This Cast Iron Meatloaf is a delightful blend of savory and hearty flavors, baked to perfection in our trusty cast iron skillet. The result? A deliciously tender and juicy texture that will have your family asking for seconds. So, roll up your sleeves as we walk you through each step of this simple yet satisfying recipe. Plan ahead; this meatloaf needs about 45 minutes to bake, but trust us, it's well worth the wait!
Today, we're heading back to the basics with a beloved family favorite – our Cast Iron Meatloaf.
Trust me when I say this isn't your average meatloaf – it's a delicious symphony of flavors that will have your taste buds dancing with delight!
If you are ready to make meatloaf in a cast iron skillet, let’s get cooking!
- Crushed Saltine Crackers: If you don't have saltines on hand, breadcrumbs or crushed Ritz crackers would work just as well. Gluten-free crackers or breadcrumbs can be used.
- Garlic Powder: Fresh minced cloves of garlic can be used for an even more robust garlic taste. You could also use onion powder.
- Sea Salt: Kosher salt or table salt can also be used.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper: You can adjust the amount to your preference.
- Beaten Eggs: I recommend large eggs, but feel free to use what you have on hand.
- Whole Milk: This keeps the meat mixture moist. Substitutes could include buttermilk or a non-dairy milk of your choice.
- Ketchup: Adds a tangy sweetness. Tomato paste or barbecue sauce could be used as alternatives.
- Dijon Mustard: It gives a nice tang and depth of flavor. Yellow mustard or a spicy brown mustard could be used instead.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This adds a sweet and sour note to the mix. Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar could be substituted.
- Ground Beef: The star of our meatloaf. You could experiment with ground turkey, pork, or chicken.
- Ketchup: This forms the base of our glaze. BBQ sauce or tomato paste could be used in a pinch.
- Soy Sauce: It adds a savory, umami flavor. Tamari or coconut aminos could be used as gluten-free alternatives.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This contributes to the tangy-sweet flavor of the glaze. Red wine vinegar could be a good substitute.
- Brown Sugar: It adds a touch of sweetness. Honey or maple syrup could be used as natural sweeteners.
- Cayenne Pepper: It gives the glaze a little heat. You can adjust the amount to your preference or use chili powder for a milder kick.
Step by Step Instructions
For the full recipe with measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Start by preheating your oven to 350° F. Get your trusty 10” cast iron skillet ready by giving it a nice brush of oil. You could use a cast iron meatloaf pan if you prefer.
Tips and Tricks
- The Perfect Mix: You want to combine everything until it's just mixed - over-mixing can lead to a dense meatloaf. Remember, sometimes less is more!
- Cracker Crumbs: We use crushed saltine crackers in this recipe instead of breadcrumbs. They add a delightful crunch and help to hold our meatloaf together. It's a little twist that makes a big difference!
- Glaze Galore: Don't skimp on the glaze! It adds a beautiful glossy finish and a burst of flavor. You might even want to make a little extra to serve on the side.
- Rest and Relax: Let your meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moister, more flavorful meatloaf.
What is the best binder for meatloaf?
There are several binders for meatloaf that work well!
Bread Crumbs: A traditional favorite used in many a grandmother's kitchen, bread crumbs work wonders in meatloaf. They absorb the juices, keeping your meatloaf moist and flavorful. Plus, they're versatile – whether you've got a stale loaf of bread or a box of store-bought crumbs, you're good to go!
Cracker Crumbs: My personal favorite, cracker crumbs give your meatloaf an extra hint of flavor and a delightful crunch. I love using crushed saltine crackers in my Cast Iron Meatloaf recipe. The subtle saltiness they add really elevates the dish.
Oats: Now, this might sound a bit out of the ordinary, but trust me on this one. Oats are a fantastic binder, especially if you're aiming for a gluten-free meatloaf.
And let's not forget our supporting cast, milk, and eggs.
These two work hand-in-hand with our breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or oats to bind the meatloaf. Eggs, in particular, are essential – they act like glue, holding everything together. Meanwhile, milk keeps everything wonderfully moist. It's a dynamic duo that ensures our meatloaf is always a hit.
How do you keep meatloaf from sticking to the pan?
Embrace the Cast Iron: My trusty cast iron skillet is my go-to for meatloaf. Its natural non-stick properties make it perfect for this hearty dish. Plus, its even heat distribution ensures that your meatloaf cooks perfectly from edge to center.
Grease is the Word: Regardless of what type of pan you use, don't forget to grease it generously. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the pan, particularly the corners and edges.
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- Cast Iron Skillet
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer
More Skillet Recipes to Try
- Cast Iron Cornbread: A golden crust on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside - this Cast Iron Cornbread recipe is a comforting classic that pairs perfectly with any meal.
- Skillet Green Beans: These Skillet Green Beans are a family favorite in my household - tender-crisp green beans sautéed to perfection with a hint of balsamic for an easy, healthy side that's full of flavor.
- Cast Iron Chicken Thighs: From the stovetop to the oven, my Cast Iron Chicken Thighs recipe guarantees crispy skin, juicy meat, and a mouthwatering aroma that fills the entire house - a true weeknight winner.
- Skillet Potatoes: Last but not least, my Skillet Potatoes - golden, crispy, and seasoned to perfection - the perfect side dish to any main course, or even breakfast!
Cast Iron Skillet Meatloaf
- cast iron skillet
- ⅔ cup crushed saltine crackers
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs beaten
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 pounds ground beef
For the Glaze
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush a 10” cast iron skillet with oil.
- In a large bowl, stir together the crackers, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Add the eggs, milk, ketchup, mustard, and vinegar and stir to combine. Add the meat and mix with clean hands until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared skillet.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 155° F.
- While the meatloaf is baking, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. Remove from the oven. Use paper towels to blot any excess oil.
- Brush the top of the meatloaf with the glaze.
- Please under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until caramelized.
- Serve with any remaining glaze.
- Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.