We’ve taken this iconic dish and raised the ante…by quite a bit.
We realize to say this is the ‘best-ever’ meatloaf is saying a lot. But wait until you try it. The ultimate in comfort. Right up there with our Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese. So delicious and surprisingly easy to make!
HOW TO MAKE BEST-EVER MEATLOAF
We’ve tweaked this recipe for many years, and have come up with a meatloaf that is deeply flavorful, moist, and easy to prepare.
And the mushroom gravy is so good and can be made in advance.
Watch us show you how to bring this retro classic dish to modern culinary heights!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT MEAT
This meatloaf is loaded with so many layers of flavor, that you can’t really go wrong with choosing the meat.
You’ll need a total of 2 lbs of meat. We like an even mix of ground beef and ground pork.
EXPERT TIP: We love using ground Wagyu, which has a delicious taste and the tenderness of highly marbled beef. It can be found in the meat department of most well-stock supermarkets. If you can’t find Wagyu, no worries! Go with an 85% lean ground beef, and you’ll be just fine. You can also use a combination of beef, pork, veal, chicken, or turkey. As mentioned, we like the taste and texture of beef and pork, combined.
The addition of seasoned panko bread crumbs, eggs, tomato sauce, onions, herbs, parmesan cheese, and balsamic sauce deliver a deeply flavorful meatloaf every single time!
HOW TO SHAPE THE LOAF
Of course, you can form the loaf with your hands and place on a greased, rimmed baking pan. That’s no problem.
But we find placing the meatloaf mixture into a damp 8½”x4½” or 9″x5″ loaf pan helps to form the perfect loaf.
EXPERT TIP: Use a damp paper towel to wet the inside of the loaf pan. This helps the uncooked loaf to slip right out of the loaf pan when inverted onto the baking sheet. Again, make sure to use a baking sheet with a rim, there will be excess grease that comes from the meatloaf as it bakes.
After baking the best-ever meatloaf for 50 minutes, it’s time to brush on the topping.
We use balsamic throughout this recipe, and the sauce is a simple mixture of balsamic vinegar mixed with tomato sauce.
Brush a layer on and then return the loaf to the oven for another 20 minutes of baking. We add another layer once the loaf is finished cooking.
HOW TO SERVE THE BEST-EVER MEATLOAF
This meatloaf is so loaded with flavor, it’s just incredible.
Let the loaf rest for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to settle.
It slices very easily and beautifully serves a hungry family.
THE MUSHROOM GRAVY PUTS IT OVER THE TOP
We just can’t leave well enough alone, I mean, how could we?
The mushroom gravy is a simple, yet deeply flavorful sauce, that compliments the sliced meatloaf perfectly.
EXPERT TIP: The gravy can quickly be made after you return the meatloaf back into the oven for the final cooking, or you can make it up to a day in advance and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
THE ULTIMATE COMFORT DISH
So many meatloaves over the years have suffered from under-seasoning, and over-cooking. Bland and dry.
Well, folks, we are so excited for you to make truly the best-ever meatloaf in the world. So loaded with flavor and super moist.
And just wait until the following day when you make Best-Ever Meatloaf Sandwiches! Wow!! Just look at this meatloaf!
Ready to take this classic dish to amazing new heights? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and hashtag #howtofeedaloon!
Best-Ever Meat Loaf with Mushroom Gravy
- 8½"x4¼" loaf pan and rimmed baking sheet
- cooking spray for greasing the baking sheet
- 1 lb ground beef 85% lean
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs seasoned
- ½ cup tomato sauce plus 3 more tablespoons (for the glaze)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar divided, 2 for the meat mixture, 1 for the glaze
- 1 tbsp thyme fresh, chopped
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley fresh, chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
FOR THE MUSHROOM GRAVY
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup shallot chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups beef stock
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley fresh, for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Spray a lined baking sheet with the cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, onion, breadcrumbs, ½ cup tomato sauce, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, thyme, parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Mix all the ingredients with clean hands until fully mixed.
