This Ingredient Swap Will Instantly Upgrade Your Meatloaf

Is there any dish more comforting than meatloaf? For many of us, this simple dish of molded, baked ground meat tends to evoke memories of the family dinners of our childhoods. While the name may not sound appetizing to some, a well-made meatloaf definitely is, typically featuring a mix of ground beef or pork, onions and garlic, fresh and dried herbs, eggs, and breadcrumbs or milk-soaked bread that's stuffed into a loaf pan and baked until hot and juicy. A favorite of adults and children alike, meatloaf is right at home next to other classic comfort foods such as mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

Making meatloaf at home tends to be an easy affair, considering that the dish doesn't require too many ingredients. But each one of those ingredients is there for a reason, with onions and other aromatics lending flavor and moisture (via The Spruce Eats), eggs holding the loaf together (via Better Homes & Gardens), and breadcrumbs bringing structure to the loaf (via The Kitchn). 

Any ingredient swap should be done with care in order to make sure that what you're adding to your loaf serves a function, too, and that's where swapping breadcrumbs (or bread) for quick-cooking rolled oats comes in.

Oats can boost the moistness of your meatloaf

Did you know that oatmeal meatloaf is a thing? Outlets spanning from The Spruce Eats to Epicurious boast recipes for the dish, which is simply a standard ground meat meatloaf that's bound together with egg plus rolled oats instead of soaked bread or breadcrumbs. Traditionally, bread is mixed into meatloaf to help bind the loaf together, providing structure so that, especially once it's sliced, the loaf holds together instead of crumbling apart.

But as explained by The Kitchn, rolled oats are wonderful used in place of breadcrumbs. The outlet writes that oats serve the same binding role as bread, but are less prone to drying out and producing a parched loaf. Plus, oats are a great option if you're hosting gluten-free diners as they're available with no gluten (via Healthline). Because meatloaf doesn't have a very long cook time, The Kitchn recommends using quick-cooking rolled oats, which will cook through in less time than their regular counterparts. 

So the next time you want an extra-moist loaf — or you've simply run out of breadcrumbs — grab your canister of oatmeal and get cooking.