Coffee Helps Elevate The Rich Flavors In Your Meatloaf

A quintessential comfort food that doubles as a holiday staple, meatloaf has likely graced your dining table countless times. Does its rich, savory taste ever get old and repetitive, or do you simply just want a bit more from this familiar dish? If the answer's yes, you might find the solution in the most unexpected additional ingredient — coffee.

Coffee's robust, intricate taste is a surprisingly great flavor enhancer for meat. It's a stellar choice for a meat rub, especially with steak dishes (like this Coffee-Rubbed Steak for example). Its dark, bittersweet notes add depth to the savory meat, highlighting the beautiful richness while tying together all the diverse components — herbs, spices, and other seasonings. This makes for a well-balanced, harmonized flavor profile that's also delightfully complex.

The magic doesn't stop there, either. Coffee has the incredible ability to tenderize meat, giving it a juicy, succulent quality that's desirable in meatloaf. Its moisture-retaining properties also ensure your meatloaf stays tender throughout the cooking process and doesn't dry out as easily. Hot from the oven, your meatloaf will have a redolent aroma, with a melt-in-your-mouth softness that allows all the flavors to unfold beautifully.

Different ways to add coffee to meatloaf

Coffee is extremely versatile, so it's no surprise that there's more than one way to incorporate it into meatloaf. For convenience's sake, you can use instant coffee powder. Those who like a stronger, deeper taste might prefer ground coffee or brewed coffee a bit more. With meat in general, dark coffee's bold, smoky tone is highly recommended, but you can also opt for lighter varieties. It all comes down to personal preference.

Most commonly, coffee is turned into a marinade to fully infuse the meat with gorgeous flavors and tenderize it at the same time. Another way is to make a coffee glaze to pour over the meatloaf once it's done cooking. It will still retain all of the dish's original rustic beauty but with a flavor-bursting coating on the exterior. Similarly, you can mix up a coffee-based sauce to brush onto the meatloaf and let everything cook together. Don't have time or can't be bothered to get too elaborate? Simply mix the coffee with the ground beef, aromatics, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, and other condiments for a quick and easy impart of flavors.