Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other dinner recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. The Ultimate Meatloaf Recipe

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This recipe for ultimate meatloaf begins with a mixture of sautéed vegetables, combines both pork and beef, and finishes with a glaze on top. For a dish that doesn’t excite many people, this one will make you a fan. Whether it’s made for a weeknight meal or a weekend celebration, it’s a great recipe for any dinner!

Why this recipe works.

Meatloaf is either a meal that will either bring dread or delight. The dread would come from a memory of dry, tasteless, and dense meatloaf. The type that nightmares are made of. Enter the ultimate meatloaf. This recipe transforms ground meat into a flavorful main dish that is impossible to become dry or tasteless. The key to becoming ultimate is sautéing minced onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms. The vegetables cook down and gain a deep flavor that melts into the meat. Once the vegetables are mixed with the meat and seasonings, the second key is breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs mix with milk to trap moisture in the meatloaf and keep the baked dish tender. This recipe has one additional step with cooking vegetables, but the result will prove that this makes the best meatloaf full of flavor.

White serving platter with meatloaf sitting with two slices sliced off the front with ketchup slathered all over the top showing interior texture of meat.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Carrot, celery, and onion are finely minced and sautéed. Cooking them removes excess moisture and deepens the flavor of the vegetables.
  • Mushrooms are minced and sautéed with vegetables. Once cooked, mushrooms take on a rich meat-like flavor that enhances the meatloaf without anyone knowing mushrooms are added.
  • Tomato paste is cooked into the vegetables until it becomes dark-colored and begins to caramelize, adding a depth of sweetness.
  • Ground beef is the traditional meat for meatloaf. Choose good quality meat for the most flavor.
  • Ground pork offsets the beef with a slightly lighter flavor. This gives a balance to the flavors without anyone overpowering them.
  • Breadcrumbs are essential for keeping the meatloaf tender. Use fresh or dried crumbs.
Marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to prepare meatloaf including ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, celery, carrot, eggs, spices, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the vegetables. In a food processor, add the onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and smashed garlic cloves. Process the mixture in pulses until the vegetables are finely ground but are not a paste.
  1. Cook the vegetable mixture. To a saucepan set over medium heat on the stovetop, add 2 tbsp butter. Pour the chopped vegetable mixture into the pan along with the salt. Mix the vegetables into the salt and butter and allow it to sauté for 8 to 12 minutes. When most of the moisture from the vegetables has cooked off the bottom of the pan, add in the minced thyme and tomato paste. Mix those two ingredients into the mixture and allow it to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes. When the mixture looks dry and turns a darker brown color, remove it from the heat, and let it cool down slightly.
  1. Mix together the meat and spices. In a large bowl, add the eggs and mix them until beaten. Then add the ground beef, ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and beef stock. When the cooked vegetable mixture has cooled down, add it to the meat mixture. Using a spoon or your hands, combine all ingredients until homogenous.
  1. Shape and glaze. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the combined meat mixture, shaping it into an oval. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and Dijon mustard and mix until combined. Then spread the ketchup glaze over the top of the formed meatloaf, using a brush to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  1. Bake the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf in the preheated 350°F oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until fully cooked at 160°F. While the meatloaf is baking, some of the grease from the meat will seep out onto the parchment. Simply remove this grease or move the meatloaf to a different serving platter.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When processing the vegetables, make sure that they are finely diced but do not become a paste. If the vegetables are processed for too long, they’ll break down further than is desirable for this recipe, and too much water content will be exuded, making them pasty. Process the vegetables until they are crumb-like in texture.
  • Make sure that the cooked vegetable mixture cools down to approximately room temperature before adding it to the meat mixture. In terms of food safety, adding a hot mixture to the meat could make for an unsafe environment.
  • While it’s optional, mixing together the ingredients with your hands will ensure an evenly combined mixture. If using a spoon to combine everything, pockets of meat or vegetable may remain unmixed. But if using your hands, you can feel the texture of the entire mixture and will find any unmixed sections.
Hands holding white platter with meatloaf with two slices sliced off the back side with small bowl filled with ketchup to the side.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can the vegetables be prepared by hand rather than using a food processor?

Yes, the food processor minces the vegetables to an even size. This can be accomplished by hand, but it may be hard to get to the same small size, mince as fine as possible.

