Meatloaf gets a bad rap—but it's a supersimple, hearty dinner you can get on the table in no time. And if you punch up the flavors and don't overcook it, who wouldn't like meatloaf? Traditionally made with ground beef, it's then topped with barbecue sauce or ketchup so the meat forms a crust while baking. Add cherries, cremini mushrooms, prosciutto and spinach to upgrade this classic American comfort food, and use ground pork, sausage or turkey instead of beef. Replace the ketchup with a red-wine glaze, a creamy onion gravy or spicy tomato sauce. Find these recipes and more in our guide to meatloaf.

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United States of Meatloaf

Let's agree to agree: while our politics and personal tastes may differ, journalists Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer wonder if this classic comfort food can unite us all.

Leslie Bruni’s Meatloaf

Rating: Unrated
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. Slideshow: More Meat Loaf Recipes 

Our 12 Best Meat Loaf Recipes

Though somewhat unphotogenic, meat loaf is an American comfort food classic. Whether you stick to the original ketchup-topped version or need some ideas for repurposing leftovers, these meat loaf recipes are full of flavor and easy to make.

Veal-and-Mushroom Meat Loaf with Bacon

The original version of this recipe from Dine with Your Friends, published in 1936 by the Women's Faculty Club of Northwestern University Medical School, called for a mixture of boiled ham and ground veal. We substituted bacon for the ham to add a nice touch of smokiness. Plus:  Great Comfort Food Recipes 

Mom's Meat Loaf

If you like, serve half of the meat loaf one night and save the rest to make Spicy Sloppy Joes later in the week.Plus: F&W's Best Meat Loaf Recipes

Meat Loaf with Creamy Onion Gravy

Rating: Unrated
"This is a culmination of all the meat loaves I've ever eaten," says Andrew Curren, chef-partner of 24 Diner in Austin. "My mom always made a good meat loaf—it never had the tomato goo on top of it. Then I tasted a meat loaf that had cheese in it; that was a good idea. In Italy, I was introduced to soffritto and realized the importance of cooking with carrots, onion, celery." Curren serves the meat loaf with creamy gravy, which is also excellent on lunchtime meat loaf sandwiches. More All-American Recipes

More Meatloaf

Meat Loaf with Red Wine Glaze

Rating: Unrated
Shea Gallante brushes his meat loaf with a red wine glaze, which caramelizes as it bakes. The glaze also makes the meat loaf especially easy to pair with red wine.Plus: F&W's Best Meat Loaf Recipes

Meat Loaf Stuffed with Prosciutto and Spinach

Rating: Unrated
This luxurious yet easy take on classic meat loaf gets stuffed with spinach, carrots, prosciutto and cheese. The vegetables can be leftovers, says Mario Batali: "Just make sure they're cooked long enough to be very soft—if they're al dente, the meat loaf will tear when you slice it and wreck your day." Mild and tangy caciocavallo cheese, made in Italy from cow's milk, is excellent in the filling, but provolone is a fine substitute. Plus:  Great Comfort Food Recipes