Test Kitchen Tips
12 Unexpected Ways to Boost the Flavor in Meatloaf
Did you know you could put THAT into meatloaf? Now you do!
Taste of Home
Meatloaf is one of those polarizing meals. Maybe it’s because our mothers tried to sneak all kinds of vegetables into it when we were kids, but it’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it kind of dishes. Well, it’s time to bring meatloaf back with these surprising meatloaf ingredients!
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Hard Boiled Egg
Instead of putting an egg on it, put an egg in it! Place your meatloaf mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a 8×12 rectangle. Place three, peeled hard boiled eggs in the center and roll the long end of the loaf over the eggs. Discard the wrap, place the log in your loaf pan and bake it like normal. When you slice into it, you’ll get an eggy surprise!
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Jazz up this traditional meatloaf by adding 1/4 cup of grape jelly, apricot preserves or orange marmalade into the meatloaf mixture. Add another 1/4 cup to the glaze and you’re well on your way to a sweet-and-tangy version of the classic.
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I know, I know; I hated that my mother added all kinds of random veggies to our meatloaf. But mushrooms actually have a purpose: they add juicy flavor and chewy texture to your loaf. Choose your type—button, Portobello, shiitake—and chop them up as finely as you wish.
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Who said meatloaf had to be coated in a sugary, ketchup-y glaze? Switch things up by serving your meatloaf with a side of tangy and cooling tzatziki sauce. Go one step further and make your Greek-inspired meatloaf really authentic by using ground lamb instead of beef.
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We’re all used to serving mashed potatoes on the side with meat loaf, so why not stuff them inside the loaf itself? This recipe adds a creamy texture to boring-old-meatloaf that’ll have you digging in for bite after bite
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Call it meatloaf night and the whole family will probably groan. Rename it TACO meatloaf and they’ll jump for joy! Add in your favorite southwestern flavors, like salsa, kidney beans, corn and taco seasoning. You can even serve the slices in tortillas with a side of guacamole!
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Make it Cheesy
Add your favorite cheese right to the meatloaf mix—like cheddar, pepper jack or even string cheese—to turn that loaf into a cheesy meal. Or, elevate its look topping it with blue cheese and herbs. Either way, it will be meatloaf transformed!
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It’s not just about adding a healthy, nutrient-dense ingredient to your meatloaf. Spinach actually helps keep things nice and moist by releasing juices as the meatloaf cooks. If you really want to make the loaf healthy, you can swap in ground turkey for the beef.
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I come from a long line of Buffalo wing lovers, so there’s almost nothing I won’t put hot sauce on! In this recipe, we add buffalo sauce to the meat mixture and also use it as the glazed topping for a fun-and-funky recipe that really kicks up the heat.
Shutterstock / Julie Clopper
Bacon or Ham
There’s no such thing as a meatloaf that has too much meat in it! Amp things up by adding chopped bacon or ham to the meatloaf mix. You can also top the loaf with a bacon weave or roll the ham inside the mix to create a fusion Meat Loaf Cordon Bleu.
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Adding tomato sauce, tomato juice or marinara to your meatloaf can only make it more flavorful. No one will even notice the addition of this secret ingredient (unless you turn it into a tasty Old-World Pizza Meat Loaf, of course).
Shutterstock / Anna Hoychuk
Phyllo Dough or Puff Pastry
Most kids wouldn’t eat something called Beef Wellington, but they’d totally eat a puff pastry-wrapped meatloaf. The wrapper itself adds a delicious texture to your plate while also keeping the juices sealed inside, creating the juiciest, most flavorful meatloaf imaginable.