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Sweet-and-Sour Meat Loaf Recipe

Sweet-and-Sour Meat Loaf Recipe

My husband and I like basic, hearty meat-and-potatoes meals. The sweet-and-sour flavor adds a deliciously different twist to this longtime standby. I hardly ever make plain meat loaf anymore. You may not, either, once you've tasted this one. —Debbie Haneke, Stafford, Kansas
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour YIELD:6 servings


  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard


  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper and eggs; crumble beef over top and mix well. Add onion and half of the tomato sauce. Press into a 9x5-in. loaf pan.
  • 2. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. In a saucepan, combine the sugars, vinegar, mustard and remaining tomato sauce; bring to a boil. Pour over meat loaf; bake 10 minutes longer or until no pink remains and a thermometer reads 160°.
  • 3. Freeze option: Securely wrap and freeze cooled meat loaf in plastic wrap and foil. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Unwrap meat loaf; reheat on a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan in a preheated 350° oven until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 419 calories, 17g fat (6g saturated fat), 146mg cholesterol, 969mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (23g sugars, 1g fiber), 28g protein.

Reviews for Sweet-and-Sour Meat Loaf

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pattycake10 User ID: 2475727 260195
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2017 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"My family likes this recipe. You can make the sauce more sweet and sour if that is the taste your family prefers. I found the recipe to be good just the way it is for my families taste."

ladydi001 User ID: 8895708 259608
Reviewed Jan. 13, 2017

"Great Recipe. I made as written and it was delicious but I prefer using crackers instead of bread crumbs in my meat loaf (guess it's what you get used to), so the next time I doubled the recipe and made it with a sleeve and a half saltine crackers and added a packet of onion soup mix for more robust flavor. It was absolutely delicious. I froze one of the loafs uncooked along with a baggie of the prepared sauce for an easy fix meal later. Next time I might also try making all the tomato sauce into the topping sauce and adding half to the mixture instead of straight tomato sauce. I am also going to use this sauce for my meatball appetizers in my slow cooker."

JohnRascal2 User ID: 8492879 259573
Reviewed Jan. 12, 2017

"Great recipe. My only adjustment was to prepare the topping sauce and add that to the meat mixture rather than straight tomato sauce. Delicious. I definitely will make again."

mastifflady User ID: 4620346 259473
Reviewed Jan. 9, 2017

"I have also used this recipe for years. Everyone has loved it. I was so glad to see this recipe, lost it in moving. Will print and put it in recipe box. The sauce is what makes it so good."

gunslinger User ID: 544392 258548
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2016

"Very good! The sauce was delicious!"

mom2tek User ID: 2534958 253503
Reviewed Sep. 1, 2016

"This is a family favorite! Every time I make this they love it and tell me I should make it every day. Even my kids eat it up!"

KristineChayes User ID: 1441542 252638
Reviewed Aug. 13, 2016

"The meatloaf was very tasty but, based on some of the reviews, I omitted the 1/2 cup sugar, increased the brown sugar to 1/2 cup, and added an extra tablespoon of vinegar to the sauce/topping to produce a stronger sweet-sour taste. My family loved it! Thanks for the recipe."

LAM1 User ID: 1190538 243401
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2016

"I have made this recipe for years. It is great - I don't change a thing except occasional use 1/2 ground beef & 1/2 ground turkey."

dschultz01 User ID: 1076910 242951
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2016

"Great easy recipe for meatloaf. Didn't have much of a sweet n sour taste, but was still very good!"

BelleChis User ID: 8556146 242233
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2016

"Love this recipe, it's easy and tasty, make it for my family often. I add green pepper and worcestershire sauce for a bit more zip. Thanks for sharing."

IngaMari User ID: 5779302 235131
Reviewed Oct. 17, 2015

"I did not like this at all. I will probably feed the leftovers to the dog! This did not taste like sweet & sour at all. When I was making it I thought it seemed like a lot of sugar and it was . The meatloaf was super sweet tasting.

Neither my husband or I liked it and I will not make it again."

srwm User ID: 6631422 234357
Reviewed Oct. 11, 2015

"Okay, but not great. Did not taste like sweet & sour."

nicebass User ID: 4061988 215559
Reviewed Dec. 21, 2014

"My husband loved it!"

