Grandma’s Old Fashioned Meatloaf

Growing up I HATED my mother’s meatloaf. Those big nasty chunks of onions and peppers in it were the worst thing ever.  I’m surprised my face didn’t permanently stay in the “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!” squinched up face that I made more often than not. However… (because there’s always a however), I really liked my Grandma’s meatloaf.  Now yes she used onions but she minced them so small that in my 7-year-old child brain if you can’t see the onions then they aren’t in there! LOL  Now for me meatloaf is a comfort food; it’s honest, homey and just real. It was that dish that you could stretch and stretch turning a simple pound of ground beef into a feast big enough for a huge family. Now granted she always had to make 2-3 of these but there were leftovers for days and trust me, having 4 ginormous non-stop eating older brothers, this never, EVER happened!


I can still remember when I was wee little, we’re talking I had to sit on the table to help out, she would let me mix up the meatloaf.  Honestly I thought that was the most awesomest thing ever!  It was messy and squishy and just all kinds of fun. Now I know people who freak out about stuff like this but no way man, not me.  It’s therapeutic.  I like working with  my hands; it just seems to add to the experience.  To this day every time I make something that requires me to mix up the meat with my hands I always think of her. I’d sit there, legs crossed, elbows deep in a bowl that, at the time, was the biggest thing on earth.  I’d squish and squeeze all the while giggling.  She’d tell me stories of her childhood and the things she would make with her Mom. What I thought was just us having fun was so much more than that.  She was teaching me; teaching me to cook and respect the ingredients.  She’d explain why soaking the oats in milk led to a more moist meatloaf.  She’d taught me how to tell the varying differences in ‘squishiness’ – when it was too squishy your meatloaf would fall apart when baking. If it didn’t really squish but rather just clumped, it would turn out super dry.  But again to me that wasn’t learning, it was squishy fun times!


Now to know my Grandma was to love her. My grandma was totally cool!  Sportin’ pink or purple hair, driving a souped up Chevy Nova with white leather interior and candy apple red shimmer paint, cat eye glasses, pedal pushers and taking me to breakfast every Saturday morning to the local drug store.  Where yes, she’d take home not only the packets of jelly but often the whole plastic container.  *shakes her head*  Grandma ALWAYS had change in her bottomless pursed that I swear needed wheels on it.  As I got older we used to tease her that she really started out in life as 6’4″ tall but as her purse became heavier and heavier it shrunk her down to her 4′ something frame.  She loved her ‘numbers’ and after breakfast she always played the lottery and scratch offs.  THAT was her thing!


She just wasn’t a Grandma, she was my friend.  And I miss not only her but I miss my friend. She was the woman who taught me how to make pancakes for the first time on my own, how to not take crap and stick up for myself when I was made fun of and how to be appreciate what we have, not what we don’t have. In a perfect world the order of passing would go from the eldest to the youngest however in my life that wasn’t the case. See I had never known my Mom’s parents or my Dad’s father as they had all passed away prior to my birth.  So she was my only grandparent.  At times I’d get jealous of classmates talking about all of their grandparents but she’d remind me that it wasn’t about quantity but rather quality.  God she was so right.  She was iconic to me. So when my Mom passed away when I was 18 and then my father (her son) when I was 22 I felt completely lost.  I felt orphaned – even though I had 5 siblings it just wasn’t the same.  They weren’t Mom & Dad.  However I had Grandma.  She consoled me and understood my anger and how I felt.  She too felt it too.  I can still remember her saying “a parent should not have to bury their child” and then burst into tears.  I think we honestly cried all day.  However through those tears we would talk and then discuss them both.  We’d laugh at the silly times we all had, events from the past and she helped me realize that while they may not still be here on earth that they were forever with me – they were in my heart, my thoughts and every time I looked in the mirror, there they were. It’s because of her I started to feel again, started to love and let go.


As the years went by Grandma came to live with us and she had developed dementia often reverting back to her childhood.  I took this really hard and at times would get so angry because I wanted, no, needed my Grandma back.  However I’d sit with her and all I would have to do was look into her big blue eyes and there she was; there my Dad was too.  She was still there.  We’d talk about current things and then in an instant she’d revert back to a conversation she thought she had just yesterday with her Mom.  It was in those times I learned so much more about her childhood, my family history.  It was my turn now to take care of her; to nurture and protect her.


It’s been years now since she’s passed away however she’s forever with me.  I can see her, Mom & Dad sitting at the big kitchen table in the sky watching over me; guiding me not only in the kitchen but in life in general.

Grandma’s Old Fashioned Meatloaf


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  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tbl Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 tbl garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (regular or gluten free oats)
  • 1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbl ketchup
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato soup, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray.
  3. In a large bowl add the oats and milk and gently mix.
  4. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the oats to soak in the milk.
  5. After 15 minutes strain out the milk into a separate container but do not discard.
  6. In the bowl the oats are in add the ground beef, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, steak seasoning, garlic, onions, ketchup, and 3 Tbl of tomato soup.
  7. Just combine but try not to overwork it as it will get tough. If the mixture is too wet, add in 1-2 more Tbl of oats (don’t worry if they aren’t soaked). If too dry, add in the milk 1-2 Tbl at a time. You want the mixture to be pretty moist but firm enough to hold a shape.
  8. In the bowl gently press together.
  9. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and using your hands, form a loaf that is about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and about 2 1/2 inches tall. The loaf should be smooth and have rounded edges. This will help the loaf stay together when serving.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and spread the remaining tomato soup on top of the meatloaf.
  11. Continue baking for another 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

This dish pairs PERFECTLY with my Creamy Perfect Mashed Potatoes!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes2

Looking for a vegetarian version of my meatloaf?  This Ultimate Mushroom Veggie Meatloaf OUTSTANDING!!!

Ultimate Meatless Veggie Meatloaf2


52 Responses to “Grandma’s Old Fashioned Meatloaf”

  • Valerie says:

    Wow. This story had me crying like a baby. My Mom passed away 2 years ago and 8 months later I lost my Grandpa (Grandma has been gone for many years & she was the one who I loved yo bake with as well). My Dad is dying from cyrosis of the liver currently, and my only sibling is locked up in jail (prob. will never get out). I feel you when you said you feel so alone. I have 3 beautiful boys and a Husband that I love and love me very much, but that longing for my Parents/Grandparents love will never be replaced. Big hugs Sister. Thanks for sharing your story. It made me feel very comforted and your Grandma’s meatloaf recipe is in the oven right now. God Bless you and yours.

  • Thomas says:

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt memories and treasured moments spent with your Grandmother and for gifting us with her wonderful recipe. Stories like yours remind us all that though the ones we love and treasure most, may be gone, they live on in our hears forever!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Thomas

      Thank you so very much! And you’re so right; they are always with us!

      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Kelly says:

    I’m so pleased to have come across your recipe! I loved your story. I have wonderful memories of my grandma cooking as she basically lived with our family my entire life. She’s not as spry as she used to be, so I’m going to make this tonight just for her, to celebrate her 91st birthday! Thanks for sharing. xo

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Oh Kelly how you so made my evening. Thank you so much! And god bless your grandma! Please give her loves from me and wish her a very Happy Birthday!

      Happy Thanksgiving and Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Geannie says:

    I stumbled across your recipe by accident but found it sounding very tasty. I’ll put one in the oven tonight as I want a meatloaf severely now. I really like that you take the time to answer all the comments personally. To me that shows that you care. You have a blessed day.

  • Wara says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! The loving way in which you talk about your grandmother, reminds me of the way I love and miss my Mamita Eloisa! After suffering through the worry about Irma, with families in Florida…the first thing I wanted to do…after praying in gratitude! (I am NOT religious) was to find a special recipe for meatloaf. This is how we keep our angels close by…by honoring mother nature’s ingredients in our kitchens. As a way of paying back your kindness…I share that I soaked the oats in red wine instead of the milk, what flavor! I also will try your bbq version. All my best to you! So lovely of you to share your history!!!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      *GASP* Soaked the oats in red wine! What type of sorcery is that?! LOL That sounds AMAZING!!! WOW! Yes, with the devastation the world has faced these past few weeks, we need to say a prayer to whatever/whomever we believe in for the safety of all. And I agree, food and the memories around it is what keeps our loved ones close to us albeit in spirit or in person.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Cathy says:

    Can I use white bread for oats soaked in milk?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Cathy!

      Yes you can. But soak the bread in milk as that’ll really add moisture,

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

      • Cathy says:

        Stumbled upon your website by your meatloaf receipe on Pinterest and it is just lovely with your story of your grandmother – food memories are the best and the comments from readers are wonderful. Keep up the good work.

  • Dee says:

    Is the milk to rolled oats ratio correct? I don’t see how you will have left over milk from 1/4 cup of milk to 1-1/4 cup of oats.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Dee!

      Yes it’s correct. In the instructions it doesn’t say you’ll have a 1/4 cup of milk left. You soak the oats in that much milk. Then, when you go to put the soaked oats into the mix, you strain the oats and reserve any milk that wasn’t absorbed. You should only have a few Tbl of milk not absorbed.

      Make sense?

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Plus you’re only letting it soak for 15 minutes. That’s not enough time for letting the oats to soak up all of the milk. You don’t want the oats mushy, just softened.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Monica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I was looking for a way to take the breadcrumbs out of meatloaf and the oats are a perfect substitution! This is the best meat loaf I’ve ever had! My whole family loves when I make this. I also use ground turkey instead of beef and it is delicious as well. Thanks again!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Aw thank you so very much Monica! I really appreciate it! I’ll mix it up as well like you did and use ground turkey. I actually just made a BBQ meatloaf using bbq sauce instead of the tomato aspect and it was EPIC on a sandwich with mashed potatoes and onion straws. It’s a MUST-TRY!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Mia says:

    FYI. I’m in the middle of cooking this and realized that the ingredients list Worcestershire sauce, but it isn’t in the steps. I’m sure it would have been a great addition. 🙂

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Ah fixed it, thanks! It went in with the rest of the ingredients into the meat mixture.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Linda Prosser says:

    Hello! I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful story about your grandmother. I didn’t have a relationship with any of my grandparents like that – but my husband has many stories of his maternal grandmother (I knew her as well), that I envy. His mother is just like her, and at 95 years old – has left an indelible impression on me, and our children. I hope I can leave my own 7 grandkids and 2 great-grandkids with some happy memories of their own.

    I am going to try your Grandma’s meatloaf this week!

    Best Wishes, and thanks for this post!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Linda,

      I’m sure you grandkids and great grandkids are already blessed to have so many amazing memories thanks to you.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Amy says:

    I am assuming you mix the worchestershire sauce in with the meat?

  • kristyn keen says:

    I’m going to try this recipe tonight. What is the reason you don’t use a meatloaf pan? I’ve never made meatloaf any other way:)

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Kristyn,

      I actually don’t own one and neither did Mom/Grandma. This recipe you don’t need it as you can form it on the pan and as it bakes, it holds the shape. I think the benefit of using a meatloaf pan is that you get that uniform shape and most have a built in drip pan. What I love about the free form is that you get a killer crust on the meatloaf.

      Either way though – with or without the meatloaf pan, you’ll love this recipe.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

      • Lisa says:

        In my early years of cooking, I used a loaf pan but found the fats remained trapped. I love the way the loaves get a caramelization on the outside when not using a loaf pan but cooking on a parchment lined sheet pan. The parchment tends to soak up the extra liquid but leaves a tender non-greasy loaf in it’s place. Loved the grandma story – I try to be that grandma for my grand kids. Pay it forward!

        • TKWAdmin says:

          I’m sure you’re an amazing grandma Lisa! Yes, my too – I don’t like using a loaf pan and getting that fat trapped in.

          Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Ann Hall says:

    I love meatloaf and I loved my Granny and gram. However, my Granny was the cook of the two and I beleive she probably could have made dirt pies taste I loved and related to your story which was so beautifully detailed out which brought back my own childhood memories. Thanks for the recipe, sounds so good. I will be trying it today!! I am now a granny to a 7 year old and meatloaf is his favorite as well. Have a blessed day, Granny Ann

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Aw thank you so much Ann! I really appreciate your feedback! haha oh yeah my Gram could make those dirt pies too 😉

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Andrea says:

    Awesome story..brought me to tears. In many ways can relate to it…right in the middle was about to stop reading but didnt instead read on in tears …We Love our grandmas..very worried in the 1st symptoms slowly approachg..not really..of dementia with my Grandma as well. Looking @it as a learning experience though another reason why i adapted to your story. Well wish me luck&bless you&yours!!ALWAYS GOOD EATS KEEP ME SMILING????????

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Andrea,

      Aw I’m sorry you were brought to tears but thankfully they were happy tears. I wish you nothing but luck and love my friend!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • De says:

    Enjoy the site and recipes with all your shared stories.
    Thank you

  • Kandy says:

    Hello, I just found your page through pinterest. Great looking meatloaf recipe but the story of your grandmother is the best find. I never knew any of my grandparents (and my children didn’t know theirs either); your story is what I would want to remember of my grandmother. What a wonderfully warm, loving woman she was for you. Bless you and thank you for including your family history for us.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Kandy!

      Thank you so much; truly thank you. I only knew my Dad’s Mom as the rest of my grandparents all passed away before I was born. However my parents spoke often about them telling stories of them and in a way it allowed me to grow up ‘with’ them around even if it was just in spirit.

      My grandmother was an amazing, amazing woman and I miss her every single day but when I’m in the kitchen or when I make certain dishes of hers she’s right there with me, in my heart and my memories.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Victoria says:

    Thank you for this marvelous recipe, and more importantly, the beautiful memories of your grandmother. I miss mine desperately still after many years. I’ll be making the recipe for supper this week. Coming here tonight made me smile. God bless.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so very much Victoria for your kind words. I hope you love this as much as I did. For me, when I’m missing my grandmother I always go to the kitchen and make something she and I would make together or she would make me. It’s my way of “being with her” again.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Chrissy Vee says:

    What a pleasant surprise to stumble upon your blog, searching for an awesome pic of Chicken Cordon Bleu. LOL yes I am one of those (bleh bleh bleh) :D!
    Anyway, your recipes look and sound amazing! And I adore your stories. ♥ I must confess, I am not the greatest cook (sometimes my boyfriend gives me the “look” when he sees me in the kitchen, followed by “Sooo….what are you doing?”) 😛 hmph!
    Well, I know he loves meatloaf, er… used to. (blush… hangs head) Anyway, your recipe gave me inspiration to win him back to loving it again. And maybe even me a little more. 0:)!
    Merci beaucoup! ♥

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Well thank you so much Chrissy and welcome to the TKW Family! So if you’re boyfriend gives you ‘the look’ then tell him to join you in the kitchen that way you can cook together. Cooking is about creating something amazing. And sure, even if the meal turns out terrible you’re still having quality time with someone.

      You don’t have to be the best, you just have to try. Just follow the directions, take your time and just go for it! I believe in you *wink*

      De Rien <3

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Jc says:

    Definitely needed salt in this recipe so it doesn’t taste to bland. This recipe had no salt at all in it! By the time I realized, I was all done.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      JC, I didn’t add extra salt as there is plenty of salt in my Montreal Steak Seasoning that is in the recipe. That seasoning is a culmination of spices (salt included). This is why you don’t see any additional pepper or other items in the recipe.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Wendy Hampton says:

    Ohhhh this is soooo good. I have always been a failure at meatloaf until today that is! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and the story of your grandma. How lovely to have had her for so many years. It makes the recipe even more special. Thank you for sharing. This is now in my “heirloom recipe” box.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so very much Wendy! This recipe is so near and dear to my heart and to know that you love it now too, just makes it that much more special!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Laura says:

    Came for the meatloaf recipe, which sounds awesome, but found myself staying for your story about your Grandma! What a beautiful tribute to her you wrote! Sounds like you had the perfect Grandma…thanks for sharing!!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so much Laura! That really means a lot to me! Everyone that ever met my Grandma loved her. She was truly a pistol and one of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the opportunity to have in my life.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Nettie Moore says:

    I love meatloaf, have to try your recipe Nettie

    • TKWAdmin says:

      It’s funny Nettie as a kid I hated meatloaf as it had chunks of ‘stuff’. Now I absolutely LOVE it! Let me know what you think!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • John says:

    What a sweet and funny post, thanks for sharing the story and the recipe. I can almost feel Grandma’s energy in the pictures of that delicious meatloaf.

    I frequently got shipped off to spend summers with my Grandma, and she taught me a lot too about gardening, baking, canning, cooking, things I remember to this day. It’s fun to remember a bad-ass old lady moving through the world, ruthlessly haggling with the guy at the Farmers Market – “40 cents a pound for THOSE tomatoes?!?!”

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so much John! Sounds like your Grandma was a lot like mine. Even in her 4′ nothing stature she wouldn’t back down to anyone. If Granny came at you swinging that purse (that held I swear a sledgehammer and about 42 brick in it) you knew to run! LOL

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

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