American meatloaf with tomato ketchup

Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat that has been combined with other ingredients and formed into the shape of a loaf, then baked or smoked. The final shape is either hand-formed on a baking tray, or pan-formed by cooking it in a loaf pan.[1] It is usually made with ground beef, although ground lamb, pork, veal, venison, poultry, and seafood are also used, sometimes in combination. Vegetarian adaptations of meatloaf may use imitation meat or pulses.

The cooked meatloaf can be sliced like a loaf of bread to make individual portions. It can easily become dry; therefore, various techniques exist to keep the dish moist, like mixing in bread crumbs and egg, covering it with sauce, wrapping it, or using moisture-enhancing ingredients in the mixture, such as filling it with fatty meats, rich, cheeses, or vegetables.


Meatloaf is a traditional German, Scandinavian and Belgian dish, and it is a cousin to the meatball in Dutch cuisine.

American meatloaf[2][better source needed] has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since colonial times.[2] Meatloaf in the contemporary American sense did not appear in cookbooks until the late 19th century.[1]

National variations

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Czech sekaná

The Austrian version of meatloaf is called faschierter Braten (literally "minced roast", from faschieren, "to mince", and ein Braten, "a roast"),[3] also known as falscher Hase, or 'fake rabbit'.[4] Most of the time, it is not filled (as it may be in Germany), though the variation im Speckmantel involves wrapping the exterior in ham or bacon before baking.[5] Often, it is served with mashed potatoes (when warm), or with Cumberland sauce (when cold).

The Belgian version of meatloaf is called vleesbrood (meatbread);[6] however, fricandon is also used to refer to it in Dutch. In French, it is called pain de viande. It is usually served warm and can then be served with various sauces, but can also be eaten cold with a loaf of bread.

Rulo Stefani (Bulgarian: Руло Стефани),[7] a Bulgarian meatloaf is similar to the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf, with hard-boiled eggs, and sometimes with chopped carrots and pickled gherkins in the middle.

In the Czech Republic, meatloaf is referred to as sekaná ('chopped'). It is optional to put hard boiled eggs, gherkins, or wienerwurst inside.

Danish meatloaf is called forloren hare ('mock hare') or farsbrød ('ground-meat bread') and is usually made from a mixture of ground pork and beef with strips of bacon or cubed bacon on top. It is served with boiled or mashed potatoes and brown gravy sweetened with red currant jam.[8]

Finnish meatloaf is called lihamureke. It is entirely based on the basic meatball recipe. The only spices used are salt and pepper. It is not customary to stuff lihamureke with anything. The usual side dish is mashed potatoes, and lihamureke is usually served with brown sauce.

In Germany, meatloaf is referred to as Hackbraten (literally "ground roast", from Hackfleisch, "ground meat", and ein Braten, "a roast"), faschierter Braten (literally "minced roast", from faschieren, "to mince", and ein Braten, "a roast"), Wiegebraten, falscher Hase ("false hare" or "faux hare") and Heuchelhase ("mock-hare"). In some regions, it often has boiled eggs inside. Fleischlaib does literally mean "meat-loaf", but is actually another name for Leberkäse (literally "liver-cheese"), which is not a meatloaf.

In Greece, meatloaf is referred to as rolo (Ρολό)[9] and it is usually filled with hard boiled eggs, although several other variations exist.[10]

Stefania meatloaf (Hungarian: Stefánia szelet)[11] or Stefania slices are a type of Hungarian long meatloaf baked in a loaf pan, with 3 hard boiled eggs in the middle, making decorative white and yellow rings in the middle of the slices.

In Italy, meatloaf is called polpettone and can be filled with eggs, ham and cheese, and other ingredients.[12]

The Macedonian Rolat is a similar dish to the chiefly Arab, though also Persian and South-Asian, kofta. Ground beef is rolled and cooked until brown. It can be cooked with vegetables and various sauces.

The Dutch version of meatloaf is called gehaktbrood and can be eaten warm or cold.[13] Slavink is sometimes thought of as a small meatloaf, though it is pan-fried.

In Polish cuisine, the dish called pieczeń rzymska ("Roman roast") or klops is made of ground pork, beef, onions and garlic, with an obligatory hard boiled egg inside.

In Romanian cuisine, there is a meatloaf dish called drob, similar to other minced meat dishes in the region like the Bulgarian Rulo Stefani or the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf. The major difference is that drob is always made with lamb organs (or a mixture of lamb organs and pork or veal), and the hard boiled eggs in the centre of the drob are optional.

Swedish meatloaf is called köttfärslimpa (literally "minced meat-loaf", from köttfärs, "minced meat", and limpa, "loaf") and is usually made from a mixture of ground pork and beef. It is served with boiled or mashed potatoes, brown sauce gravy, often made from the meat juice that comes from cooking the meatloaf, and lingonberry jam. It is also used thinly sliced as a spread on sandwiches.[14]

In the UK, there are regional pork meatloaf dishes known as haslet, which can be eaten cold or hot.[15]

In British English, haslet or acelet is a pork meatloaf with herbs, originally from Lincolnshire. The word is derived from the Old French hastilles meaning entrails. In Lincolnshire, haslet (pronounced '/ˈhæslɪt/' locally) is typically made from stale white bread, minced pork, sage, salt and black pepper.[1] It is typically served cold with pickles and salad, or as a sandwich filling. In England, it is occasionally sold on a delicatessen counter.

In France, meatloaf is not a dish well-known or appreciated by the locals.


The Bangladeshi version of meatloaf is called Maṅśer lof.[citation needed]

In Korea, there is a meatloaf dish called Tteok-galbi and Neobiani.

Khuchmal (хучмал) is served with mashed potatoes cooked over the ground meat.[16]

Main article: Spanish influence on Filipino culture § Cuisine

Filipino pork embutido
The Filipino hardinera meatloaf is distinctively oval due to the use of traditional tin molds called the llanera.

Embutido (not to be confused with the Spanish embutido) is made of well-seasoned ground pork, raisins, minced carrots, sausages, and whole boiled eggs. The meat is molded into a roll with the sausages and hard boiled eggs set in the middle. Another variation of the dish involves wrapping the meatloaf with pork crow or mesentery. It is then wrapped in aluminum foil (historically, banana leaves) and steamed for an hour. The cooked embutido may be stored in freezers. It is usually served fried and sliced for breakfast.[17]

Embutido is sometimes confused with morcón (also not to be confused with Spanish morcón), due to their similarity in appearance. However, morcón is a beef roulade, not a meatloaf.

Hardinera is a Filipino meatloaf made with diced or ground pork topped with sliced hard-boiled eggs, pineapples, carrots, bell peppers, peas, tomatoes, and raisins, among others.

Dalyan köfte with rice pilaf and salad

In Turkish cuisine, there is a version of meatloaf called dalyan köfte or rulo köfte; it is typically filled with carrots, peas, and whole boiled eggs.[18]

The Vietnamese meatloaf version is called chả. It is boiled rather than baked or smoked.[19] There are many versions of chả that differ in the ingredients used.

South America

Chilean meatloaf, known as Asado Alemán (German roasted meat)[20] is a staple of southern Chilean cuisine, especially in areas known for having been influenced by the arrival of German immigrants during the 18th and 19th century. The most common recipe nowadays consists of ground beef, carrots, sausages, boiled eggs and breadcrumbs, cooked in the oven and normally served with a side-dish of mashed potatoes or rice.

The Cuban version of meatloaf is called pulpeta. It is made with ground beef and ground ham, and stuffed with hard boiled eggs, and it is cooked on the stovetop.[21] The dish was brought to public attention, albeit mistakenly referred to as a sausage, in the second episode of the third season of The Cosby Show, entitled "Food for Thought".[22] However, due to Cuba's strict laws regarding the purchasing of meat products, especially beef, meatloaf is not a common dish in Cuba.

Jewish cuisine

In Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, meatloaf is called Klops (Hebrew: קלופס) and can be served cold or hot. It is sometimes filled with whole boiled eggs.[23] The name presumably comes from the German Klops 'meatball'.

Middle East

In Lebanon, kibbeh (ground beef or lamb mixed with Bulgar) can sometimes be formed into a loaf and baked. It is sometimes made from raw meat.

North America

Mexican meatloaf is known as albondigón and is small in size.

The first recorded recipe for the modern American meatloaf dates from the late 1870s.[24] Those preparing the dish were told to chop up whatever meat was on hand, the meat most likely being beef. To that they added salt, pepper, onion, egg and milk-soaked bread. This meatloaf was originally served as a breakfast food.[24]

Sliced meatloaf topped with tomato sauce

During the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way for families to stretch the food budget by using an inexpensive type of meat and left-over ingredients. Along with spices,[2] it was popular to add cereal grains, bread or saltine crackers to the meatloaf to add bulk and stretch the meat. This tradition of additions still lives on, but with new goals: primarily, producing a lower-fat dish with superior binding and consistency.

