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Depression Meat Loaf Recipe

This recipe really does date back to the 1930's. The secret to its "just-right" texture? It's all in the mixing process. You won't believe that such a grand meat loaf can be created from so few humble ingredients...until you try it for yourself!—Violet Heaton, Portland, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min. YIELD:4 servings


  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef


  • 1. In a large bowl, pour milk over bread. Let stand until the milk is absorbed. Add onion, salt and pepper. Stir with fork until bread softens and is light and fluffy. Mix in ground beef. In a shallow baking dish, shape into a 7-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until no pink remains. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Facts

4 ounce-weight: 0 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate (0g sugars, 0g fiber), 0g protein

Reviews for Depression Meat Loaf

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Reviewed Nov. 28, 2014

"Wonderful. This is my go to recipe. Very easy to make. Made it for my brother. He loved it. Will have the rest of it tonight for dinner. My brother wants me to make it again."

Reviewed Apr. 26, 2014

"Farilady doesn't know the difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk, i think"

Reviewed Apr. 12, 2014

"Not sure what Farilady did wrong but my family loved this. It's moist and easy to put together. I made a quadruple batch and I have only 1 pan left. I'll make this again."

Reviewed Jan. 23, 2014

"This was awful.. My husband loves meatloaf but could not eat more than one bite before he said how bad it was.. Entirely toooooooo sweet. I even tried to feed it to my dogs and they would not even eat it and they eat everything.."

Reviewed Apr. 18, 2012

"This was very good. Thank you. I used half and half instead of the evaporated milk and give or take another 1/4 cup of onions. Thank you again."

Reviewed Jun. 8, 2010

"Great taste and it's moist! We stuck it on a hamburger bun with ketchup and it was delicious!"

Reviewed May. 16, 2010

"This is my main meatloaf recipe! It is always good and sooo simple! Have been making this for years!"

Reviewed Nov. 17, 2009

"I would like the directions to cook it in a slow cooker. Thanks."

Reviewed May. 24, 2009

"I will definetly try.  Just the two of us.  I will use the extra evap milk in the mashed potatoes with a little butter and couple tablespoons of cream cheese.  Top with chopped green of onion.

Thanks much for the reciepe."

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Wine Pairings

Light-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir.