tomato-glazed meatloaves with brown butter mashed potatoes

I am a sucker for a good meatball. Something happens when you mix otherwise one-dimensional ground meats up with fresh breadcrumbs, herbs, seasonings and make a great sauce to go with it and that is that I will swat your fork away to get at them first. I always believed I held no such adoration for meatloaf until I mentioned this one day — here, on my invisible soapbox — and someone in the comments asked gently, as if they understood they were speaking to a very easily confused individual, if I knew that meatloaf is basically one giant meatball?

accidental ketchup

And well, no, I had not. Armed with this eye-opening revelation, I set out to address what I found so off-putting about meatloaf. First, I mean obviously, the word and concept of a loaf of meat. I don’t care how many freshly snipped herbs on top and how heavily you lay on the Clarendon filter, a slab of ground meat is always going to be a thing we look past to get to the flavor we love within. And so I decided to make them more like meatballs — round, a bit more tender, and possibly, if you really squint your eyes, a little cute. Okay, yes, I know, that’s a stretch.

sauteed vegetable base
all the ingredients
baby meatloaves

Next, I addressed the ketchup meatloaf is often coated with. Let me be absolutely clear: I love ketchup. I have no foodie shame about the delight of a Heinz bottle, in fact, I share a Jeffrey Steingarten level of awe over “our proudest, perhaps our only, homegrown sauce achievement,” and this was about the hardest I have laughed at a food article in the last six months because it’s completely true. But I find it a little thin on meatloaf and so I decided to make my own tart-sweet tomato-ish sauce for the top of my baby meatloaves with tomato paste, Dijon, cider vinegar and a few other things simmered for two minutes until smooth and guys, it’s ketchup. Slightly more tart and thick but it’s basically no more a tomato sauce than these are classic meatballs. Take this information as you wish.

ready to bake

Because I think we can all agree that vegetables within meatloaf are delicious and essential but chunks of carrots and peas poking out all over are… unsettling, I coarsely grind my vegetables before sauteeing them and adding them to the meatloaf mixture.

boiled potatoes
riced potatoes
brown butter, just do it

Finally, because life it too short to eat inferior mashed potatoes, I make mine with a shameless amount of brown butter and then buttermilk for tang and it’s been hard to make them any other way since.

ready to serve

I published this recipe the first time in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but as we have shivered through snowstorms, wind and general February-ness lately, a few requests have come in for a meatloaf recipe and as this is the very best I have ever made, I hope you’ll agree.

tomato-glazed meatloaves with brown butter mashed potatoes


One year ago: Broccoli Melts
Two years ago: Perfect Corn Muffins
Three years ago: Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils and Yogurt
Four years ago: Italian Stuffed Cabbage
Five years ago: Double Coconut Muffins
Six years ago: Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
Seven years ago: Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint Cream and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
Eight years ago: Alex’s Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage and Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Nine years ago: Best Chocolate Pudding
Ten! years ago: Mom’s Chocolate Chip Meringues

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Burrata with Lentils and Basil Vinaigrette
1.5 Years Ago: Frozen Hot Chocolate
2.5 Years Ago: Apricot Pistachio Squares and Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
3.5 Years Ago: Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
4.5 Years Ago: My Favorite Brownies

Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smooth dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Meatloaves
  • 2 slices sandwich bread
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table table salt, plus more for vegetables
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) milk
  • Potatoes
  • 2 pounds (905 grams) yukon gold potatoes (about 6)
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • Finely ground black pepper

Make the glaze: Combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, and simmer, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes until and glaze is satiny smooth. Set aside.

Prepare the meatloaves: Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 2 9×13-inch baking dishes with nonstick spray or oil. Tear the bread into chunks and then blend it, in a food processor, into breadcrumbs. Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. You should have about 1 cup.

Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot to the food processor, and pulse it until they are finely chopped. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, coat the bottom with olive oil, and heat the oil for a minute; add the finely chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the large bowl with breadcrumbs, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the ingredients together with a fork or your hands until evenly blended.

Pause for a moment to start mashed potatoes: Place the potatoes in a medium pot, and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes once the simmering begins; the potatoes are ready when a paring knife or fork can be inserted into the center with little resistance. Drain potatoes, then wipe the pot dry.

Resume your meatloaves while the potatoes boil: Form the meatloaf mixture into twelve 3-inch meatballs; each will weigh about 4 ounces. Arrange 6 in each prepared baking pan, evenly. Drizzle or brush each meatball with a teaspoon or so of the tomato glaze you made earlier, and bake until cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a cooked meatball will register 160 to 165F).

Finish mashed potatoes: As soon as you can hold them (I use potholders), peel your potatoes. The skins should come right off with a paring knife. Run the potatoes through a potato ricer or mash them with a masher until smooth. In your empty potato pot, melt butter over medium heat and continue cooking once it has melted, stirring almost constantly, until brown bits form around edge and bottom and it smells nutty. Pour the hot butter and any browned bits over the potatoes. Add buttermilk to pot and warm it gently (so it doesn’t cool down your potatoes when you add it). Pour this over the potatoes too. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine.

To serve: Place a dollop of potatoes in the bottom of a plate or shallow bowl. Top with a meatloaf. Garnish with extra chopped parsley, if desired.

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308 comments on tomato-glazed meatloaves with brown butter mashed potatoes

    1. Wendy Darling

      I have actually had “house made” ketchup (it was at a cooking class) and it was absolutely delicious… but if I gave you some without telling you what it was, you would definitely not peg it for ketchup. It’s more like a very tasty tomato chutney, or a particularly rich and concentrated tomato sauce.

      So, amazing, but also not ketchup.

      1. Dana

        A heartfelt post: My mother unexpectedly required a tracheostomy and eats a special dysphasia diet. I decided to make this for her, as it fits the consistency she manages easiest. Plus, I’m a fan of yours, Deb. This recipe is truly delicious, it’s flavorful, a wonderful consistency, and beautiful when plated. Like many seasoned cooks, I didn’t measure anything, I just followed the ingredient list. The whole house carried the aroma of care and of love. I’m grateful you followed your dream to do what you do for all of us who share your values around food and family.

    2. Kim Ataker

      This looks amazing!! Any thoughts on a substitute for worcestireshire sauce? I live overseas and it is not available. Would you cut it out? Use some soy sauce instead?

      1. Diane Hehir

        Try some steak sauce instead, or some of the brown sauce that brits put on fries. Or add some more vinegar and salt and pepper and maybe a dash of anything else spicy/tangy that you have handy.

  1. Matt

    This looks wonderful (as does pretty much everything you ever post) but my wife doesn’t eat beef. Might you have any suggestions for making this with ground turkey? I really want to make it but would prefer not to eat by myself. Thanks as always!

    1. Leigh

      Whenever I substitute ground turkey for beef, I add roughly a tablespoon of tomato paste and a tablespoon of soy sauce or worcestershire sauce per pound of meat. The umami-boosting combo really enhances the meaty taste.

  2. Katie

    Have you tried Bobby Flay’s turkey & Veggie Meatloaf? I would highly recommend that, it’s my go-to meatloaf recipe….it’s similar to your recipe above but the glaze is a lot simpler – you just mix equal parts ketchup and balsamic vinegar, no simmering necessary. YUM. Can’t wait to try your version!

  3. I’m terribly amused that you posted this just as I was finishing a (store-bought, alas) meatloaf dinner. Maybe when it’s no longer a show week, I’ll make some of my own (darling, cute) meatballs. And/or I’ll finally write up the post idea that a friend lobbed at me recently: if sausage balls are basically sausage biscuits homogenized, why not make muffin-sized sausage balls? Why not, indeed.

      1. lizzie

        Oh Deb! You need sausage balls in your life!

        Ten years of blogging — I feel like the internet has failed you if no one has brought them to your attention yet.

      2. Linda Kemp

        Christmas would not be Christmas without sausage balls. We keep them in the freezer and serve them all through the Holidays.

    1. Jeanne

      I /always made sausage balls for Christmas breakfast when the kids were still with us. I’ve never met anybody who didn’t love them and if you make a lot you can freeze some

  4. More confirmation for you: This is very much like a traditional Belgian dish–boulettes à la sauce tomate. But they do it with fries. And as you point out, tomato sauce is very similar to ketchup. So you sop up the sauce with your fries. Even though any other time Belgians eat their fries with mayo or one of the five trillion other sauces they have.

  5. Emily

    Hi Deb! I *adore* meatloaf. Do you think these would freeze well, once formed into the adorable little meatloaflets? And do you think the tomato sauce should be applied before or after freezing? I’m thinking this would be an excellent project for a weekend to make many nights of dinners at once….

    1. Sarah Beth

      We’ve frozen them before, and they freeze beautifully! Meatloaf is one of my favorite freezer meals, in fact. We froze with the sauce, bc we didn’t realize how much would be left, and it worked out great, but I made a little extra when I defrosted them since I really like sauce.

    2. Daniotra

      I made meatloaf cupcakes by putting lumps of meat in muffin tins. I froze half of them raw to bake fresh at a later date. They are pretty cute.

      1. Emily Boswell

        Okay this is amazing. I don’t think I have ever left a comment on a recipe before, but I was so in love with the sauce+meatball+potatoes flavors together. The sauce alone is very strong and I thought I would not like it, but together it was such an burst of flavor. Love your recipes!

  6. Lizzie P

    This is one of my all-time favourite meals and I have converted a number of people to smitten kitchen with it. I live by myself so I usually make a full batch and freeze the leftover meatballs for a quick weeknight dinner. I also often make up a double batch of the veg and freeze one lot, so meatloaf meatballs are never far away!

  7. naomibeth

    This looks delish. Think it would work with soy milk in the meatloaves to make non-dairy (aka kosher)? I can use different mashed potato recipe (I’m 110% sure you can’t brown margarine!).

  8. yes! this is one of my favorite recipes to make from your cookbook. It reminds me of your everyday meatballs, only bigger and better :) I do sometimes wack them under the broiler for a minute or two at the end of cooking time, as I find the texture/look to be a little soft at the end of the 25 minutes. It might just be my oven, but the extra blast of high heat at the end helps–you just have to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. And omg, those mashed potatoes are heaven. I think I might need to add this to our weekly meal list for next week–thanks for sharing!

  9. Oh my god, I think I worked at the cafe in that ketchup article, no joke! We made our own and it was SO bad. I’m laughing my a** off over here, thank you for sharing!

    Also, I love meatballs and had never considered their relationship to meat loaf, and now I think I know what I’m making for dinner.

  10. Karen

    I just made these for the first time and while we all enjoyed them I should have listened more closely to the part about finely chopping the carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor. I did it by hand and the pieces of carrot were very distracting from the overall texture of the meatballs. I enjoyed the tangy tomato sauce on top with its hint of Worcestershire sauce. The brown butter in the mashed potatoes was quite tasty but I personally don’t enjoy the tang of the buttermilk in this application so I’ll replace with regular milk next time. Deb, you should see my copy of your cookbook: it’s splattered and worn like a kitchen velveteen rabbit :)

    1. Kitty

      If you don’t care for buttermilk in the mashed potatoes, use whipping cream or half whipping cream and half, half and half. I promise you will love mashed potatoes this way! It’s how my mother taught me to make them and of course you use a potato ricer, always! Makes THE best mashed potatoes ever! I do use butter and now will try the browned butter.
      Thanks Deb! I make a pretty darned good meat loaf and plan to try yours? Have you ever added shredded cheese? It’s really yummy!

  11. Rachel

    This has become our go to meatloaf recipe over the past few years and it’s a keeper. For years I wasn’t a fan of meatloaf, even the word “meatloaf” made me shutter but this one, in the disguise of meatballs, is delicious and even the little human in our house eats it.

  12. This looks delicious! I love that there are tons of veggies in it too. And I was glad to see in previous comments that turkey would make an ok substitution and that these are freezable. Adding these to my menu for the next week!

  13. MR in NJ

    I have a package of meat loaf “mix” in the fridge eager to be used (but I keep not making it) AND I have your cookbook. This looks just the thing for tonight. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded about a recipe that’s already in a book on the shelf.

  14. Carrie

    Made these earlier this week, from the cookbook. This is one of the few meals both of my boys (7 & 4) will consistently eat (and which the older one regularly requests), though the little one likes his with no glaze. Always a hit, thank you!

  15. Lynne

    Question for you, Deb: Would panko work okay for these meatballs? I never have bread but I always have a box of panko kicking around. Would the texture be too different?

    1. deb

      I’d actually meant to suggest a panko swap because I, too, rarely bother with sandwich bread these days however I couldn’t find mine anywhere and I know I have more and anyway, I would use maybe 2/3 a cup, which seems equivalent to the 1 cup very fresh and soft crumbs you get from the two slices.

      1. S Tseng

        I used 2/3 cup of Panko because that is all I had in the house. It worked just fine. We had a wonderful meal & now I have 6 meatballs in the freezer waiting for the next cold day.

  16. Juliet

    Not sure about the US, but here in NZ, these would be called rissoles. But whatever you call them, they look super delish! I’ll definitely be adding them into our rotation, and good to hear they freeze well, with a 7 month old, easy dinners are where i’m at!

  17. Annie

    This all looks great and I’ll probably make it this weekend but what really has me going is the picture showing how you scored the meat to help divide it evenly. Mind. Blown.

    1. deb

      That’s my favorite way to divide things when I don’t care enough to weigh or anything so exacting — smooth mixture flat, score lines on top for roughly what the sections would look like and then do your best to scoop straight down from them. It works surprisingly well. (I do this on bowls of frosting too and I did it again to portion out the mashed potatoes so I wouldn’t show more than you’ll get with one.)

  18. Thanks for the New Yorker article link – that’s hilarious!

    I also fully approve of that Steingarten quote about ketchup – I had forgotten about that book, since I read it years ago.

    1. deb

      I also love that he considered Heinz the gold standard to which all else needs to be compared, categorizing ketchups he tried as Heinz, Worse Than Heinz, Better Than Heinz, and Not Really Ketchup.

  19. jasmine

    I’m with you in love for meatballs and loathe for meatloaf. It’s irrational, or maybe all in a name. This week, Dinner a Love Story posted a ‘bipartisan meatloaf’ recipe and I stopped reading the comments because I was grossed out with all the people proclaiming their love for meatloaf. I’ve already written meatloaf too many times… bleh.

  20. JP

    I am crazy about anything meatloaf. Meatloaf sandwiches the next day are worth making the meatloaf in the first place. Cook’s Illustrated makes their glaze with these three ingredients: ketchup, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. It is so tasty. I am sure yours is too. I could eat meatloaf and mashed potatoes for a very long time without getting tired of it. It is perfect for winter. Thank you for the new take! When the meatloaves are small like yours, the crispy ratio goes up! So much the better!

    1. jannabeth99

      My mom’s meatloaf was always glazed with a combination of ketchup and brown sugar, which I now am craving…. I like the idea of making these tiny meatloaves and freezing them! I think I’ll use Deb’s recipe for the meat, but I might have to glaze them mom-style…

      1. Liev

        I made this gluten free by swapping bread for rice crispies. Everyone universally agreed that it was an approved swap. I don’t like oats as a substitutebecause they seem to remain too “oaty” and do not integrate well into the mixture. Meat flavored oats are…horrifying.

    1. Tigerlily54

      Try leftover quinoa. It makes a lovely moist & tender meatloaf. I used 1 cup for 2# of meat. I love a lot of veggies in it too. Deb’s sauce sounds great too.

  21. Beth

    This looks so good & I’ve been looking for a good meatloaf recipe.

    Do you have a favorite instant read thermometer (since it’s used in this dish)? Do they last or am I doing something that breaks them prematurely? I read through the post “Build your own smitten kitchen” and didn’t see one linked there.

    1. deb

      Hm, I bought a ThermaPen a bunch of years ago (it was on sale for $99 at the time, so I got lucky) and it’s held up great, supposed to be the gold standard in restaurants too, but I’m not sure I’d have bought it if I didn’t do the amount of recipe testing I do. This one, for much less, has great reviews. Maybe try it?

        1. Beth

          Got my Thermapen on Friday and we tried this recipe on Saturday. It’s so good–thank you for the recipe and thermometer suggestion.