Srjr111 User ID: 8162463 215127
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2014

"This was a delicious meatloaf and the sauce was fabulous! However, though we tasted the 'sweet' flavor, we couldn't really pick up the 'sour'. Should I use more cider vinegar?"

luigimon User ID: 1692040 15504
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2014

"Truly enjoyed this recipe. I have a standard recipe for meat loaf that is my claim to fame with my large group of friends and family, but this one is a nice change."

sjpoor User ID: 2565047 71599
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2014

"This is very good! I made it exactly as written and the flavor and texture were great. The sauce really makes it. There is enough sauce to put some on the cut pieces as well as on the top. Will definitely make again."

rodjoacom User ID: 4311238 17013
Reviewed Sep. 29, 2014

"I made the recipe as given. It was very good and a delightful change from my normal recipe.

I loved the sweet and sour taste. I sure will make it again."

aestanton18 User ID: 6452778 41694
Reviewed Feb. 9, 2014

"I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, and added diced carrots and celery. It was amazing."

gaylene2 User ID: 3368539 17216
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2014

"My husband loves meat loaf even though I'm not that big on it! So I loved finding this meat loaf with a different taste! We have Italian flavored and Mexican flavored and now we have this yummy addition!"

Anushkita User ID: 7601215 34851
Reviewed Jan. 12, 2014

"I am loving it all!!! I will tell you when I try them! Thanks!!"

SandyBG User ID: 7224790 37818
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2014

"A favorite meatloaf, with sweet and sour flavor - Loved it!"

sdch User ID: 7580050 201822
Reviewed Jan. 3, 2014

"I am not a big meatloaf fan, but this meatloaf is one my family absolutely loves!"

danielleylee User ID: 4484886 12450
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2013

"I made this for dinner tonight and it turned out really well. I even used 93% fat reduced ground beef, no added salt tomato sauce, and whole wheat bread crumbs. My husband says this is the best meatloaf he has ever had, which even beats his own recipe! He said this is a good departure from the traditional meatloaf. It is not too sweet yet not too sour either. So I would say this is a winner..winner!! We will be making this recipe again for sure."

Readbabe User ID: 6636280 37816
Reviewed Oct. 10, 2013

"Sorry I didn't like this one...some of my family did but I will stick with the tried and try Meat Loaf"

SDawsonH User ID: 4778352 42903
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"This was really a boyfriend loved it and the leftovers were just easy!"

Igraine32 User ID: 7006585 17213
Reviewed Aug. 1, 2013

"Btw, calories on this is incorrect. I used Chuck & the total calories per servings was 548 calories."

janethil User ID: 3730637 12446
Reviewed Jun. 10, 2013

"All the family members (even the picky eaters) loved this recipe. It was very easy and one that I'm sure will be used many times!"

SassyLacey User ID: 4962891 34833
Reviewed May. 22, 2013

"Did ot like this recipe at all. Husband loves almost anything with ground beef & he said please do not make this again. We ate it the first night but then threw it out. Made it just as the recipe called."

ShannonLeigh86 User ID: 1009059 17212
Reviewed May. 8, 2013

"Loved the flavor! Paired well with the Taste of Home 'Grandma's Honey Muffins'. Will make again! My new favorite meatloaf."

allykenai User ID: 5170174 17669
Reviewed Apr. 28, 2013

"Very good and easy to put together. I used 1 lb. lean beef and 1 lb. lean turkey. Used 3/4 cup bread crumbs; 1/2 cup oats. Also used 1/2 cup finely chopped onions. Added the sauce, which is excellent, 25 min before done. Total baking time was 65 minutes."

janethil User ID: 3730637 17005
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2013

"I used fresh minced onions since I didn't have dried onions. The recipe is excellent and so easy to prepare. Will definitely be making this again!"

tsvegh User ID: 4520052 44537
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2013

"I had a desire for some meatloaf, but didn?t have a recipe. When this I found this recipe I was intrigued, so I gave it a whirl. It was great! My wife and I both loved it. I will make this again. I did a couple of modifications. I used fresh onion instead of dried. I also used condensed tomato soup instead of the tomato sauce. My only complaint is there was not enough sauce! I wanted more, it was so tasty."

dsicard User ID: 1455080 42484
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2013

