Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf

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Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is about to change your meatloaf game. Rich and flavorful, soft and moist without being the least bit mushy, this meatloaf recipe (and the best ever meatloaf glaze) was a dinnertime game changer in my family shortly after Sean and I were first married.

Every time we make this Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf, my kids go absolutely nuts for it.

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is a dinnertime game changer! Get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

My oldest two boys enjoy it so much that they will happily make it on their own. My youngest had fun helping shoot the video for it (this was very first food video) so be sure to check it out below.

Meatloaf Recipe

When I was a kid, my mom made meatloaf that consisted more of fillers than meat. With 10 mouths to feed, we joked freely that it was often hard to find the meat in the meatloaf.

Carrots? check. Corn flakes? check. Bread crumbs? check. Oatmeal? check. Bananas? Nope. Just seeing if you’re still with me.

In any case, it was astounding the meatloaf my mom could create with so little meat. Impressive, really.

So, when I tell you that this is not my mama’s meatloaf, I know she won’t be offended.
As a newlywed, my husband told me that he liked meatloaf, a lot. I just stared at him.

Wasn’t meatloaf that dry concoction that tastes a lot like carrots and not much like meat? Why would he like that? I couldn’t imagine making that for him.

Since my experience with my mother’s meatloaf concoctions,  I had eaten meatloaf made by a couple of different people and still failed to be impressed. The idea of making it myself sounded absurd.

Besides the fact that I didn’t particularly like meatloaf, I found it pretty boring. It wasn’t glamorous, exotic, elegant or impressive–so why go through the trouble?

Oh, how wrong I was. My perspective on meatloaf was about to change forever.

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

It’s probably been almost 20 years since my friend Debbie mentioned to me that her mother in law had a fantastic meatloaf recipe that everyone in their family loved. So, since my husband wouldn’t stop mentioning his lifelong love of meatloaf, I decided to give it a shot.

 The first time I made this incredible meatloaf recipe, my mom and a couple of my teenage brothers were visiting us. My husband told them that I was making meatloaf for dinner and one brother commented that he’d just eat some cereal later.

My brothers were bottomless pits at that time in their lives and really would have eaten anything–except meatloaf, apparently! After we stopped laughing, I convinced my brother to give this new meatloaf a try.

At first bite, everyone at the table almost sighed. What? Meatloaf could be delicious? Who knew?

The Best Meatloaf Topping

Every person who has ever tasted this meatloaf has enjoyed it. This is one of my children’s favorite meals and I’m not exaggerating. There are actually cheers at the table when it appears. Literal cheers.

Anyone who’s ever tried to accommodate the different taste preferences of a family with multiple kids knows what a big deal that is!

When you find a recipe like this one you keep it and make it over and over again.

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf - have you tried it yet? Get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Meatloaf Glaze

Over the years since Debbie first introduced me to this astonishing, world-changing meatloaf, I’ve played with the original recipe a tiny bit. Nothing huge, just trying slight adjustments here and there as I’ve made the recipe dozens and dozens of times.

The one change I made that had the biggest flavor impact was adding a splash of balsamic vinegar to the meatloaf glaze. Like lots of classic meatloaf recipes, this recipe calls for a ketchup-based glaze. 

While the ketchup flavor totally works here, it could be a little on the sweet side when paired with the brown sugar that gives it that beautiful glazed texture and appearance.

The balsamic vinegar adds just a touch extra tartness to balance out the sweetness and add a little grown-up depth to this kid-friendly meatloaf.

I love that the glaze cooks right with the meatloaf to lock in extra moisture. While some meatloaf recipes are so dry they need an extra helping of meatloaf sauce or ketchup to make them tasty, this meatloaf truly stands all on its own.

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

While Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is a far, far cry and a definite major upgrade to the meatloaf I grew up eating, it has at least one thing in common with the filler-packed loaves of my youth: It’s easy to make. 

When you need a dinner that comes together with ease and is unanimously loved by everyone in your family, Balsamic Meatloaf is there for you. There’s very little prep work required and uses only a couple of dishes.

Aside from beating one egg and dicing a single onion, all you have to do is mix your ingredients together in a bowl, dump the whole thing in a ban, and bake.

Making the best ever meatloaf glaze is as easy as stirring a few things together too. Just pour it over the top and your work is done!

When your meatloaf is done cooking, simply cool, slice, serve. 

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is a guaranteed winner for dinner any night of the week! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

What to Serve with Meatloaf

I honestly think meatloaf can stand by itself as a one-dish meal in a pinch. But for a well-balanced dinner plate, it goes well with just about any salad, vegetable or starchy side.

For a down-home meal that’s full of comfort and warmth, serve meatloaf with Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Paprika and Pepper Mashed Potatoes or a simple but always satisfying Baked Potato

If you’re looking for a side dish that’s a little on the more colorful side but still warm and flavorful, I absolutely love the flavor and simplicity of  Roasted Carrots with Garlic and Onion served alongside a slice of hearty meatloaf.

For a light accompaniment to meatloaf, you can’t go wrong with Cucumber Salad with Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette or a Classic Wedge Salad.

However it’s served, I can honestly say that this Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is like no other I’ve tried. Flavorful, moist and honestly delicious, this is the meatloaf that managed to convert even the most ardent meatloaf haters (like myself and my brothers) into tried and true fans. 

Even years later, my brother and my husband still joke today, “There is MEAT in the meatloaf” whenever I make this recipe. And it is good!

If you’re a meatloaf hater (or think you are!) I urge you to give Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf a chance to win you over, too.

And if you’re already out there singing meatloaf praises? Get ready to love meatloaf even more!

Kitchen Tip: I use this pan to cook this recipe.

Meatloaf Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl and then mix together with your hands – yes, it really is easier that way.
  2. Shape into a loaf form* on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Stir together the glaze ingredients and spoon over the top of the meatloaf prior to baking.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, about 65-70 minutes.

I recommend using a thermometer to determine the cooking time the first time you make this recipe. The cooking time will be determined by the shape and size of the meatloaf. I typically shape mine relatively flat and oblong and it usually cooks in about 65-70 minutes. A more traditional 4x4x8 loaf will take about 90 minutes.

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Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is a dinnertime game changer! Get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf

5 from 16 votes
Meatloaf recipe from and with thanks to my friend, Debbie, glaze inspired by The Slow Roasted Italian
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup ketchup store-bought or homemade ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl and then mix together with your hands - yes, it really is easier that way. Shape into a loaf form* on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Stir together the glaze ingredients and spoon over the top of the meatloaf prior to baking. Bake in a preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, about 65-70 minutes. Enjoy!

Notes

I recommend using a thermometer to determine the cooking time the first time you make this recipe. The cooking time will be determined by the shape and size of the meatloaf. I typically shape mine relatively flat and oblong and it usually cooks in about 65-70 minutes. A more traditional 4x4x8 loaf will take about 90 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal · Carbohydrates: 12g · Protein: 22g · Fat: 25g · Saturated Fat: 9g · Cholesterol: 104mg · Sodium: 394mg · Potassium: 429mg · Sugar: 5g · Vitamin A: 130IU · Vitamin C: 0.3mg · Calcium: 71mg · Iron: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!

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{originally published 2/23/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/1/19}

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf is a dinner time game changer! Get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Sue/the view from great island says

    I'm totally with you on this one…I grew up with meatloaf that was not so inspiring, but it can be soooo good if you just put good things into it, like meat! I like the oats in yours, too. I often put wheat germ in mine.
    That glaze is a new one for me, and I love it. So much better than ketchup.

  2. Becki's Whole Life says

    Darn…I wish I had seen this on Friday as I just made meatloaf as requested by my 8 year old. I would have made this – I love the ingredients and this glaze sounds so good – different than my usual ketchup, mustard and brown sugar topping. Will make this next time which will probably be soon!

  3. Anonymous says

    I've always loved meatloaf and never could understand anyone that didn't. While I think the balsamic glaze is probably good I prefer my old fashioned ketchup and brown sugar and a hint of onion powder. I've never heard of putting carrots in meat loaf. Your mom had a weird recipe. But it was an interesting story. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will stick to my own as we love it but this one does sound good.

  4. Anonymous says

    I didn't follow the ingredient list exactly (some things I didn't have) but it turned out beautifully! Thanks for this recipe!

  5. Freie Mom says

    This is a staple dinner in our house – we have to have it at least once per month. It’s loved by everyone, including the 4 kiddos. I make no changes :). It’s delicious as is1

  6. Tina says

    Do you ever half this recipe? There’s only 3 of us at home now and 2 pounds of meat may be too much. Half everything except the egg?

    • Mary says

      That would work. For what it’s worth, the meatloaf also freezes well. So, if it were me, I’d probably make the full recipe and freeze half.

  7. Debra says

    Delicious! I made this recipe the day after I received your email and loved it! My mother’s meatloaf was absent any bread crumbs, oatmeal, any of that sort of thing. She basically used an egg to help hold her ground chuck, onions, a little bell pepper and seasonings together and that was it. So, I used 1/2 as much oatmeal as is in the recipe, but followed your recipe otherwise. Loved it! That glaze is wonderful and a great finish! The ketchup and sugar keep the balsamic vinegar from being overwhelming and this recipe will be made many more times! I so enjoy your recipes and look forward to receiving them. Thank you!

