Slather Your Next Meatloaf In Sweet And Sour Sauce For An Extra Punch

Sweet and sour sauce isn't just for dunking spring rolls or dipping chicken strips. The multi-purpose condiment can do anything from marinating meats to jazzing up sandwiches, or revamping salad dressings. But, the sauce really reaches its full potential when it's used as glaze over top of a meatloaf. Able to transform even the most mediocre of recipes, sweet and sour sauce is the unexpected ingredient you need to start lacquering onto meatloaf.

Sweet and sour sauce tastes exactly what it sounds like. Sugary with an acidic tang, the condiment is often made with a base of sugar and vinegar. That said, recipes can include all kinds of additions from fruit juice to spices, Worcestershire to soy sauce, garlic, and beyond. In fact, nearly every culture has developed their own rendition, and rightfully so. Given its unique combination of flavors, sweet and sour sauce is the perfect way to boost complexity in any number of dishes, including meatloaf.  

Slathering sweet and sour sauce on meatloaf is sure to impart another dimension of flavor. However, the condiment can also help balance the saltiness and savoriness of the loaf thanks to its pop of acidity and sweetness. Not to mention, the sugariness of the sauce even contributes textural variety as it forms a sort of sticky-yet-smooth coating on the loaf while crisping up slightly at the edges. Plus, sweet and sour sauce enhances aesthetics, providing a colorful final touch to an otherwise basic mound of meat.

For a sweet and sour meatloaf that wows, remember these tips

Making sweet and sour sauce from scratch takes all but a few minutes — all you need to do is whisk sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup and a touch of water over medium heat, before thickening with cornstarch. However, store-bought sauce works equally as well. In fact, fruity plum sauce, zesty sweet chili sauce, or tangy duck sauce are all excellent options that boast a similar flavor profile. 

Whether it be a classic beef meatloaf, herby turkey loaf, or decadent pork-based rendition, sweet and sour sauce complements any recipe. As for how to introduce the condiment into meatloaf, it's best to use the sauce strictly as a glaze so as to add flavor without overpowering the loaf's more nuanced components. But, feel free to add a touch of sweet and sour sauce directly into the meatloaf for extra zest.

For the tastiest result, we recommend brushing on sweet and sour sauce towards the end of the cooking process, once the meatloaf is two-thirds of the way done. Simply remove it from the oven and evenly coat the top with about a 1/2 cup of sweet and sour sauce. Then, pop it back into the oven to finish baking and allow the sauce to caramelize. Once a delicious aroma fills your kitchen, the sweetly savory meatloaf is ready to enjoy. The only thing left to think about is which sides to serve — spoiler: any dish can make for a stellar pairing!