Meatloaf doesn't get a lot of love. But The Pioneer Woman's meatloaf will certainly change that. This meatloaf is covered in bacon and a delicious brown sugar ketchup sauce.
Why does it seem like everyone is always hating on meatloaf? It just doesn't seem fair. On the one hand, I kind of get why a "loaf of meat" seems a bit strange. But hold please... Why then, are meatballs perfectly acceptable, no questions asked?
I just can't get behind that logic and think meatloaf needs a few more people in its corner fighting for it.
I don't know how long this meatloaf hatred has been going on, but at least since 1983 when A Christmas Story came out. Remember when Randy is sitting at the table saying, "Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf!"? That's all I think about when I'm making meatloaf.... W
ell, that and "Ma! The meatloaf!" from Wedding Crashers. Clearly, I know my meatloaf pop culture. Didn't even realize meatloaf pop culture was a thing, did you?
Why You'll Love This Recipe
When done right, meatloaf is absolutely delicious. And you know, I'm not even sure there are many ways to not do meatloaf right. Like, it's meat. But it certainly can be done better. And wrapping it in bacon and adding a delicious brown sugar ketchup sauce is certainly one way to do that.
The Pioneer Woman figured that one out with her Favorite Meatloaf recipe. Full disclosure... I actually believe my dad figured the whole bacon on meatloaf thing first since he's been doing it as long as I can remember.
But for the purposes of this post and considering where the recipe is from, I'll give all the credit to The Pioneer Woman.
This meatloaf has all the typical meatloaf ingredients in it... Plus a couple extras! Here's what you need:
- Whole milk
- White bread
- Ground beef
- Parmesan cheese
And for the brown sugar ketchup sauce (which you DEFINITELY need to make), you'll need:
- Brown sugar
- Dry mustard
- Tabasco sauce
How to Make The Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf
Luckily, this meatloaf is super easy. It may be a step or two longer than the typical meatloaf you're used to making, but I promise that each additional step is so worth it!
I'm very excited that my local grocery store now has a pretty good selection of grass-fed beef. Here's what I used for the Pioneer Woman's meatloaf.
If you've ever made meatloaf before, this one is made in a pretty typical way. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. And then form into a loaf.
OK but really, to start, you'll put bread slices in a large bowl and pour milk over them. Allow them to soak for 2-3 minutes.
Then add ground beef, eggs Parmesan, salt, black pepper, and parsley to the bowl with the bread.
And mix everything together (I use my hands) until well combined.
Form the well-combined mixture into a loaf and place on a broiler pan (to allow the fat to drain a bit while it bakes).
The big difference with Ree Drummond's meatloaf is that this is bacon meatloaf and so, there's bacon wrapped around it!
So, neatly arrange the slices of bacon over the top of the formed loaf, making sure to tuck the pieces under the meatloaf.
After the bacon wrapping, you'll smother it in sauce and then bake for 45 long excruciating minutes. Then you'll pour even more sauce over it and bake it some more. And don't forget to save some sauce for dipping!
How to Make Brown Sugar Ketchup Sauce
This part is easy – just add ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and tabasco sauce in a mixing bowl and stir.
This is the delicious sauce you'll use to smother the meatloaf.
Yup, the Pioneer Woman's meatloaf is good. Really, good. I think it's a combination of its simplicity, plus the bacon, plus the sauce.
Though it has a couple extra steps when compared to the typical meatloaf, it's still a really easy process, making this the perfect weeknight dinner.
You basically just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. You don't even have to cook the bacon and the sauce also takes less than a minute to make.
And though it definitely doesn't need anything else, the bacon meatloaf is also kind of a blank slate. You can add whatever you want to it... perhaps some garlic or a little more sweetness. Do you have a favorite meatloaf secret ingredient?