Can all beef or all pork be used in place of the mixture of beef and pork?

All beef can be used in place of the pork, but all pork would not have the flavor needed to bring the meatloaf together.

Rather than a sheet pan, can this recipe be baked in a loaf pan or square baking dish?

Yes, this can be made into 2 loaf pans or a square baking dish. This is a personal preference, and either can work in place of a baking sheet.

Can the meatloaf be frozen to be enjoyed in the future?

Yes, meatloaf freezes very well. Once cooked and cooled, slice in pieces. Freeze in an airtight container and use as needed.

What are good ways to use up any leftovers?

Meatloaf sandwiches are always a favorite with a thick layer of mayonnaise. This can also be broken into pieces and used in your favorite soup, or add seasoning and use ground taco meat.

Watch how to make this recipe.

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

White platter sitting on white marble surface filled with meatloaf with two slices sliced off the side with ketchup all over the top.

The Ultimate Meatloaf

5 from 9 votes
This recipe for ultimate meatloaf begins with a mixture of sautéed vegetables, combines both pork and beef, and finishes with a glaze on top. For a dish that doesn’t excite many people, this one will make you a fan. Whether it’s made for a weeknight meal or a weekend celebration, it’s a great recipe for any dinner!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 18 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 43 minutes
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

For the vegetable mixture

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 8 oz cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp minced thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

For the meat

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock

For the glaze

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have a parchment-lined baking sheet prepared and set aside.
  • Roughly chop the onions, carrots, and celery. Clean and quarter the mushrooms. Add the prepared vegetables and garlic to a large food processor, or work in two batches if too large for one batch. Fill the processor and pulse the vegetables until they are finely minced, 10-15 pulses. Without a food processor, the vegetables can be minced by hand.
    1 medium onion, 2 ribs celery, 8 oz cremini or white button mushrooms, 2 carrots, 4 cloves garlic
  • In a 4-quart saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once the butter is warm, add the prepared vegetables and salt. Sauté the mixture until the vegetables are cooked down and begin to brown, 8-12 minutes. Add the minced thyme and tomato paste and stir into the vegetables. Cook the tomato paste until it darkens and starts to coat the bottom of the saucepan, 4-6 minutes. Once the tomato paste is cooked, remove the mixture from the heat to cool.
    ½ tsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp minced thyme
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth. Add the ground beef, ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, beef stock, and cooled vegetable mixture. Stir to combine, and ensure the mixture is well mixed with no pockets of unmixed meat or vegetables.
    2 large eggs, 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp kosher salt, ¾ tsp black pepper, 1 cup beef stock
  • Pat the mixture into a loaf shape on the prepared sheet pan, roughly 12 inches by 9 inches. Mix together the ketchup and Dijon mustard and brush the top of the meatloaf. Bake in the preheated 350°F until the center reaches 160°F, 45-60 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
    ¼ cup ketchup, 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Notes

  • When processing the vegetables, make sure that they are finely diced but do not become a paste. If the vegetables are processed for too long, they’ll break down further than is desirable for this recipe, and too much water content will be exuded, making them pasty. Process the vegetables until they are crumb-like in texture.
  • Make sure that the cooked vegetable mixture cools down to approximately room temperature before adding it to the meat mixture. In terms of food safety, adding a hot mixture to the meat could make for an unsafe environment.
  • While it’s optional, mixing together the ingredients with your hands will ensure an evenly combined mixture. If using a spoon to combine everything, pockets of meat or vegetable may remain unmixed. But if using your hands, you can feel the texture of the entire mixture and will find any unmixed sections.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 302kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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5 from 9 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is soooo good. The extra time to do the vegetables is worth it and really doesn’t take very long. I will definitely make this again.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent! Made using quick oats in place of bread crumbs & family (ages 65-94) were happy devouring every bite. Was making baked potatoes and sweet potatoes in oven at 375 and even the meatloaf cooked perfectly at that temperature. Moist, flavorful and delicious! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

  3. Hey, Kaleb, beautiful recipe for your Ultimate Meatloaf. I have never included mushrooms or stock to many meatloaf creations…the addition bumps the humble meatloaf up so many notches…yes to serving to company. Thanks.