Meatloaf is a classic comfort food dish but it can be dry and tough if not prepared properly. In this article, I will share how to make meatloaf moist and tender every time that will satisfy your cravings and impress your guests.
1. Tips To Make Meatloaf at Home – Moist & Tender
Use a combination of meats: Instead of using just one type of meat, try using a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, or ground turkey and pork. The fat content in the pork and veal will help keep the meatloaf moist.
Use fresh breadcrumbs: Stale breadcrumbs can absorb too much moisture, resulting in a dry meatloaf. Fresh breadcrumbs, on the other hand, will help keep the meatloaf moist.
Add moisture: Add ingredients like milk, eggs, or broth to the meat mixture to keep it moist. You can also add grated vegetables like celery or carrots, which will add moisture and flavor.
Shape the meatloaf loosely: Don’t pack the meat mixture too tightly, as this can also result in a dense meatloaf. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf that’s about 9×5 inches in size.
Don’t overcook: Overcooking can dry out the meatloaf. Cook it until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C), then let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
2. How To Make Meatloaf From Scratch
Ingredients For Meatloaf
- 2 pounds ground meat ( a combination of ground beef, pork, and/or veal)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Ingredients For Glaze
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Use your hands or a spoon to mix everything together until well combined.
Transfer the meat mixture to a loaf pan. Press the mixture into the loaf pan, making sure it is evenly distributed.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze is smooth.
Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven for 60 to 75 minutes. Once the meatloaf has been cooking for about 30 minutes, spoon the glaze over the top of the meatloaf, spreading it out evenly.
Return the meatloaf to the oven and continue baking for the remaining cooking time, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
3. What To Serve With Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes: A classic and comforting side dish that pairs well with meatloaf. You can make them creamy or chunky, and add some butter, garlic, or herbs for extra flavor.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or green beans are a healthy and delicious side dish that can balance out the richness of the meatloaf.
Mac and Cheese: A favorite among kids and adults alike, mac and cheese is a satisfying side dish that goes well with meatloaf.
Salad: A fresh salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a vinaigrette dressing can provide a light and refreshing contrast to the meatloaf.
Garlic Bread: A crusty garlic bread can be a great addition to the meal, especially if you want something to soak up the juices from the meatloaf.
Baked Potatoes: A baked potato can be a hearty and filling side dish that complements the meatloaf.
Cornbread: Cornbread is a sweet and savory bread that can be served as a side dish with meatloaf. You can add some jalapenos or cheese for extra flavor.
4. How To Store Leftover Meatloaf
Allow the meatloaf to cool down to room temperature. Leaving it out for too long can lead to bacterial growth.
Cut the meatloaf into individual portions or leave it whole, depending on your preference and future use.
Wrap the meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Make sure there is no exposure to air to prevent moisture loss and maintain freshness.
Place the wrapped or containerized meatloaf in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 3-4 days.
If you want to store the meatloaf for a longer period, you can place it in the freezer. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
When you’re ready to consume the stored meatloaf, thaw frozen portions in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
In conclusion, making a moist and tender meatloaf is not as difficult as it may seem. With a little practice and following guide in this article, you’ll be able to achieve a perfectly meatloaf every time.