    • Kathleen Powers says

      Thought I’d finally found a great recipe since the way I’ve been making it hasn’t been turning out. But for some reason making this one my meat was soft, crumbly and seemed like it had too much milk. Oh well I’ll just keeping trying, maybe next time.

    • Mary says

      I’m not sure what could’ve gone wrong, Kathleen. We’ve been making this meatloaf for years. Without being in your kitchen with you, it’s hard to even guess.

  8. Tina says

    Hi. I’m confused by the “keys up” part of the recipe…am I adding brown sugar and balsamic to ketsup or are you just calling the balsamic/brown sugar combo ketsup due to tradition? Is there any actual ketsup in the recipe? I want to make it tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Mary says

      I’ve read through the recipe three times and I’m unsure where the confusion is. You add brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to ketchup to make the glaze. (It’s entirely possible that because I’ve made this so many times, my eyes aren’t seeing the typo or mistake in the recipe.) I hope that helps.

    • Tina says

      Sorry, should have said I was confused by the “ketsup” part. It wasn’t a typo, I was just asking for clarification. Thanks!

  9. Cindy says

    Your recipe is all but spot-on for the way I make it. I shall have to try the balsamic vinegar twist.
    I put a little horseradish in my ketchup/brown sugar for a little zip.
    Now I want meatloaf!!!!! Love your recipes!

  10. Jackie says

    O to the M to the G!! Amazing! That balsamic glaze is beyond perfect. Everyone (including my super picky stepson and hubby) asked for seconds on the meatloaf. Total win!!5 stars

    • Mary says

      Yes, you can. You might notice a slight textural difference, but I use the different oats interchangeably myself.

  11. Roy says

    I tried this recipe wit a couple changes, instead of 2 lbs. of beef, I made it with 50% pork.
    Used fresh garlic, and Grey Poupon instead of dry mustard. And no brown sugar in the glaze.
    Ketchup already has enough sugar. I found it to be the best meat loaf I ever made.5 stars

  12. Katherine says

    This looks yummy and I plan to try it. Have you ever made it substituting ground turkey, chicken, and/or bison for the beef?

    • Mary says

      I’ve only made this meatloaf with beef. If you do try it with alternative meats, please leave a comment again and let us know how it works for you!

  13. Patty W. says

    We love meatloaf!! At least hubby and I do. Pretty much how I make it too except I will sometimes add green pepper to the mix. Sometimes Italian Seasoning. Never thought about Balsamic vinegar but will give it a go! Thanks Mary!5 stars

  14. tonilea says

    LOL Your story rings true to me. We didn’t have a large family, but money was very scarce. Meatloaf was whatever leftovers were in the fridge. We all DID like Mom’s meatloaf and I have done teh same over the years. Only once did it turn out , well, not so good. and actually most of the people who have eaten my meatloaf like it. I don’t have a recipe, just some leftovers, spices and hamburger.
    You might laugh, but I once DID follow a recipe for meatloaf around a banana!!! It wasn’t bad, but I never did it again. LOL LOL I did it mostly because it was so crazy and I was young (long time ago!)
    Tell your son, nice job on the video!

  15. Chris says

    I’ve never put a glaze on my meatloaf. Instead, I put strips of bacon down the length of the loaf. I’ve yet to have a dry meatloaf either and the flavor….

  16. Rose Wilkins says

    Got 2 try this I am a great fan of Meatloaf so Thanks the glaze sounds wonderful !!! Thanks for posting recipe I can wait for a family gathering.

  17. TiM Powell says

    I love your Balsamic Me as loaf Recipe!

    I did find a typo in the instructions…

    “dump the whole thing in a ban, and bake.”

    Have a great day…

    TiM Powell

  18. low and slow says

    I`m trying this glaze on my pimento cheese stuffed M/L tonight,added a little balsamic syrup for more intense flavor.Can`t wait. Thank you for the inspiration.5 stars

  19. Valerie says

    Can I sub either regular or panko breadcrumbs instead of the quick oats, and would it be in the same amounts? I prefer to use things I have on hand rather than buy something just for one recipe, especially if it’s an item I won’t otherwise buy or use. Thanks!

    • Mary Younkin says

      I do much the same, Valerie. I’m all about using what is in the house. I will say that I buy quick oats just for this particular recipe and one other, but this will also work with breadcrumbs or with regular oats that you blitz in the blender to make them smaller.

  20. Joan says

    This is the best meatloaf I ever made. This is the only one i make now. Seems like all the recipes are always good. Keep them coming

  21. linda says

    This is so good! Used 1 lb pork and 1 lb beef and followed your recipe, turned out so moist. Thanks This will be made often.5 stars