- Rinse a loaf pan (8" x 4") with water and then pack the meat mixture into the wet pan.
- Invert the pan over the greased baking sheet and gently transfer onto the sheet.
- Bake for 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix 3 tbsp tomato sauce with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
- After 50 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven and brush the tomato/balsamic sauce over the top of the loaf and return to the oven to bake for another 20 minutes. Save some of the sauce for another brushing after the meatloaf has finished cooking.
MAKE THE MUSHROOM GRAVY
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add the mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and have released their liquids, about 8 minutes.
- Whisk in the flour and stir to coat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the balsamic and then the stock. Use a whisk to incorporate the flour into the liquid. Slowly simmer and stir until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
SERVE IT UP!
- Transfer the meatloaf to a platter and slice.
- Drizzle the gravy over the top. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
- Serve at once, passing the leftover gravy at the table.
POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in January 2017 but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe, new photography, tips, and a fabulous new video in February 2020.
This was just incredible. I have been making yummy meatloaf for years but I thought that I would try this as I’m your biggest fan and reviewer (hopefully 🙂
I was intrigued by the balsamic in it and wanted to try it. Other than sautéing onion, celery and green pepper, I followed exactly. Oh my, what a winner. The mushroom gravy was drinkable on its own. But slathered over the meatloaf and your best mashed potatoes recipe was over the top. Well done, guys. Thanks for giving me another meatloaf to try. And thanks always for making me look like a way better cook than I am. I’m sure my husband thanks you as well. Still LOVING your membership site as well.
That is one of our favorite dishes to prepare! We couldn’t be happier that you made it (and the gravy) and LOVED it! You are amazing! And we so much appreciate you keeping us in the loop! That’s why we do what we do!! xoxo
Well, this is the recipe for the Best Meatloaf ever. I made both the meatloaf and gravy and at the first bite everyone commented on the meatloaf – melt in your mouth. The gravy was a hit as well. This will now be my go to recipe for meatloaf. The only change I made was to sauté the onions with the garlic for about 10 minutes. I let them cool before adding to the mix. Thankyou for sharing this fantastic recipe!!!
Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! I’ve made it MANY times because it’s become a favorite. I’m making it tonight to take to my son’s house for dinner.
Hi Vicki! Nothing makes us happier to hear than that! We hope you had a wonderful time with your son! No doubt you did! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the wonderful review! It means so much to us! xoxo Kris & Wesley
I made this recently and it is hands down the best meatloaf I have ever tasted!!! Absolutely delicious
My son follows you exclusively and suggested I follow do follow you as well!!! All of your recipes are over the top!!! Thank you for sharing your talents with others!!
Hi Jeanne! You have no idea how much you just made our day! We are thrilled you and your son are enjoying our recipes and having such great success with them! Thank you so much for sharing and please give our best to your son!! Kris & Wesley
I haven’ tried the recipe yet.
I was looking for a mushroom gravy recipe–but the gravy ingredients calls for Worcestershire sauce but that isn’t in the directions. Did I miss it?
Hi Roo! Thanks for bringing that to our attention. Add the Worcestershire sauce at the same time you start to sauté the mushrooms. We’ve updated the recipe to reflect this. Let us know if you try it and what you think! All the best, Kris & Wesley
I did make the mushroom gravy and added the worchestershire sauce with the broth and vinegar. I’m sure it’s not important when added—I just wasn’t sure it was suppose to be in there. I adjusted the amount of broth and vinegar alittle for our taste. We enjoyed the gravy with a lentil loaf. Thanks for the recipe.
The meatloaf was delicious! I did hold off on the mushroom gravy…too many calories.
The meatloaf is great with (OR withOUT) the gravy! LOL! So so happy you enjoyed it and thank you so very much for letting us know and for the wonderful review! That means the world to us! Please stay in touch!! Kris & Wesley
My Husband and I Love this! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Hi Kathlene! We are so so thrilled you and your hubby loved our meatloaf recipe! And thank you so so much for letting us know and for the GREAT review! That means the world to us! Please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley
I don’t eat dairy so is it okay to leave out the Parmesan? Will I need to replace it with something?
