Imagine your favorite comfort foods.
What comes to mind first? Is meatloaf in your top three?
I know it is for my husband.
He always goes on and on about meatloaf. He ate it regularly when he was growing up, so this classic dish holds a special place in his heart.
I, on the other hand, don’t think I actually tried making it myself until I was already out of college.
I wasn’t quite as enamored with it as my husband was as a child. But nonetheless, it’s kind of crazy to think that it took me so long, considering how easy it is to make.
You just mix everything together in a bowl, shape the loaf (or throw it in a loaf pan), and bake.
Recipes don’t get much simpler than that!
This is also a budget-friendly meal served alongside mashed potatoes or your choice of starch, and a healthy steamed or roasted vegetable like green beans.
I don’t know why my college brain didn’t take that into account, but post-college, with crippling student loan payments to attend to, it was a welcome addition to my dinnertime repertoire.
I think I was also hesitant because the meatloaf that my mother and my aunt made was always hard, like a brick.
Dry, crumbly, and just plain yucky, no matter how much ketchup I slathered on top, or how much gravy I poured over it.
Nobody wants that. But this one is different.
Once I found the right recipe, everything changed. I realized immediately what all the fuss was about, and it became a recipe that I consistently reach for, over and over again.
The classic recipe also gets a simple gluten-free twist so it’s perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro at preparing low-carb meals or cutting gluten from your diet is new to you, trust me when I say you’re going to love this.
There’s nothing complicated about the little ingredient swap that’s involved here, and the finished product is just as juicy, tender, flavorful, and delicious as the classic version that you remember so fondly.
Whether you opt to make it with gluten-free oats or breadcrumbs, it’s super easy to prepare, and sure to be a hit.
Tips for Making This Recipe Amazing
Looking for a few extra tips to make sure this gluten-free comfort food classic is as amazing as possible? No problem!
- Instead of gluten-free breadcrumbs, you can use gluten-free oats.
- Don’t have either of these on hand? Make your own breadcrumbs in the food processor.
- Double-check to make sure all of your ingredients are certified gluten-free, so they can be consumed safely by those with celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten intolerance.
- I highly recommend using 80% lean ground beef to ensure that your finished bake is juicy, without being too greasy. You can go leaner, up to 93% if desired.
- You can leave out the veggies if you like, but I find they add a nice level of moisture to the dish.
- Be sure to finely chop the veggies – the meat mixture will fall apart if the pieces are too big.
The canned veggies are also a great way to sneak a little extra nutrient-rich goodness into family meals if you have picky eaters in the house.
How Can I Tell When the Meatloaf Is Cooked?
The best way to tell that your loaf is cooked through is to test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
When you insert a thermometer in the center, the meat is done when it registers 160˚F. Avoid touching the pan with the tip of the thermometer to get the most accurate reading.
What Should I Serve with This Entree?
Here are some more of my gluten-free favorites:
- Parmesan and garlic oven fries
- Lemon baby potatoes
- Brown rice or quinoa
- Cooked veggies like pressure cooker asparagus or caramelized Brussels sprouts
- Creamed spinach or collard greens
Hungry yet? You can get this meatloaf on the table in under an hour, and prepare your sides while it’s in the oven.Print
Cutting gluten from your diet? You don’t need to miss out on your favorite foods. Try our no-fuss gluten-free meatloaf for the comfort food you crave.
- Nonstick cooking oil spray
- 1 pound lean ground beef (80-93% lean)
- 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (or gluten-free rolled oats)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup, divided
- 1/4 cup finely minced onions
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 15-ounce can mixed vegetables, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking oil spray. You can also use a standard size loaf pan lined with foil and sprayed with oil.
- Place the ground beef, breadcrumbs or oats, 1/4 cup ketchup, minced onions, egg, salt, pepper, and canned vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Mix together with your hands until well combined.
- Place the ground beef mixture on the prepared baking sheet and form it into a loaf shape, or place into the loaf pan, press it into the corners, and smooth the top.
- Spread the remaining ketchup evenly on top of the loaf.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes on a baking sheet, or until meatloaf is cooked through (160˚F) and is no longer pink inside. If you are using a loaf pan, bake for 45 minutes, and continue to bake in 10-minute increments until it’s cooked through.
- Remove from the oven. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing to serve.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Keywords: meatloaf, gluten-free
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Finely Chop Vegetables and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Peel and finely chop enough onion until you have 1/4 cup. I used about 1/4 of a large onion for this.
Rinse and drain the mixed vegetables, if you’re using them.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
I like to crack the egg into a small bowl so I can easily remove any shell fragments if I need to, rather than cracking it directly into the bowl that’s filled with the other ingredients in the next step.
Preheat your oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then spray it lightly with cooking oil.
You can also line a loaf pan with two pieces of aluminum foil, making sure the edges hang over the sides – this will create a sling that makes it easy to lift out of the pan when it’s done. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
Step 2 – Make Meatloaf
Add all of the ingredients except 2 tablespoons of ketchup to a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients well – I think using your hands is the best option here.
Dump out the beef mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and form it into a loaf shape.
If you are using a loaf pan, add the mixture to the pan and press it down slightly, smoothing the top and making sure the ground beef goes all the way into the corners.
Spread the remaining ketchup evenly over the top of the loaf.
Step 3 – Bake
Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes if you are using a baking sheet. When the meatloaf is cooked through, the internal temperature will register 160˚F when a meat thermometer is inserted into the middle.
If you are using a loaf pan, you will need to bake it a little longer. Check the temperature of the loaf after 45 minutes. If it still needs more time, continue to bake in 10-minute increments until it’s cooked through.
Let it rest on the pan for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes, you can!
It’s easy to freeze this meatloaf, either before you bake it or after it has finished baking.
To freeze it before you bake, shape the meat into a loaf and wrap it tightly with foil or plastic wrap, and then place it in a freezer bag.
You can freeze it this way for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
For freezing after baking, be sure to allow the loaf to cool completely before you wrap it. Remove it from the pan, wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap, and then place it in a freezer bag.
Precooked meatloaf can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost it in the same way I outlined above.
Another option is to allow the meatloaf to cool and then cut it into slices. These can be wrapped and frozen individually for easy weeknight protein entrees that you can heat up in the microwave, and leftover meatloaf is also perfect for sandwiches.
You can even try this recipe in muffin form for an easy, portion-controlled meal.
Craving even more classic comfort food that’s gluten-free? Try these recipes next:
What are your favorite sides to serve alongside meatloaf? Tell us in the comments below. Once you try this recipe, be sure to come back and rate it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published August 11, 2013. Last updated October 2, 2020. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.