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Sunday dinner was often Mom’s favorite meal of the week. She would prepare meatloaf before church and preset the oven to cook while we were gone. As soon as the car door opened, I can remember the smell of the meal baking.
Meatloaf can often be the brunt of jokes. It can be dry, tasteless, boring, and usually the bottom of a family’s list of favorite foods. My mom’s meatloaf is different: full of hearty flavor and somehow surprisingly light with a melt-away texture.
Let’s face it: meat can be tricky. You would think just mixing together some ground beef with salt and pepper would be pretty easy. But that’s not the case. Ground beef pressed together can become tough and lack flavor.
Mom’s trick for a delicious meatloaf is quick-cooking oats. The difference between quick-cooking oats and old-fashioned oats is simple. Quick-cooking oats are rolled and become smaller than old-fashioned oats. This helps them cook faster and absorb liquid easily. Adding the oats helps bind the meat together and absorb the liquid the meats release during baking. While baking, the oats disappear, leaving a tender and perfectly textured loaf.
To add flavor, I switched up Mom’s method in a few ways:
- Onions. Mom often added raw onion to the mixture. I find sautéing the onion until softened boosts the flavor and is just better than raw onion.
- Tomato juice. Mom always added tomato juice to the meatloaf and I couldn’t agree more. Instead of imparting tomato flavor, the tomato juice balances out the meat and provides a slightly sweet flavor.
At its core, this is a meatloaf with no hidden agenda. And to make it even better, it’s a sheet pan dinner, making it a for-sure winner that couldn’t be easier. Rather than making an entirely separate side dish, I added thickly sliced sweet potatoes around the meatloaf that cook at the same time. During the cooking time, a golden crust forms on the bottom of the sweet potatoes, while retaining a perfectly creamy interior.
Altogether, this sheet pan meatloaf is simple and straightforward with a well-balanced flavor that creates a perfect dinner. Never dry, never tasteless… and definitely not boring!
Watch how to make this sheet pan meatloaf:
Sheet Pan Meatloaf
For the meatloaf
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 lb ground beef (92% lean preferable)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 large eggs lightly whisked
- 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 2 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 lb sweet potatoes cut in 1" slices
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
For the ketchup sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, adding garlic in the last minute, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- On a large sheet pan, arrange the sweet potatoes in an even layer leaving space for the meatloaf. Drizzle with olive oil, rubbing to coat potatoes on all sides. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, dried thyme, garlic granules, and 1 tsp black pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, quick oats, eggs, tomato juice, sautéed onion, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined and all the ingredients are well mixed together, showing no individual streaks.
- Place the prepared meatloaf on the large sheet pan, shaping it into a large loaf. Place in the preheated oven and prepare the ketchup topping.
- In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, honey, and mustard. Whisk to combine.
- Once the meatloaf is browned and reaches 150°F, about 40-50 minutes, spread the ketchup mixture over the top and return to oven to caramelize, 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes before cutting.
Tomato juice and not tomato sauce??
I thought the same thing lol
Hi Kaleb. I want to make your meatloaf as it’s nearly the exact recipe I grew up on. One problem I’m having is I don’t have any tomato juice. Can I use tomato sauce or anything else in place Of the tomato juice ?? Kinda stuck as I’m just about to start making this. Please HELP
I’m going to make this tonight!!!!
This was delish! I made a couple of subs using onion and garlic powder (so my kids would eat it up and they did 😍). Can’t wait for lunch today 👏
Look so good and the sweet potatoes omg you are one in a million love watching you cook and decorate plus your flowers keep up the great work tell Kipp i said hello he’s so cute 😍
I made this tonight and it is amazing. Mom loved it. My hubby is not a sweet potato fan and he tried them.
It was hit with him.
The meat loaf was so good and the sweet potatoes are amazing.
This maybe will become our Sunday dinner.
Who would have thought of putting the garlic on them.
Loved the crunchy ness of the garlic.
I just can’t say enough about this meal.
I made this tonight for my family. Absolutely delicious. Especially love the ketchup sauce on top.
I live in Dubuque iowa so it’s nice to see a great cook who lives so close.
I tried this for Sunday dinner and it was delicious. I love your cooking videos
Made this last night for supper. Very moist and delicious and very filling. Looking forward to more recipes.
This is the exact meatloaf recipe my mom used. It must be a Midwest thing. I grew up in Missouri
Did you use tomato sauce? Like could I sub marinara?
I used 3/4 cups of Hunts tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water instead of a cup of tomato juice.
It turned out delicious!
Made this last night. Easy peezie! So good 😊!
Delicious!!! My husband loved it!!! Thank you!
This has now been my go to meatloaf recipe 😋. My husband says its even better than my moms! Just made it today for Sunday dinner. As I was making it I couldn’t help but laugh and say to myself..if Kaleb does it this way then that’s how I’ll do it to 🙂 😃 Thanks, youre a treasure 💖
I’m going to try making the sheet pan meatloaf. I’m surprised that you didn’t get a lot of meatloaf juices all over the pan. When I make meatloaf (all beef—half 85% and half 93%), in a meatloaf pan I have to pour the juices out of the pan before I can take the meatloaf out of the pan and let it rest before cutting. Why doesn’t your meatloaf create a lot of juices. Good that it didn’t because of potatoes but wondering what the trick is.
Ground pork and sautéed onions are a nice touch. I made this for my husband tonight and he just raved about it. Thank you for your wonderful videos!!
I’m definitely going to try the meatloaf recipe minus the sweet potatoes. I’m just not a fan of the sweet potato stickiness. Question: do you refrigerate your bacon drippings? I see online personalities that do not and my mother always did, so of course I followed suit. I also strain mine to remove bacon sediment. Any thoughts?? I do love your posts, kitchen and garden. You are so much more motivated than me. 🤗
Yes, you should refrigerate your bacon drippings. I know a lot of people that don’t which is fine if it’s used ratger quickly but if you’re really saving it and you have a lot, it will go “rank” and not taste good at all on whatever you cook in it!! My opinion only – just an old country girl that has been cooking for many years!!
Hi Kaleb! I just have to say that I think you are so wonderful! I was just interrupted today with another notification from Facebook. Usually the notifications are about so and so doing this or that and videos from Tasty. I take a glance at the notification and I see something different for a change, it was you and your video recipe for a one pan dinner of meatloaf and sweet potatoes. I also grew up with my mom making meatloaf and mashed potatoes (not baked), I took over meatloaf duty when she passed away from cancer in 2007. I changed a few things also but it still always tasted like my moms, think it was the raw onions! Haha
Then I see your video making meatloaf and it is quite different, my moms always used progresso Italian bread crumbs(which she used for everything from meatloaf to fried chicken cutlets) and also she put ketchup in the meat mixture. I really can’t wait to try your recipe for meatloaf and I’m not going to say anything to my kids to see if they notice. I think they will for sure because your meatloaf looked amazing and the way you cooked the sweet potatoes too, YUM! Just wish my thyme was grown enough to use so I’ll have to get some at the market. What state are you in? Your gardens are absolutely stunning! I’m in NY and our grass is just starting to get green and my seedlings are just ready to go outside, (started them a little late)
I can’t wait to be surrounded by more green, could really use it!
I can’t wait to check out more on your website and try lots of recipes!
I’m sorry about your pup! Praying for him and you to have the patience and strength to let the doctors do what they have to and the time for him to heal.
Good luck and blessings to you!
This is the best meatloaf I have ever made. Thank you for sharing…. Since I started watching you. I have been so excited to cook again. Thank you Thank you. Hope Kipp is feeling better. Continued prayers to Kip and you.
Have a blessed day
Love the meatloaf! So yummy that we won’t mind leftovers tomorrow!
Love to watch you cook and your recipes:)
I love how you put serving size calculator on your recipes that allows followers to adapt the recipe to make half or double the recipe to suit the needs of each household. Thank you for thinking of everything and for your homey videos.
My husband said that it was the best meatloaf I had ever made! I didn’t have tomato juice so I added a little sugar free ketchup with water instead and also added bell pepper. We are from LA😁 The sweet potatoes were incredible! Thanks for sharing
Made this meatloaf tonight. Had never thought to use the quick oats before or sauté the onions first. Loved it! Delicious. Thanks Kaleb💕
I love watching you cook. I’m going to make the meatloaf for dinner today. Thank you for being so really down to earth. I am 75 and have cooked for several years. I’m loving making new recipes.
I made it using your method but my own meatloaf recipe. Next time I’ll peel the sweet potatoes first. It’s very hard getting the skin off once they’re done.
Can you use blender on regular oats instead of instant oats.
Your moms meatloaf with the sweet potatoes on the same cooking sheet!! I never would have thought about putting the veggies on there with the meatloaf.
It does not matter to me if you’re a chef or gardener., (lamp buyer) 👍🏼 ⬅️ You are sharing the interesting things in your life, with us. I really appreciate your transparency. You provide us practical ways to manage our own lives.
