Simple Pioneer Woman Meatloaf Recipe

This Meatloaf Recipe from The Pioneer Woman is so easy to make! It’s brushed with a simple homemade sauce and freezes well for future meals!

What is the Best Meat for Meatloaf?

  • 70% lean ground beef is a good choice when selecting ground beef for meatloaf.
  • A combination of ground beef, pork, and veal will also give you very tender and flavorful meatloaf. You’d use 1/3 lb. of each.

What Kind of Bread is Best?

Soft, white sandwich bread is great for meatloaf, although crusty artisan bread can also be used. The Pioneer Woman prefers to use white sandwich bread, and I tend to agree. I find that the softer bread blends into the ground beef better and makes for a more uniform consistency.

Can You Over-Mix Ground Beef?

Yes, you can over-mix ground beef when you’re preparing meatloaf or burgers.

You’ll want to make sure that the meatloaf is as uniform in consistency as possible, but handle the meat gently and do your best not to mix it too much, or the consistency will be tougher and the meat will be slightly less flavorful.

Can You Make Meatloaf Ahead of Time?

  • YES! Meatloaf is a great make-ahead recipe that you can completely prepare and assemble ahead of time.
    • Once assembled, simply wrap the prepared loaf in foil or plastic wrap and store it overnight in the fridge to bake the next day.
  • You can also freeze assembled meatloaf. Let it defrost overnight in the fridge prior to baking.

Pro Tip: If this loaf makes more than you need, you may choose to divide it in half and freeze what you don’t need for another day!

Freezing

Cooked meatloaf is an absolutely perfect freezer food. I like to wrap it in foil and place it in portion-sizes in a freezer bag. It’s best if eaten with 3 months.

To reheat, let it defrost in the fridge overnight. Then I like to wrap it in foil in bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 20-25 minutes. It will vary based on the portion size.

Broiler Pan Substitute

Use only a Cookie Sheet:

Place the loaf directly on top of a cookie sheet, but note that you will have to remove the sheet and drain the liquid periodically throughout the cooking process. This is a little tricky.

Using a Cooling Rack on a Cookie Sheet:

  • Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet or roasting pan.
  • Line the cooling rack with foil to keep the meat in place.
  • Poke several small holes in the foil to allow the fat to escape and drip onto the cookie sheet or roasting pan.

Note! The bacon underneath the loaf that sits on top of the foil likely won’t cook as well as if it were to sit directly on a broiler pan. Just be aware of this if using the foil method.

Can I Make This Without Bacon?

You can absolutely leave the bacon out of this recipe if you’d prefer. The remaining 25 minutes of cooking time may need to be decreased to 15-20 minutes or so.

The Pioneer Woman Meatloaf

Prep Time: 20 MINS | Cook Time: 1 HR 10 MINS | Total Time: 1 HR 30 MINS

This Pioneer Woman Meatloaf Recipe is the best you’ll ever try! The entire loaf is wrapped in bacon and baked to perfection, and it freezes well for future meals! This pairs perfectly with roasted green beans and mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 6 slices White Bread
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Parsley minced
  • 4 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 12 slices Thin cut Bacon

Sauce:

  • 1+1/2 cups Ketchup
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the bread to a large bowl and pour the milk on top of the slices. Let them soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining meatloaf ingredients and use your hands to combine. Try to ensure that the bread is sufficiently combined into the mixture, although try not to overmix as the ground beef will become tougher and lose some flavor.
  4. Form the meat into a loaf, (about 5 inches wide), and place it over a broiler pan to allow the fat to drain. Lining the bottom of the broiler pan with foil will make for easier cleanup.
  5. Line the bacon over the top of the loaf and carefully tuck the ends under the bottom. The bacon can be used to help support the shape of the loaf. I like to line them so that they are touching, but not overlapping so that you can easily slice in between each piece of bacon when it’s cooked.
  6. Combine the sauce ingredients and brush 1/3 of it over the meatloaf.
  7. Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes on the middle rack. Remove it from the oven and brush another 1/3 of the sauce over it. Bake for another 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes prior to slicing, letting it rest allows the juices to absorb back into the meat, cutting in too early will cause the juice to run out of the loaf.
  9. Serve with the remaining sauce and enjoy! These are delicious with mashed potatoes and roasted green beans!

Recipe Notes

70% lean beef is best for meatloaf.

Thin bacon is best with this recipe, the thinner the better!

Make-Ahead Meatloaf:

Meatloaf is a great make-ahead recipe that you can completely prepare and assemble ahead of time.

Once assembled, simply wrap the prepared loaf in foil or plastic wrap and store it overnight in the fridge to bake the next day.

You can also freeze assembled meatloaf. Let it defrost overnight in the fridge prior to baking.

Pro Tip: If this loaf makes more than you need, you may choose to divide it in half and freeze what you don’t need for another day!

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