The main point of this Italian meatball-inspired meatloaf is to show you what happens when you make meatloaf like your grandparents did. During the Great Depression, this type of dish was a popular strategy for stretching what little meat you had into as filling a meal as possible.

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Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

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  • Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion with a pinch of salt in hot oil and butter until onion is golden brown and soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat and cool onion mixture to room temperature.

  • Place bread crumbs in a large bowl. Add milk and stir with a fork until combined. Let sit until all of the milk is absorbed into the breadcrumbs, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Combine ground chuck, cooled onion mixture, parsley, Parmesan cheese, eggs, 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Grab a handful of breadcrumbs and squeeze very gently to remove excess milk. Repeat with remaining breadcrumbs, transfer breadcrumbs to ground chuck mixture, and discard excess milk. Stir ground chuck mixture until evenly combined.

  • Turn chuck mixture out into prepared baking dish, and shape meat into a 3x4x10-inch meatloaf. Pour tomato sauce over the loaf and into the bottom of the dish.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Facts

286.3 calories; protein 19.6g 39% DV; carbohydrates 19.4g 6% DV; fat 14.5g 22% DV; cholesterol 85.8mg 29% DV; sodium 1129.3mg 45% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (74)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
11/04/2014
As the basic go-to meatloaf recipe, this is perfect: John understands all the things like soaking the bread crumbs and using dairy to keep the meatloaf moist and light. I would add sauteed veggies (mushrooms, peppers, celery and carrots, and whatever else was lurking in the veggie drawer), a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce or anchovy paste, and use a mix of beef, pork and veal for the loaf. What is so great about this recipe is that John ROCKS. He just does. No arguments, please. Read More
(13)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
10/19/2014
Well. I wasted 4 pounds of fresh Angus Chuck in this along with 4 perfectly good eggs and 10.00 worth of freshly grated parmeson cheese.. To be honest, though..it probably is because I used boxed breadcrumbs instead of maybe making my own. This is supposed to have a lot of filler...but what I made was just way way way too much. Shelving this one. Read More
(8)
96 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 78
  • 4 star values: 11
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 4 stars
11/03/2014
As the basic go-to meatloaf recipe, this is perfect: John understands all the things like soaking the bread crumbs and using dairy to keep the meatloaf moist and light. I would add sauteed veggies (mushrooms, peppers, celery and carrots, and whatever else was lurking in the veggie drawer), a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce or anchovy paste, and use a mix of beef, pork and veal for the loaf. What is so great about this recipe is that John ROCKS. He just does. No arguments, please. Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
04/24/2016
Just watched the video and now just HAVE to try this. I've actually been looking for a meatloaf recipe, so of course I looked to Chef John. The video sold me. What a hoot! Going to get my shiv out of the dish washer and get busy! Will rate the finished product later. Thanks, Chef John, for making my afternoon with this cute video!! Update April 22 Made this last night and boy, it was good! I made only very minor changes to the recipe based on what I had on hand. I used 80/20 ground chuck even though the video recommended 85/15. I omitted the parsley because I forgot to get it at the store. I used a major brand fine Italian bread crumb because that's what I had on hand. Used jarred minced garlic and (OMG!!) had to use "fake" (pre-packaged) Parmesan. I also used a major brand jarred mushroom spaghetti sauce. I accidentally let the temp get to 165 before taking it out of the oven. No worries. It was still very moist and just delicious. My hubby, unaware of the "Italian meatball inspired" comment on the video, said...it was like a giant, yummy meatball". With the very fine bread crumbs, I was not able to squeeze ANY milk out. They soaked it all up. This made alot for the two if us. I've taken half of the leftovers and put them in the freezer using my vacuum sealer. Hubby had a meatloaf sandwich for lunch today and said that it was even better left over. The rest of the lefties will be supper in the next night or two. This is good stuff. Read More
(11)
Rating: 1 stars
10/19/2014
Well. I wasted 4 pounds of fresh Angus Chuck in this along with 4 perfectly good eggs and 10.00 worth of freshly grated parmeson cheese.. To be honest, though..it probably is because I used boxed breadcrumbs instead of maybe making my own. This is supposed to have a lot of filler...but what I made was just way way way too much. Shelving this one. Read More
(8)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/11/2015
I thought this recipe was great! The only thing I did differently was I used ground turkey, and it came out delicious. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
11/30/2014
I made this exactly as Chef John said. All of his recipes are made in a sensible fashion and taste delicious. This recipe produced a delightfully tasty and comforting family dinner. My son just requested it again. Read More
(5)
Rating: 4 stars
03/20/2016
I only gave it 4 stars because I don't like meatloaf -- but if meatloaf was ever going to get 5 stars this would be it. I had nothing in the house to make, but had ground beef. After being very happy with other Chef John recipes I decided to give this a chance. 27 years of marriage and I have never made, nor eaten meatloaf in that time. It's usually too dry for me. This was moist, and tasty. The sauteed onions gave it extra flavor, and allowing the breadcrumbs (I used panko) to absorb the milk was probably the secret to the moistness. Hubby wasn't as happy with it as I was -- probably because he likes his meat cooked well done and dry. Read More
(4)
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Rating: 4 stars
07/15/2014
This recipe was easy to make and a great variation of the typical meatloaf dish. I used Panko bread crumbs. Although you need to add a little more than the recipe calls for because of the texture of these crumbs. I also used Barilla Tomato & Basil sauce. Great the next day too! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2018
Hands down the best meatloaf I have ever eaten... Kudos to Chef John, my culinary hero Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
09/20/2014
I used ground beef mince and it was delicious. But it was my 5 year old that really liked it. Definitely cooking again. Read More
(2)