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The Ultimate Meatloaf Recipe

Updated on February 21, 2013
3.4 stars from 29 ratings of The Ultimate Meatloaf Recipe

The Ultimate Meatloaf Recipe

Since 2001, America's Test Kitchen has been testing and experimenting with recipes and cooking techniques, to develop the ultimate flavor experience for every type of meal imaginable. They then keep the home cook educated by airing their findings on public television. Cook's Illustrated Magazine is how ATK publishes the final results, in the hope of improving cooks everywhere.

For example, they wanted to find out how to make the most flavorful, moist meatloaf, with the best glazed topping. They tried every method, from baking in a loaf pan, to forming the loaf on a baking sheet, or even the As Seen On TV meatloaf pan, which is a 2 pan product, which has holes in the liner to allow the fat to drip away.

They ended up creating their own version of the As Seen On TV product. They took a baking sheet, and lined with foil for easy clean up. Then they placed a baking rack on top, and another piece of foil on top of the rack. They then punched holes in the top layer of foil with a skewer, and formed the meatloaf into a log, and placed it on top. The holes in the foil allow the fat to drip away, as the store bought pan, but allows the meatloaf to cook, not steam, as they found was unfavorable. Also the glaze can form on the top and sides, as opposed to just the top as in the pan.

The ingredient list for this recipe looks long, but you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. Almost any fresh herbs will work in this, so use up what you have. Don't clean the skillet after you cook the onions, and take a small piece of the finished meatloaf mixture and cook in that skillet to check for seasoning if you have time.

Many people use a mixture of ground beef, veal and pork, but just ground beef works just fine. Hope you give this technique a try. Enjoy!

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour 15 min
Ready in: 1 hour 35 min
Yields: 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, i.e thyme, rosemary, sage
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds ground meat, chuck, veal, pork or combination
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee 5 minutes until just soft. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine next nine ingredients to bread crumbs. Stir to combine. Add the onion mixture and stir.
  4. Add the ground meat and mix with hands until combined.
  5. Take a baking sheet and line with foil. Place a cooling rack on top. Place another sheet of foil on top of the rack, and pierce with a fork to create many little holes. Spray with cooking spray if desired.
  6. Shape meatloaf mixture into a log, and place on top piece of foil.
  7. Combine ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Brush all over meatloaf. Reserve a little glaze, and baste in 45 minutes.
  8. Cook for 75 minutes, or until instant read thermometer registers 160F.


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    • kitkat1141 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      DeborahNeyens, thank you for looking. Meatloaf sure is a comfort food. This method cooks the meatloaf beautifully. Hope you try it.

      Gail641, you could also use your mother's recipe, and just follow the techniques mentioned, and I am sure you will bring back great memories!

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 

      5 years ago from Mason City

      I love meatloaf, too. Its always been a favorite of mine, as well. Your recipe looks and sounds wonderful and delicious! My mother use to make meatloaf and it was always one of my favorite meals.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      5 years ago from Iowa

      Meatloaf is a favorite of mine. This is an interesting cooking method. I'll have to try it next time. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


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