Hi Cassie, you could just omit it. You’ll still get a very delicious meatloaf. Let us know if you make it and how it turns out!
I made this for my boyfriend last weekend. He had a food orgasm. It was really good, the gravy is the best!! Thanks for the recipe, one step closer to marriage! 😉
Nan! We can’t even begin to express how happy this makes us! It’s no guarantee, but we can assure you…a good meatloaf is perfect for keeping a good meatloaf strong!! Keep us posted!!!! xoxox
“Food shouldn’t be allowed to taste this good.” -my wife re this meatloaf
I made the following changes because (a) I had 1 lb of mushrooms instead of 1/2 lb, (b) I like to brown onions before adding to meatloaf, (c) I can’t bring myself to cook mushroom anything without porcini, and (d) we love garlic far too much.
I used 10 oz sliced cremini mushrooms in the sauce, and 6 oz of cremini mushrooms in the meatloaf itself. I pulsed the 6 oz of mushrooms in a food processor until minced. I rehydrated about 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, drained them and chopped finely, then reserved half for the sauce and the other half for the meatloaf.
I sautéed the 6 oz minced mushrooms and half the chopped porcini with the onions and a generous pinch of salt to get them all to release their liquid so I wouldn’t waterlog the meatloaf. I cooked them until the steam being released slowed, then allowed the mixture to completely cool before adding to the meatloaf.
When I made the sauce, I added the other half of the porcini at the same time as the sliced mushrooms. I also more than doubled the amount of garlic because we are heathens.
My only complaint was that the sauce was a little bitter due to the long cooking time for the garlic. Sure, it’s just one minute up front, but then it cooks the entire time the mushrooms are cooking (until they release their juices).
So the ONLY additional thing I would do differently next time is change the order of the ingredients being added to the sauce. I’d replace 1 tablespoon of butter with olive oil, then sear the sliced mushrooms (with a pinch of salt) on one side, not moving them, until they had released their liquid and turned a deep golden brown on the underside. Then I’d add the shallots and keep tossing everything until the shallots were softened, adding the garlic for the last minute of cooking before adding the stock etc.
This is definitely going into the rotation. I think next time I may surround it with oil-tossed shallot and tomato wedges a la https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/buffalo-meat-loaf-103049 because this recipe is so good it should do lovely things to any veggies cooked alongside.
Curtis! You just made our day! And tell your wife she did, too (We LOVE her comment!). Sounds like your modifications are spot on and this meatloaf served with oil-tossed shallot and tomato wedges would be nothing short of spectacular! Thank you SO SO SO MUCH for sharing and for the GREAT review! We can’t even describe how much that means to us! Please stay in touch! All the very best, Kris & Wesley
Delicious! Mushroom gravy does put it over the top..served it with cheesy grits.. yum
Hi Carolyn! YUM!!! Served over cheesy grits sounds heavenly! We are so happy you had success with the recipe and thank you SO MUCH for sharing and for the GREAT review! That really means so much to us! Please stay in touch! xoxo Kris & Wesley
My meatloaf seemed overdone after 70 total minutes in the oven. Is it intended to be well done? Otherwise, great flavors! Thanks
I made this meatloaf last night. Hands down..BEST meatloaf ever! This is now my “go-to” meatloaf recipe! Absolutely loved this! Thank you for posting it!!!
Hi Janet! This makes us so so happy! We are thrilled you are loving our meatloaf recipe and thank you so much for sharing! We appreciate that very much!
Wow!!!!!! It was my first time making meatloaf ever it came out great and I loved it. My only negative is that the gravy wasn’t thick enough so not sure what I did wrong cause the measurements were as suggested and it was a little too vinegary for me.