"this recipe has been around more than 50 years. My grandmother used this recipe when I was a child.An absolute best recipe. It is definitely a 5+ start recipe!"

miller.kassandra User ID: 6432138 40549
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"I double the sauce recipe and use half for "dipping".... Absolutely yummy!! I never thought I could eat meatloaf without ketchup!!!"

kewlkicker User ID: 7154509 37810
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"Though I substituted heinz chile sauce for the tomato sauce for more of a tang"

lose10006 User ID: 4511926 37809
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"This is a great recipe. I use Manwich on top. The spices are perfect with meatloaf. Mmmm"

dihiggins User ID: 4211406 40546
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"My mother used to make a recipe like this for all us kids only she used ketchup instead of tomato sauce and a little cheese on top!"

[email protected] User ID: 2061061 44535
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"OMG-This is pretty much the recipe my Mom used while we were growing up in the 50's, and she called it "Dutch Meat Loaf". The only differences were using fresh chopped onion, molasses instead of the brown sugar, and fresh bread crumbs instead of dried. Oh, and a cup of water in the sauce, which we just pour over and let bake with the meat loaf. Makes the best sauce, which we used on mashed potatoes instead of gravy. This is by far the best meat loaf recipe, ever!"

SimpleFoods User ID: 7160373 37807
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"Don't know why I never used this sauce/topping with a beef meatloaf. I've always had it on ham loaf (at potlucks) and I don't care that much for ham loaf. This is perfect with ground beef meat loaf! Thanks!"

jimbob107 User ID: 4346952 71403
Reviewed Apr. 17, 2013

"Great recipe. I add a shredded carrot or two into the loaf to sneak in an extra veggie to the meal."

DaniCalifornia User ID: 2091154 12443
Reviewed Nov. 18, 2012

"This is my go-to meatloaf recipe!"

Weems Grnadma User ID: 4304001 14059
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2012

"I know I am getting old when this is already my regular meatloaf recipe have used for decades except use fresh diced onion and oatmeal instead of bread crumbs. With oatmeal the loaf is firm enough to stand by itself in a larger pan, even your broiled pan, and then you can add baby carrots, quartered onions and chunks of new potatoes around it and cook it all at the same time. Turn the vegetables in the small amount of grease produced but nicely self drained from the meatloaf. Smells good while cooking, too, and the leftover meatloaf is perfect for sandwiches."

looper42 User ID: 2483182 201821
Reviewed May. 31, 2012 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"This was a BIG hit with my husband and son. easy and we love the sweet/sour flavor that it gives. This recipe beats the old fashion recipe with onion soup mix. This recipe is a keeper."

Kathy2688515 User ID: 5967914 12440
Reviewed Mar. 22, 2012

"My family loved this. I have a 16 year old picky eater and he even ate it. It was very good."

Britlowery User ID: 6576783 40504
Reviewed Mar. 14, 2012 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"I have never been the cooking type, but decided to try some new recipes. I came across this recipe and it was and still is a HUGE hit for my family. It is an easy step by step recipe."

TOHfoodie User ID: 3640360 201820
Reviewed Dec. 3, 2011

"This meatloaf is MARVELOUS!!! I even made it for my sister (who doesn't care for meatloaf!); she LOVED it and wanted the recipe! I always use ground turkey instead of hamburger (trying to eat healthier!). For those of you that think you don't like meatloaf; one taste of this recipe and you'll change your mind!"

wifeybabe30 User ID: 1850223 15502
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2011

"made two meatloafs at the same time and froze one. Both loafs were fabulous, a really zesty upgrade to meatloaf"

sands351 User ID: 1036170 17668
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2011

"This was very good. My standby meat loaf recipe has been tossed and replaced with this. The sauce is fantastic."

smstillinger User ID: 3094333 37806
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2011

"Really good meat loaf, even the kids loved it."

tptaylor13 User ID: 2912473 44527
Reviewed Oct. 13, 2011

"Have made this several times. Always moist and very flavorful."

jmkasprak User ID: 2880256 14058
Reviewed Sep. 6, 2011

"This is a very good meat loaf recipe. I shaped the meat into 6 loaves and drained the pan before pouring the sauce over it."

blessednest User ID: 1416484 42892
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2011

"My husband teases me when I serve him meatloaf, asking which recipe it is. He claims I have had more than 100 meat loaf recipes. After this one, I'll look no further. This is the best yet!"

