Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

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meatloaf with a glazed bacon top

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Bacon makes everything better, and meatloaf is no exception. Bacon-wrapped meatloaf takes a humble meal and transforms it into an even more comforting main dish that takes center stage at your dinner table.

At first glance it might look like a fussy technique to wrap a meatloaf in strips of bacon. However, the trick to making this freeform meatloaf look picture-perfect is actually to use a loaf pan. If you start by layering the bacon in the bottom of a bread pan, it helps to form a tight wrap on the outside. Then, the ground beef mixture is pressed into the pan to pack it into a loaf shape. All you have to do is invert the assembled loaf onto a baking sheet. The bacon-wrapped meatloaf holds its shape throughout the cooking process. Cooking it freeform like this allows the bacon to crisp and the ketchup glaze to caramelize and glisten. Serve it with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable for a homestyle meal everyone will love.

How Do You Wrap Bacon Around Meatloaf?

Start by lining the loaf pan with slightly overlapping strips of bacon. This will create a nice wrap around the meatloaf on the long side of the loaf. Once the meatloaf has been inverted out of the pan and onto your baking sheet, you’ll add the last pieces of bacon to cover the ends of the meatloaf. If you cut a slice of bacon in half, it is just enough to place one on top of the other on the end of the loaf. You’ll tuck the excess underneath the loaf to secure it.

What Kind of Bacon Should I Use for Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf?

You will need 10 to 12 strips of sliced bacon for this meatloaf. Don’t use thick-cut bacon for this recipe because it won’t render and crisp enough in the oven. It is also best to avoid center-cut bacon because the slices tend to be a little bit shorter than traditional bacon slices. They won’t be long enough to wrap all the way around the loaf.

What Meat Is Best for Meatloaf?

Bacon-wrapped meatloaf is best when made with lean ground beef. The bacon adds additional fat, moisture, and flavor to the meat, making a leaner ground beef the best choice. I suggest a 90/10 blend of lean ground sirloin for this recipe.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Should Meatloaf Be Cooked Covered or Uncovered?

This bacon-wrapped meatloaf is best cooked uncovered. This allows the bacon fat to render and crisp on the outside.

Upgrade this weeknight dinnner classic with loads of bacon.

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 slices

    bacon (10 to 12 ounces), divided

  • 3/4 cup

    ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed dark or light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 2 pounds

    lean ground beef (90% lean)

  • 1/2 cup

    plain fine breadcrumbs

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with 8 to 10 slices of the bacon, overlapping them slightly to cover and letting them hang over the top slightly.

  3. Place 3/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika in a small bowl and stir to combine. Transfer 1/4 cup into the pan and spread evenly over the bottom.

  4. Finely chop 1 small yellow onion until you have 1 cup and place in a large bowl. Add 2 pounds lean ground beef, 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix with your hands until well combined, but do not overmix.

  5. Transfer to the pan and pat into an even layer. Fold the overhanging bacon over the top of the meatloaf.

  6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Invert the baking sheet over the loaf pan. Holding both the baking sheet and the loaf pan, flip both over in one motion. Remove the loaf pan to unmold the meatloaf.

  7. Cut the remaining 2 bacon slices in half crosswise. Press 2 pieces onto each end of the meatloaf to cover the ends. Tuck the pieces under the other bacon to hold them in place.

  8. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven. Brush the top, sides, and ends with the remaining ketchup mixture. Return to the oven and bake until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 165°F, about 30 minutes more. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover meatloaf can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Kristina Vänni

Contributor

Internationally recognized culinary authority Kristina Vänni is a well-known food writer, engaging TV host, award-winning recipe developer, food stylist, and photographer. In addition to writing for industry-leading websites including Better Homes and Gardens, The Spruce Eats, and Food52, she has been a featured expert on national media such as ABC News’ “World News Tonight” and CBS’ “The Talk” and has served as a spokesperson and recipe developer for national brands such as Finlandia, KitchenAid, Post Foods, Baileys, among many others. Kristina is currently writing her first cookbook, an exploration of the traditional and seasonal cuisine from her family’s dairy farm in Finland. Kristina enthusiastically shares her creative content, behind-the-scenes peeks, and industry expertise with food enthusiasts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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