Hi there! So sorry for the delayed response! We are THRILLED you loved the meatloaf! Sorry the gravy didn’t quite work out to your liking! But, at least the meatloaf was a homerun! Thanks for sharing and for the GREAT review. That means so much to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley
This is the first time that I have made meatloaf that I can cut like bread- usually it comes out crumbly and too moist. I think it was the cooking on a baking sheet. Best meatloaf I have ever tasted. Leftover meatloaf made great sandwiches for lunch the rest of the week. Thank you for this recipe!
Twice a week I cook for my sister and her husband. Last night I made your meatloaf and mushroom gravy, and boy, was that a hit! I cut up several big carrots in chunks, and surrounded the meatloaf with them, and they came out perfect. My 98 year old mom was rather miffed that I hadn’t made it for her, too, so I have no doubt that I will be making this recipe in my sleep in no time! Thanks for a fab recipe!
Gina! We can’t even begin to tell you how much this means to us! The addition of fresh carrots sounds heavenly! And we are over-the-moon excited that your mom loved it, too! You’ll have to make up for lost time and make it for her a lot! LOL! Thanks so much for sharing and for the GREAT review. That means the world to us! Kris & Wesley
Wesley & Kris,
I followed your recipe to the ‘T’, with exception of inverting the loaf unto a baking sheet. (Just cleaned the oven and wanted to minimize any mess).
Great instructions- but next time I will cut back on the balsamic vinegar.
I’ve never had any oven mess inverting the meatloaf onto a rimmed baking sheet and I’ve made this three times now. This is a fabulous recipe!
Hi Gary! Thanks so much for letting us know and we hope you enjoyed the meatloaf!
I’m in the process of making this recipe and the wonderful mushroom gravy accompaniment.
At the beginning of ingredients you write under Equipment: 8” X 12” loaf pan and rimmed baking sheet.
Was it your intention to write 4” X 8” loaf pan and rim. . . .?
Yes! Thanks for the heads up, Gary! Hope you enjoy the meatloaf and gravy! Please let us know how it turns out!
I’ve never been a meatloaf kind of person, I remember having it as a child and hating the taste of the dry chunk of ground beef and overly tomato-y sauce. Yuck! I never had it again once I grew up and decided what I’d have for dinner each nignt. But my husband is a huge fan of meatloaf and mushroom gravy, so I gave this recipe a shot! I’d never made meatloaf before and this recipe was easy to follow and put together. HUGE hit at home, husband said it was 2nd only to a meatloaf he had at one of his favorite restaurants, but I’ll still take the compliment! Perfect recipe!!
Shannon! You just made our day! We both felt the same way about meatloaf and went on a mission to develop a recipe that was super moist and super yummy. We are so so glad you and your husband enjoyed it and it sounds like you made it perfectly! And hey! We’ll take the compliment, too! That’s pretty high praise!! Woo hoo!! Thanks so much for sharing and for the GREAT review. That means the world to us! xoxo Kris & Wesley
I’m a big meatloaf lover and I along with my whole family loves this meatloaf. I do prefer a sweet glaze so I use 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 c brown sugar and 1tsp mustard powder, just a personal preference. Other than that this is a delicious recipe.
Hi Nancy, that is so wonderful!! We enjoy a sweet glaze, too, and yours sounds wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing and for the wonderful review. That really means the world to us! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley
Crazy times, desperately in need of some comfort food and distraction in the kitchen, and boy did I ever find it! This meatloaf is worthy of the “Best-Ever” label. Followed the recipe to a “t” and it was absolutely delicious. The gravy was brilliant and was the perfect companion to both the meatloaf and the side dish of mashed potatoes. My wife has made dozens of different meatloafs over the years and conceded that this recipe—my first attempts at meatloaf—topped them all. So looking forward to the meatloaf sandwiches tomorrow! I say it all the time and I’ll say it again … thanks for yet another absolutely outstanding recipe, guys! This one is a keeper!!!
Mark! You and Cindy make us so happy! We are beyond thrilled that y’all are having so much fun making yummy dishes! This is definitely one of our favorites. Take care and keep on cooking! It makes life better, that’s for sure. Kris & Wesley