Southern meatloaf recipe is one of the most delectable dishes ever, and it’s a veritable party in your mouth. In the heart of America’s culinary tradition, where comfort meets flavor, there exists a dish that embodies the very essence of Southern hospitality and soul-satisfying comfort food. Imagine a tantalizing blend of ground beef, spices, and secret family ingredients, all coming together to create a masterpiece that’s more than just a meal—it’s a celebration of down-home cooking at its finest.
If you’re looking for a recipe with a warm, welcoming feeling, this is the one for you. It’s made with ingredients that are simple, flavorful, and comforting—and it’s perfect for sharing with family or friends after a long day of work.
What is the best meatloaf recipe? We’re about to embark on a mouthwatering journey through the hallowed halls of Southern cuisine, unveiling the closely guarded secrets of the Southern meatloaf recipe, a beloved dish that has graced countless dinner tables and warmed countless hearts.
What Makes Southern Meatloaf Southern?
Southern meatloaf is characterized by its unique blend of flavors and ingredients that are popular in Southern cuisine. It often includes a mixture of ground beef and pork for added richness and flavor.
The key to its Southern charm lies in the seasonings, which typically feature a generous amount of onions, bell peppers, and garlic, along with a savory tomato-based sauce. Cornbread crumbs or crackers are commonly used as binders, giving it a distinct texture.
Southern meatloaf is often baked to perfection and served with classic Southern sides like collard greens, mashed potatoes, or macaroni and cheese, making it a comforting and hearty dish that embodies the flavors of the South.
Can meatloaf be frozen?
Yes, meatloaf can be frozen. To freeze the meatloaf, allow it to cool completely after cooking, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. You can also slice it into individual portions before freezing for easier reheating.
Place the wrapped meatloaf in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag, and be sure to label it with the date to keep track of how long it has been in the freezer. Frozen meatloaf can typically be stored for up to 3–4 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in the oven or microwave until it’s heated through.
Can meatloaf be a little pink?
Meatloaf, like any ground meat dish, should be cooked thoroughly to ensure food safety. It should not be served in any pink or undercooked areas. Ground beef, in particular, should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 °F (71 °C) to kill any potentially harmful bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella.
While some people may prefer their steaks or certain cuts of beef to be slightly pink in the center for a medium-rare or medium doneness, this is not recommended for ground beef or meatloaf.
Ground meat can harbor bacteria on the surface, so it’s essential to cook it all the way through to ensure it’s safe to eat. Cooking your meatloaf until it’s no longer pink in the center is the best practice for food safety.
Can meatloaf be made ahead?
Yes, meatloaf can be made ahead of time. In fact, making meatloaf in advance can be a convenient option for busy schedules or when you want to prepare a meal in advance.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Prepare and shape the meatloaf mixture according to your recipe.
- Instead of baking it immediately, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate it. You can typically store uncooked meatloaf in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days.
- When you’re ready to cook it, simply preheat your oven, remove the meatloaf from the refrigerator, and bake it according to your recipe’s instructions. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time since the meatloaf will be starting from a colder temperature.
There are numerous variations for Southern meatloaf recipe, allowing you to customize the dish to your taste. Here are some popular variations:
- Cajun Meatloaf: Add a Cajun twist to your meatloaf by incorporating ingredients like Cajun seasoning, diced andouille sausage, and a spicy Creole sauce for a flavorful kick.
- Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf: Create a delightful surprise by stuffing your meatloaf with cheese. Cheddar, mozzarella, or feta cheese work well for this variation.
- BBQ Glazed Meatloaf: Brush the top of your meatloaf with your favorite barbecue sauce before baking. The sauce caramelizes as it cooks, adding a sweet and tangy glaze.
- Turkey Meatloaf: Use ground turkey instead of beef or pork for a lighter and leaner version of meatloaf. You can still incorporate Southern flavors like onions, bell peppers, and seasonings.
- Mushroom and Onion Gravy: Serve your meatloaf with a rich mushroom and onion gravy for a savory topping that complements the meat.
- Hot Sauce Infusion: If you like some heat, add hot sauce or diced jalapeños to your meatloaf mixture for a spicy twist.
- Vegetarian Meatloaf: For a meatless option, create a vegetarian meatloaf using ingredients like lentils, mushrooms, oats, and spices. Top it with a tomato-based sauce for a Southern-inspired twist.
- Pecan-Crusted Meatloaf: Crushed pecans can add a delightful crunch to the top of your meatloaf. Mix them with breadcrumbs or cornmeal for a unique coating.
How To Serve Southern Meatloaf?
Southern meatloaf can be served in various ways to complement its hearty and savory flavors. Here are some popular ways to serve Southern meatloaf:
- With Gravy: Many people enjoy their Southern meatloaf smothered in a rich, flavorful gravy. You can make a simple gravy using pan drippings from the meatloaf, adding flour, broth, and seasonings to create a delicious sauce.
- Mashed Potatoes: Serve slices of Southern meatloaf alongside creamy mashed potatoes. The combination of the tender meatloaf and the creamy potatoes is a classic comfort food pairing.
- Collard Greens: Southern-style collard greens, simmered with bacon or ham hock, make an excellent side dish to accompany meatloaf. The slightly bitter greens contrast nicely with the savory meatloaf.
- Macaroni and Cheese: Southern macaroni and cheese, often baked to a golden brown with a crispy top layer, is another favorite side dish to serve with meatloaf.
- Cornbread: A slice of warm, buttery cornbread is a fantastic addition to your Southern meatloaf dinner. Its slightly sweet and crumbly texture pairs well with the savory meat.
- Green Beans: Seasoned green beans, either sautéed or simmered, can provide a healthy and flavorful side to balance the richness of the meatloaf.
- Biscuits: Fluffy Southern biscuits are a great option for sopping up the meatloaf’s delicious sauce or gravy.
- Pickles and Onions: For a tangy contrast, serve some pickles and thinly sliced onions on the side. Their acidity can cut through the richness of the meatloaf.
You may try more:
Southern Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- 20 crackers, crushed
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 350F. Gather the ingredients.
- Grease or line an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with foil and then lightly grease. Alternatively, for a free-form loaf, line the edge of a baking tray with foil.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef with crushed salt sticks, onion, green pepper, egg, paprika, garlic powder, salt, thyme, black pepper, 1/3 cup ketchup, milk, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Wrap the meat mixture in a bag or shape it and place it on a baking sheet.
- Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour. Carefully pour the excess fat into a can or glass (discard after cooling).
- Brush meatloaf with 1/2 to 3/4 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce and continue baking 15 minutes longer, or until meatloaf registers at least 160 F on an instant-read food thermometer inserted in center. (If you substituted ground turkey or chicken for ground beef instead, cook the loaf to an internal temperature of 165 F.)
- Before slicing, let the meatloaf rest for ten minutes so that it holds together well. Then serve and enjoy!
Calories in meatloaf
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving