The Premade Mix That Will Amp Up Your Meatloaf

There are few dishes as divisive as meatloaf. It's an undisputed staple of timeless home cooking, but the words "meatloaf night" might garner mixed reviews. The debate is famous and decades-long. For instance, in "A Christmas Story" (1983), Ralphie's little brother laments the dish at the dinner table, "Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beatloaf. I hate meatloaf." Before that, in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975), the cast shares an unsavory meatloaf dinner — and even sings alongside the late musician Jim Steinman aka Meatloaf. 

On the flip side, Anthony Bourdain unironically loved meatloaf. The chef included a wicked personal meatloaf recipe in his 2016 cookbook "Appetites," and it's as much a recipe as it is an ode to the dish. "My mom's meatloaf is inarguably better than yours, but this is not my mom's meatloaf recipe," Bourdain writes. "This one is an amalgam, intended to evoke all the important meatloaves in my life — and there have been many."

Today, many home cooks liven up their meatloaf recipes with diced peppers or barbecue sauce. But there's one secret ingredient that you'll want to be sure to add to the mix. Here's the premade mix that will amp up your meatloaf (and leave critics tongue-tied).

Give dry onion soup mix a try

Without further ado, the secret ingredient for elevating your meatloaf is: Dry onion soup mix. It's a time-tested trick. The Spruce Eats cites a recipe from a General Electric Kitchen Institute cookbook that was published in 1936, "The New Art of Modern Cookery," which includes dry onion soup mix. The recipe only includes six ingredients (eggs, water, ketchup, ground beef, breadcrumbs, and a packet of dry onion soup mix) which are simply stirred together and baked in a loaf pan. The result is a classic meatloaf with a surprisingly savory umami kick. For an added burst of flavor, the outlet suggests adding chopped onion and Worcestershire sauce to bring out the soup mix's flavor.

The Kitchn explains that by using this recipe, your leftovers will keep in the fridge for four days. Or, if you're prepping some make-ahead meals to have on hand, it'll keep in the freezer for three months, says the outlet. So, for a meatloaf that'll please even the harshest of critics, try whipping out a packet of onion soup mix. Your dinner party guests will thank you.