Make Ahead Meatloaf

Meat and potatoes. How many folks do you know who enjoy a comforting 'meat and potato' dish? I'm more of a 'meat and rice' kind of gal but either way, it's comforting. When I think of meat and potatoes, meatloaf and mashed potatoes come to mind. It's been awhile since I've made meatloaf and after making this recipe for Make Ahead Meatloaf, I foresee many more meatloaves coming out of my oven. This isn't your momma's meatloaf. In fact, it's so flavorful and juicy, I was surprised to learn what the secrect ingredient was in this dish! Can you guess what it might be?!...

The secret ingredient is bratwurst. Fresh bratwurst is removed from its casings and is combined with ground beef, processed {gluten free} crackers, sautéed onions and garlic, along with a mess of other flavor boosting ingredients. The bratwurst really adds a lot of moisture and flavor to this meatloaf. It makes sense to use bratwurst in this recipe in lieu of ground pork and/or veal. And did I mention how easy this is to make ahead, hence the name? This is a perfect dish to make in advance and it makes 2 full loaf pans full... so there's plenty of leftovers too!

Make Ahead Meatloaf
recipe adapted from Cook's Country (Feb/Mar 2011)

2 teaspoons oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 saltine crackers OR gluten free crackers
1 pound ground beef 80/20
3/4 pound bratwurst, uncooked, casings removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and cook until browned.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl. 

Process saltines or gluten free crackers in food processor and transfer to bowl with onion mixture. 

Add beef and bratwurst to the bowl along with the remaining ingredients and gingerly knead until combined.  Press mixture into 2 disposable 8” loaf pans.

Place plastic wrap on the top of the meat and around the pan.  Wrap a second time with aluminum foil.  Label pans and freeze for up to 1 month.

When ready to bake, defrost completely. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap loaf pans and place on a baking sheet.

Meanwhile, whisk together glaze ingredients in a small bowl and top the meatloaves with the glaze. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the meatloaves reaches 150 degrees. (Use a probe or meat thermometer.)

Remove meatloaves from oven and let rest 20 minutes before serving. Cut the meatloaves into slices and carefully remove from the pan and serve.


  1. I've always been a big fan of meatloaf, takes me back to my childhood (no meatloaf horror stories here, my mom made awesome mealoaf!) This version sounds really great.

  2. Yummy! thanks!!