This recipe also makes a lot of meatloaf. Like, you better have some leftovers or else you may have a problem. No judgement, of course. But the only thing better than meatloaf fresh out of the oven on a Sunday evening is a bacon meatloaf sandwich for lunch the next day.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you're looking for some more dinner recipes to make your weeknights easier, check out some of my other favorites:
- Thai Beef Basil with Coconut Rice
- Greek Skillet Lasagna
- Chicken Avocado Burritos with Corn and Feta Sauce
- Chicken Parmesan Risotto
- Mini Crispy Lamb Tacos
- Pasta Puttanesca with Sausage
- Shrimp and Feta Orzo Salad
- Greek Stuffed Chicken
- Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara (from A Couple Cooks)
- Broiled Salmon (from The Kitchen Girl)
If you're one of those people who's been a meatloaf hater, I'm going to have to insist you try the Pioneer Woman's meatloaf and then come back and talk to me. I think you're going to start singing, "meatloaf, beatloaf, I love meatloaf!" Or maybe it will be "Bacon meatloaf, bacon beatloaf, I love bacon meatloaf!"
Are you a meatloaf fan or do you have your doubts? Have you ever had bacon meatloaf?
Pioneer Woman's Favorite Meatloaf
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 slices white bread
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup minced parsley
- 10 slices bacon
- Sauce (recipe below)
Brown Sugar Ketchup Sauce
- 1 ½ cups ketchup
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- Tabasco sauce, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour milk over bread slices and allow to soak for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ground beef, egg, parmesan, salt, black pepper, and parsley to the bread in the bowl.
- Using clean hands, mix the ingredients together. Form the well-combined mixture into a loaf and place on a broiler pan with foil-lined on the bottom (to allow the fat to drain a bit).
- Neatly arrange the slices of bacon over the top, making sure to tuck the pieces under the meatloaf.
- Pour and spread about ⅓ of the sauce over the meatloaf.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until the edges of the meatloaf are nice and browned. Pour another ⅓ of the sauce over the top of the meatloaf, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Slice and serve with more sauce on the side.
Brown Sugar Ketchup Sauce
- Add ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and tabasco sauce in a mixing bowl and stir.
View Web Story for this recipe.
Karen @ run shop travel says
ummmm this vb looks amazing!
mmmm can i try this with chicken or lamb meat,,,,loaf looks yum
It's never been my favorite but you made a great case for it!
Liz @ Blog is the New Black says
I'm right there with you- LOVE meatloaf. Ree's looks delish!
Lauren at KeepItSweet says
i also love meatloaf, although i usually go with a super healthy version and this one looks amazing wrapped up in bacon!
My husband LOVES meatloaf. Turkey meatloaf, beef meatloaf....I even plan to try making a lentil loaf soon too (so I can partake!). I bet with the bacon add in - its just fabulous. Ree is amazing
Whoa. WHOA. Bacon wrapped meatloaf? Meatloaf is delicious and bacon is obviously delicious so...
My stepdad makes a mean meat loaf- lay out the ground beef mixture flat then add a layer of thinly sliced smoked ham and sliced swiss cheese. Roll it up like a jellyroll and bake.
Fun and Fearless in Beantown says
This meatloaf looks fabulous! I personally love meatloaf and if you're looking to order it when you go out, I'd say to try Pop's in the South End!
sweeter salt says
Oh my gracious, that looks so good! I love meatloaf. I grew up eating my mom's healthified turkey meatloaf with sundried tomatoes, which is delicious. However, sometimes you just want the old school, bacon-covered goodness.
I may need to make this some time soon.
Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says
I actually really like meatloaf (and it reminds me of that scene in Wedding Crashers when Will Ferrell screams, "Ma!! Meatloaf!!"). Anything draped in bacon is bound to be good too, so I can definitely understand why this is Pioneer Woman's favorite - and will probably be mine too 😉
5 Star Foodie says
Wow, an awesome meatloaf! Love the bacon around it!
Lacey Bean says
My husband tagged this to make the other day! it was on my Menu Monday list yesterday - can't wait to try it!
