Classic Meatloaf – The last meatloaf recipe you’ll ever need!
So my daughter calls me up the other day and goes “Mom, would you happen to have a recipe for a Classic Meatloaf? You know, just a good ole’ meatloaf; no tricks, no gimmicks or special tweaks, no hidden treasures, no sneaky organ meat.. Just plain ole meatloaf made with nothing but your standard ground beef.”
I searched my brains for a couple of seconds, and then I realized I did not. I had made individual chicken meatloaves that tasted just like Christmas, then came these Veggie Overload Individual Meatloaves.
Later, I came up with these awesome Meatloaf Stuffed Bell Peppers, and more recently, my pièce de résistance, this intriguing Tex-Mex Meatloaf, which is generously stuffed with avocados, tomatoes, onions and olives and tastes just like a Mexican Fiesta!
But I had never made a simple, basic, classic meatloaf, like the ones I remembered from my childhood. Ha! The recipe for that one must’ve been quite simple, me thinks: something like ground beef, a packet of dried onion soup a bit of salt and pepper and a good dose of ketchup. *Maybe* one or two cloves of garlic, but most likely a teaspoon or two of garlic powder.
I think that’s pretty much all there was to it… Surely I would be able to recreate something similar, only one hundred times better!
It didn’t take long before I got busy working on it.
Frankly, I had totally forgotten just how much I looooove meatloaf, and I now have a definite go-to, perfect everyday recipe for it. This bad boy is so crazy moist and tender and unbelievably juicy… and talk about tasty, too!
I think I want to have at least a slice per week for the rest of my life. And really, that shouldn’t be a problem, for this meatloaf is crazy easy to make! I only need to find someone to eat the leftover slices…
Yeah… I might be a bit too far for most of you. Perhaps it would be easier if you made your own!
To start, we have to make some kind of a quick BBQ sauce.
To do that, we’ll require some tomato paste, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, a little bit of black strap molasses, some fresh garlic and a bunch of carefully selected spices, which we will then quickly stir with a spoon until evenly combined.
You’ll be surprised at how crazy good this sauce if for such a quick little thing that doesn’t even ask for any cooking.
Now in a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatloaf, including half the BBQ sauce you just made and knead well with your hands until all the ingredients are well combined.
Can you spot my favorite secret ingredient in there? Of course, I added grated cauliflower! It really helps in making this meatloaf so deliciously juicy…
Transfer the meat mixture to a loaf pan; press it down and shape it so the top looks nice and rounded.
Spread the rest of the BBQ sauce evenly all over the top and then place your meatloaf in the oven.
Know that this meatloaf will release a lot of liquid during baking, which you can probably tell by looking at the state in which my loaf pan was after it came out of the oven, so be sure to place a broiler pan or large piece of aluminum foil directly underneath it to collect those drippings that will assuredly leak out of the pan.
Bake uncovered for a total of 15 minutes at 375°F then lower the temperature to 350°F. Continue baking for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for yet another 30 minutes.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Garnish with fresh parsley and extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
Like I said, this bad boy does produce quite a lot of juices as it bakes, but that is what makes it so moist and delicious. It pretty much gets to bake in its own juice.
PLUS, these drippings are so tasty, you can spoon some right over your meatloaf at the moment of serving to make it that much juicier and tastier.
Not that it needs it, really…
- 2 lb grassfed ground beef
- 2 cups grated cauliflower
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- About half the BBQ sauce below
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- In a small mixing bowl, add all the ingredients listed under “BBQ sauce” and stir well with a spoon until evenly combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatloaf, including half of the BBQ sauce that you just made and knead well with your hands until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Transfer the meat mixture to a loaf pan. Press it down and shape the top so it looks nice and round.
- Spread the rest of the BBQ sauce evenly all over the top and then place your meatloaf in the oven. Make sure to place a broiler pan or large piece of aluminum foil directly underneath to collect the drippings that will assuredly leak out of the pan.
- Bake for a total of 15 minutes at 375°F then lower the temperature to 350°F. Continue baking for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes!
