how to make perfect meatloaf
There really is one most important thing to remember if you want to make perfect meatloaf: Don’t overwork the mix. After you embrace that concept, the rest is easy. Meatloaf recipes can call for ground beef on its own, or in a mix with veal and pork. You’ll need to add eggs and something to hold moisture in, like STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix. Ketchup or BBQ sauce adds flavor and more moisture, and when it’s all mixed together (gently, remember?) you bake it. We know a picture is worth 1,000 words, so we have pictures that show how to make meatloaf, and a meatloaf video, too. Once you have mastered the gentle mixing technique, you can apply it to meatballs—same idea, just smaller. After you make your perfect meatloaf, you need a few sides to go with it: How about potatoes and a salad? Sounds like a great comfort food menu.
The Best Meat for Meatloaf
- Use any one variety of ground meat, or a mixture of meats, to create a meatloaf you will love. One of our favorite combinations is ground beef, pork and veal.
How to Mix Meatloaf
- Whatever kind of meatloaf you make, don’t over mix the ingredients as this could result in a meatloaf with a tough texture.
- Nothing works better for mixing the meatloaf ingredients than your hands. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water both before and after using to mix the ingredients.
- For mess-free preparation, mix and shape the meatloaf ingredients in a plastic food storage bag. Just add all ingredients to the bag then close the bag and squeeze bag to mix all ingredients until well blended. Then, remove the meat mixture from the bag before shaping into loaf and baking as directed.
More Meatloaf Ideas
- For added flavor, top your favorite meatloaf recipe with shredded cheese for the last 5 minutes of the baking time.
- Despite the “loaf” in meatloaf, you don’t need a loaf pan to make a meatloaf! Simply shape the meat mixture into an oval loaf in a shallow pan or baking dish, and then bake as directed.
- For a whimsical idea, press the meatloaf mixture into muffin pan cups sprayed with cooking spray before baking. As a special extra, remove the baked meatloaves from the muffin cups, then serve topped with hot prepared mashed potatoes and hot cooked peas to resemble cupcakes topped with sprinkles!
Making Meatloaf in Advance
- Prepare two meatloaves and save one for later enjoyment. Cool the second meatloaf completely, and then slice. Freeze in resealable freezer-weight plastic bags up to 3 months. When ready to serve, remove the desired number of slices from the bag and reheat in the microwave until heated through (to an internal temperature of 160°F for food safety).
- Meatloaf or meatballs? For a change of pace, shape the meatloaf mixture into 1-inch balls. Place in single layer in 15x10x1-inch pan, then bake at 400°F for 20 min. or until done (160°F).