I just love meatloaf. I’m not sure exactly why, but I do. It probably has a lot to do with the leftovers. There’s nothing more comforting and therapeutic than a meatloaf sandwich on gooey white bread with some Duke’s mayo… but I digress. Did I mentioned I love meatloaf? The end piece is my favorite! 🙂
Anyway, I’ve got a delicious twist on meatloaf for you today. You know how a recipe combines the most basic ingredients in the most perfect ratios and the end result is just phenomenal? Well, for me, this is one of those recipes. This is my new favorite meatloaf. And honestly, I really have two secrets.
The first is a method. I don’t cook my meatloaf in a loaf pan. I prefer to form my meatloaf in the center of a prepared 9×13 pan. It allows all the excess grease to drain away and you get that golden brownness on 3 sides rather than just the top with a loaf pan.
My other secret is blood mary mix. It adds the perfect flavor and tang to meatloaf. I like to use a really tangy and zesty one like Zing Zang – it’s my favorite.
And I saw the other day that many stores now sell individual 12-ounce cans of bloody mary mix in the mixer section, so that is perfect for this.
Now, y’all go make this and be sure not to eat it all. You’ll want that meatloaf sandwich for lunch tomorrow. Y’all enjoy!! 🙂
Secret Ingredient Meatloaf
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon zesty bloody mary mix
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 small bell pepper, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the bread crumbs and the cup of bloody mary mix in a small bowl and mix well, set aside until the bread crumbs have absorbed the liquid (3 to 5 minutes).
- In a large bowl, combine the meat, moistened bread crumbs, egg, onion, bell pepper, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated, being cautious not to over mix. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and form into a loaf in the center of the dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and remaining 1 tablespoon of bloody mary mix and spread on top of the meatloaf. Bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
Finally tried this after having it in my saved recipes folder forever, and we loved it! Used townhouse crackers since we didn’t have bread crumbs, and added just a little honey to the topping. Delicious! Thanks for such easy, good recipes, Stacey!
You’re so welcome! So glad to hear y’all enjoyed it!
I also use a 9 x 13 pan but I line the bottom of the pan with stale bread. When the meat loaf is done, I peel the greasy bread off the bottom. I don’t get the crunchy bottom, but I don’t have to deal with the grease. Score!
Great tip! Thanks for sharing!
I give this one a 5 star, It was the best I’ve ate so far.
Fantastic! I’m so glad to hear it turned out great for you!
I have used spicy V8 juice in my meatloaf before but have never thought of Bloody Mary mix. I will have to try it. I’m always on the hunt for a good meatloaf recipe. Thank you for this.
Sure hope you’ll enjoy it!
This is my go to meatloaf recipe.
My family loves this too, so glad it’s a keeper for you!
Can’t wait to try it. My family loves meatloaf, I have a delicious recipe too. I use bread crumbs, onion soup mix, chopped onions, green pepper, season with Cavendars Greek seasonings, soy sauce, top with spaghetti sauce,… delish !
That sounds like a great recipe!
And we would all like that recipe too!
That meatloaf sounds delish !! Would you email your recipe , please!!
This turned out so great! We loved the bell pepper and Bloody Mary mix combo. I’ve always made my mom’s recipe which is close but uses French dressing as the liquid. I liked that this one was a little less greasy and I think it reheats better for that reason. Another keeper recipe- thanks so much!
Awesome! So glad to hear it turned out great for you, Susan!
I made this and flavor was ultimately great. Here are my suggestions: 1. It was too wet so I would add more bread crumbs. 2. I wouldn’t do the free form thing in the Pyrex dish cause mine spread out and was too loose and not like meatloaf. I will use a few loaf pans to make it next time. 3. I will add more salt. I think the Bloody Mary mix basically adds a zesty flavor, but if you don’t want to just buy this mix, use your favorite zesty ketchup or doctor it up and add more bread crumbs.
Thanks for sharing your tips, Leslie!
