The Tip To Remember When Swapping Beef For Chicken In Meatloaf

While classic meatloaf offers many traditional pleasures, every once in a while, cooks like to spice up what kind of meat actually comprises the loaf. After all, the meatloaf is a celebration of leftover odds and ends packed together into one delicious dish. Still, some chefs run into a bit of trouble when swapping in chicken for rich ground beef. The issue? A dry, lackluster loaf that no amount of gravy can rescue. This is all chalked up to the leanness of ground chicken, as fat is a necessity for tenderizing the long-cooking meatloaf.

But that doesn't mean that ground chicken is strictly off the table. Instead, you need to find a way to make up for the fat deficit in your meatloaf by incorporating either 80% lean ground chicken or by adding some other fat-rich ingredient to the mix. This is easy enough to accomplish, so let's jump into your options.

You need a bit of fat to keep your meatloaf moist

First, let's start with the ground chicken. Though it's sometimes lauded by the health-conscious for its low-fat content, some ground chicken will be packing enough fat to make it suitable for your meatloaf. You just need to stick to an 80% to 85% lean blend, which means that there's at least 15% fat in there. Using ground chicken (or turkey for that matter) with a 90% or above leanness will lead to a desperately dry loaf.

However, if that is the only kind of ground chicken or turkey you have on hand, you can find another way to keep the meatloaf moist. The easiest options are to chop up some bacon and mix it into the meatloaf for a boost of fat, or to wrap your chicken meatloaf in the bacon. (Better yet, do a bit of both.) If you have pork or ground pork sausage, that can also add some much-needed fat to the mix. An extra egg yolk or two will also infuse a bit of richness into the meatloaf. As long as you're aware of the fat deficit when working with ground chicken, you have plenty of tasty options to help correct it.