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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.

Reviews for Depression Meat Loaf

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scotland1 User ID: 1426757 40514
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."

tazrae User ID: 5914812 40512
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2014

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

lovelies User ID: 7673988 41409
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."

Farilady User ID: 4547619 20461
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.."

jslvsclf User ID: 919747 20249
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."

Elise Major User ID: 3257800 46497
Reviewed Jun. 8, 2010

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

24jesus User ID: 1043458 16978
Reviewed May. 16, 2010

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

nkcofnc User ID: 3065649 18496
Reviewed Nov. 17, 2009

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

donnalee07 User ID: 3547117 18798
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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