Leslie Bruni’s Meatloaf

There are no frills about this classic meatloaf from New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni’s mom. The flavorful tomato sauce makes it extra-tender, and a little brown sugar gives it a delicious, mild sweetness.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6


  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, minced

  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed and bread torn

  • 1/2 cup whole milk 

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease. In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk the tomato sauce with the vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire. In another small bowl, dip the bread in the milk, then gently squeeze out the liquid. Transfer the bread to 
a large bowl and discard the milk. Add the onion, ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce and mix until just combined; transfer to the pan.

  3. Firmly pat the meat mixture into a 9-by-5-inch loaf; spread the remaining sauce over the top. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until an instant-read 
thermometer inserted in the center registers 160°. Let 
rest for 10 minutes; serve.

Make Ahead

The meatloaf can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Contributed By Published March 2017

Related Video

More Videos
Ludo Lefebvre’s Ultimate Steak Frites

1102219 recipes/leslie-brunis-meatloaf 2017-02-14T13:44:54+00:00 Frank Bruni march-2017,meatloaf,comfort food,frank bruni,recipe recipes,leslie-brunis-meatloaf 1102219

Aggregate Rating value: 5

Review Count: 4

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: DinaSF

Review Body: Hmm ... I think a step or two was missing. I was also puzzled by the use of two pans. Mine also came out so wet it didn't stick together. My family referred to it as "meal pile." Having said that, it was tasty. I may try it again and eliminate the mushy bread and decrease the sauce.

Date Published: 2017-03-27

Author Name: Emily Vaughn Smith

Review Body: I don't understand the 2 different pans--what do you use the 9 x 13 pan for?

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-03-09

Author Name: Lois Servaas

Review Body: this is sensational. I have a catering business and have tries many many different kinds of meatloaf. this is my new go to!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-03-21

Author Name: Lois Servaas

Review Body: this is excellent and I have tried hundreds of different meatloaf recipes in my catering business. this is the definitive one for me.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-03-21

Author Name: Svetlana kaplan

Review Body: Stellar meatloaf recipe. I think I got lucky in the sense that I checked the temperature of the meatloaf 45min in and it was already at 170. So just be aware of cooking times. But otherwise great flavors!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-02-21