I used to hate meatloaf. It was a dreaded dish of dry, tough, underseasoned, unnaturally shaped meat associated with school cafeterias and sad lunches. Then one glorious day, meatloaf was redeemed by the always-amazing Ina Garten. I was watching the Food Network and saw her create the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meatloaf I never knew existed.
Served atop buttery mashed potatoes, it was comfort food defined, and I vowed to give homemade meatloaf a try.
This recipe is inspired by Ina but adapted to make it ours. So double the recipe (and baking time) if making it for a crowd. And if cafeteria lunches made you swear off meatloaf, I beg you to give this melt-in-your-mouth meatloaf recipe one final try. I promise it’s worth it.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - extra virgin
- 1 large yellow onion - finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme - removed from stems and stems discarded
- 1 teaspoon Sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons vegetable stock (vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon) - low-sodium
- 1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 pound ground beef (minced beef) - 85/15 and grass-fed
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup ketchup (tomato sauce Australia and UK) - all-natural
- 1 tablespoon parsley - chopped for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and set it aside. TIP: Put a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven with the meatloaf (on the rack underneath the meatloaf). This will prevent the meatloaf from cracking while baking and keep it very moist.
- In a medium-heated pan, add olive oil. When the oil is already hot, add your onions, garlic and thyme and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the onions are translucent. Set aside to cool for a bit.
- Combine the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, stock, tomato paste, beef, breadcrumbs, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to lightly mix everything together to prevent the meatloaf from becoming dense. Add in the slightly cooled onion, garlic, and thyme mixture and stir until combined.
- Add the meatloaf to the baking sheet and use clean hands to form it into a loaf shape lightly. Brush the ketchup on the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes until done or a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing. Top with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.