How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf

This easy bacon-wrapped meat loaf is tender, juicy and topped with a sauce that's sweet and smoky.

From traditional meat loaf to Mexican meat loaf and mini muffin-pan meat loaf, there are about a million ways to loaf around. The best variation, however, has to be bacon-wrapped meat loaf.

Crispy on the outside and juicy inside, a bacon-wrapped meat loaf is a great way to upgrade mom’s meat loaf recipe. Not only does the bacon add a fantastic layer of meaty flavor, but it also helps keep the meat loaf moist and makes a simple dish look almost elegant.

If you’ve never made a bacon-wrapped meat loaf before (like The Pioneer Woman’s meat loaf), prepare to become a convert. You’ll never want to meat loaf any other way again!

How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf

Bacon Wrapped Meat Load Overhead Shot Of All Ingredients On Marble SurfaceTMB Studio

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2/3 cup crushed saltines
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 9 bacon strips

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

Directions

Step 1: Saute the onion and garlic

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Step 2: Combine wet ingredients

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and hot pepper sauce.

Step 3: Mix everything together

Stir in the onion mixture, saltine crackers, parsley, salt, pepper and thyme. Then crumble the beef, veal and pork into the bowl.

Editor’s Tip: For a tender meat loaf, handle the mixture as little as possible. Excessive handling can result in a meat loaf that is dense, dry and/or tough. (The same is true for making perfectly juicy burgers.)

Step 4: Shape the meat loaf

Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf meat mixture being formed into a loaf in a foil lined panTMB Studio

Mix well. Then, with wet hands, shape it into a single loaf and place onto a greased foil-lined rimmed sheet pan or 13-in.x 9-in. baking dish.

Keep in mind that the shape of your meat loaf will impact the overall cooking time. A longer meat loaf with less height will typically cook faster than a shorter meat loaf with more height.

Step 5: Mix the sauce

Next, in a small saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients over medium heat. Cook and stir until the sugar is dissolved, and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Editor’s Tip: Make this recipe your own. Swap the sauce for one from another recipe. We bet Ina Garten’s meat loaf sauce would be heavenly!

Step 6: Wrap it up

Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf Showing Bacon Being Placed Over MeatloafTMB Studio

Spoon 1/2 cup of the sauce over the loaf and spread it evenly over the surface. Then, begin wrapping the bacon slices around the meat loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking in the ends under the meat loaf to ensure complete coverage.

If your bacon slices are too long, feel free to trim them to a shorter length. You want just enough so you can tuck the ends under the meat loaf.

Step 7: Bake

Bake, uncovered, for 50-55 minutes or until fully cooked in the center. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup sauce and serve with meat loaf. Don’t forget to check out our most-sizzling bacon recipes range from savory to sweet.

Editor’s Tip: To make sure your meat loaf is done in the center, use an instant-read thermometer. When it registers 160°, your meat loaf is ready to serve. Looking for more? Here are delicious stuffed meatloaf recipes.

Tips for Making Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf

Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf serving on a plate with sidesTMB Studio

How can you keep meat loaf moist?

The fat content of your ground meat matters. While choosing lean beef is a great way to cut fat and calories, it can also lead to a dry meat loaf. Choosing ground beef with higher fat content (such as an 80/20 ground chuck) will yield the most juicy meat loaf (it’s also the best ground beef for burgers). The veal and pork help with moisture since they lend additional fat to the recipe.

How do you keep meat loaf from falling apart?

The eggs, milk and crackers are key to binding a meat loaf together. When combined, they make a “glue” that helps the meat loaf hold its shape. For best results, measure carefully and mix well to evenly distribute them throughout the meat loaf.

If your meat loaf is struggling to hold together, gradually add additional milk, cracker crumbs and/or an extra egg until the desired consistency is reached.

What kind of bacon should you use for bacon-wrapped meat loaf?

Make sure to use thin or classic-cut bacon for this recipe. While we love thick-sliced bacon with breakfast, it isn’t the ideal type of bacon for this recipe since it will not crisp enough in the oven. If you love bacon, then learn how to make bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin.

What do you serve with bacon-wrapped meat loaf?

Homestyle side dishes like baked macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, baked beans or any one of these cornbread recipes are all wonderful pairings with bacon-wrapped meat loaf.

Can you freeze bacon-wrapped meat loaf?

Yes! Meat loaf freezes like a dream. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and a layer of heavy-duty foil. Then freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then bake, uncovered, in a 350° oven until heated through.

Every Way to Make Meat Loaf
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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren is a recipe developer and food photographer. At Taste of Home, you’ll find her putting famous celebrity recipes to the test, from Dolly Parton’s stampede soup to Stanley Tucci’s six-ingredient pasta casserole. She’s also known for her FoodTok finds and sharing tips for how to re-create Internet-famous 15-hour potatoes, apple pie cinnamon rolls and chamoy pickles. When she’s not trying out a recipe-gone-viral, she’s developing copycat recipes and new twists on comfort food for her food blog, Frydae.