Meatloaf recipes in America are typically made with a sauce or relish, often applied before cooking. Many recipes call for a tomato sauce to be poured over the loaf, which forms a crust during baking.[25] A simple brown or onion gravy or a can of cream of mushroom soup can substitute for tomato-based sauce, but the meatloaf is prepared in a similar manner. Barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, or a mixture of ketchup and prepared mustard may also be used. This style of meatloaf may be topped with a "meatloaf sauce" consisting of ketchup and brown sugar. Another variety of meatloaf, in the same style, is prepared by "frosting" the loaf with mashed potatoes, drizzling a small amount of butter over the top, and then browning it in the oven.

Some recipes are even more imaginative. There are vegetarian meatloaves, vegan meatloaves, even meatloaves made with ahi tuna, French fries, Fritos, Spanish chorizo, mint and pine nuts.[26] Sculpted versions such as feetloaf are also becoming popular, especially on social media.[27]

Meatloaf in America is normally served warm, as part of a main course, but it can also be sliced as a cold cut (and then used in sandwiches). This dish can be considered a typical comfort food in the US and Canada, and so it is served in many diners and restaurants. Indeed, meatloaf is said to have attained iconic comfort food status along with hamburgers, fried chicken and mac and cheese.[28] In a 2007 poll by Good Housekeeping, meatloaf was the seventh-favorite dish of Americans.[29]

In Puerto Rican cuisine, meatloaf is known as albondigón or butifarrón al horno. Puerto Rican style meatloaf is made with ground pork, beef, turkey, adobo, Worcestershire sauce, milk, ketchup, potatoes, red beans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and a hard-boiled egg in the middle.

See also


  1. ^ a b Zeldes, Leah A. (2 September 2009). "Eat this! Meatloaf, easy comfort". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Meatloaf Gaining Popularity among Food Connoisseurs". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  3. ^ Beer, G. (1975). Austrian Cooking and Baking. Dover Publications. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-486-23220-1. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Recipe for Austrian Meatloaf". Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Faschierter Braten im Speckmantel mit Zwiebel-Fisolen und Erdäpfeln | Frisch Gekocht". (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Vleesbrood". 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  7. ^ Tacheva, Veronika (29 January 2020). "Meatloaf Stefani (Руло Стефани)". The Bulgarian Chef. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  8. ^ (in Danish) Min far's forloren Hare, FÅS IKKE BEDRE Archived 2010-12-04 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Maltese, W.; Clark, B. (2013). Everyday Gourmet: A Memoir. Traveling gourmand series. Wildside Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4794-0987-7. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  10. ^ "(Greek) Ρολό κιμά με γέμιση αυγά, καρότο, πιπεριά και μπέικον". Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  11. ^ Stefánia meatloaf Archived 2008-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Root, W. (1992). The Food of Italy. Vintage Books. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-679-73896-1. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  13. ^ "De lekkerste gehaktbrood recepten - okoko recepten". Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Stadig köttfärslimpa – lätt att skära i fina skivor!". (in Swedish). 10 October 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  15. ^ Edington, S. (2018). Classic British Cooking. Pavilion Books. p. pt197. ISBN 978-1-911358-49-7. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Welcome to nginx!". Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  17. ^ Lam, Francis (7 January 2015). "The Rich Tradition of Filipino Embutido". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  18. ^ Murat Yegul (September 2010). The Secrets of Hearty Turkish Home Cooking. AuthorHouse. pp. 3–. ISBN 978-1-4520-4794-2.
  19. ^ Bruni, F.; Steinhauer, J.; Naron, M.P. (2017). A Meatloaf in Every Oven. Grand Central Publishing. p. pt21. ISBN 978-1-4555-6306-7. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  20. ^ Stackl, Erhard, ed. (2014). Atención: Die besten Reportagen aus Lateinamerika (in German). Czernin. p. 217. ISBN 9783707605051.
  21. ^ "Cuban Meatloaf recipe - How to Make Pulpeta Cubana". Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  22. ^ "The Cosby Show". Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  23. ^ Samuel Cohen. המטבח היהודי של שמוליק כהן [Shmoolik Cohen's Jewish Cuisine] (in Hebrew). Modan. p. 82.
  24. ^ a b "A Brief History of Meatloaf". Bon Appétit. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  25. ^ " - Resources and Information". Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  26. ^ Severson, Kim (6 February 2017). "Binding the Nation in Its Love of Meatloaf". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  27. ^ Heil, Emily. "It's almost Halloween, and 'feetloaf' is already giving us nightmares". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  28. ^ January 2019, Noelle Carter Noelle Carter is the former Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director She left in (24 March 2017). "The joy of meatloaf, that iconic comfort food". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 April 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ "Sunday Supper: Meatloaf is a favorite comfort food". Florida Today. 21 July 2015. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.