If you miss the classic Cracker Barrel flavors in your meatloaf, then here is a chance to enjoy the juicy and tangy flavors at home using this copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf recipe.
Whether you serve it at the family dinner or on the kitchen table, this meatloaf will garner all the praises for you due to its mouth-watering combination of spices and saucy topping.
Let’s have a look at the ingredients and how to make the perfect dish.
Cracker barrel-meatloaf has to be one of my favorite dinners of all time. Awesome flavors the minute it hits your senses, it will make anyone’s day a delight. Plus anything with cheese and cracker barrel wins me over.
How to Make Cracker Barrel Meatloaf
To make a good meatloaf, it is very important to bake it at a perfect temperature, and to do so; you must preheat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, you can work on the meatloaf mixture.
Place a large mixing bowl over a working surface and add 3 eggs, 1 ½ sleeves of crushed ritz crackers, 1 small chopped onion, ½ cup milk, ¼ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese and ½ cup bell pepper finely diced then mix well it all well.
Yes, you’re finally on your way to learn how to make meatloaf with crackers. It’s such an awesome addition to this authentic dish.
Once the ingredients are well incorporated, then stir in 2 pounds of the ground beef and mix it well. Use beef in 80/20 ratio, meaning there has to be 80 percent beef mixed with 20 percent of its fats. The leaner the beef is, the drier the meatloaf turns out to be. The use of fats makes the meatloaf juicier and moist.
Take a baking pan or a loaf pan and place it with parchment paper or foil sheer then spread the beef in the pan evenly. Bake this for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the preheated oven.
Meanwhile, whisk ketchup, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and mustard in a small bowl to prepare the sauce. Spread this sauce over the dish and bake again for 30 minutes. Slice it to serve.
Tips & Tricks
Meat Quality: Use high-quality ground beef. The fat content in the beef contributes to the juiciness and flavor of the meatloaf. A good choice would be 80/20 ground beef.
Vegetables: Finely dice your vegetables (onions and green bell pepper) to ensure they cook evenly and integrate well into the meatloaf mixture. Green pepper with the onion make a big difference in the dish.
Crackers: Using Ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs adds a buttery flavor and helps to bind the meatloaf together. Make sure to crush them finely.
Tomatoes: Using diced canned tomatoes adds moisture to the meatloaf. Be sure to drain them well before adding to the meat mixture.
Mixing: Don’t overmix your meatloaf ingredients. This can result in a dense meatloaf. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
Cooking: Use a loaf pan or shape the meatloaf on a baking sheet. Shaping it yourself can help the edges to caramelize and create a nice crust. Use a meat thermometer to get the internal temperature correct.
Glaze: Don’t forget the glaze! A simple mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, and yellow mustard brushed on top of the meatloaf adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess. Secret ingredient you can include is a little worcestershire sauce.
Resting Time: Allow your meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meatloaf, making it more flavorful and easier to slice.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out exactly as you planned.
What kind of meat is best?
The most common and traditional choice for meatloaf is ground beef, ideally an 80/20 mix for a juicy and flavorful result. However, a blend of meats can elevate the flavor profile, with many opting for a “meatloaf mix” of ground beef, pork, and veal.
For a healthier, leaner meatloaf, ground turkey or chicken can be used, bearing in mind these options may result in a slightly drier meatloaf. The choice of meat largely depends on personal preference and dietary requirements.
Why is my Meatloaf Dry?
If you remove all the fats from the meat and make it 100 percent lean beef, then its meatloaf will definitely turn out to be dry. To get the softness and necessary moisture in the meat, keep it 80 percent lean meat and 20 percent of the fats.
The Secret to a Juicy Meatloaf
So, what’s the secret to a juicy meatloaf? The answer lies in keeping the meat moist and full of flavor. One way is by using a mixture of meats, typically beef, pork, and veal.
Another way is by adding some finely chopped vegetables like onions and bell peppers that release moisture as they cook. Adding some breadcrumbs soaked in milk also helps in retaining the moisture inside the meatloaf.
What To Serve With It?
There are several options if you’re looking for what to serve with meatloaf, including:
Or you can use a combination of side dishes to complete your meatloaf platter. Like I usually serve it with mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
How to store leftover meatloaf?
Leftover meatloaf can be stored safely and used for later meals by following these steps:
- Cooling: Allow your leftover meatloaf to cool down to room temperature. However, don’t leave it out for more than two hours to avoid bacterial growth.
- Wrapping: Wrap the meatloaf in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure it’s sealed well to prevent air from getting in and drying out the meatloaf.
- Storing in a Container: For an extra layer of protection, you can place the wrapped meatloaf in an airtight container.
- Refrigeration: Store the wrapped and/or contained meatloaf in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within 3-4 days.
- Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze the meatloaf. It can last for up to 3 months in the freezer. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or microwave.
Remember, always reheat your meatloaf to at least 165°F (74°C) before eating to ensure it’s safe to consume.
Can You Freeze It?
Sure the meatloaf can also be stored in the freezer. Wrap the unbaked meat in a foil sheet and then seal it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Put this bag in the freezer, and in this way, you can even store it for up to 3 months.
There you have it, that is how quick and easy it is to bake a super moist, juicy Cracker barrel meatloaf with ritz crackers right in your kitchen. Serve this meatloaf with a fresh piece of bread or toasts for best taste. You can also use the meatloaf slice to stuff your burgers or sandwiches.
Try this meatloaf and do provide us with your valuable feedback. For more copycat recipes, be sure to check out the other restaurant recipes on our site, our Facebook page and Pinterest account.