38 Comments on “Classic Meatloaf – The last meatloaf recipe you’ll ever need!”
This looks amazing! I am loving your recipes. I have made several of your dishes and they have all turned out wonderfully. I have a couple questions about the grated cauliflower in this recipe. 1) Can you use a food processor or do you have to grate it by hand? 2) Do you proces/grate it raw or cooked?
Thanks so much!
That’s great, so happy to hear, Laura! 🙂
The cauliflower I always grate in my food processor, I have no patience for the mess that the box grater creates… but you could use either method. Ah, and when using the food processor, you can either use a grating disc or simply pulse few quick times with the s blade. ALWAYS use raw cauliflower, though, unless your goal is to make mashed cauliflower!
Hope this helps!
I’m so glad your daughter asked for a classic meatloaf recipe…this looks (and sounds) incredible!!! I’m printing the recipe now and must make it soon!
Hope you like it as much as I did, Judy!
This is hands-down the BEST looking meatloaf I have ever seen! For some reason I never think of meatloaf as a dinner option, but this gorgeous recipe has me changing my mind!
Awwww, thank you so much! That is so incredibly nice of you to say. I can only hope that if you ever get around to making it, you’ll have the same thing to say about the way it tastes! 🙂
Love the sounds of this recipe! I’m seriously craving the comfort of meatloaf right now. Love that you made your own BBQ sauce to go with this. Do you think this recipe would work without the cauliflower?
It would most probably work, Louisa, however it will not turn out quite as moist… but why leave it out? Are you allergic? If it’s a question of taste, I can guarantee that you won’t ever be able to tell it’s there…
I’ve never known meatloaf to be so sexy! I would serve this baby on date night Sonia, it looks way better than any classic meatloaf I’ve ever had!
On a date night? Really? That sexy? Thank you Chantelle, that just made my day!
My meatloaf is sexy enough to be served on date night. Teehee! 🙂
I cannot wait to make this tomorrow! I just whipped up the bbq sauce and that is a tasty little sauce for a no-cook bbq! I know I will be using that recipe again! I would have made it tonight, but only had one pound of grass-fed ground beef thawed out, planning to make meatballs. I have a second pound thawing out now and this will be Sunday dinner! Very excited to try it, it looks awesome.
Please Amy, do let me know how it turns out!
Thanks for the recipe looks yummy …
Made this weekend. Absolutely the best meatloaf I’ve made. Loved the BBQ sauce, trying to figure out where else I can use that sauce. Oh, and I didn’t have any cauliflower on hand so I used some shredded zucchini I had in the freezer.
What a fantastic idea, Holly! I might have to try it myself! And glad to hear the meatloaf was to your liking. Thanks a bunch for letting me know, you’re the best! 🙂
I made a double recipe of this but the taste of thyme was so overpowering, it ruined what might have been a very good meatloaf otherwise :(. Could you have meant 1 teaspoon rather than 1 Tablespoon??? 4 lbs of grass fed beef! Yikes…
Sorry to hear, Debbie… and no, that wasn’t a mistake, I really did use a tablespoon. Mind you, I happen to really like thyme, but perhaps my dried thyme isn’t quite as strong as yours…
What was the light tan gelled stuff that came up on one end of it, the eggs? Mine fell apart when I sliced it, though it did look very pretty going into the oven. I had to buy a lot of spices to make this but it was fun, like a chemist. I might cook the onions beforehand since they were a little crunchy. Use Vitamix for cauliflower. How can I make it more dense?
Perhaps just letting it rest for while longer would’ve prevented it from falling apart… once refrigerated, it slices like a charm! 😉
If you want it more dense, I suppose you could simply omit the cauliflower, that should do the trick!
I’ll let it rest and then refrigerate it next time, before slicing. I didn’t squeeze water out of the cauliflower. My first time doing riced cauliflower and I didn’t know you were supposed to do that. I must have missed it in the instructions. I halved the recipe. I didn’t have white pepper or clove powder, though. I am so looking forward to looking at all your recipes! Thanks for making it so easy to read them and so easy to ask questions.
