How to Make Meatloaf in 2021: A Step-by-Step Guide


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A well-made meatloaf is a favorite of family dinners and guests, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The best thing about this eclectic dish is that it is a blank canvas for seasoning that allows adventurous chefs to experiment with sweet or spicy flavors. As a bonus, meatloaf is also great for leftovers. Our advice? Crisp a few slices in a pan and toss between bread for a killer sandwich.

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Choice of meat

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When it comes to minced meat Fat equals taste. Usually ground beef with a meat to fat ratio of 80/20 is the best choice. Lean ground beef (90/10) will make the meatloaf mix dry and crumbly. Ideally, get minced meat from your local butcher shop – this ensures the freshest and best quality minced meat. When shopping in the supermarket, look out for the labeling on the packaging (80/20, 90/10, etc.).

While most meatloaf recipes call for beef, any type of ground beef can be great for meatloaf. A popular alternative is the turkey. Remember – use dark turkey instead of breast due to the higher fat content. If you insist on using white meat, you can mix in other types of meat like ground beef (even bacon) to make the turkey mixture fatter and fatter.

The glaze

In addition to seasoning the meatloaf mix, a good sauce or glaze will take your meatloaf to the next level. Meatloaf icing usually contains sweetness, which creates a sticky and rich sauce that will froth the meatloaf. The key to a good sweet glaze is to balance it with acid, usually in the form of vinegar or mustard. For creative twists, try ingredients like Middle Eastern pomegranate molasses or hot English mustard for a unique glaze.

Joy’s meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes & crispy onion straws

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with garlic and crispy onion straws from Joy's Cafe in Atlanta

(From Executive Chef Joy Beber from Joy Café)

Opened in 2011 by married couple Joy and Jon Beber, Joy Cafe brings together both international inspiration and family recipes, some of which have been passed down for generations. Born and raised in South Georgia and heavily influenced by the traditional southern cuisine of the women in her family, Executive Chef Joy combines traditional southern and rural European recipes with inventive techniques and modern presentations.

For meat loaf:


  • 0.25 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1.5 lb. Ground beef (they grind brisket, top sirloin and short rib)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten

For tomato glaze


  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Chipotle from the can in Adobo, finely chopped (optional)
  • 0.25 cup of brown sugar
  • Garnish: fresh rocket

For crispy onion straws


  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 0.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 0.5 tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce (preferably Joy’s homemade roasted red pepper and habanero sauce, available at Joy Cafe)
  • salt
  • Rapeseed oil for frying

For mashed potatoes


  • 2.5 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 0.5 kg cold butter, cut into small cubes + another 0.5 kg (a little more or less to taste and preference)
  • Whole clove of garlic
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 1 sprig of fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For the meatloaf, mix the breadcrumbs and milk and set aside.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the minced meat, onions, paprika, egg, breadcrumbs and half of the sauce. Grease a loaf pan and place the bread in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the meatloaf.
  4. Bake at 350 F for about an hour or until you reach an internal temperature of 165 F and the meatloaf is browned.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the crispy onion straws. Mix the flour and dry ingredients, set aside. Mix the buttermilk and hot sauce (use more hot sauce if desired) and set aside.
  6. Thinly slice yellow onions and toss in the flour mixture, then in the buttermilk mixture, and then again in the dry mixture.
  7. Fill a shallow pot 1/3 full with rapeseed oil. Fry at 350 F for two minutes or until golden brown. Place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Season with salt immediately and set aside until serving.
  8. While the meatloaf continues to cook, prepare the mashed potatoes. Cut off the top of the garlic, wrap in aluminum foil, and toast in a 350 F oven until fragrant, about 30 minutes. When you’re done, squeeze the garlic pulp out of your head and set it aside in a separate bowl (Note: save the garlic peel / paper for extra flavor and add to the cream and herb mixture below).
  9. Put the cream in a saucepan with the herbs, peppercorns and garlic zest / paper. Simmer over low heat. Not cook. Keep warm until the potatoes are done.
  10. To cook the potatoes, put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of salt and season the water to taste; it should be reminiscent of light sea water. Bring to a light simmer and cook until just tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot to get rid of the last of the water.
  11. In a mixing bowl, add the 0.5 pound cold butter and garlic pulp. Using a potato press, squeeze the hot potatoes in small portions into the mixing bowl as quickly as possible. The Reiszer makes for a wonderfully fluffy, soft texture, but a potato masher works well.
  12. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into another mixing bowl, discard the herbs and garlic zest. Pour a quarter to half of the mixture over the potato mixture. Fold in the potatoes, butter, cream and garlic. Add more butter and / or cream to achieve the desired consistency and taste. Season to taste and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.
  13. Serve the mashed potatoes and top with meatloaf and crispy onions. Enjoy!

Read more: Best Potato Recipes

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