familycook322 User ID: 6115581 17210
Reviewed Aug. 6, 2011

"My family loved it!!! I will make this again"

momof29 User ID: 6105359 15499
Reviewed Aug. 5, 2011

"4 of our 13 children tried this recipe. I stopped them after the 2nd round in order for the rest of the family to have their share! I put it in the crockpot it was simple and easy! YUMMY!!!!"

tigpohlet User ID: 1005616 17660
Reviewed Jul. 16, 2011

"This has become a family favorite! Even my pickiest eater loves it & asks for seconds, a rarity for this child."

momio User ID: 2526647 201819
Reviewed Apr. 4, 2011

"We all really liked it!"

LadyCloudDancer User ID: 5668096 15494
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2011

"My boyfriend, who eats NOTHING that is "out of the ordinary" and never tries anything new, devoured this and then two more pans of it in the next week! Simple and delicious!!"

cmrapp User ID: 3897298 34830
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2011

"I used 1lb hamburger and 1lb ground sausage... excellent!"

grandmaellie User ID: 2748853 40500
Reviewed Nov. 14, 2010

"I tried this recpe and couple of weeks ago and couldn't remember WHERE IT WAS! Thank goodness, I found it again! Substituted pretzel crumbs and butter cracker crumbs

WOW!! This will be the ONLY meatloaf recipe n our house from NOW ON!"

nanbechert User ID: 5542072 17003
Reviewed Nov. 10, 2010

"P.S. Put a few pieces of bread underneath the meatloaf to absorb the grease as it is baking. Works great!!"

nanbechert User ID: 5542072 71362
Reviewed Nov. 10, 2010

"Yummy! For the sauce I substituted a 7oz. bottle of chili sauce instead of the tomato sauce and it was tangy yet sweet. This I will make again."

suzanneconrad User ID: 3216553 16998
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2010

"I found this recipe several years ago on an insert with your magazine. It is excellent. I double to sauce to have extra to use as gravy over mashed potatoes.This has become a staple in my house."

kpierce101 User ID: 5167546 44526
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2010

"My family and i love the twist off regular meatloaf. The flavors are terrific. I use leaner ground beef so there isnt as much oil in the pans. 90/10 works great"

Sheena427 User ID: 5126143 37804
Reviewed Jun. 23, 2010

"By far the best meatloaf I've ever had. It would probably taste great on a sandwich but there wasn't any left for me to try it that way!"

thupfeld1 User ID: 1856914 15493
Reviewed Mar. 19, 2010

"The sauce is wonderful. Great recipe. My 4-year old daughter even liked it and she is extremely picky. YUM!"

bjq User ID: 3914606 17209
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2010

"This is my all time favorite meatloaf recipe that I've been making for years. I follow the recipe to the letter. No more dry meatloaf recipes for my family!"

swinny User ID: 1858482 17208
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2009

"This is my 2nd time making this and it was delicious again!!!"

jpowell100 User ID: 4255537 12433
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2009

"I made this meatloaf for husband and daughter and they both said it was the best meatloaf I ever made. It's so moist and the sauce makes it oh so yummy. It's a new family favorite. Will definately make again and again..."

PucciBaby User ID: 3099441 16995
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2009

"This meatloaf was so good. It's so different than your regular run of the mill meatloaf. the sauce was so yummy and there was plenty left over for dipping. the meatloaf absorbed a lot of the sauce and it was so moist and flavorful. will def. be making this again!"

Redsoxgirl71 User ID: 1478627 17207
Reviewed Apr. 7, 2009 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"This meatloaf recipe is a family favorite. My kids love it more than the adults! Definitely worth it's 5 star rating!"

jeanskid User ID: 1485408 17975
Reviewed Feb. 26, 2009 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"This is my favorite meatloaf recipe. I love it cold too or a sandwich from the leftovers. Just delicious !"

bakingmad User ID: 875200 14056
Reviewed Jan. 8, 2008 Edited Jan. 25, 2017

"Though I use a slightly different meatloaf mixture, I make the sauce as written. The recipe poster is right - since finding this recipe some years ago, I never make "neked" meatloaf anymore! We especially like it with garlic smashed potatoes, buttered green beans, and homemade biscuits. Comfort food at its best!"

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