Why You Shouldn't Use Lean Ground Beef For Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those nostalgia-inducing foods that brings up warm, fuzzy memories of dinners around the family table. A true comfort food, a slice of meatloaf is right at home next to tasty sides such as mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and green vegetables such as broccoli — and it also makes a killer sandwich when tucked between two slices of good bread.

An ideal meatloaf should be big on meaty flavor, imbued with seasonings such as garlic, onion, and herbs, and it should be very, very moist and juicy. While there are plenty of meatloaf haters out there, we think it might be because they've only ever tried dry meatloaf, a fate that can befall loaves made with meat that's too lean (via Allrecipes). So, if any meatloaf you've made has turned out disappointingly dry, read on to learn how to select ground beef that has an appropriate level of fat.

Choose ground beef with at least 15% fat

Dry meatloaf — it's something we've all probably experienced, whether on the lunch line as kids or in our own homes. If you enjoy meatloaf and have made it in your own kitchen, only to slice into a bone-dry loaf, you might need to reconsider what type of ground beef you're using. According to Allrecipes, lean ground beef and especially ground turkey or chicken simply lack the fat that will melt in the oven and provide juiciness to meatloaf. The site recommends using ground beef with at least 15% fat content. For meatloaf (and meatballs), Betty Crocker advises choosing ground chuck, which contains 16 to 22% fat, and also holds its shape nicely during cooking.

Got some ground chicken or turkey in the fridge that you really, really want to make into meatloaf? You can go for it, Allrecipes counsels, but be sure to add a few tablespoons of olive oil into the meat mix before shaping your loaf, which will help the meat stay moist during baking. With these tips, dry meatloaf should be a thing of your past.