11 Meatloaf Dishes You Need To Try

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Meatloaf is a classic American comfort food that has been around for over a century. Consisting of a seasoned meat mixture that is shaped into a loaf and baked, meatloaf is a versatile and budget-friendly dish that can be served as an entrée or used in sandwiches, appetizers, and more. While traditional meatloaf recipes call for a blend of ground beef and breadcrumbs, modern versions incorporate everything from ground turkey to quinoa to add flavor and texture.

The origins of meatloaf can be traced back to Europe, where cooks would shape scraps of meat into loaves. Soon this dish grew in popularity in America during the Great Depression, as it provided an inexpensive way to stretch meat and put dinner on the table. As meatloaf moved from poverty food to mainstream fare after World War II, regional variations emerged. In Pennsylvania, meatloaf is often topped with a sweet glaze or ketchup. Cooks in the South may add minced onion and green bell pepper. Midwest versions incorporate oats or mashed potatoes in the base.

Today, meatloaf remains a dinnertime staple for many families across America. It’s easy to prepare, satisfying, and endlessly adaptable. Plus, leftover meatloaf makes excellent sandwiches and can be used in other dishes like casseroles. From classic comfort to gourmet creations, here are 11 meatloaf dishes you need to try.

1. Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

For comforting, homestyle meatloaf, try this copycat recipe inspired by the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. This Cracker Barrel meatloaf recipe, for example, blends ground beef, green bell peppers, onions, and Ritz Crackers to make it feel and taste like what you’d get at the restaurant. After baking, it’s topped with a combination of ketchup, yellow mustard, and brown sugar. Serve with mashed potatoes for a truly delicious meal.

2. Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Everybody loves bacon, so why not wrap it around a savory meatloaf? This recipe coats beef and pork meatloaf in bacon to deliver extra richness and smoky flavor. Brown sugar and chili powder add sweet heat, while a brown sugar glaze on top keeps it moist.

Serve thick slices along with mashed potatoes and green beans for a hearty, satisfying meal. The crispy bacon weave on the outside gives a great texture.

3. Southwestern Meatloaf

Add some Tex-Mex flair to meatloaf with this Southwestern version. Ground sirloin gets blended with corn, black beans, cilantro, and spices like cumin, chili powder, and cayenne for heat. Shredded Mexican cheese melts into the top, while a chipotle ketchup glaze lends smoky sweetness. Serve with avocado, salsa, and tortillas for a tasty taco night twist.

4. Italian Meatloaf

This recipe takes meatloaf on a tasty tour of Italy with the flavors of pizza in loaf form. Ground beef and Italian sausage provide the base, while mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh basil mimic the taste of Margherita pizza. Marinara sauce tops the loaf as well as coats the inside, ensuring every bite is full of rich tomato flavor. Pair it with pasta tossed in marinara for a meaty Italian feast.

5. Hawaiian Meatloaf

For an island-inspired meatloaf, look no further than this Hawaiian version. Ground pork and pineapple chunks add tropical flair. The sweet and tangy flavors of teriyaki and ketchup glaze the top, while green onions and red pepper flakes provide zing. The toasted coconut on top adds even more Hawaiian essence. Serve alongside sticky rice and grilled pineapple for the full luau experience.

6. Turkey And Quinoa Meatloaf

Lighten up meatloaf by using lean ground turkey and nutrient-packed quinoa. This version blends turkey, quinoa, carrots, onion, and spinach for a healthier take. Egg whites help bind it, while Greek yogurt and parmesan add moisture and flavor. A savory glaze on top incorporates stone ground mustard and light brown sugar. Serve with a side salad for a nutritious, protein-packed dinner.

7. Cajun Meatloaf

Bring the taste of New Orleans to your dinner table with this Cajun-spiced meatloaf. Spicy andouille sausage and tender ground chuck provide a flavorful base, while onions, peppers, and Creole seasoning spice it up. Top with a smoky, buttery glaze, and serve it with dirty rice and collard greens for a down-home Louisiana meal.

8. Cheeseburger Meatloaf

All the flavors of a classic cheeseburger are packed into this fun meatloaf. Ground beef and ground pork are mixed with shredded cheddar, mustard, ketchup, pickles, and onions. After baking, the top is glazed with more ketchup and mustard for tangy sweetness. Serve on buns with all the cheeseburger fixings for an easy family dinner.

9. Meatloaf Wellington

Take meatloaf upscale with this gourmet spin on beef Wellington. Here, a mushroom duxelles coats a seasoned meatloaf wrapped in puff pastry. As it bakes, the pastry becomes golden and flaky while the duxelles adds an earthy flavor. Sliced into rounds, it makes an elegant entrée for special occasions. Serve with roasted asparagus and hollandaise sauce for restaurant quality at home.

10. Greek Meatloaf

Geeks Meatloaf

This Mediterranean-inspired meatloaf has all the flavors of Greece. Ground lamb and beef are mixed with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and herbs like oregano, parsley, and mint. Baking it in a loaf pan allows the feta to melt into the meat for pockets of salty creaminess throughout. Top slices with tzatziki sauce for a cool, tangy finish. Pair with roasted vegetables or rice pilaf.

11. Pizza Meatloaf

And finally, the star dish! All the flavors of pizza night can be found in this creative meatloaf. A blend of ground beef, Italian sausage, pizza sauce, and shredded mozzarella gives each bite the taste of cheesy pepperoni pizza. Grated parmesan adds extra richness, while classic pizza seasonings like garlic, oregano, and basil provide authentic flavor. The pizza sauce coats both the inside and tops the loaf, so every slice delivers saucy, cheesy goodness.

For an easy family dinner, serve thick slices of this pizza meatloaf with a crisp green salad. It makes great sandwiches, too! Just tuck slices into sub rolls for handheld pizza flavor. Both kids and adults will devour this fun twist on classic meatloaf.


From all-American to ethnic flair, meatloaf offers endless variety. While traditional versions will always have a nostalgic appeal, don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own twist. Whether you’re cooking for picky kids or gourmet dinner parties, meatloaf is the ultimate blank canvas for flavors. With its inexpensive ingredients, ease of preparation, and flexibility, meatloaf will likely remain a staple in American cooking for generations to come.

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