Ina Garten Meatloaf Recipe: ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Has a Few Secret Hacks for the Best Comfort Food

The Ina Garten meatloaf recipe is classic comfort food with a Barefoot Contessa twist. Garten has a few tips and tricks for the best meatloaf recipe and they’re all easy hacks. Find out what Garten puts in her meatloaf recipes for the most delicious result.

Hoda Kotb, Ina Garten and Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show in 2019
Hoda Kotb, Ina Garten, and Jenna Bush Hager | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten meatloaf recipe is a classic

Garten’s classic meatloaf recipe is simple to pull together and makes enough to serve a large group or have leftovers to reheat or make into sandwiches. (Recipe via The Food Network.)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅓ cup canned chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 ½ pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
  • ½ cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup ketchup

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add olive oil to a pan and warm it over medium-low heat, then add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Remove from the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cool the mixture slightly before adding it to the meat.

Combine the meat, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs. Garten recommends using a light touch when mixing everything together so the meatloaf doesn’t become too dense.

“This is the key to making meatloaf,” she explains on Barefoot Contessa. “You want to sort of aerate it, you don’t want it to be dense. So just toss it all together and make sure you’re not compacting it.”

Place the meat mixture on the sheet pan and form it into a rectangular shape, rather than packing it into a loaf pan. Spread ketchup over the top.

Garten recommends an easy hack to keep your meatloaf from cracking on top — place a pan of very hot water on the rack under the meatloaf during baking. “You’ll have moist, delicious meatloaf every time,” she guarantees.

Bake the meatloaf for an hour to an hour and 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The Ina Garten turkey meatloaf recipe is a healthier option

If you’re looking for a leaner option, Garten’s turkey meatloaf recipe is a healthier choice that still has the great flavor of the classic comfort food. (You can find the recipe on The Food Network website.)

The recipe is similar to the classic option in the way she prepares it but it has a slightly different ingredient list. It yields more servings than her traditional meatloaf, so she recommends halving the recipe if you don’t need to make as much.

“This is the kind of meatloaf even your husband won’t believe it’s not beef,” she explains on her Barefoot Contessa cooking show. “It’s delicious.”

Garten shares her tip again for using a pan of hot water while cooking the meatloaf. “I hate when turkey meatloaf cracks on the top and the trick is, take a pan of hot water and put it underneath the turkey meatloaf,” she explains. “It’ll keep steam in the oven and keep the meat from cracking.”