Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf

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 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

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.


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

Well over ten years ago, my friend Debbie mentioned 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

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

Meatloaf Sauce

In the decade or so 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 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 meatloafs are so dry they need an extra helping of meatloaf sauce or ketchup to make them even close to palatable, this meatloaf 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.

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

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

, 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* and then place 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.

Balsamic Glazed Meatloaf

Meatloaf recipe from and with thanks to my friend, Debbie, glaze inspired by The Slow Roasted Italian

  • 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
  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. Shape into a loaf form* and then place on a foil lined baking sheet.
  2. 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!

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.

{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

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