      1. Natasha

        I have only commented on here once, but my love for the Javelin meat thermometer is so strong that I have to. It is the best kitchen gadget I have ever purchased. Fast, reliable, stores easily (and folds up so you don’t accidentally poke yourself with it rooting through drawers) and goes up to an insanely high temperature so I can also use it to test the temperature of hot oil when I’m deep frying (though I don’t leave it in there just in case). I buy them as gifts all the time because they’re so great.

  22. This looks fantastic. I’ve been searching for a great meatloaf recipe….I usually just wing it….with various degrees of success. It’s time to commit to an actual recipe :)

  23. Joy

    These potatoes are delicious! Here in the Midwest we usually peel the potatoes first and cute them up in small pieces so they cook faster FYI. :)

    1. Elemjay

      But they don’t need to be peeled to cook! Actually if you used a potato ricer you can mash them with the peels on – you just need to pull out the bits of skin as you go. So much faster! Lazy is good….

  24. Ann Burns

    Love all your recipes! Will be making this soon. I also use a ricer and I have never peeled the cooked potatoes first – just put them in skins and all and press. The skins are left behind – much quicker even with pulling out the skins between pressing.

  25. Sarah @ Smile & Conquer

    Yum, this looks so delicious! I am a huge fan of meatloaf (and mashed potatoes) but my boyfriend hates it, which is so strange because he is such a carnivore. I might just have to make this as a single portion for myself.

  26. Jamie

    So I have a weird aversion to putting ketchup in a measuring cup and then cooking it. I get really, really grossed out. Thank you so much for giving me a meatloaf recipe that doesn’t use ketchup. This is my go to meat loaf (well, with turkey since I don’t eat beef – but it’s good with turkey!) and I usually serve it with the pureed parsnips that are also in your cookbook. It’s one of my favorite cold weather meals. I make it into a loaf, though – I like the slices!

  27. Marla

    These are perfect for me, a widow woman looking for recipes for one person and they freeze well too. And homemade ketchup- genius! Homemade bbq sauce might be good,c too.
    About the potatoes: just once try full fat sour cream instead of buttermilk. So creamy and rich-tasting!
    Love your kids- please keep those Flickr pics coming!

  28. Yummeh! I’m excited to make this over the weekend! :)
    About beef, we are not huge beef eaters so any idea on a substitute? We do eat pork, mutton, chicken and lamb on general, so would any one of these do? Would love to hear your views :)

  29. Cy

    These look great! Can’t wait to make them. I often make my (mini) meatloaves in my giant muffin pan, which definitely makes them cute! I did not grow up with ketchup in the house( my mother hated it), so I never liked it. I know it’s really unamerican of me. I do like the Trader Joe’s organic ketchup, but it’s more like BBQ sauce. I think one of my favorite recipes from your site is your meatball recipe, never with the garlic bread though ( always with extra garlic bread!).

    1. BF

      I was just going to comment about the Trader Joe’s organic ketchup. First time we tried it, we were in awe. Even our foster kids (it’s a hard battle to get them to appreciate MSG-less food!) think it’s the best ketchup ever.

  30. Priscilla Madore

    I made this. I loved the meatloaf balls and the glaze. I still prefer heavy cream with mashed potatoes, instead of buttermilk. The buttermilk got grainy when I heated it up.

  31. eljohnstonak

    I made the following changes:

    – 1 leek instead of 1/2 white onion

    – 60/40 beef pork blend instead of 100% beef

    – 3/4 cup Panko in place of the bread

    – added 1 cup of shredded parmesan and asiago cheese (1/2 cup of each to make 1 cup)

    – 9 large “meat wads” to fit in one pyrex baking dish (increased the cooking time by 20 minutes to accommodate)

    I also used a grater to shred the celery, leek, and carrot.

    Everything worked out just fine with all of those changes; the beef/pork blend was kind of “no choice” since beef is hideously expensive in Japan. The drawback was the meatwads came out of the oven swimming in grease. Instead of trying to drain the whole pan, I immediately used a spatula to put all of the meatwads on a plate and they still tasted delicious, not oily at all.

    The brown butter made the mashed potatoes on the sweeter side; in the future, I’d just use regular butter and milk and save the browned stuff for desserts.

    1. Kichijoji Kitchen

      And here I thought I was the only Smitten Kitchen devotee in Japan! I, too, was wondering how panko would fare in this application; I’ll have to try it out. I also add leek to everything in place of, or in addition to, white onion because of how cheap they are here. I’m mostly worried about how many meat “loaves” I can fit into our tiny toaster oven! I really do miss my tiny 1930s gas stove back in California. Sigh.

      As far as beef goes, the cheapest I’ve seen is either at Seiyu or at Costco (but that requires purchasing a ton of beef). I’ve simply taken to grinding it myself. At least we have access to cheap ground chicken?

  32. Charlotte in Toronto

    I noticed a few comments about using leeks instead of onions, and it reminded me of a question that no one seems to have an answer for: why are leeks always sold in bunches of three? No one can give me a rational answer. Everywhere from grocery stores to farmers markets sells them in threes. If I can go to a grocery store and buy a single onion or a single carrot or a single beet, why not a single leek? Why? Why? Does anyone have any idea, other than “they have always been sold in like that”. I have asked for a single, and I am sometimes accommodated, but usually not. Is it a mystical tradition?

    1. JaneyBB

      This is really curious. Besides the “it’s always been like that” I wonder if it’s because they’re slightly more fragile than onions. So tying them together gives them collectively a better chance of getting to consumer without being all beaten up. (I’m in T.O. too, and have never never seen them single, I don’t think even at a farmer’s market, where there might be more than 3 if they are smaller)

      1. Charlotte in Toronto

        That makes sense. I hadn’t considered that they might be protecting each other during a rough trip from the field to the market. Thanks for that insight.

    2. deb

      LOL, I was thinking about this just this week because I have a recipe in my next book where I wanted to use one leek but am bothered (possibly more than I should be) about how annoying it is when you have two rotting in the drawer so I decided it needed 3 leeks or 0. I went with 3. :) Btw, I think we all need to put leeks in stock more, if nothing else, those green tops.

      1. Charlotte in Toronto

        I gotta tell you about this…I’ve made Deb’s Broccoli and Cheddar soup subbing out the onions and broccoli for roasted leeks and cauliflower. Coarsely chop the carrot and cauliflower and three cleaned leeks, toss in olive oil, roast until done /lightly browned. Heat butter in pot, add flour to make the roux, add the cream and stock and roasted vedgies. Puree with immersion blender. Add grated cheese. So yummy. Thanks Deb!

      2. Freda

        I’ve had good results freezing leeks. Wash, drain and thinly slice. I then wrap in a tea towel to remove excess water, then pop in a ziplock bag.

    3. Karen

      And I’m going to add to the confusion …. as a New Zealander living in Australia I have never experienced leeks being sold as a bunch. In both countries they are sold individually. Go figure!

    4. Panya

      In my area of Indiana leeks are usually individual, but when they are in bunches, it’s always three. I think it’s because the triangle shape is easier to store/stack [less likely they’ll fall if displayed on an angle].

      I’m so glad they’re sold individually by weight here — not only because they can vary wildly in size [3/4″-2.5″ diametre!], but because I don’t like the green tops — my husband tears those off and leaves them for someone else. I tend to only use them to make leek & potato soup, or colcannon, and in both recipes I use they’re puréed, so it’s easy enough to adjust for more/larger or fewer/smaller leeks.

    1. JaneyBB

      Hmm…I’m not sure. In north America, we have pureed/crushed tomatoes (passata) and tomato paste is more concentrated. Comes in itty bitty cans. Much more potent and less watery.

  33. Nicole

    Brown buttered potatoes remind me of my childhood! I’m from PA Dutch country and after using nearly a stick of butter to mash them then we’d brown nearly another stick of butter and pour that over top. Butter heaven.

  34. I can’t wait to try this because the outside, crust if you will, is always the best part and you have maximized the crust here! Also, I must share that I add a heaping 2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish to my mashed potatoes with all the butter, etc and everyone raves about them. Horseradish is also excellent on roasted potatoes.

  35. Pascale

    I can’t wait to make this on the weekend. And I didn’t even have to squint to see how adorable they are. Or maybe that’s just my potato obsession talking….

