Forget everything you know or think about meatloaf! This flavorful, moist meatloaf recipe is full of layers of flavor and is fancy enough for holiday dinner.
This recipe is sponsored by Ohio Beef Council.
How can it be that Christmas is already next week?! Do you have your menu decided yet? Every year we usually have Beef Tenderloin for Christmas dinner (you can find the Foolproof Beef Tenderloin here). We’re not alone with that… according to Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner, the top three cuts of beef most Americans have on their holiday feast wish list include tenderloin roast, prime rib and strip roast.
I can’t explain the shift, but this year I’m feeling like a little more of a casual (read fast and easy!) holiday meal.
It might be because I have a very active 3 year old and I want to soak up all of the magic of Christmas through her eyes (which will be all over the place!) I’ll always have beef as the center of our Christmas dinner. I really like the idea of a relaxed, comfort food meal this year and meatloaf is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods.
Not just any meatloaf, however.
This homemade meatloaf recipe is special. It’s a combination of my dad’s recipe and also inspired by the best meatloaf in town here in Columbus, at Cameron Mitchell’s Cap City Diner. IYKYK.
This is not your greasy spoon diner meatloaf. I would even go so far as to call it fancy, even. Fancy, delicious, moist meatloaf with layers of flavors and textures. There’s savory, there’s sweet, there’s crunch, there’s creaminess… you get the point. 🙂
If you’ve haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the Cap City Meatloaf, I’ll share how it inspired this Dad meets Cameron Mitchell Meatloaf. The Cap City version sits atop a large slice of Texas toast, has a tangy BBQ glaze and is topped with mashed potatoes and fried onion straws.
So.much.goodness in every bite.
How to Make the Best Moist Meatloaf
One of the secrets of my Dad’s meatloaf that makes it so moist is that he uses torn up pieces of bread rather than breadcrumbs. The bread soaks up the tomato sauce mixture and binds with the egg to create a moist and tender meatloaf.
What Kind of Beef to Use to Get Moist Meatloaf
While I usually use 90% lean ground beef when making tacos or spaghetti, in order to get the most moist and flavorful meatloaf, you should use a ground beef with a higher fat content. 80% or 85% lean work great. If you’d like to buy your beef in advance, you can freeze it in its original packaging up to two weeks. For longer storage, you can wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil or place in plastic freezer bags, removing as much air as possible before freezing. I’m all about getting as much ready in advance as I possibly can!
Fancy Meatloaf Ingredients
Printable recipe card below.
- Ground beef (80 – 85% lean)
- Tomato sauce
- Soft wheat bread
- Dried minced onions
- Dried parsley
- Brown sugar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Large croutons
- Mashed potatoes
- Fried onion straws
- Parsley for garnish
Do I have you scratching your head with the croutons? 😉 I opted for a bed of croutons for my meatloaf in place of the Texas toast and I love the crunch and flavor they add. I love a bite full of food with a variety of textures!
Dad uses tomato sauce instead of ketchup and I love how it tastes combined with the sweet brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce to make the meatloaf glaze.
Tips for Making the Most Moist Meatloaf
- Combine the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. It’s the best way to make sure that all of the components are fully incorporated without over mixing. You don’t want to overmix/over knead beef as it can make it tough.
- Drop the meatloaf mixture into the loaf pan and “loosely” shape it. Don’t press it down into the pan too much. This allows the glaze to permeate more into the meatloaf adding to the flavor throughout.
- Use a meat thermometer. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F. Bookmark this this handy guide to reference when your beef is fully cooked (for any cut or preparation).
What to Serve with The Best Meatloaf Ever
Cap City tops their meatloaf with mashed potatoes and fried onion straws so we did the same! Broccoli, green beans and asparagus make great sides for this delicious holiday meal.
I would suggest making an extra loaf so you have plenty of leftovers… this recipe makes amazing meatloaf sandwiches!
With so many holiday meal options on the table, beef is always a go-to for us. It’s a super high quality (and delish!) protein (just one 3 oz cooked serving of beef provides half of the daily recommended value of protein). I also choose beef because I feel good supporting local and small business. 97% of beef farms are family-owned and operated? Beef farms aren’t about cowboys, cattle drives and the Old West… these days beef farming is filled with drones, apps and computers – just like your holiday wish list!
The Best Moist Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 ¾ pounds ground beef
- 7.5 oz can tomato sauce
- 4 pieces soft wheat bread torn in pieces
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp dried minced onion
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 7.5 oz tomato sauce
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- thick croutons
- mashed potatoes
- french fried onions
- fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Using your hands, combine ground beef, eggs, ½ can of tomato sauce, bread pieces, dried minced onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Knead until just mixed (do not overmix or you'll end up with tough meatloaf).
- Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and place meatloaf mixture in pan. I don't smush the meatloaf down because I like how the glaze seeps into the meatloaf when it's placed into the pan a little more "loosely". If you like a firmer meatloaf, you can press the meatloaf down into the pan more.
- Mix together the remaining tomato sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and pour on top of the meatloaf.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Slice and place on top of a bed of croutons.
- Top with mashed potatoes, fried onions and parsley for garnish.
So what do you think? Would this meatloaf be a winner for your holiday meal?
Visit www.OhioBeef.org, and follow the Ohio Beef Council on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for beef nutrition facts, cooking tips, recipes and to meet Ohio’s beef farming families. Use #OhioBeef to share photos of your beef dishes this holiday season!