point, making the temperature exceed its average threshold. 

For this method of cooking meatloaf, you have to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed together beautifully; this way, all the flavors are well concentrated. After mixing the components, pour in about a cup of water into the pot and put the attachment for steamer onto it. 

Select the steam function for the instant pot and cook the mixture for thirty to forty-five minutes. The steam will take care of the cooking while maintaining the moisture of the meatloaf. 

Crockpot

The crockpot is the original term for the slow cooker. This piece of kitchen equipment is as its name suggests: this cooker uses lower temperature for cooking any kind of ingredients. This process allows the flavor to really draw out from the components without drying or breaking those flavors due to high heat. 

The slow cooker is the ideal cookware for dishes such as soups, casseroles, and different kinds of stews, as these dishes require slow and steady heat to let their flavors blend beautifully. For that same reason, the slow cooker is the ideal tool for cooking meatloaf. 

Preheat the slow cooker before you start cooking the meatloaf. Mix the needed ingredients in a separate bowl, ensuring that all the components are being blended well. Season the mixture afterward with salt and pepper before scooping them in your choice of the baking pan. 

Line the crockpot with aluminum to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of your cookware. Once you’re all set, scoop the mixture into the pot and set the cooker to your preferred cooking time. The slowest time that you can cook this is about six hours so that you can do other stuff at home, or if you need to run some errands. 

The benefit of cooking meatloaf in a crockpot is that it keeps the moisture of the ingredients intact, giving you a more flavorful outcome. 

Oven-Baked

If you prefer cooking the meatloaf to the traditional, then, by all means, use the reliable oven that you have at home. This is as traditional as it can get: since the olden times, cooks use the oven (brick oven maybe during their time) to prepare meatloaf. This kind of oven is fueled by wood, so the amount of heat is unpredictable. 

The good thing about the modern oven is that there are dials that you can toggle to select the specific temperatures for different cooking needs. There multiple types of ovens available – but the two most commonly used varieties are the electric and the LPG-powered types. But they follow the same principle, direct heat coming from the bottom of the oven. 

Prepare the needed ingredients beforehand; this saves you a lot of time. Preheat the oven to the prescribed temperature for a faster cooking period. Make sure to use a sturdy baking pan to prevent spillage of ingredients while cooking the meatloaf. You can line the baking pan with butter: not only that this prevents the mixture from sticking to the pan, but it also locks in the moisture inside the meatloaf. 


Other Delicious Variants

Meatloaf is world-renowned: having said we should not be surprised that there hundreds of available variants that you can find across the globe. The flexibility and the versatility of ingredients allow space for modifications depending on the availability of ingredients. 

Photo Credits to The Recipe Critic

And to give you some idea, we also made a list of variants that may spark your culinary curiosity and hopefully trigger your creativity to create your version of this flavorful and hearty meatloaf. 

Meat Loaf With Sour Cream-Mushroom Sauce

Meatloaf can sometimes be dry, resulting from being overcooked or using too much heat for cooking the dish. And adding a generous amount of gravy can help add moisture to it. And for meatloaf, there are a dozen choices to choose from when it comes to gravies and sauces. 

For this variant, let us introduce you to gravy that will surely remind you of home. This creamy and flavorful sauce is a nice touch to the meaty flavor of the recipe. Don’t be intimidated by the name, as it is relatively easy to prepare. 

Start by toasting the flour to prevent a raw tasting gravy and then scoop out the lightly toasted flour. After that, saute the garlic and mushroom in butter: once they are cooked, add in the flour to form the roux. Season with salt and pepper, then gradually pour in the broth until you reach your desired consistency for the gravy. 

After that, remove the mixture from the heat source and gradually add the sour cream while stirring continuously. You can serve gravy on a separate dish or pour this creamy and savory gravy on top of the baked meatloaf. This will also keep the moisture of the dish intact. 

Vegan Meatloaf

With the dawn of healthier food choices and the people’s consciousness for an alternative lifestyle, more and more vegan options spring into the market: plant-based meat alternatives and vegan food options.

And since we want to be inclusive, we also included a vegan meatloaf. There are tons of meat substitute that you can choose from, it’s up to you which one will work for you. To ensure that the dish will not be lackluster in taste, season the mixture well. 

The procedure is the same as the original recipe; just be mindful of the meat substitute’s cooking preparation because it might be different from regular meat. After mixing everything, transfer the mixture into the baking pan lined with vegan butter or non-stick cooking spray. 

For a genuinely meatless recipe, using mushrooms as an alternative is also recommended. Another option is using firm tofu. These alternatives are excellent in sopping up the flavors of the ingredients that are added into it: so make sure to marinade the mixture ahead of time before baking them to allow the meat alternatives to absorb the flavors of the spices and ingredients. 

