Best Traditional Meatloaf Recipes

Meatloaf is one of the most traditional meals Americans have, it has become one of America's favorite comfort foods. A traditional meatloaf and mashed potato recipe is like a good fairy tale, handed down from generations of careful preservation and altering, and is usually passed down from mother to mother. Of course, this varies by household, region and ethnicity. Some meatloaf's are smothered with BBQ sauce, some meatloaf's are stuffed with cheese or broccoli, some meatloaf's are covered in crackers, onions, you name it. There is no right or wrong meatloaf.

Recipes indicate that meatloaf as we know it today – blended with bread or cracker crumbs, egg and seasonings, then baked in a rectangular pan – gradually became popular between 1900 and the 1920s thanks to various factors like the economy and lack of refrigeration abilities.

Among the most popular early recipes introduced at the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago were several created by the Quaker Oats Company, meatloaf was one of those staples; showing off the many uses of Quaker Oats from breakfast to breadcrumb substitutions. This Fair also brought us Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, the Pledge of Allegiance, Cracker Jack and The Ferris Wheel.

This meatloaf recipe is an adaptation from a 1950's family recipe.

Traditional Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • 1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk and 1/3 cup of milk for mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 medium white onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon A1, worschester sauce or steak sauce
  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter or margarine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 375F.

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix briefly, but thoroughly, with your hands.
  2. Form meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape on baking sheet, lined with tinfoil.
  3. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes.
  4. Fill large pot with cold water, and place over stove, keep at nearly boiling.
  5. When water comes to boil, place potatoes in and let them become soft.
  6. Fry up bacon, let cool and chop into bits.
  7. When potatoes have reached a nice mashing point-remove them, add milk, add butter, and mash.
  8. Remove loaf from oven and set to the side.
  9. Change oven temperature to 450F.
  10. Using a long knife or spatula, spread the mashed potatoes around the loaf, covering every visible inch with mashed potato fluff.
  11. Sprinkle bacon on top of mashed potato covered meatloaf.
  12. Place meatloaf in oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool and enjoy.

Cheesy Salsa Meatloaf

Meatloaf has been around since the 5th century. It gets its name because generally it is molded into a shape much like a "loaf" of bread. It used to be made with the scraps from pork, corn meal, flour and other choice seasonings. When one usually thinks of meatloaf, they drag up memories from their childhood when Mom would cook all day for a less than appetizing dinner. As with all things evolving these days, the Loaf of Meat has taken a turn for the better! This recipe is also a frugal option, as you may have most of these staple items in your fridge and pantry. Follow these simple ingredients and you will have a tasty dinner the entire family can enjoy. This recipe is so fantastic, you may not even have leftovers.


  • 2 lbs ground beef (substituting ground turkey is also a good choice)
  • 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese (use Pepper Jack for a spicier endeavor)
  • 1/2 C mild thick & chunky salsa, any brand
  • 1/2 C plain bread crumbs
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 9x5 baking pan
  • Ketchup, if desired

Preheat oven to 400º. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Meatloaf should be moldable, in the consistency that dough would represent; not falling apart, and very moist. If the uncooked meatloaf feels a little dry, add a little salsa to fit desired consistency. Spray baking pan with cooking spray and mold the meatloaf to fit.

(If you are controlling your portions, roll individual balls of meat and mold into a muffin tin. You can fill the tin to the brim of each mold, because the meat will shrink as it bakes.)

Bake for 1 hour until center is no longer pink or meat thermometer reads 160º. Let stand 3 minutes and cut into slices before serving. Serve topped with ketchup if desired. This meal is excellent alongside mashed potatoes and green beans.

For a more ethnic take on this dish, use a spicier salsa, add some corn, jalapeños, cilantro and a touch of taco seasoning. Top with extra salsa or cheese instead of ketchup. Serve with warm tortillas, sour cream, and rice.

If you do happen to have leftovers, this meatloaf is fabulous warmed over. You can crumble it atop a homemade pizza, make an interesting beef strogonoff, mold into meatballs and toss into a pot of spaghetti, or some prefer to eat it cold. There is simply no wrong answers to this meatloaf. The possibilities are endless!

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf

For decades, meatloaf has been a cornerstone of American family meals. Over the years, the traditional ground-chuck, ketchup-topped formula has evolved, and one of the many new family-friendly incarnations is cheesy turkey meatloaf.

Turkey is a relatively low-fat protein; however, most cheeses can negate that health benefit. Nevertheless, fat-free and low-fat cheeses can still taste great, especially once they're baked in with everything else.

Any kind of meatloaf is a great food for kids to help with-- assuming they aren't squeamish about getting their hands dirty. It's also easy to work on side dishes while the meat cooks in the oven.

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf Recipe
Serves: Four to six.
Preparation + cooking time= One hour and 15 minutes.


  • One pound of ground, lean turkey
  • Two cups of sun-dried tomato vinaigrette(or one 16 ounce bottle) .
  • Two cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • One cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • One egg (can be beaten before adding, or pulverized during the mixing process).

  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, excluding on half-cup of the vinaigrette.
  2. Hand-mash ingredients, making sure to fully blend the bread crumbs and pulverize the egg yolk.
  3. Spread mixture in a greased, two quart baking dish, leaving one-inch around the edges.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  5. Spread remaining vinaigrette across the top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Cut and serve; if desired, top with additional vinaigrette.