Did you cook the cauliflower before you added it to the meat mixture, Cameron? This one needs to go in raw… you squeeze the water out of it only when you use it cooked. But really, if you want super clean slices, refrigerate the loaf and slice it when it’s super cold, then reheat it. Then you’ll get slices that look like this! (I reheated this one in a skillet, very yummy, you get a nice crust as an added bonus!)
Oh, and please, don’t ever hesitate to ask questions. It’s always a pleasure for me to help out! 🙂
Do I didn’t cook the cauliflower for the Classic Meatloaf. So why couldn’t I go the uncooked route with the cauliflower for the focaccia? (I’m trying to get out of the squeezing & extra pots issue). I love how easy it was with the Vitamix to rice it down.
In the meatloaf, you’re trying to create texture and moisture, whereas with the bread, you’re looking for a dough, a binding agent of some sort… if you were to use it raw, I suspect your bread wouldn’t stick together… I’m afraid there’s no way around that water squeezing thing, unfortunately!
I may be a bit confused about the Chipoltle powder and chili pepper. I have found Chipoltle peppers ground at the grocery store. The resulting meatloaf was so hot that it was like having a smoldering piece of coal laying in your stomach. I think I’ll try it again with no Chipoltle peppers next time. Was expecting meatloaf to be mild. Love the recipe otherwise!
Chipotle powder isn’t really all that hot, Mark. I don’t know what it is that you got, but if it made the meatloaf THAT hot, then it was definitely A BOMB… this meatloaf should be fairly mild indeed. The chili powder only gives it a tiny, hardly discernible, little kick.
I’m making this for supper tonight and can’t wait. I haven’t had meatloaf in years (last meatloaf I had was the one with the good ole Lipton soup mix and squeeze of ketchup….haha). I’ve been waiting for a great recipe to come along so I could make it again, and after making several of your recipes, I trust that your meatloaf will be awesome!! I’m also kind of excited about the sauce on top, as I’ve never had meatloaf with a sauce on it.
Oh, I hope you like it as much as I did, Karen. Please, please do share your thoughts once you’ve tried it! 🙂
I’m making this for the second time tonight. It was a huge hit with my husband and 2-year-old (and me) last week. This time I’m letting the meat mix sit in the fridge for a day before cooking. You have so many wonderful spices here–just want to make sure they have time to really come together. Thanks for this great recipe!
Love the idea of letting it sit in the fridge for a while before baking. I’ll do that next time, too, I think! 🙂
Thanks for the awesome feedback, by the way. I greatly appreciate that! 😀
Sonia! … You’ve taught me how to make mayo, you’ve taught me how to make ghee, and now you’ve found a new family staple with this gem. Made this last night for the first time. It was AMAZING. Thank you so much for everything you do and for helping (me) get my health back. You are part of the Whole Foods Revolution that is saving people’s lives. I can’t thank you enough.
Aw, thank you so much Asia! That’s so kind of you to say. Feedback such as yours is what makes blogging worthwhile! Seriously, this is worth gold to me. So thank YOU, really. You are one true gem! 🙂
Can I omit the molasses to make it whole 30 compliant? This sounds amazing and I have been on the hunt for a meatloaf recipe that is compliant. I just made your mayo as well, it’s so good! Thank you!!
I had the same question about omitting the molasses. To make it Whole30 compliant, I added a date and puréed the mixture in a food processor. Turned out great!
How is it that I never saw the original question? Real sorry about that, Tess! Date paste would be an excellent substitute indeed, just make sure you don’t add vanilla extract in the date paste when making it, to keep things Whole30 compliant…
I was suggesting just one pitted date 🙂
That would work too!
I wanted to try this recipe tonight but alas I do not have any cauliflower or any other vegetables on hand that I could substitute. I live on an Island in a very rural area and the only veggie’s I can get around here are carrots, turnips and potatoes lol. Maybe I’ll try grating some carrot in lieu of cauliflower.
Do you think that would work?