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 8″x12″ 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
- 8"x12" 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 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.