I gotta admit, i am not a fan of meatloaf with ketchup (i am still working on my issues with the stuff) but with bacon? i might forgive ketchup for all its wrong doings in my life.
I love Ree! Her meals look so delicious and I have tried a few myself.. her mac and cheese is my new favorite. I am not a fan of ketchup on meatloaf, but I bet my hubby would love it! Thanks Chels 🙂
sarah k. @ the pajama chef says
i love meatloaf. but i don't like it in the loaf form so i usually make it in muffin tins. i also think it needs a new name...
Evan @swEEts says
Anything wrapped in bacon is a.okay in my book! I like meatloaf, but like you I had a bad experience and have been slowly re-introducing the homey dish to my palate. This looks great and if its by Ree then it has to be good!
I love meatloaf and don't care who knows it! This looks fantastic. I love the "lard have mercy." Hysterical!
i was definitely not a meat fan when i was younger. i've been meaning to try it now, but haven't gotten around to it yet!
Meatloaf and mashed potatoes is the BEST comfort food!
Hmmm. I've made meatloaf before and liked it fine, but I never had it growing up so there's no magical nostalgia for me in eating it. I might try making it again sometime, but I'd rather just use the sauce recipe from here and make it without the bread, hamburger- or sloppy joe-style. Ree is fantastic though, and Karen gave a ringing endorsement on her blog too, so perhaps I'll give it a try!
I just made this tonight for a family dinner (6 of us) and it was a HUGE hit!! Thanks for passing this along =)
alicia Fidalgo says
I absolutely love meatloaf. And wrapped up in bacon? can't go wrong!
Since watching her show, I make her recipe all the time. My meatloaf recipe was so delicious, but Ree's is "over the top"
The bacon is like the icing on the meatloaf cake. Can't wait to try this recipe.
Liz / Made this for my 2 1/2 year old and he actually ate it I ended up hainlvg the recipe, using dark turkey meat and topping it with black forest bacon. I did use one of those meatloaf pans that drain the fat away so I cooked it for 1 hour at 350 and it came out perfect. So excited to have another food to add to our dinners. Thank you!
Jennifer Jones says
Instead of bread could you use Ritz crackers or something else, I just cringe at bread like that. Also if so how many crackers do you think I would I need to use?
@Jennifer- Hi! I think crackers would be fine to replace the bread... You could also add corn flakes if you prefer. I think I'd use 1 1/2 cups and still do the soaking in milk method!
I do not not have a broiler pan. If I use a glass pan that is deep with foil would that work?
@Jessica- That would work! The reason for the broiler pan is to let some of the fat drain away, so you could also set a baking rack over a sheet pan lined in foil and get the same result. Or you could ball up the foil in the pan and set the meatloaf on it so that the fat will drip off into the pan. I hope that helps!
I dont know why this doeant have a rating its the best meatloaf I've ever had.
@Laney- Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I love meatloaf . I know the bread gets soggy but does it make the meatloaf soggy. Love your recipes
@Sharon- Thank you!! The bread does not make the meatloaf soggy at all- it just helps add a little moistness 🙂
Carla Watkins says
What percentage fat in ground beef? 80/20? 85/15? -How lean is burger?
Hi Carla- I used 85/15, but 80/20 would also work well!
I followed the directions explicitly (to the letter) and it was a sloppy, soggy loaf that was completely raw throughout the middle when the cooking time elapsed. Continued cooking led to scorched sauce and burnt-tasting bacon. Thoroughly disappointed.
Hi Caroline! I'm sorry to hear that and am baffled as to what went wrong! I've made this recipe many times over the years and have never had an issue, as have many of my readers. It's also originally the Pioneer Woman's recipe with tons of great reviews. I'd recommend checking your oven temp with a thermometer as the amount of meat used in the recipe shouldn't still be raw after an hour in the oven at 350 degrees. I wish I could help troubleshoot more!