Gourmet Meatloaf

March 14th, 2012

Do you have a favorite meatloaf recipe?  Most people do.  I do not.  I guess it’s because I can never leave well enough alone.  I am always looking for that elusive “best” combination.  This recipe comes pretty close to being in that category.  It helps that it was first published in Gourmet Magazine,  I have found that their recipes are almost always outstanding.

Some say that for a meatloaf to be great it has to have a combination of ground beef, veal and pork.  The supermarkets even sell a combination of meats for meatloaf.  I have made meatloaf with all ground beef, ground turkey and with various combinations.  This meatloaf adds ground pork to the ground beef mixture and it enhances the flavor.

But what sets this recipe apart is the addition of dried cherries and bacon.  You can use any dried fruit that you like, but I like the cherries.  Three strips of raw bacon and the cherries are ground together in a food processor and added to the meat mixture.  It adds a nice sweet and smoky flavor to the meatloaf.  The carrots, celery and onions also contribute to the texture.

Give this a try for dinner.  If you have a meatloaf that you love and would like to share it, email me with the recipe.  My quest is ongoing.


1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries or pitted prunes, chopped
1 1/2 pound ground beef chuck
1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, then cook until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.  Add to bread crumb mixture.

Finely chop bacon and cherries or prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix together with your hands.

Pack mixture together into a loaf and place in a shallow baking dish.  Spread ketchup over top and bake for approximately 1 1/4 hours.

Printable recipe

60 responses to “Gourmet Meatloaf”

  1. That sounds really good! And your picture is fantastic Penny!

  2. Rita says:

    My meatloaf recipe was the plain that my kids loved that I made for 40 years…have not made any in quite a while.
    You sure have brought the simple meatloaf to new heights; great combination of ingredients. This would make a fantastic meatloaf sandwich the next day

  3. Eileen says:

    I do not have a go-to meatloaf recipe, either. This one sounds delicious. I printed it out to try.

  4. Fantastic photo of the meatloaf Penny. It’s not always easy to make meatloaf look pretty and you’ve done it.

    I think I might try it with the prunes.

  5. Lyla says:

    I am on it! All week I’ve thought about meatloaf and then was halted by my lack of the “perfect” one. I know this is it and can’t wait to try it. Great post!

  6. Barbara says:

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of adding dried cherries to a meatloaf Penny.
    That is one gorgeous photo!

  7. Linda says:

    I have never been able to make a meatloaf that didn’t taste like hamburger with ketchup. Hope this is the magic one.

  8. Kathy Wlodarczyk says:

    Just made this..and it is Ah-mazing!!! Love it!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Penny says:

      I love feed back on my recipes. Appreciate you taking the time to let me know that this is a winner. Thanks Kathy.

  9. Leslie says:

    OMG! Made this for dinner tonight & also added some green pepper, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Best meatloaf I have ever had! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

  10. Emma says:

    My mom has made meatloaf for years and it’s always been my favorite. When I tried to make it on my own, it wasn’t the same. I’m so glad I found this recipe because it was SO good. I don’t know which ingredients brought out so much of the flavor, but I loved it. Thank you for sharing!

  11. […] I decided to make a couple of recipes for our dinner tonight after I got home.  Big Daddio loves meatloaf and it’s easy so that seemed like a great idea.  I settled on something called “Gourmet Meatloaf” from a blog called “Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen”.  Looks like there are lots of good recipes there – here’s the link: https://lakelurecottagekitchen.mystagingwebsite.com/2012/03/14/gourmet-meatloaf/. […]

  12. Stephanie P says:

    Made it tonight for dinner…didn’t have ground pork so substituted ground turkey and it was really a hit. I was a little intimidated by the fruit, thinking I might taste it and we didn’t.. Will definitely make it again, thank you for sharing

  13. Rose says:

    Do you cook the bacon first or just leave it raw when you put in food processor with cherries?

  14. Rani W says:

    Yum!! My family loved this – even my 21 months twins! 🙂

  15. THANK YOU FOR THIS RECIPE!! I forgot to get the cherries so I made it without them and it still came out delicious!!! My goodness, our dinner guests left NOTHING! One of the guys said it was the moistest he’s had and my hubby said was the best meatloaf he’s eaten! I should be offended cause that means my past meatloaves weren’t that great right? 😛 Haahaaha! Well from now on this is the recipe I will use! Thanks again! Can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  16. Very close to Martha Stewarts recipe

  17. Adriana says:

    I must say great recipe! It was my first time making meatloaf and it came out very moist and tasty!! Will probably leave bacon out next time but otherwise amazing!!

  18. heather says:

    I used cranberries since that’s what I always have my Daughter thinks there candy, I mixed siracha, pureed cranberries, and sun dried tomatoes to the ketchup and sprinkled frizzled shallots on it when done. Also if you add an extra egg and half cup of cooked rice they make an amazing meatball that way served with a bbq sauce.

  19. Imnelf says:

    The best meatloaf ever…. I added spinach ,red Pepper and some sundried tomatoes.
    I added some Italian spices and it came out awesome …. It was a major hit with all of our guests
    Thank you

  20. alysia says:

    I have made this twice and it is PHENOMENAL….. Best meatloaf you will ever eat.
    A little work but it is VERY worth it.

  21. Jenna says:

    Phenomenal. Found this via pinterest and so glad I made it! My go-to has always been epicurious.com’s “Old-Fashioned Meatloaf.” This is even better. The dried cherries and bacon are a game changer!

    • Penny Klett says:

      Jenna, Thank you so much for the feedback about this meatloaf. So glad you loved it. It makes me happy to know that recipes I have posted are winners. You are the best!

  22. Flo Seger says:

    Best meatloaf recipe I have ever used.

  23. Kristi Svec says:

    Made this for my hub’s birthday dinner. He said that he wanted meatloaf, but I wanted to make him something a little more “fancy.” Wowzers! The dried cherries added a hint of sweetness, but they were undetected by the hub and kids. This is the meatloaf to make for people who say they don’t like meatloaf.

    • Penny says:

      So glad that your hubs liked the meatloaf. I appreciate it when kind people like you give me feedback. Thank you so much Kristi!

  24. Kari says:

    this is exactly the same as the meatloaf I always make from Epicurus. It’s the best! I always cry the bacon a bit before throwing it in but otherwise it is perfection!!

  25. Becky says:

    I found this recipe a while ago and have made it plenty of times. I also make meatballs using this recipe. Everyone raves. The only difference is I use more Italian sausage and less beef and don’t always measure the bacon. Yum!

    • Becky says:

      Also, I was one of those kids that wouldn’t be allowed to leave the dinner table because I didn’t finish. I hate meatloaf. I love it now.

  26. Jesse chapman says:

    How many people does it serve

    • Penny says:

      I would say 4 to 6 depending on what kind of eaters they are. 2 lbs. of meat yields 6-1/3 lb. servings.

  27. Monica says:

    I found this recipe on Pinterest….I didn’t had the dried cherries so I substituted with dried cranberrys…..is the best ever!!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  28. Margaret says:

    Going through meatloaf recipes and tried this one . I’ll make it again for sure! Used the dried cherries and I think those are keepers:)

  29. Maureen says:

    thanks for the recipe. Definitely going to make this. In my quest for the perfect meatloaf, Bobby Flay uses his dad’s recipe. I’ve made it for my family several times and it’s our favorite so far! You might be ready for a Bobby Flay throw down!

  30. Marcia says:

    This was incredible! My husband said there was no need to try any other meatloaf recipes…and I agree! Thank you for sharing this!

  31. Deborah says:

    I love this recipe and plan on making it tomorrow. I’ve always had a problem with meat loafs in the past, with do you bake it covered or uncovered all the way through the entire cooking process? Please advise.

  32. way 2 Sassy says:

    Its cooking now, will comment again.

    • Gary says:

      My niece used to make meatloaf way I like it and I looked at your recipe and I’m going to give it a try I don’t have money anymore she passed away she made an awesome meatloaf for me every time she was here but I’m going to give her this meatloaf recipe a try I know how to cook so I’m going to get it all done thanks for the recipe I needed that

  33. Sandy says:

    This is the best meatloaf I have ever eaten. I have shared it with so many friends. Thank you!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I missed adding the salt and pepper.
    Didn’t see it on the ingredients list.

  35. This meatloaf was Outstanding! Made this tonight and my husband loved it also! He said it was the first time he didn’t have to add ketchup to it, it was so moist! The only add’l item I added was a diced up bell pepper.This will become my go to recipe. I doubled the recipe and made 4 add’l smaller loaves to take to my grown children’s homes so they can try it (along with the recipe)! Thank You!

  36. Kimberly says:

    Hi PENNY! I’m going to try your recipe today. Please tell me if the meatloaf is supposed to be covered, or uncovered (w/ foil, e.g.) during the cooking process?? Thank you so much!

    • Kimberly says:

      Sorry! I’m not even sure I sent the message to the right person… Whoever can answer my question for me, I’ll appreciate it. THANK YOU!! ????

  37. matt meyer says:

    how many servings does this make? I am planning on making it on Thanksgiving in lieu of a turkey. We will be 7 adults and 3 kids. I was thinking of 1.5X or 2X? What do you think?

  38. CHRIS says:

    My mother was Sicilian and taught me to cook when I was 7-8 years old, and I went on to cook in the Marines for 8 years. She liked using raisins in the meatballs or meatloaf, but not my dad, so she would make them both ways. I just came across some excellent dried cherries on Amazon, and plan on trying this out today! I was looking at meatloaf recipes when I came across this one. My wife passed last year suddenly, and literally took her meatloaf glaze recipe with her, oh baby, I miss you so much

  39. Jean Hamilton says:

    I’m definitely going to try your recipe as I have never been able to make an outstanding meatloaf and I am a fan of meatloaf.

  40. Patricia Neve says:

    I have been making this meatloaf for several years after I first saw it in a magazine. It is the best meatloaf I have ever tasted. Fantastic!

  41. Lori says:

    Any suggestions for substitutions for the bread? I’m limiting carbs so bread and crackers are not something I can eat right now but the recipe sounds amazing!!

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