Your mom is an authentic sweet lady. I like her! How fortunate y’all are right across the road from each other. I’d like to see Joel behind the scenes a few brief moments! If he doesn’t want to, I’ll just watch you give me tips about my backyard patio, recipes and how to scale your lamps? 😂Please give Kip a lil hug from me. 🐾Im so happy for you Kaleb. Kip is an important “person” in your life.
All the best to you and your family.
Nancy James in Texas…. in ice, rain sleet and snow! DFW is shut down for two days due to the weather. So I’m looking for your recipes!
I just made your meatloaf and it was delicious! The sweet potatoes were amazing. I will make this dish again. It was a huge success with my family and friends. I let my dinner guests know about you. You are delight! I have learned so much from you. Thank you!
So in here you say tomato juice but I. The recipe you make it looks much thicker like tomato sauce. Which is it!?! Lol. Also could you sub marinara you think?
I made Moms Meat loaf and nearly cried when I sat down and took my first bite. It tasted like my Mom made it just for me.
I had taken so many short cuts over the years from the topping to the oats it was great to get back to the basics.
p.s. my favorite part was the leftovers…meatloaf sandwich the next day💕
Well, this makes my day, food memories are the best memories. I am honored to bring back your mom’s flavors!
K; All the ingredients that my own mother used in her meatloaf, but thanks to you, now I have measurements and my meatloaf comes out perfect everytime. Thank you so much! C
I absolutely love all your recipes and enjoy your videos very much. I felt so validated when I threw together a meatloaf today, using oatmeal instead of bread crumbs and found your meatloaf recipe with all the same ingredients! However, I’m going to make your ketchup, honey, Dijon mustard topping as soon as I send this.
I used your process for making concentrated grape juice last fall and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done with my grapes. I’m still trying to get a chance to make your butterscotch pie. Once upon a long 1970’s time ago in Kansas some elderly ladies at a small town diner made almond cream pie, best pie I ever had in my life. I don’t suppose you have the recipe for that but thought I would mention it just in case.
I live up river from you on the Wisconsin side and really appreciate your Midwest recipes and gardening tips. Big applause for all you do on YouTube!
Sorry for rambling,
Making this in oven now was so easy to put together I used reg potatoes.
I’ve made this several times and I tweaked it a bit using ground Italian sausage instead of plain ground pork. I also used hot honey in the glaze which added just a touch of heat. It was delicious. Thanks for an amazing, moist meatloaf recipe!
Hands down best meatloaf recipe EVER! (and so quick and easy to make) I printed this and saved it to my recipe binder! I loved it and my husband loved it.
This is my second time making this only used red potatoes it was yummy.
I just made this, I needed to make some changes as we don’t eat grains (used crushed pork rinds instead of oats) I didn’t have sugar free ketchup so subbed tomato sauce for the sugar free ketchup and still did the honey and mustard. I also used tomato sauce rather than juice in the meatloaf mixture itself as it looked like that’s what you used. (I decreased it to 1/2 cup )This was Amazing!!!! (my ground beef (one pound) had bacon infused in it as I bought it that way from a sustainable farmer at my farmers market here in ct last week. Everything was fabulous!!!! Your recipes are excellent!
I am looking for a meatloaf recipe that I could for into a shape (a tree) and then cook it with it withholding the shape… This seems like it has potential, especially with the oats. Do you believe this recipe would be able to hold a shape? Thanks a ton!
Made your delicious Moms Meatloaf, thank you for keeping our tummies happy, and for sharing. 😋
I want to make your meatloaf recipe it looks amazing! I love the idea of making the meatloaf and sweet potatoes in one pan. I have a question your ingredients include Quick Cook Oats. Can I use the steel cut Quick Cook Oats?
The quick-cooking oats quickly absorb the excess moisture in the mixture and keep the resulting meatloaf tender. Steel-cut oats would not work in the same way. I believe steel-cut could be presoaked but would be uncertain of the moisture they would absorb during baking and the resulting texture.
OMG….Was this Sheet-Pan Meatloaf DELICIOUS!!! The Meatloaf was so Flavorful with the Oatmeal and the Potatoes & Mushrooms were Tasty too. Once again Thanks for Your Flavorful Recipe!!! From, Sandy
Tried the sheet pan meatloaf and sweet potatoes. Loved it and found it easy to do. My husband loves sweet potatoes although I always prefer a baked potato but I tried these sweet potatoes and loved them. This recipe is definitely going in my recipe box! Love your videos. Thanks
Dory Day in Greensboro,North Carolina.