Meatloaf With Brown Gravy

Brown gravy is the quintessential sauce for many kinds of meat dishes. The flavors of the said highlights the overall taste of whatever recipe it accompanies. May it is pork, beef, or even lamb, this versatile gravy does its job of making the dish taste even better. 

For a better tasting gravy, we recommend that you use homemade beef stock: simply boil beef bones and trimmings with chopped onions, carrots, and celery. You can use this stock base for many other sauces. You can also modify this stock base by adding mild-tasting herbs and spices.

There are two preparations for brown gravy- the slurry based and the roux-based. The slurry based sauce uses a mixture of cornstarch and to thicken the gravy. While the roux, which is a bit more complicated to prepare. However, both will end up tasting lovely because of the stock base. 

So heat up the stock, and when the broth starts simmering, gradually add the slurry while stirring continuously. Turn off the heat once you reach your desire consistency for the gravy. For the roux-based gravy, make a paste of flour and butter; once the paste changes color, gradually pour the stock. Once the stock is thick, that’s the time to turn off the heat. 

Then pour your prepared gravy into the meatloaf, which you have prepared beforehand. Just be mindful of the amount of it that you will pour into the sliced meatloaf. 

Cheesy Meatloaf

Cheese makes any dish better. Any kind of cheese will do- cheddar, cream cheese, gouda, or any type of fancy cheese that you can think of can be used for most variety of dishes. It can be added to savory recipes, soups, and even desserts: that’s how versatile this dairy product is. 

And you can also upgrade the taste of the meatloaf by adding cheese to it. You simply have to follow the recipe as it dictates. For a fuller flavor of the cheese, you can choose a variety that has a sharper flavor, like cheddar. Or you can use cream cheese for a subtler taste. 

But the best cheese that we would recommend is the mozzarella cheese, which adds that stringy cheese effect that you see in the commercials. There’s also another layer of flavor that cheese provides because of the innate richness that cheese has. 

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

If there’s one pork recipe that all of us are in love with, and we can eat even every day, we can all agree that bacon is the answer. This crispy and flavorful pork goodness is heaven-sent, and whatever dish it’s added into is placed on top of the culinary pedestal (or that could only be my bias.) 

And to add this heavenly slice of cured meat into an equally flavorful and hearty meatloaf is a match made in heaven. One look at this overloaded dish and one cannot resist its charm. The bacon wrapping not only adds crunch and crust to the meatloaf. It also provided an additional layer of flavor into the dish. 

Prepare the dish as you would usually cook your meatloaf recipe. Then once the meatloaf mixture is good to go, assemble the bacon slices on a baking pan horizontally: this way, you can wrap the meatloaf from the side and put toothpicks on top to secure the dish. Scoop the mixture onto the lined slices of bacon and wrap the bacon on them. Once secured, pop the meatloaf in the oven and cook as prescribed. 

Meatloaf Stuffed with Prosciutto and Spinach

Prosciutto is a famous Italian ham variety. Unlike the usual ham that we can purchase from the supermarket, this one is a type of dried ham. In fact, the name prosciutto means “to dry thoroughly” in Latin. This cured and dried meat is often served uncooked in many countries. 

On the other hand, Spinach is a well-known vegetable that is included in many notable recipes such as omelets and other savory dishes. This green and leafy vegetable is rich in Vitamin A, K, and Folate and is mild tasting sweetness making it a suitable ingredient for many types of dishes. Others even coat the spinach in batter, and deep fry them. 

If you are to follow this equally tasty variant of the meatloaf, what you need to do first is to chop up your prosciutto. Then saute the chopped ham until the flavors draw out because of the heat: once the flavors are drawn out, that’s the time to mix in the spinach. Be mindful that the spinach cooks quickly, so turn off the heat once the spinach leaves wilts. 

Then add the prosciutto and spinach mixture into the meatloaf ingredients and proceed to the usual preparation. These two additional ingredients will make your meatloaf even more savory, and the added texture is sure to make you ask for more. 

Meatloaf Sandwich with Tomato Jam

Tomatoes are known to be rich in flavor, and any dish that has tomatoes in them is guaranteed to be a hit at the dining table. Many sauces have tomatoes and their other byproducts incorporated in them. But did you know that you can make jam out of tomatoes? Yes, you read that correctly, there is such a thing as tomato jam, and you can add them to your meatloaf recipe to make them more flavorful and savory. 

To make the tomato jam, saute onions in oil until they turn translucent. And then, add the vinegar, brown sugar, crushed red peppers, and the diced tomatoes. Simmer this mixture until everything is soft: this will take about thirty to forty-five minutes. 