I’ve cooked this at least a half dozen times and my son requested it for his birthday dinner. I do add a touch of honey to the ketchup and Bloody Mary mix for the topping because I love the sweet touch it gives. This is a great recipe – and crazy simple!
Thanks so much, Debra! And happy birthday to him! I’m certainly going to have to try the honey because my other recipe includes a bit of brown sugar in the topping and I really like the sweetness in that recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Best meatloaf! I use Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix. This is my go to recipe.
So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it!
Tastes great! I cook my meatloaf in a cast iron skillet. Pour any grease off halfway through and then again when it’s done. Also, cover top with ketchup and bake last 10 minutes.
I love this idea and I LOVE me some meatloaf. I also bake mine in a larger pan for the reasons you do (end piece is my fav too!) I have been using Ro-tel tomatoes in my meatloaf for ages to get that zing. I will try the Bloody Mary trick! Meatloaf sandwich on white bread so fresh it sticks in the roof of your mouth (With Dukes is course) is amazing!
You’re making me want to make this for supper tonight!
As a novice chef recently inspired to spend more time in the kitchen, I was referred to your blog. This was my first meatloaf and it won’t be the last! My fiancé loved it! So simple and so delicious. In fact, a friend mentioned she’s tried many other meatloaf recipes but still just couldn’t prepare a good meatloaf, so I sent her this one! Thanks!
So glad you made it here and that you enjoyed this meatloaf! Hope you’ll find lots more you enjoy. Let me know if you have questions!
Cee Jay Kay
I tried this last night. I had some bloody mary mix I obtained at the hardware store. Weird, I know. I kept meaning to use it, but we never seem to have vodka around the house. I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d think about the flavor, but it was really tasty and the meatloaf was moist. Rather than using any kind of glaze for the top, I decided to leave the meatloaf bare this time. I ate it with A-1 on the side. Mmmmmmmmm mmmm! I’m tucking this recipe away in my keeper box.
So glad you enjoyed it!! A1 sounds like a great addition!!
My mother in law use to put a can of alphabet soup in hers along with the onions and bell pepper. It was really good. I use oats or breadcrumbs, whatever I have on hand. Will have to try your recipe.
That’s super interesting. I’m not sure I’ve heard of that. Hope you’ll enjoy this one, though!
This sounds so good! I will definitely try this. And I too love the leftovers in a sandwich. If there ARE any leftovers! 🙂
That’s usually the way it works at our house, too!
I just finished a meatloaf that I’ve been making for almost 2 decades. Use a mixture of ground beef, ground pork and ground lamb, with roasted garlic, sauteed onion and green pepper (to get the raw taste that some times happens), oatmeal, a couple of eggs and 3/4 cup of ketchup. I use my 9 inch cast iron skillet that I have lined with bacon and then lattice the top with more bacon, a bout a pound in total. I usually pour the grease off three times during baking. One of the benefits is that the meatloaf shrinks during cooking so the side get crispy.
This sounds delicious and the secret ingredient makes sense and is perfect for meatloaf. Looking forward to making and eating it.
Hope you’ll enjoy it!!
I’ve used a spicy Bloody Mary mix in my meatloaf for years (a happy accident,I had some taking up space ,so I went by my mantra:” can’t hurt to try it, if it’s awful, I won’t do it twice”. It makes such a big difference. Glad to hear others use it too. I’ve also taken to mixing ketchup and Sriracha with some dry Coleman’s English Mustard as a glaze.
Yum! Sounds great!!
I pack my meatloaf into a large loaf pan, all the way to the top. I start the baking process on a rack in a 1/2 sheet pan with the loaf pan upside down. About 1/2 way through I remove the loaf pan once the meatloaf has “set” allowing it to brown up on the 5 exposed sides. Just as you have pointed out it allows the grease not sucked up by the bread crumbs to drain away.
It really does make a difference.
I was browsing for good meatloaf recipes than what I typically make, and just happened to have Zing Zang in my fridge! That’s what caught my eye for this. Made this tonight and I have to say, it’s way better than my old go-to! Seemed a bit too wet while mixing so I added 1/4 cup of oats to it — perfect! Used Italian panko for breadcrumbs. The ketchup/Zing Zang topping is the best! Thanks for this recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it!!!
I like your idea of using the Bloody Mary Mix. I’ll give it a try.
I might suggest, that. instead of using the generic bread crumbs, buy yourself some Ritz Crackers, smash them up, and I am certain you will notice the difference . Much to your delight.
Sounds like a GREAT idea! I love a Ritz cracker crumb topping on a casserole, so I’m sure it’s even more delicious mixed into meatloaf! Thanks for sharing!
I liked meatloaf. Thanks for sending me a recipe. I will make it.
Hope you’ll enjoy this one!
We cooked this meatloaf today on the Big Green Egg. It was wonderful. I have struggled to make a good meatloaf for years and the search has ended!!!
Best News Ever! So glad you enjoyed it, Jane!
I never use bell peppers. Don’t like the flavor. I was in a restaurant once and had the meatloaf and it was so moist. I asked the cook how she got it that way and she said RUB THE WHOLE MEATLOAF WITH KITCHEN BOUQUET. It seals the outside of the meat and keeps the juices in. I’ve been doing that forever. I’m going to try this recipe, minus the bell pepper.
What an interesting idea! I’ve never heard of anything like it. Thanks for sharing!
Is there something you can use in place of the Bloody Mary or would that spoil the whole taste of the meatloaf
You could use tomato sauce, but you’d lose a lot of flavor.
Spicy V-8 juice 🙂
You might try Mateos, it comes Mild to Hot, and we find it a great addition when making chilli.
Made this last night and it is really good! I am not a big meatloaf lover but my husband does like it. I thought the Bloody Mary mix sounded good and it was a nice addition. There are only two of us so we have plenty of leftovers and looking forward to it. Thank you for the recipe!
You’re so welcome! Glad y’all enjoyed it!
Hi Stacey, The Bloody Mary mix sounds like a good twist. I’ll have to definitely try it. I’m thinking that a bit of smoked paprika would deepen the flavor as well.
I made this tonight and 1/2 cup bread crumbs were not near enough. VERY mushy. Tasted great but it was like eating mush. ?
Saw this come up on FB. Looks good with Bloody Mary mix. Gonna try it. I use canned stewed tomatoes and dry onion soup mix in mine. And the last 5 minutes I add a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese. I also cook it in a 9×13 pan to allow any grease to drain away.
Stacey, this meatloaf recipe is wonderful! I did not have bell pepper but had fresh sliced mushrooms. Turned out fantastic! I have made the recipe twice and fixing it again today. Thanks for all your recipes!
So glad to hear it turned out great for you, Patty!!
Melissa @ Served Up With Love
What a great idea to use bloody mary mix. I would never have thought of that. Ok, I just have to say, the end piece is the best part and we usually fight over it. Our son thinks it is funny when he gets the ends before me. AND the leftover sandwich, yum! Sometimes I try to make sure there is at least one piece leftover so I can hide it in the fridge for the next day.
Yes, yes, and yes!! 🙂
I put french fried onions in mine, like the ones that go on top of the green bean casserole…it makes it really tasty!! I will try Stacey’s as well, tweaked a bit..no green peppers, and I do use some tomato paste in mine, so will have to adjust..& also I use 85/15 ground turkey, it’s awesome!! Love leftovers on sandwiches too!!
Sounds great! Thanks for sharing your variation!
I make an awesome meatloaf, but I’ve never heard of using Bloody Mary mix in it. I’ve always had a sweet topping for mine. What could I use instead of sugar in my topping to lightly spice it up? I want something that doesn’t clash with the Bloody Mary mix, but I’d like something that complements its though. Sounds really good with mashed potatoes, rolls and green beans! What time will supper be ready? 🙂
If you want a little heat, I’d recommend crushed red pepper in the sauce.
Hey! I have a question, can I prep The meatloaf and let it sit overnight?
Yep. Just store it covered in the fridge.
Hi Stacey! My Mom always used Jimmy Dean Hot sausage in her mix (2 parts beef/1 part sausage) I believe the spicy bloody mary mix will create that zing while saving the fat and calories. I have been known to make meatloaf and go directly to sandwiches. My all time favorite dish.
Ive heard several folks mention sausage. Sounds great! Love those meatloaf sandwiches!
What a super idea! Will definitely make this.
I like my sandwich with mustard and dill pickle slices.
Hi Stacey! This recipe sounds like an interesting twist on an old “stand by”, family favorite. I’m seriously bad about winging it on any recipe I make but I can’t say I’ve ever thought of Bloody Mary mix in meatloaf. I too love your method for crispy outside on three sides; best part.
Hmmm…this sounds yummy, except for the bell pepper, which I can’t eat. (Supposed to omit any veggies from the nightshade family) I’m so making this, sans the bell pepper. 😉
PS. Do you think I need to substitute another veggie in place of the bell pepper to maintain the integrity of this meatloaf? (moisture, texture, etc.) Sometimes I use a whole carrot along with tomato pieces and liquify them in my Vitamix. Kids can’t see’em and there’s an added bonus of vitamins, fiber and so forth, making a very moist meatloaf.
Love your site!
No, I think you can just leave the pepper out. I sneak veggies in that way lots of times too. 🙂
Oh, dear! I don’t know why you are not to have veggies from the nightshade family but tomatoes are in that family! Hope you are ok.
Sounds good. I would try Spicy V-8 (because that’s what I use for Bloody Marys). I always free form mine on a mini broiler pan that allows grease to drip to bottom pan. And I also use BBQ sauce to top instead of ketchup. BBQ sauce on the leftover sandwiches too.
Great idea using a rack. I like the thing that Stacey has suggested with the larger pan to let that texture get on 3 sides too. Great ideas. A good marinara can be good on meatloaf too in lieu of ketchup or bbq sauce. Really it can double as meatballs if you do that, fix spaghetti and sauce and just cut up some leftover meatloaf as meatballs (meat cubes, lol?) to get rid of leftovers. Or make a meatloaf sub and throw some marinar and mozzarella on it.
My Mom taught me to use oats in meatloaf instead of bread crumbs. It tastes great and I would think it’s probably healthier overall than bread crumbs. I do that with meatballs too which is essentially the same recipe without the stuff on top and maybe a few extra seasonings like oregano and some garlic powder. She used plain tomato juice as the liquid so the bloody mary or v8 totally makes sense for some zest. Thanks for some great ideas to both of you.
Meatloaf sub! YUM!
I’ve also use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs. I use onion, bell pepper & celery. Delicious, If I may Say So Myself
I am not really a meatloaf-lover but bake it for my hubby. I found your recipe and we BOTH love it! The first time I made it, I bought the bottle of Zing Zang but it is so big that I had to throw out more than 2/3 of the bottle because it spoiled before I could possibly use it all before it went bad. (We don’t drink alcoholic beverages.) SO, the next time I made it I bought the small cans of spicy V-8 juice and it was just as good!!! So, give it a try. Thank you for the recipe!
So glad it turned out great for you, Denise! Thanks for sharing the tip about using the Spicy V8! I use V8 in several other tomato-based dishes so that makes perfect sense to use it here!
I can’t wait to try this!
Enjoy! Let me know how it turns out!
I would use Bloody Kentucky bloody mary mix. They have the spicy style, which will rock your meat loaf.
I need to find me some of that!
Sorry but this was terrible – I had to throw the leftover 1/2 out.
I believe it needs more bread crumbs and 1 more egg. and additional seasoning.
I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it. Do you mind telling me what brand of bloody mary mix you used?