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How To Make The Best Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a popular dish among Americans, a much-sought-after comfort food. The first recipe for preparing American meatloaf was developed in the 1870s, and it became very common during WWII. A single serving of this scrumptious meatloaf contains 35g of protein, 17g of carbs, and 3g of dietary fiber.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could make the best Cracker Barrel meatloaf at home? Here’s how you can do just that:


The journey to create a mouthwatering serving of Cracker Barrel meatloaf begins with finding the correct ingredients. This meatloaf contains cheese, tender vegetables, and bread crumbs (or Ritz crackers), giving it its signature flavor. Use a pound of 80% lean ground beef to create Cracker Barrel-style meatloaf. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:

  • Ground beef
  • Eggs, beaten
  • Hal a cup of milk
  • Diced white onions and green bell peppers
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Crushed Ritz crackers
  • Salt and pepper

Use ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar to make the topping of your Cracker Barrel meatloaf.

How to prepare

This detailed recipe lets you learn how to make Cracker Barrel meatloaf, but to quickly break it down for you, here’s what you need to know:

  • Preheat the oven: Start your preparations by preheating the oven to 350°F or 175°C.
  • Prepare the mixture: Get a large mixing bowl and fill it with all the ingredients mentioned in the previous section. Mix these ingredients thoroughly by using your hands to make sure they turn into a perfect “meaty” blend.
  • Shape the meatloaf: Bring a 9×5-inch loaf pan (or a sheet pan) and grease it lightly with cooking spray. Transfer the meatloaf mixture gently to the pan and use your hand to press it evenly; smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Apply the topping: Use ketchup, brown sugar, and yellow mustard to make the glaze or topping for this meatloaf. Some cooks like to balance the glaze’s sweetness and enhance its taste with Worcestershire sauce. Apply half of the glaze with a spoon and distribute it evenly on top of the meatloaf. The rest of the glaze will be applied before the meatloaf is fully cooked.
  • Bake the meatloaf: Bake the meatloaf for half an hour before the first glaze application. Then bake it for another half before giving it a second coat of glaze (or wait until the meatloaf reaches 160°F). Applying the topping before baking the meatloaf can add flavor and moisture. After applying the glaze for the second time, cook it for 5 or 10 minutes. Then, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving this meatloaf.

If you have followed these instructions properly, your Cracker Barrel meatloaf is ready!

Tips to Remember

There’s no need to drive all the way to your nearest Cracker Barrel establishment – and there are just 661 of them in 564 different cities nationwide – to enjoy a healthy serving of meatloaf. Instead, you can make the same meatloaf at half the price you pay at the restaurant. After learning the recipe for baking Cracker Barrel meatloaf in your kitchen, don’t forget these tips:

  • Avoid overmixing the meat for meatloaf
  • Don’t bake it at a temperature higher than 350
  • Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking it
  • You may use ground pork or even ground turkey as well
  • Use a loaf pan to shape the meatloaf and a sheet pan to bake it
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to make the meatloaf even spicier
  • Sauté the chopped onions in a pan with some oil to enhance the flavor before adding them to the meat

How to serve it

A dish isn’t finished cooking until served. That’s why you must learn the etiquette of serving meatloaf – especially the Cracker Barrel variety – to enjoy its unique flavors properly. First of all, do not serve it when it’s hot out of the oven, or you’ll prevent its flavors from melding properly. Instead, let it rest for a while so the juices won’t fall apart when you try cutting it. Now, here are some further tips to remember when you are about to serve Cracker Barrel meatloaf for self-consumption of your guests’ feasting:

  • Use classic sides like cornbread, green beans, mashed potatoes, sugar-glazed carrots, or even mac and cheese to bring out the exquisite essence of America’s favorite comfort food. Some other sides include salad, coleslaw, rice pilaf, garlic bread, or other roasted vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes).
  • When baking Cracker Barrel meatloaf, you can achieve the right texture and moisture by seasoning the dish properly. Adjust the seasonings to your liking and use an ideal blend of herbs and spices. For instance, the right blend of eggs and milk will ensure your meatloaf has adequate moisture. A perfect combination of onion and garlic powder gives it a savory, aromatic taste.
  • You can freeze baked/unbaked meatloaf if it’s to be served later. Since it can be kept frozen for up to three months tightly wrapped in foil, it was popular in the ’40s among our soldiers. Leftovers of Cracker Barrel-style meatloaf can easily be reheated whenever someone in the house feels hungry. But reheating frozen, cooked meatloaf requires thawing overnight first.

This blog helps you recreate the genius of Cracker Barrel meatloaf in your kitchen. Combine the meatloaf’s mouthwatering flavors with your home-style charm by carefully following the guidelines mentioned above. Procure the given ingredients, follow the standardized recipe, and serve it properly to retain the amazing flavor of this tasty dish. It’s better to print this recipe on paper and hang it in your kitchen when making this meatloaf.

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