After cooking and cooling down your home-made tomato jam, you can now mix this in with your meatloaf mixture. Tomato jam will add a hint of sweetness and a hint of acidity that will balance out the meatloaf’s richness. It will also add moisture to the recipe while baking it. 

Cheddar Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Cheeseburger for many people, ourselves included, is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Nothing beats the delight it gives while chowing down on a freshly made, hot-off-the-grill juicy goodness in every bite. And add that melting cheese on top of the meaty patty; this sandwich is sure to take your blues away. 

So why not take this classic American concoction up a notch? Why not make it into a meatloaf recipe that your family is sure to fall in love with? For the cheeseburger mixture, mix a seventy-thirty amount of ground beef (that’s seventy percent lean meat and thirty percent fatty portion of the meat), garlic powder, onion powder, and your other choice of seasonings.

Then add grated cheddar cheese onto the meat mixture and mix them well. Add the remaining ingredients such as the eggs and breadcrumbs to hold the Meatloaf shape while baking. Then scoop out the mixture onto a baking dish and pop this meaty goodness in the pre-heated oven for the prescribed amount of time for baking meatloaf. 


Trivia

Meatloaf is one of the stars of many special events because of how festive and rich this is. But did you know that at one point in the history of the United States, meatloaf is the food of the poverty-stricken masses? They used inexpensive cuts of meat; then they add extenders like saltine crackers or any kind of bread that they can use to bulk up the mixture. 

And in the Philippines, there is a meatloaf variety that is also served during special events. But the way it is being cooked is different: instead of baking, they steam the mixture, producing a more tender product. This is called embutido, which is a popular dish during fiestas. 


Tips

Meatloaf is a festive dish because of how exquisite the ingredients are. And for that reason, we want to make sure that you’re able to cook this dish perfectly. So we included a list of tips that you can apply to cook this recipe better. 

  • Use meat with a high amount of fat for a more tender meatloaf.
  • Soak the bread slices in milk to make the meatloaf more tender. 
  • Do not overcrowd the baking pan with the mixture to allow for the meatloaf to fill the pan while it cooks. 

Troubleshooting

Mishaps in the kitchen can sometimes occur even with utmost preparation, and that’s normal. All you have to do is compose yourself and think about how you can still remedy that problem. 

And we also included troubleshooting steps to help you with that kitchen dilemma. 

  • If you’re meatloaf dried out due to being overcooked, let the meatloaf cooldown and re-heat it in the oven, but this time put the baking pan on top of a larger baking pan filled with water. This will help the meatloaf regain moisture. 
  • If you don’t want to reheat the meatloaf, you can douse it with a generous amount of gravy. 

Best Serve With

Photo Credits to Real Housemom

Meatloaf is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed without pairing it with other words. But for a more delightful dining experience, we have included a list of flavorful dishes that can be eaten alongside the meatloaf. 

We all know that Meatloaf is the main course: meaning it’s a hearty meal. And we can balance that meaty flavor by pairing it with a savory dish but very light. Thie combination is like land meets water. 

Meat dishes are a bit of a heavy meal, so you tend to get full immediately and lose the appetite to eat more. For that reason, having a bowl of sour soup can help whet that appetite of yours. 

For an ultimate, meat-packed dining experience that will surely fill your hearts and your bellies with delight, why not pair our heavenly Meatloaf with an equally delightful fried chicken. With its crispy skin, tender and juicy meat, this all-time favorite chicken recipe pairs well with our meaty and savory meatloaf. 


Conclusion

For a home cook, nothing feels like satisfaction even more than to cook classic and traditional dishes. The pride and joy it gives cannot be matched, especially the delight it gives them when people find their dishes taste close to the original. And that is what we’re after: to share with you the techniques to help you nail those classic dishes that your family is sure to love. 

And with all the information that we’ve shared with you, we hope and we believe that you can now cook the Best Meatloaf dish that is guaranteed to make your loved ones ask for seconds. So until next time, happy cooking!

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

homemade meatloaf on a plate
Print Pin
No ratings yet

Best Meatloaf Recipe

Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Beef Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 760kcal
Cost $5-20

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground beef
  • 1 pc Egg
  • 1 pc Big onion cubed
  • 1 cup Powdered milk
  • 1 cup Dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine ground beef, onion, milk, sugar, and breadcrumbs. Then add the mustard and ketchup. Mix well.
  • Then season with salt and pepper. Continue mixing.
  • After mixing, transfer the mixed ingredients in a loaf pan or tray.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.
  • Serve. Share and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 760kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 581mg | Potassium: 1085mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 333mg | Iron: 5mg
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments