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Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe

Cracker Barrel’s meatloaf is a beloved dish that captures the essence of comfort food.

You’ll love how simple it is to make this hearty meal at home with everyday ingredients.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and while it heats, mix up a delightful glaze of ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.

Combine ground beef, crushed Ritz crackers, cheese, milk, finely chopped onion and bell pepper, with a touch of salt and black pepper.

A key trick is to mix all the ingredients thoroughly with your hands for the best texture.

One of my favorite parts about this recipe is the sweet and tangy glaze that caramelizes perfectly in the oven.

cracker barrel meatloaf feat

How to Make Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup Onion (diced)
  • 2 cups Cheese (shredded)
  • 3 Eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 ½ cups Ritz Crackers (crushed)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mustard

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C).

Step 2:

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.

Set the mixture aside for later use.

Step 3:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, eggs, cheese, milk, Ritz crackers, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Step 4:

Mix the ingredients thoroughly using your hands until they are well combined.

Step 5:

Shape the mixture into a loaf.

Place the loaf in an ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish.

Step 6:

Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Step 7:

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the ketchup mixture evenly over the top.

Step 8:

Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until fully cooked through and nicely browned on top.

Step 9:

Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tips and Tricks for Making This Recipe

Use Fresh Ingredients

Using fresh vegetables like bell peppers and onions can enhance the flavor of the meatloaf significantly.

Fresh ingredients give a vibrant taste to the dish.

Don’t Overmix

When combining the meat mixture, avoid overmixing.

Overmixing can make the meatloaf dense and tough.

Mix until just combined for a tender texture.

Resting Time

Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes after baking.

This helps the juices redistribute and makes slicing easier.

Customize the Toppings

Feel free to customize the toppings to suit your taste preferences.

You can add a touch of Worcestershire sauce to the ketchup mixture for added depth.

Check the Doneness

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

The meatloaf should reach 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption.

What to Serve with Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

sides for cracker barrel meatloaf

Classic Mashed Potatoes

You can never go wrong with mashed potatoes. The creamy texture perfectly complements the savory meatloaf.

Steamed Broccoli

A simple steamed broccoli works well as a side. It’s nutritious and adds a nice crunch.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

For a twist, try baked sweet potatoes. These bring a touch of sweetness that contrasts nicely with the meatloaf’s flavors.

Garlic Green Beans

Garlic green beans offer a straightforward but delicious option. They’re easy to prepare and pair wonderfully with meatloaf.

Couscous Salad

A couscous salad can be an unexpected but delightful choice. It’s light, refreshing, and adds a pleasant Mediterranean touch.

Variations and Substitutions

Different Meats

You can use a combination of ground beef and pork to add more flavor and moisture.

If you prefer a leaner option, ground turkey works well too.

Using ground chicken is another lighter alternative that still tastes great.

Cheese Choices

Cheddar is classic, but you can mix things up with Monterey Jack or Swiss for a different taste.

A mix of cheeses can also add complexity and richness.

Shredded mozzarella can be used for a milder, gooier texture.

Alternative Bindings

Crushed Ritz crackers are often used, but bread crumbs or oatmeal are good substitutes.

Gluten-free crackers or bread crumbs can be used for those with dietary restrictions.

You can also try crushed cornflakes for a unique texture.

Vegetables

Instead of just bell peppers and onions, you could add finely grated carrots.

Chopped mushrooms can add an earthy flavor and additional moisture.

Zucchini or spinach can also be finely chopped for added nutrition without changing the taste much.

Sauce Variations

For a spicier kick, add some sriracha or hot sauce to your ketchup mix.

Barbecue sauce can replace ketchup for a smoky, tangy twist.

A mixture of tomato paste and apple cider vinegar offers a tangier, more robust topping.

How to Store Leftover Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Refrigeration

To keep your leftover Cracker Barrel Meatloaf fresh, place it in an airtight container.

Refrigerate within two hours of cooking.

Stored properly, it will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Freezing

For longer storage, freezing is an excellent option.

Wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag.

Label the bag with the date and use it within 2-3 months for best quality.

Tips for Storing

Always cool the meatloaf completely before storing.

Avoid overcrowding the container to prevent moisture build-up.

Keep the meatloaf slices flat and not stacked to help them maintain their shape.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overmixing the Meat

Overmixing can make your meatloaf dense and tough.

You only need to mix until the ingredients are just combined.

I find using my hands gives better control over mixing.

Skipping the Rest Time

Allowing your meatloaf to rest helps it hold together better when sliced.

Cutting it immediately can cause the loaf to crumble or fall apart.

I always wait at least 10 minutes before serving.

Ignoring the Topping

The topping adds essential flavor and keeps the meatloaf moist.

Some people forget to add it or apply it unevenly.

Make sure to spread the topping evenly over the entire loaf for the best results.

cracker barrel meatloaf feat

Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe

Cracker Barrel's meatloaf is a beloved dish that captures the essence of comfort food.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and while it heats, mix up a delightful glaze of ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.
Combine ground beef, crushed Ritz crackers, cheese, milk, finely chopped onion and bell pepper, with a touch of salt and black pepper.
A key trick is to mix all the ingredients thoroughly with your hands for the best texture.
One of my favorite parts about this recipe is the sweet and tangy glaze that caramelizes perfectly in the oven.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Servings 6
Ingredients
  
  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Bell Pepper diced
  • 1 cup Onion diced
  • 2 cups Cheese shredded
  • 3 Eggs beaten
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 ½ cups Ritz Crackers crushed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
Instructions
 
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.
  • Set the mixture aside for later use.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, eggs, cheese, milk, Ritz crackers, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly using your hands until they are well combined.
  • Shape the mixture into a loaf.
  • Place the loaf in an ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish.
  • Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the ketchup mixture evenly over the top.
  • Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until fully cooked through and nicely browned on top.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Passionate chef, in love with everything related to food and cooking it to perfection!
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