Easy Gluten-Free Meatloaf

Meatloaf on a platter
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
402 Calories
23g Fat
15g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 402
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 147mg 49%
Sodium 455mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 584mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Meatloaf is one of those ultimate no-fail comfort foods: hearty and filling, simple to prepare, and loaded with flavor. Meatloaf is a staple in many households and, with a few small changes, it can still easily be enjoyed by anyone following a gluten-free lifestyle. In place of regular breadcrumbs, gluten-free cracker crumbs are used. This, along with the eggs, provides the necessary binding ingredients to keep the meatloaf together. As you're putting the meatloaf together, if it looks like it needs additional moisture, this recipe includes the optional step of adding a little bit of milk or water.

This no-fuss, gluten-free meatloaf recipe is great with mashed potatoes and alongside a green vegetable. It makes a big loaf, which usually means meatloaf leftovers. If you've never enjoyed it before, try a thick slab of leftover meatloaf between two pieces of gluten-free bread spread with a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup. It makes for a great and very filling sandwich.

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Click Play to See This Easy, Gluten-Free Meatloaf Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup applesauce

  • 1 cup gluten-free cracker crumbs, or gluten-free breadcrumbs

  • 1 medium coarsely chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped green pepper

  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 cup gluten-free ketchup, divided

  • Milk or water, if needed, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Gluten-free meatloaf ingredients

    The Spruce 

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F/204 C.

  3. To a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, eggs, applesauce, cracker crumbs, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 cup of the ketchup.

    Ground beef, eggs, applesauce, breadcrumbs, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup in a bowl

    The Spruce

  4. Use your hands to thoroughly blend the mixture. You can use disposable gloves if you like.

    Meatloaf ingredients added together in glass bowl
    The Spruce
  5. Add a small amount of milk or water, if necessary, to moisten the mixture.

    Adding milk to meatloaf mixture
    The Spruce
  6. Use a large spatula to scoop the meat mixture into a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Press down and smooth the top.

    Meatloaf transferred to loaf pan, spatula and glass bowl
    The Spruce
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the pan and pour off any excess fat.

    Pour excess fat out of baked meatloaf
    The Spruce
  8. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup over the top of the loaf.

    Spread ketchup over meatloaf
    The Spruce
  9. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

    Gluten-free meatloaf baked
    The Spruce
  10. Serve and enjoy.

Should You Cover Meatloaf When You're Cooking it?

For this recipe, it's not necessary. Some people worry about a meatloaf drying out when it's baking in the oven, and may want to cover it. In this recipe, several steps that help ensure the meatloaf isn't dry and won't need to be covered in order to be protected: the adequate amount of fillers, decent fat content in the meat, and adding more ketchup halfway through the baking process.


If you're at all concerned and it seems to browning faster than it's baking on the inside, by all means you can cover it toward the last portion of baking. Meatloaf should reach an internal temperature of 160 F with an instant read thermometer.

Tips

  • To avoid a dry meatloaf, use ground meat with a bit of fat, like 80/20. The applesauce in this recipe will also ensure a moist meatloaf.
  • Keep a batch or two of homemade gluten-free breadcrumbs in the freezer, and you'll be set to make gluten-free meatloaf anytime you want.
  • When purchasing Worcestershire and ketchup for this recipe, be sure to check the labels as some brands include gluten. 
  • Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans, and tools are free of gluten.
  • Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice.

Recipe Variations

  • To lighten up this recipe, swap ground turkey in place of ground beef.
  • To add a little heat to your meatloaf, sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.