Meatloaf can be one of those “love it or hate it” dishes. While some of us dream of tender, flavorful meatloaf served alongside potatoes and a simple vegetable, others have been scarred by choking down dry, tough meat in a school cafeteria. But we have good news! If you know how to make meatloaf using the right techniques and ingredients, you’ll never have to suffer through a dry, flavorless meatloaf dinner again.
While it’s great to have a classic recipe for making meatloaf in your arsenal, it’s also fun to experiment with different flavors. For example, our Italian Ricotta and Rosemary Meatloaf with Marinara recipe adds Italian flair to meatloaf with ricotta, roasted red peppers, and parmesan cheese. In this post, we’ll take you through each step of creating our Italian-inspired meatloaf dinner and we’ll also provide some basic steps for how to make meatloaf.
How to Make Meatloaf From Scratch
While it’s always fun to experiment with meatloaf recipes, you can’t go wrong creating this classic dish by sticking to a basic recipe for meatloaf and keeping a few tips in mind. To create a moist, flavorful meatloaf time after time, try this formula: 2 pounds of ground meat; a binder made from milk, bread, and a few eggs; and any vegetables or seasonings you’d like! Here are some tips:
Choose your meat. While you certainly can create a meatloaf that’s all beef, it’s fun to experiment with other types of ground meat, too. Consider a mix of beef, pork, veal, chicken, turkey, or lamb. Just make sure you choose meat that contains enough fat to give your meatloaf that juice, melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
Make a binder (or panade, as the Italians like to say). For this step you’ll need a starch–that can be breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, or even torn pieces of your favorite bread (just let it get stale first). Add milk and eggs, and you’ll be in good shape.
How about some veggies? Most classic meatloaf recipes call for a mixture of onions, celery, and carrots. But the sky’s the limit! Consider adding mushrooms, broccoli, shallots, peppers, or garlic, too. Just be sure to sautee your vegetables first, so they aren’t too crunchy.
Add a glaze. You’ve probably had meatloaf served with ketchup slathered on top, but feel free to experiment with other sauces, too. Barbecue sauce could add some smoky sweetness, or chipotle mayo can give your meatloaf a little kick. Have fun with it!