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Basic Meatloaf Recipe

The Basics: Meatloaf

I've never understood why meatloaf is such a polarizing dish. The picky eaters of the world seem to have collectively clung to a terrifying school-lunch memory of meatloaf as lumpy, gray mystery matter. But this homespun American meal has worked hard to regain street cred, thanks in part to the high-end comfort-food trend that's taken off in recent years.

The beauty of meatloaf lies in its ease, affordability, and versatility. The basic formula calls for three inexpensive components: ground beef or other meat, binders such as eggs and oatmeal, and seasonings. Use this rudimentary recipe to expand your meatloaf combinations — and dinner horizons — when you read more.

Basic Meatloaf

From Paula Deen

Old-Fashioned Meat Loaf — aka "Basic" Meat Loaf


  1. 1 pound ground beef
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
    1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  1. Topping:
    1/3 cup ketchup
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf.
  3. Mix ingredients for topping and spread on loaf. Bake for 1 hour.

Serves 4.

Meatloaf Variations:

  • To enhance the flavor, use a blend of beef with pork — and take it to another level by topping the loaf with slices of bacon before baking.
  • Increase the tenderness of the meatloaf by using veal, which has more gelatin than beef.
  • Slim down your recipe by adding in shredded carrots, finely chopped spinach, and subbing turkey for beef.
  • Make it gluten-free by using flax seed instead of rolled oats or breadcrumbs.






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