In the world of Meatloaf Recipe, there are plenty of weird and wacky ways to make this humble dinner. There’s a lot of mayo-based loaves, some with ketchup or chili sauce as a primary ingredient. There are also an equal number of dry, flavorless meatloaf formulas that leave even diehard carnivores reaching for the ketchup bottle. But with the right combination of ingredients, meatloaf can be moist and tender while still being packed with delicious flavors. Let’s face it .
meatloaf isn’t anything like its reputation suggests. It’s not fussy or challenging to make; it doesn’t take hours to make and it definitely should not be something you dread eating again. With these tips, your next serving of meatloaf won’t become a once-in-a-blue moon meal but rather become one of your new go-to weeknight meals!
10 Ingredients to Make The Best Meatloaf Recipe
The best meatloaf recipe begins with the basics and then builds from there to create the perfect dinner. The following ingredients are essential for any meatloaf recipe.
- Ground Beef – This is the base of any meatloaf recipe. You can add other meats but you should still keep ground beef as the lead ingredient.
- Breadcrumbs – This helps keep the ground beef from becoming too dense. In fact, it’s the secret ingredient in many meatloaf recipes!
- Eggs – These bind the ground beef with other ingredients in the meatloaf and also add a bit of moisture.
- Ketchup – Not only does ketchup add moisture to the meatloaf, but it also adds a ton of flavor. It’s actually the most important ingredient in a meatloaf recipe!
- Some type of Starchy Carb – This can be mashed potatoes, rice or any other carb. It adds a bit of texture to the meatloaf and also adds a bit of moisture to make it a more well-balanced meal.
- A Little Bit of Something Sweet – While sugar is the worst offender, honey or maple syrup add just the right amount of sweetness to the meatloaf.
- A Little Bit of Something Smoky – This can be as simple as adding a bit of smoked paprika or liquid smoke to the meatloaf.
- Salt, Pepper and Herbs – These are pretty obvious but are important additives to any meatloaf recipe.
A Little Bit of Ketchup
While this may seem strange, ketchup is the single most important ingredient in any meatloaf recipe. It is the base of all sauces, the key to meatloaf’s sweet and savory flavor, and a critical component of any good meatloaf recipe. Any time a recipe calls for ketchup, you can substitute barbecue sauce, but it will never be as good as a meatloaf made with ketchup. When you are making meatloaf, there are two ways to add ketchup. The first is to mix it with the eggs and other wet ingredients. The second is to mix it with the breadcrumbs and other dry ingredients. Which method you choose depends on how thick you want your ketchup flavor to be. If you mix it with the wet ingredients, it will be very thin. If you mix it with the dry ingredients, it will be much thicker.
Chopped Onion and Garlic
These two ingredients are critical to any savory meatloaf recipe. Chopped onions and garlic are the base of many savory sauces, and they are no different when used in a meatloaf. Chopped onions and garlic give the meatloaf a savory flavor and help it stay juicy. They are particularly important in a dry meatloaf recipe. If you are a garlic lover, you can also add chopped garlic to the ketchup. This creates a very thick garlic flavor, but it is delicious in savory meatloaf recipe.
Some type of Starchy Carb
A starchy carb is a critical ingredient in a meatloaf recipe. It adds a bit of texture to the meatloaf and also adds a bit of moisture to make it a more well-balanced meal. Potatoes, rice, and pasta are all examples of starchy carbs that work well in a meatloaf recipe. If you decide to add a starch to your meatloaf, do not mix it with the other ingredients. Instead, add it as a topping after the meatloaf has been formed. If you add the starch to the other ingredients, it will make the meatloaf too dense. Adding the starch to the top of the meatloaf will give it the texture you want without making it too dense.
A Little Bit of Something Sweet
Sweet ingredients are perfect for a dry meatloaf recipe that has no other sweetness in it. A little bit of sweetness is critical for balance in any meatloaf recipe. Honey and maple syrup are two sweet ingredients that work well in a meatloaf. You can also add a bit of brown sugar. Be careful with sugar, as too much will make your meatloaf too sweet.
A Little Bit of Something Smoky
A little bit of smoky flavor is important in any meatloaf recipe. If you decide to add a bit of smoky flavor to your meatloaf, be careful not to overdo it. Too much smoky flavor will ruin your meatloaf. The best way to add a bit of smoky flavor to your meatloaf is to use liquid smoke. You can find it in most grocery stores and it is relatively inexpensive. You can also add a bit of smoked paprika to give your meatloaf a smoky flavor.
Ground Beef, and Lots of It! (Meatloaf Recipe)
The best meatloaf recipe is about using a lot of ground beef. You want to use at least two cups of ground beef for every one pound of meatloaf you make. You can add other meats and other ingredients to the meatloaf, but without a hearty amount of ground beef, it won’t be as good as it could be. This is where many meatloaf recipes go wrong. They try to add too many other flavors and ingredients, and they don’t use enough ground beef. All other ingredients should be secondary to the ground beef in a meatloaf recipe. Use plenty of ground beef and everything else will fall into place.
Baked Beans or Mashed Potatoes
Baked beans or mashed potatoes are a classic addition to any meatloaf recipe. They add a bit of texture and they also add moisture to the meatloaf, making it a more well-balanced meal. Baked beans or mashed potatoes are a great way to add another starch to your meatloaf. If you added a bit of starch in the form of potatoes or rice, adding baked beans or mashed potatoes is a great way to double up on starches. Alternatively, you could add a bit of protein to the baked beans or mashed potatoes by mixing in some chopped bacon or chopped nuts such as almonds or pecans. If you make your baked beans or mashed potatoes from scratch, they will be even better in your meatloaf than the canned version.
The Perfect Meatloaf Recipe is All About Combinations
You can swap out any of the ingredients above with other ingredients. Just remember that the key to a great meatloaf recipe is to make sure all ingredients play well together. You can’t just throw in whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen. You need to use ingredients that work well together and make sense as a meatloaf recipe. If you’re looking for a new family dinner, try out this classic meal. Meatloaf is a simple, hearty dish that can be made with different ingredients and flavors. This recipe is a great way to use up any leftovers you have in the fridge. It’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen, and you’re guaranteed to have a delicious meal.