Side Notes and Substitutions
- After baking, use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey's internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165 degrees.
Supervise children around raw meat. Poultry, in particular, can be extremely unhealthy if ingested raw.
- Ketchup can be substituted for the vinaigrette; however, it has fewer health benefits and can lack the flavor of the vinaigrette.
- If desired, the meat can be shaped into individual loaves. Cooking times will have to be adjusted thusly, according to the new thickness. Cooking times must be adjusted with any different cooking container; a longer time is needed if the meat is thicker.
- Colby cheese can be a nice alternative to the sharp cheddar. If used, add an additional half-cup to the mixture to make up for the less strong flavor.
- If Italian bread crumbs aren't available, sprinkle the meat with Italian spices and add a slice of crumbled, toasted bread for texture.
- Cheesy mashed potatoes or cheesy broccoli make highly complementary side dishes, especially for picky eaters.
- The recipe can also work with ground chicken; the same times for cooking and internal temperature apply. However, ground chicken can be difficult to find in many grocery stores.

Classic Meatloaf Recipe

It is entirely possible that every culture had its own recipe for meatloaf. Originally, meatloaf was made in the home kitchen to utilize tough cuts of meat. After grinding whatever meat was available, cooks added their own touch by using regional spices and cooking styles to make each dish unique.

Today, meatloaf is an economical meal that many families enjoy. This recipe is easy to make, fairly inexpensive, and ready in just over an hour. Using ingredients almost all cooks keep in the pantry, this recipe for meatloaf has enough flavor to serve unexpected company.

Although some meatloaf recipes call for two types of meat, such as ground beef and pork or lamb, this recipe is simple and uses only ground beef. Topped with a sweet, spicy sauce and paired with garlic mashed potatoes, it's guaranteed to be a success at the dinner table.

Meatloaf serves 4-6
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dry plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Finely chop and saute 1 onion in butter or margarine over low to medium heat until translucent.
  3. Place thawed ground beef into a large bowl and add sauted onions.
  4. Add spices: onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne and black pepper.
  5. Add dry bread crumbs and eggs. Mix all ingredients well.
  6. Place in a loaf pan and press lightly to pack.
  7. Bake 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees until beef is done through.
  8. Remove from oven and drain excess grease before topping with sauce.
  9. Raise heat in oven to 400 degrees.
  10. Mix together ketchup, brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cayenne. Spread over baked meatloaf and replace in oven at 400 degrees. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until sauce glazes a bit.
  11. If a spicier sauce is desired, increase the amount of cayenne. Be careful, as it doesn't take much to raise the level of heat in just one cup of ketchup.
  12. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • 6-8 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain water and place in bowl.
  2. Add sour cream, butter, garlic and milk. Use a mixer or mash with a hand masher until smashed. The longer the mixing, the smoother the texture of potato.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. If using new red potatoes, leave on the skins while cooking for an interesting texture and added nutrients and taste.
  5. Serve the meatloaf with the garlic mashed potatoes and a green vegetable such as peas or green beans. Add a dinner roll or corn bread to complete the meal, and enjoy.

Crazy Good Meatloaf Recipe with Lizano and Wheat Germ

Meatloaf is supposed to be the ultimate “boring” meal. But meatloaf doesn’t have to be a dry, leaden brick that causes panic in the ranks at dinnertime. With a little help from a Costa Rican staple and nutrient-rich wheat germ, you can take this “dull” dish to a whole new level.

Cooking with Lizano – A Costa Rican Essential
For Costa Rican’s Lizano Sauce or Salsa Lizano is like mother’s milk. The beloved sauce is on every restaurant table and in every family’s refrigerator. Used as a condiment for meat and fish, and is the secret ingredient in Costa Rican gallo pinto (beans and rice), Lizano recipes are a mainstay of Costa Rican cooking.

Wheat Germ Recipes for Health
Wheat germ is rich in folic acid, anti-oxidants, and vitamin E. It is important for immune system function, cancer prevention, and maintenance of proper blood sugar levels, according to the George Mateljan Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting healthy eating. Bread crumbs can be substituted for the wheat germ in this easy meatloaf recipe, but the end result will be somewhat denser and lack the nutritional punch of wheat germ.

Easy Lizano Meatloaf with Wheat Germ
Lizano Meatloaf with Wheat Germ is so quick and easy to prepare, that you will want to add it to the standard dinnertime rotation. It goes well with roasted root vegetables, steamed haricots verts, or with fried sweet plantains.

  • 2.2 lbs. of ground beef (1 kilo), preferably ground round
  • 3/4 cup of plain wheat germ (bread crumbs may be substituted)
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ¼ cup of Lizano Sauce (Salsa Lizano), plus more to drizzle on top
  • 1 package of dry onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a glass loaf pan with olive oil. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Let rest 5 minutes, covered. Form mixture into a loaf shape and place in loaf pan. With the side of your hand or a wooden spoon, make a depression down the center of the meatloaf, lengthwise. Drizzle approximately 2 tablespoons of Lizano sauce along the depression. Place loaf pan in oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 hour. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8.

Meatloaf Recipes Don’t Have to Be Boring
So cast off your preconceptions about meatloaf as a heavy, unhealthy, bland meal. With a dose of wheat germ for health benefits and a nutty flavor, and a dash of Lizano sauce to lend zip, meatloaf can recover its dignified reputation as a family staple that is nutritious, tasty, and easy to prepare.

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