  36. Jim

    Might I suggest you try so of the variants on ketchup. There are several available. For this I would suggest the Balsamic vinegar ketchup. I am also guilty of holding a bottle way past its sell by date before opening. It turns a dark burgundy and the flavors become more tangy. Perhaps for some added zip, sriracha ketchup.

    1. deb

      A recipe I found for a similar yield (2 pounds meat) says to “pat mixture into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan.
      Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 155°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.”

  37. JaneyBB

    Made these last night. SO GOOD. Felt like I needed more of a that faux-chup/tomato glaze though. That stuff was good. I only had maple syrup (not honey) and subbed it in no problem.

    1. JaneyBB

      Also, as an FYI. I used half medium ground and half lean ground beef and they were perfect in greasiness. As in a little bit greasy but not gross. I have leftovers for lunch and I am so happy!!

  38. Lauren

    Have had a pork/beef combo frozen for a few weeks in order to make Frikadeller. ( German meat patties- also other Scandinavian countries do them. )I loved them growing up and we always had them with mashed potatoes! So… I will buy more ground beef, then after the Frikadeller I will do this recipe . That way I can “compare and contrast”. My adult children would be interested in both I’m sure, and we all know it is absolutely impossible to have too many frozen meatballs.

    1. Awww, you just gave me warm fuzzies about my departed Danish grandmother, who made frikadeller (which came out being pronounced “frigDAYleh”). She would always make me a little bowl of noodles to sop up the gravy because I despise mashed potatoes.

  39. Lucy Lehman

    Sorry, Deb. Your meatball recipe is rich and complicated. The best meatballs are simply those adapted from the classic recipe on the Quaker Oatmeal box. It uses uncooked oatmeal to bind your meatloaf, plus tomato juice, onion, egg and not much more.
    For meatballs adjust the basic recipe: eliminate the onion, use garlic to taste, the egg of course, and V-8 juice instead of straight tomato. Make sure to use a lot of salt and some pepper, plus some oregano and thyme. And best: your meatballs bake in the oven. No frying! Shape them into into tennis size balls, coat them completely with your favorite tomato sauce which is not oily, and bake for about 45 minutes. They come out tender and the sauce will be enriched by the meat juices and fat. (Use good ground chuck.)
    They are lactose free as well, which I appreciate.

    1. Oh shuttup Lucy. Youve been a twat ever since you faked out Charlie Brown with the football. Oatmeal?! Blecchhh Take your oatmeal and V-8 and your probable love of terrible floral patterns and take a long walk off a short pier.

  40. Claire W.

    I love mini meatloaves! Being that I’m single and live in a remote place making take-out not an option and trips to the grocery store impractical more than once a week, they’re great for make-your-own tv dinners! I make a big batch of mini meatloaves and put them in tupperwares with mashed potatoes and a veggie and freeze them and then I have dinner all planned out and simple ahead of time! One thing I do with my mini meatloaves though is I mix some 1/2 inch cubed sharp cheddar cheese in so they end up with little cheesy pockets.

  41. cheryl

    This looks great. I haven’t been cooking much lately but I do I plan on making it and the tiramisu also. I’m sure they both will be wonderful as every recipe of yours that I’ve ever made-and there’s been many, many over the past years-maybe 10 years or so.

  42. I always wonder why we’re told to use sliced bread since you may, with small children, although I’d be surprised; have white bread in your house. Since I don’t want to purchase a whole loaf for 2 slices, can I safely use panko?
    First time poster but avid reader and tryer(sic) of lots of your recipes. Thanks!

  43. sparkgrrl658

    omg, the shot of how you evenly divide the meat gave me a “coulda had a v8” moment. why have i never thought to do that? genius.

    (also? when i make meatloaf i mix ketchup with brown sugar & vinegar before i start and let it sit on the counter so the sugar dissolves. never had an issue with thin glaze :) and that article about house made ketchups never gets old!)

  44. Marcia

    I always made little meat loaves in a muffin tin for my kids, and froze some of the
    12 for future meals. They were actually very “cute.”

  45. Allie

    I have to share because I just made meatloaf yesterday and it is one of my favorite meals. I don’t eat tomatoes anymore for inflammation reasons so I make a glaze of 1 part Dijon and 1 part currant jelly. I think I like it even better than my old tomato sauce recipe. I also don’t add any vegetables and I use half pork…I like how it makes it more moist.

  46. Wendy

    Just made this and I loved it! Everyone gobbled it up. But I will follow another reviewer’s suggestion and blast the meatballs under the broiler because they do come out soft. Also I will just use ketchup instead of the tomato sauce. I don’t know if I made it wrong but it tasted really vinegary.

  47. kat

    aaagh, Deb, this is looks so cute! I am a hard core vegetarian, please please please apply all your genius and make it meatless :) have i said please!!

  48. Charlotte in Toronto

    I made this for dinner tonight. I didn’t have milk so I left it out. And I used 2/3 cup panko. These are so tasty, Deb. I loved the glaze on top. I agree with another commenter about the extra external surface area meaning there will be more crusty edges to savor. Thank you, Deb :)

  49. These little meat-ball-loaves are adorable and your mashed potatoes are spot on! I have a potato ricer and it’s the only way to make mashed potatoes so that they aren’t gluey (a consistency I have regrettably attributed to my Aunt’s mashed potatoes for the last 20 years.)

  50. Marisa

    Oh wow – I was planning to make this recipe from the book tonight, then wandered over to the website to see if there was anything new that might change my mind – guess it was meant to be! This is one of my very favorites, and my children adore it. Perfect for a chilly, rainy Seattle day.

  51. Flo

    Really delish, though I agree it could do with more sauce (for the mashed potato rather than the meatloaves, which are not at all dry). I made 1.5 times the sauce recipe and we still could have done with more.

  52. nouveauchapeau

    Early in our marriage, my husband asked me “when I was going to get off my high horse and make me a meatloaf?” MY reply was “when I am a mom.” I’ve made meatloaf exactly twice – each time to announce my pregnancy. Recently I made a wonderful meatball recipe and my husbands response was, “you know meatballs are just fetal meatloaf.” I’m still not making meatloaf, but I must admit your recipe tempted me.

  53. Meatloaf is a staple in our home, cause even better than meatloaf, is a meatloaf sandwich. For that reason, I’ve always made meatloaf into mini loaves, that when cold, slice into just the right size to fit onto a slice of bread. I use the Cajun meat loaf recipe that appeared in Bon Appetite sometime round 1986-87. That one uses a pork/beef combo, and seems juicier to me than a straight beef mix.
    The one thing I do in an attempt to make it a little less unhealthy, is to bake it in a pan with a foil covered rack. I stab the foil with multiple small holes to allow some of the fat to drain off. Cheers, Karen

  54. Lucy

    Just tried this, it was yum. As a brit it was my first attempt at meatloaf, found the mix was quite wet and meatloaves soft in texture. Is this what I was aiming for? Other pictures of meatloaf look fairly solid!

  55. Marilou

    Another winner! I may try them with tomato sauce next time and call them Big A$$ meatballs, although the ketchup is what makes them so good! As always, thanks!

  56. Vicky

    These were fantastic! I upped the garlic amount a little, added an extra slice of bread for moistness and some minced anchovies for umami. They were delicious! Everything I could ever want from little meatloaves.

    Next time I’m excited to experiment with the addition of a little ground pork as well :D

  57. Rita Garcia

    I just made this with grond chicken breasts. Omitted the parsley because I didn’t have any. It was really tasty and the little meatloaves were juicy! The sauce was just the right amount. Will make again for sure.

  58. linda knox

    I usually just wing it when I prepare a meatloaf but this recipe sounds like it hits every tastebud. Nothing better on a cold winter day! I will try it out on the gang and see if it is as good as it sounds.Thanks

  59. KJ

    Made this tonight. Amazing! Didn’t have cider vinegar or honey, so I just used a slightly syrupy balsamic (it’s a very high quality vinegar, so that may have contributed to the deliciousness) in place of both. I also left out the oil. I just warmed the ingredients for a minute on the stove. It turned out great. I halved the loaf recipe, but made the full sauce portion. Just the right proportions for us!

  60. Vicky

    Hmmmm, no nice fatty pork or lamb in those meatball loaves?
    I’ve been primarily vegetarian for years but am changing my ways so it’s time to learn to cook meat properly.
    Something I never understood about meatloaf is how it always seems to produce a lot of “water” – which I found really off-putting.
    What’s that about and does that happen with this recipe?

  61. So turns out calling a meatloaf a large meatball totally changed my opinion on trying this recipe! I decided to take a chance and make it for my family and it was delicious!! It got RAVE reviews – the glaze was delicious and I don’t even like ketchup haha! The meatballs were packed with flavor and the mashed potatoes were out of this world. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe – it got 10/10 from my whole family!

  62. Linda

    Pro Tip for Mashed Potatoes (from Nigella): No need to peel the potatoes if you’re using a potato-strainer. Just pop them in, the flesh will be pressed out, the peels remain in the strainer.
    I used to make potato mash a lot less, because of all the work…this makes it almost too easy.

  63. Lauren

    Just want you to know that I’m a full-time grad student and full-time professional, and I’ve been dreaming about having the time and energy to cook a meal at home – specifically, meatballs. Then I logged onto your website today and realized we were thinking the SAME THING. Thanks for the drool-worthy photos.

  64. Johanne Rosenthal

    What a great post. I am feeling the need to get in as much winter comfort food as I can before spring arrives and I lose my taste for it. I love the deep rich flavors you have created. I remember making meatloaf with my aunt in Denmark. Lovely end of winter fare! Thank you Hanne

  65. Mary Falcon

    Since we met, hubs and I have celebrated Valentine’s Day with a homemade meatloaf dinner, which we prefer to call “meatlove” because, I agree, meatloaf as a word sounds pretty gross. Meatlove, now we’re talking! Wish I had seen this recipe last week, but there’s always next year.

  66. You’ve added the freezer friendly tag to this recipe, and it’s too much to do all in weekday night (especially with a clingy 14-month-old). At what point do you suggest freezing?

    1. Emily

      I froze mine right after forming the little meatloaves. I put wax paper on a sheet pan, put the loaves directly on there, and stuck it in the freezer. Packed in a ziploc bag once frozen! Many people say they froze with the sauce on the meatloaf as well, but I didn’t actually make the sauce, so I can’t speak to that. :)

      1. I just kind of went with it when I double the recipe a few weeks ago. I put everything into an aluminum pan and froze it tightly covered with foil. It worked okay, but I probably won’t go that route again.

  67. I used Empire Kosher white turkey and forgot the smoked paprika. Sautéed already prepared mirepoix. Added some leftover cranberry sauce to the glaze. Divided mixture into four. It was delicious! Next time I’ll add the smoked paprika.

  68. Sarah

    Made this tonight and it was awesome! Thank you!
    Could you give some more specific directions for freezing them? Before or after cooking them? And then how do you reheat them or cook them from frozen? Also, will the potatoes freeze well too?
    Thanks again for all of the insane amount of work you do on this site!!

  69. Shelby

    Really not a beef eater but DAMN I love meatloaf! My mom and grandma make it with bell peppers and onions and bulk sausage and a big handful of oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs. I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Grace

      I found it to be very flavorful – not overbearing whatsoever – with 2 Tbsp. I figured it is intended since it’s a full 2 lbs of beef

  70. Bahaha, I have the same reservations about something effectively referred to as a loaf of meat. But a truly good meatloaf is a thing to behold (despite the name!). The first person to recommend your site to me, was recommending this recipe. I have to admit, I’ve not made this yet. ALLLLL of these glowing comments have convinced me! :)

  71. Beth

    Made this last night, and the mashed potatoes were seriously the most delicious ones I’ve ever made! Thanks so much for this recipe! The meatballs were also really, realllllly good.

  72. Glaze was a swing and a miss–very sour. Two teaspoons of honey is overpowered by the cider, worc, Dijon and unsweetened tomato paste. We had to get out the ketchup bottle (sorry) to make the meatballs palatable. We really enjoyed the potatoes. I used Greek yogurt in place of the buttermilk.

  73. Francoise

    I had to share this with you. Canadian chef Michael Smith makes a brown butter butter! He browns 1 stick of butter, cools it, then whips 2 more sticks of butter and whips the cooled brown butter into it. As soon as I learned this I knew I had to share it with you because I know no one who loves browned butter more than you!

  74. Hannah

    I made these the other night with some minor changes based on what we had on hand. Halved the meatball recipe (for 6 instead of 12), kept the full volume of “ketchup” – which I thought was a perfect ratio. Subbed equal parts ground turkey for the ground beef, used crushed crackers instead of bread, omitted the carrots and celery because we didn’t have them at home. I DID process the cracker crumbs and onions in a handy chopper, which was essential!

    My husband and I make non-traditional meatloaf (handformed and baked on a cast iron skillet rather than a bread loaf pan) on the reg, but this was an awesome and speedier version for a quick dinner. Also – cuter. :-)

  75. Sharilyn Unthank

    It was every bit as delicious as you said it would be. My mom’s meatloaf has a similar sauce, called piquant sauce that starts with ketchup and adds dry mustard and brown sugar. The mashed potatoes were fantastic- browned butter and buttermilk make a huge difference. I used the small shredder blade in my food processor for similar results to your ricer.

  76. Dani

    I made these last night and they were delicious. Definitely agree with some of the other commentators about the tomato glaze, and would probably double the recipe for it next time.
    As I don’t have a food processor, I ended up grating the vegetables and chopping through with a knife which worked just as well. They blended in so well with the meat mixture, even my veg-phobic boyfriend ate them!

  77. Marne Rogers

    This recipe turned out really well, but of course I had to personalize it. I had a half a rutabaga that was a few days away from compost and a parsnip biding its time that got added to the veg mix. Oh, and 8 oz. of plan old white mushrooms, but what is hamburger without fungi? (Can I get an amen?) I am pretty sure you don’t promote brands, but I had some yummy Stonewall Kitchen Country Ketchup that I substituted for your Lovely tomato glaze (chunkier and maybe spicier). I swear that’s it though. Anyhow, this was great! Instead of cooking the whole mess of them for just the two of us, I froze batches for next week and the week after and the week after that.

  78. Wendy

    This was actually pretty good. I was worried about all the veg in the meatloaf mix but was pleasantly surprised – it added alot of flavor without the ugh, I’m eating mirepoix feeling. I did have to amp up the glaze though with more mustard/honey/vinegar etc. but that’s because I am perhaps the only person in this country who doesn’t like ketchup.

  79. Amy

    I followed this recipe exactly only baking the meat in muffin tins and it was nothing short of fantastic! My family devoured it! And, truth be told I can’t stop thinking about it. Leftovers tonight:)
    Thank you for yet another amazing meal.

  80. Pamela Singer

    I tweeked this by using MFK Fischers Onion vinegar made the ketsup a lilt tangy which was wonderfull I took this to a dinner party and everyone was wowed

    Beautiful plating and so FUN !! even a fussy eater 12 old loved it..
    so there you go 5 stars Thank you
    Pamela Singer

  81. Jessica

    Made this recipe tonight. Double or triple the sauce and leave a third of it for over the meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

    Really tasty!

  82. Caterina

    I totally relate to the “love meatballs, indifferent towards meatloaf” . These changed my mind. Absolutely delicious. Sautéeing the onion/garlic/ celery/ carrot combo makes all the difference. Looking forward to more leftovers tonight!

  83. I love the idea of making the meat “loaf” into meat “balls”. When I ran a daycare I made meat “loaf” and put in muffin tins so the little angels had their own servings. I will be making this for the family this weekend. I’ll come back and let you know how they enjoyed it.

  84. Meagan

    I made meatloaf using your recipe this week, and it was a hit! It was so tastey, and I really loved that it was already perfectly portioned. Thanks! Keep the great recipes coming!

  85. MissB

    Made these tonight for my parents and my favourite aunt and uncle, and they were a hit! My dad, who is the Pickiest Eater Ever, ate a full one, which is fantastic considering the combined issues of cancer and stomach ulcer.
    I did modify the recipe a bit:
    -soy sauce instead of Worcestershire
    -yellow mustard instead of dijon
    -maple syrup instead of honey, because Canada
    still delicious! And the tomato sauce! I might go swimming in it!

  86. Kim

    Made these tonight with no modifications to the recipe. Also sauteed baby spinach and placed that underneath the mashed potatoes when serving. It was terrific!

  87. Emily Rosenzwei

    Made this last night (meatloaf only, not the potato recipe) and it was phenomenal — best meatloaf I’ve ever made. Perfectly seasoned, perfectly moist, just perfect! Only changes I made were to replace dijon mustard with ground mustard, and to soak the bread in the milk ( I don’t think the instructions say what to do with it?) I baked it in one big loaf on a baking sheet and it took around 35 minutes. SO GOOD.

  88. Sarah

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while and finally got around to making it tonight. I doubled the glaze because it felt like the right thing to do. I used it generously before putting the loaves in the oven, and then added some more midway through baking. My boyfriend, who has only had meatloaf made in the midwestern way (meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, ketchup) was in heaven. He did the dishes. Thank you Deb!

  89. Joshua

    Made this last night for a dinner party… FABULOUS. Everyone raved about it (including the quick and easy homemade “ketchup”)! Great flavors and textures. I also made some spicy sautéed kale to go along with it. This will definitely be in my dinner party menu rotation. YUM! Thank you for another great recipe!

  90. Emily

    I *finally* got around to making this last week, and both my picky husband and pickier toddler were big fans! 5 stars from my household! I subbed the fresh breadcrumbs for regular pre-made breadcrumbs, as I am lazy, and did I mention the toddler?! I love that this recipe is packed full of veggies, and I especially love the freezer full of meatloaves I now have!

  91. Donna

    Deb – We made these, straight from the cookbook – no substitutions, as written – and they are delicious! These will probably become a staple around here, which is a problem, since so many of your recipes are on that list and there aren’t that many days in the week…plus always finding new ones to try…. Next on the list, Mushroom Tartines!

  92. Cristiana

    Way late to the party, but I just made these last night and they were INCREDIBLE! On my way home, I forgot to grab balsamic (sub for the cider) and honey for the glaze, so in a pinch I used grape jelly (which I actually hate, but boyfriend loves it). To my surprise, it worked! Can’t wait to make these again – everyone LOVED them!

  93. Glenna Massey

    I really like the idea of making the meat-“loaves” little. But I really can’t get past the ketchup. My mother to this day will curse if ketchup is anywhere near her food whether it’s while she’s cooking or out to eat. Despite this my mom has always made the best meatloaf ever and the only one I seem to like. Now I like to make as much from scratch as possible and while she is an excellent cook, we have yet to find anything better than campbells golden mushroom soup on top. With bell peppers and diced/crushed tomatoes and plenty of Lawry’s it’s the best darn thing in this world. Have you or any one else tried this? Or are we all alone in our ketchup hating corner of the world?

    1. deb

      Totally fine to skip the topping if it’s not your thing but… it’s not ketchup. It’s made from tomato paste and it’s ketchup-ish, but had a more authentic flavor.

  94. SallyT

    Hi – would love to make these but what do I do with the 1/2 cup of milk? It’s listed in the meatball ingredients but not in the recipe… THANKS!

    1. deb

      It’s with “remaining ingredients” after adding the vegetables. “Add the vegetables to the large bowl with breadcrumbs, then add the remaining ingredients.”

  95. Tammi Schneider

    My friend at work is suggesting I try your recipe but she swears the one in the cookbook doesn’t call for milk or eggs. Why this difference? I’d like to make it without either as I have an intolerance. Thoughts?

    1. Britney

      Tell your friend to turn the page! :) The ingredients continue on the next page. We have the cookbook too, and I always have to remind my husband to turn the page.

  96. Britney

    I was not a fan of meatloaf until my husband and I made this recipe. Seriously THE BEST meatloaf ever! We love the brown butter mashed potatoes too. This meal is divine! We’ve got the page marked in our cookbook and we’ve made it so many times over. It’s a favorite of guests too when we serve to our friends and family!

    1. Britney

      I will note, that we use 1 lb of ground beef and 1 lb of spicy sausage when we make this. We also use gluten free panko crumbs in our recipe instead of regular breadcrumbs.

  97. Holly

    Would you consider the potatoes to be freezer friendly the way the meatloaves are? Looking to freeze up some spuds before the big day. THX

  98. Mila

    I’ve never made a Smitten Kitchen recipe that I didn’t love, but this recipe is AMAZING. I’m currently eating the leftovers at work and the entire office just commented on how good it smells.

    I actually forgot to include three ingredients in the meatloaves (milk, egg, parsley) due to the way the book is printed, but the texture and flavor is still amazing. I also ended up baking my meatloaves for another 20-30 minutes to get them to temperature and then broiled them on high for 2-3 minutes to get the glaze to caramelize a bit more.

  99. Suzanne

    Could you make these and serve them on a buffet for NYE? What would be the best way to “hold” them so they keep their heat but don’t dry out. Thinking of making several dozen and serving with “smashed” potatoes. Thank you!

    1. Panya

      When I worked in a kitchen we would make burgers ahead and put them in a bit of water in a hot box [equivalent to a low-temp oven]; when it was time to put them out on the buffet we’d drain most of the water, leaving just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan [adding either more water or more burgers to the pan so they wouldn’t dry out]. I’m not sure how feasible this would be at home, especially with the glaze, but it’s the first thing that came to mind.

      1. Panya

        Oops, forgot to mention that the made-ahead burgers were usually only stored in the hot box for a short amount of time. When they were stored a bit longer we’d put foil over the pan so the water wouldn’t evaporate — though most of the time we didn’t bother because then the steam released when we took the foil off could become a burn hazard [enough of those going around in a busy kitchen].

  100. Found your lovely blog by way of Jen over at! And am so glad I did :) Decided to try this recipe because I hadn’t used my food processor in ages, I LOVE clarifying butter (science!) and I had exactly two slices of white bread leftover. It was really divine (despite the fact I forgot the eggs because I did not get my mise en place sigh)! I had never used buttermilk in mashed potatoes before and wow wow wow!!! Such flavor. I also sauteed some spinach and garlic up, serving that atop the bed of potatoes with a perfectly decadent and cute meatloaf on top. Thank you for the lovely recipe! Next time I may try and do 50/50 beef and lamb. Can’t wait to make some more of the recipes from your site. I especially like the Surprise Me! button Best holiday wishes!

  101. Kirsten

    My husband and I raved about this dish—the mashed potatoes were sooooo delicious and the meatloaf had great complexity of flavor. The homemade tomato sauce took it over the top. I think we’ll be making this a lot this winter!

  102. Hilary

    Hi Smitten Kitchen! I am planning on making this delicious looking recipe for Christmas Eve dinner. My brother-in-law is allergic to cow’s milk. In your opinion, would this recipe work well with goat’s milk?? Thanks!

    1. Tammy

      I made the meatloaves and mash potatoes using unsweetened, unflavored coconut milk and gluten free bread. No one will notice a difference!

  103. Lindsay

    This is my second time making this. So so good. Perfect balance of sweet and tangy and meaty. And does very well as left overs too. Great recipe!

  104. I love these meatballs! I had to make myself a note in my cookbook to read the recipe all the way to the end so I don’t forget to cook the vegetables first. I also shape them more like little pyramids– hat makes the dollop of sauce stand out. The mashed potatoes are delicious! On a side note, recently the grocery store only had white potatoes, not reds or Yukons. I had forgotten how delicious mashed white potatoes are!

  105. Dana

    Made this last night – it was very good! My notes: 1/2 the recipe for the meatloaves would have been enough for my family of 5 (3 kids). We had almost 5 mini meatloaves leftover. The potatoes were delish! I have never boiled potatoes with their skins on before and so easy to peel the skins that way. If you’re feeling lazy, you could totally just do ketchup on the top (but the glaze was very good). Also, I tripled the glaze (as suggested by readers) but I just doubling it would suffice. I put way more than a teaspoon on each mini meatloaf which was yummy. Great recipe. Thanks, Deb!

  106. Another absolute winner! I didn’t make the mashed potatoes because I had some leftover mash on hand. Made the meatloaves exactly as directed except for some *very slight* deviations, which I recommend:
    – doubled the glaze (because it’s freaking delish)
    – wrapped each meatlaof around dice-sized cubes of cheddar (who doesn’t love a gooey, cheesy surprise?!)
    – baked the loaves on top of an oven-proof rack to avoid that pool of meatloaf grease
    – shaped each into more of a loaf shape, rather than a ball.

    Can’t wait to make again. Will experiment with ground chicken or turkey too.

  107. Anita

    This recipe turned out really well for me. I made it with ground pork and a can of cannelini beans (roughly mushed up). I threw the beans in because i ended up inviting a friend and her kids over for dinner at the last minute and i was worried that i wouldn’t have enough meatloaf to go around. The texture was really great and the beans really intergrated very well. The loaves were not swimming in grease or water when they came out. Basically, they rocked. I also subbed tomato jam (recipe from the best of ball home canning and preserving) which i have on hand in my pantry for meatloaf/meatball purposes, primarily.

  108. Nomes

    When in doubt, I can always count on Smitten Kitchen to help me out. I ended up making a standard meatloaf insteadnof loaves and the tomato glaze was the icing

  109. FBy91

    These are excellent and very well received by my picky eaters. I made them tonight – followed the recipe fairly precisely (although I got back from the store and realized I’d completely forgotten to get the potatoes – I made butter/garlic sautéed green beans instead). Am planning on freezing the several meatballs that are leftover after dinner but wondering how folks have defrosted for later use?

  110. I’ve made these a number of times, such a great hearty meal for this time of year; however, my husband is more of a traditional meat loaf form fan (emphasis on loaf) – would you change any measurements/cooking time for one large loaf?

  111. smeron

    These are excellent. Made them with ground turkey, almond milk, and premade breadcrumbs and they turned out really well. Loved the glaze on top — so much better than plain ketchup! We served this with cauliflower mash.

  112. jobetta

    I got your cookbook a week or so ago and this is the fourth recipe I’ve tried. Waiting for the meatballs to finish, as I made them too big and they aren’t quite done. But the potatoes are amazing.

    However, I might need to make a frozen stash of sauce and maybe freeze some meatballs and make a bunch of brown butter to keep in the fridge. Because my lord, I used so many pots and pans here. I saved one by baking the meatballs in the cast iron skillet I used to cook the veggies, and I always make mashed potatoes in my kitchenaid, so that’s dirty too. So many dishes. So worth it. Those potatoes. My god.

  113. Aislinn M

    I’m planning to make a triple batch of these mashed potatoes for Thursday! Have you ever made them ahead and then reheated? I’m wondering how the texture survives. I’ve been intrigued by Bon Appetit’s latest mashed potato recipe because it says it can be made ahead (, but I really want the flavors of buttermilk and browned butter! If I did make these Wednesday, or even just earlier on Thursday, would you suggest reheating these in the same way BA suggests (transfer potatoes to a small pot and add ⅓ cup heavy cream and ⅓ cup whole milk; reheat over medium-low, stirring often to prevent scorching) or a different method?

  114. Julia Busetti

    These look great- planning to make for Christmas tomorrow! Can the meatballs be made ahead? And better to assemble today and cook tomorrow or cook and reheat?

  115. E

    I love this recipe and have made it twice. Next time, I’ll try it with the Panko and unpeeled potatoes in the ricer shortcuts. My kids did not like the sharpness of the glaze, so I might just sub with ketchup. None of us liked the tang of the buttermilk, so I’ll sub with regular milk instead. Thanks!

  116. Alex

    making this for my 3 year old and a <1 year old. would agave work in place of the honey? or brown sugar or maple syrup or something? or omitting it altogether? (he'll only be<1 for 1 more month [cue the tears] so i will only need the answer to this question for a month or so ha but wanted to ask because i bet i'm gonna like these so much i repeat a few times this month as i do with most of your recipes!

  117. NJChicaa

    I just have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the glaze for this meatloaf. I love the meatloaf too but usually I just wing it and make my own version. I always take the time to make the tomato glaze, though!

  118. Jeanne

    If I wanted to make this as a loaf and not meatballs, how long would I bake it?
    Thanks for always having the best recipes.
    Jeanne Falkenstein

  119. Eve Bassett

    I want you to know that this is my oldest daughter’s very favourite meal on the planet. She is 19, and this has been her birthday meal for the last 3 years (I know because I use cookbook pages as lab notebooks and write notes about and occaisions for which I make recipes). It is always on the list of meal requests when she returns home from college. We love it.
    The recipe simply works. The meatballs are light and flavorful, the sauce is delish, and the ingredients are easy to find in the fridge, and the procedure is not hard -don’t be put off by needing to get out the cuisinart! I am not great at browning butter so sometimes we get regular mashed potatos – and use more sauce (but browned butter is better!) EXCELLENT RECIPE!

  120. Ali B

    What a perfect combo this meatloaf and potatoes were! I made these with all turkey and they came out perfectly. Love the zestiness of the glaze. My husband has deep rooted childhood trauma of terrible tasting meatloaf growing up and this recipe has erased his fear of meatloaf. Thank you Deb for another winning recipe! Xx

    1. deb

      I don’t include calorie counts because there are too many variables in my recipes (serving sizes, ingredient choices, etc.) but I use this recipe analysis tool when I want to check information. It’s far more useful than any list I could add at the end of a recipe because it allows you to cut and paste whole recipes, removing or adding any ingredients you’d like and adjusting serving sizes to what you’ll eat or make.

  121. Kate S.

    This was really really good and overall easy to make (my first time actually making meatloaf!). I’m not sure it’s the best meatloaf I’ve had though. I’m usually a vegetable lover but for me I thought the meatloaves had too strong of a carrot/celery flavor. Maybe my stalks were on the big side. I did use a food processor and browned them in a pan first. I’d reduce the veg just a bit next time. And actually I thought they tasted more balanced the next day!

  122. margaretohora

    I’m a SK fangirl but this recipe didn’t do it for me! Not enough flavor in the mix and the glaze is just okay. Just wanted to weigh in because it’s rare that I have made one of Deb’s recipes and not enjoyed it.

  123. Sara B.

    Any time I proclaimed that I wanted to make meatloaf, my partner would make a grossed-out face, and tell me how much he hated meatloaf growing up. He refused to try it, even though he’s now in his late 30s.

    Well. I made these, following the recipe to the letter, shaping them into meatball form and calling them jumbo meatballs. He RAVED over them! I now make them about once a month.

    Also, fun fact: I freeze about half of them on a cookie sheet while still raw, then bag them up. We thaw them out in the fridge and pop them in the oven for a quick meal. Thanks, Deb!

  124. Betsy Brandes

    This is sooooo delicious! I loved the tangy sauce and the meatloaf itself was flavorful and yummy. The texture was perfect. It was a hit with the whole family. I halved the recipe (not the sauce though) and still had leftovers for lunch the next day. I was craving more. A definite keeper.

  125. Holly

    I don’t mwntion this to knock your meatloaf–it is very delicious!!–but a friend of mine gave me a tip about it. I roast a couple of pans of vegetables at the beginning of the week for meal prep, but often have remains that my family won’t eat after a day or two. Chopping them up (ok so I blitz them into a fine near-paste in a food processor because if they won’t eat them roasted, my family also won’t eat them if they knew they were in there) means I already have a start on a good meatloaf. Incidentally, the leftover veggies are almost always eggplant, bell peppers, and onion. And if you want a switch from ketchup, basting with balsamic glaze isn’t a miss.

  126. Mia

    Hi, I’m making this today and wondered whether it could be baked as a whole loaf instead? What do you think? And what would you estimate the cooking time to be in that case? Thanks!

    PS it’s a smitten kitchen day today as I baked your everyday chocolate loaf earlier 😉

      1. Mia

        Thanks! I’m six hours ahead so we’ve just had them for dinner 😊 I made them as per the recipe, i.e. balls not loaf, and they were wonderful! I left out the eggs as I’m allergic and they really don’t need them…

  127. Novia

    This recipe is always a hit. I remembered the milk 5 minutes after I put them in the oven. I thought they would turn out like dense burger patties. But to my delight, they were everything delicious. Didn’t even miss the milk!

  128. KathrynB

    This recipe also works in a loaf pan baked for about 45 minutes (and with half ground beef and half ground pork). The plus to this: perfect slices for a meatloaf sandwich the next day!

  129. suzanne stiles

    this is one of my families’ fave SK recipes. The meatballs are so tasty with the glaze. And I only make browned butter mashed potatoes now! I don’t use buttermilk in the potatoes – we found them a bit too tangy. This is a fantastic meals and there is usually one meatball left for me to take for lunch the next day!

  130. EastWestGirl

    This was perfect for a cozy dinner during the insulting April weather in New England.
    I, too, am not a fan of big, one-dimensional bricks of chewy meat. The meatballs came out so tender! The savory blend of ground veggies really does the trick.
    I love mashies but I got lazy and served this with roasted potatoes. The pairing worked just fine.

  131. Alice C Wolff

    Not to be one of those people who substitutes everything and then leaves a comment but as a former meatball lover who is now a gluten free vegetarian (I know) I wanted to say that I made this a while ago using gluten free sandwich bread, tamari subbed for Worcestershire, and Beyond Meat ground ‘beef’ and it was so, so, so good.

    1. Heather

      THANK YOU so much for your post about successfully testing Beyond Meat as a substitute….I am vegetarian and my SO LOVES meatloaf…..

  132. Ally

    I just came across your blog and I can’t wait to try your recipes. Has anyone tried this with a half ground beef/ half ground pork combination? I always make meatballs (and meatloaf) using this combo.

  133. CB

    This is, hands down, my favorite weeknight dinner. Despite the longish ingredient list, it’s so quick and easy. I make a few changes: only make a half recipe since it’s just 2 of us (keep the vegetables about the same and it’s fine), sub panko for the sandwich bread since I always have it, and omit the parsley because I hate it. I usually serve the meatloaves with cheesy polenta since it takes 5 minutes to make + simple roasted broccolini. It’s divine, and a half recipe lasts us at least two dinners.

  134. Peggy

    Hi Deb!
    I made these tonight for my picky brother and my sometimes vegetarian husband. I did leave them in the oven 5 more minutes. I served them with your Melting Potatoes. They licked their plates and the extra ketchupy sauce.😋
    As with all your recipes just delicious! Thanks!

  135. Lindsay C.

    I’m cleaning out my saved recipes (and meal planning) and decided this is going on the menu sometime soon. I have enjoyed meatloaf before, but it’s certainly not a meal I crave often. However, the revelation that a meatloaf is a giant meatball has given me renewed interest! Lastly, I have to applaud your writing in this post. The entire thing had me snickering to myself. The use of ‘unsettling’ to describe veggies sticking out of meatloaf had me laughing out loud enough that my husband asked what was so funny. Thank you for not only bringing delicious food but also entertainment to your readers!

  136. Robin

    My kosher version is almost the same. I buzz the onion,celery,a red pepper, flat leaved parsley, and 1/2 cup one minute oats together with the seasonings in a food processor and adx to the meat mixture.
    Mixing and kneading the meat with the salt activates a chemical process in the meat called protein extraction which helps the meat bind to the other ingredients.

  137. Amy Risius

    I made this last night and it was phenomenal. My only problem was that the warmed buttermilk curdled some when added to the hot potatos and butter. Was that because the buttermilk wasn’t warm enough?

  138. Dana

    I make this all the time for my mother who has a dysphasia level two diet. It is absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. The whole house smells wonderful and it’s beautiful plated with that one large meatball.

  139. Made this with ground bison, locally available and far less greasy than beef. I love the smaller size – meatloaf seems so, um, large and blobby as a dish! I agree that the recipe needs more sauce–I have a horror of dried out meatballs/meatloaf. Twice the amount was perfect for a thick coating. I had to substitute fennel for celery and cut back on the salt since so there was so much flavor from the seasonings. I also added another 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika–one of my fave seasonings. It’s a keeper.

  140. Nanda

    So I’ve made this recipe many many many times, always swapping for ground Turkey. Loved it every time! (We typically make a lazier glaze for the top combining ketchup and sweet/spicy baby rays).

    Tonight I made this with impossible meat to give it a try (I do not eat red meat). It was a big flop. Do not recommend this swap, the impossible meat texture was really off. If you don’t eat red meat definitely go for the Turkey swap instead. If you don’t eat poultry…. I’m sorry to inform the impossible meat just doesn’t work for meatloaf. We’ll be sticking with this tasty recipe… Turkey version :)

  141. Melanie Riley

    I just made this meatloaf using 1/2 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground turkey. I shaped them into 2 loaves. I also used panko (3/4 cup) instead of fresh sandwich bread to make crumbs and I used ketchup where it called for tomato paste. This was one of the best, moistest meatloaf recipes I’ve ever had!

  142. Grace

    Still midway through my plate (my family eats fast, in last at the table) and had to write how incredible these are RIGHT NOW. Classic meatloaf vibes but upgraded with a little more from-scratch, complex flavor (especially the glaze) and packed with more vegetables than any meatloaf or ball I’ve made before? A big win for me and my kids! Even my 11 month old was a big fan! And my husband loves them too – which is saying a lot coming from the one who’s very tied to the more “old school” meatloaf recipes his mom and grandma make.
    Also, worthy of serving to guests. Just a win all around.

    Freezer friendly too, so do the work once and reap the benefits 2-3 times!!

  143. J

    We had these last night, I believe for the first time…they were so tender and moist, I loved them. We served them over mashed cauliflower and used imitation brown sugar in the glaze, due to getting older and having health issues, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. DELICIOUS. Our daughter is vegetarian, so I bought her some Beyond Beef meatballs, topped them with the glaze, and put them in the oven with the beef ones, and she liked them a lot, too. Thanks for a hit!

  144. Joan Resnicow

    I made this for my son and daughter in law as they just had a baby and I am making some meals for them! This is the second time I have made it and it is so darn good! It comes together quickly and the directions are easy to follow! My only glitch was the sauce… I put it in a coated small pot and it was not easy to whisk in that pot… will remember for next time! Thank you it is delicious!!!

  145. Cait

    I had the opportunity to care for my Nana on Saturdays towards the end of her life and used to make this for us for dinner (with ground turkey instead of beef). It was perfect- comforting, delicious, and easy to freeze for later meals. I still make it often and every time I do I think of my Nana. Thanks so much!

  146. Rachelle

    Ok so – the untoasted soft sandwich bread WORKS. I thought it would turn into gummy weirdness in the food processor but it was fine! I also confess by food processor is used the “chop” function on a blender and the vegetables were fine! I picked out any larger pieces of carrot and celery and diced them finely. My boyfriend is very picky with meatloaf and said this was “light and moist”, and maybe just needed a bit of seasoning. I’m admittedly bad with not putting enough salt and pepper. Might add some spices next time – but otherwise a “keeper”!

  147. Laura Crocenzi

    This was delicious. The meat was extremely tender. My only hiccup was with the mashed potatoes. After boiling for 20 minutes, my potatoes were still really hard. I cooked them for another 15 and finally, had to cut them in half. I was wondering why you don’t just peel and cut them into large chunks for faster cooking. Also, they looked a little broken once I added the buttermilk. Great flavor, but, the consistency wasn’t quite right. Help?

  148. Lizzie

    Wow! 10/10 this was my favorite meatloaf ever, I think?! I can’t wait to make it again. The flavors are so good – traditional, and exactly how I want/expect meat loaf to taste, but also elevated and sophisticated. I for one do NOT care for basic ketchup, so this glaze was perfect.

    This recipe was easy to cut in half since I was cooking for just two, and at that it made plenty of leftovers for us. A few notes that may be helpful to others –

    I actually *veganized* this recipe by using Beyond beef and substitutes including flax egg and other 1-for-1’s – vegan butter, honey, and worcestershire sauce, made buttermilk by mixing vinegar into plant milk, etc. I also used Italian panko bread crumbs because I didn’t have sandwich bread available.

    I made smashed potatoes rather than mashed because I don’t like to peel potatoes and I don’t mind the texture of the peel in the final dish, and instead of using a potato masher or ricer, I just dumped them into the pan with the browned butter and used my electric handmixer. Easier and just as delicious!

    And finally – I didn’t simmer the glaze at all. Just mixed it together well, spread atop the loaves, and baked! This wasn’t a conscious choice, I just missed that part of the instructions. Anyway, this worked out completely fine for me and I’m glad I didn’t get another dish dirty.

    I will make this again and again! Thanks!

  149. May

    I made these for the first time last week and they’re terrific. I can also confirm that they’re excellent with marinara, green peppers, & mozzarella on a meatball sandwich.