Crispy bacon. Pockets of gooey cheddar. Yellow onions cooked in bacon drippings. This Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf has ALL the good stuff.
Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf is the answer to disappointing meatloaf recipes. There are so many recipes out there, and quite a few are boring, flavorless, and mushy.
I created this recipe after being let down by too many meatloaf recipes (with the exception of this Muffin Tin Meatloaf, which is great for when you’re short on time).
So what better way to add flavor than to add bacon? This recipe features four strips of cooked bacon and four ounces of cubed cheddar.
The meatloaf mimics a classic bacon cheeseburger, and it delivers some serious flavor!
The topping also contains a secret ingredient: ranch dressing. It gets mixed in with the ketchup, and it adds a little zip that everyone loves.
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Here is what you need to make the meatloaf:
- Bacon—this will get cooked before adding it to the meatloaf
- Cut the cubed cheddar from a block of cheddar cheese (sharp or mild, whatever you prefer)
- Ground round is 85% lean beef (you can also use 80% or 90% lean)
- Ground pork keeps the meatloaf tender and juicy
- Yellow onion will get cooked in the bacon drippings (yum!)
- Breadcrumbs and eggs hold the meatloaf together
- Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and salt add flavor to the finished dish
- Ketchup and a little ranch dressing make an irresistible sauce for the top
How to make bacon cheddar meatloaf
First, cook the bacon until crisp. I have a set of nonstick pans that I use for everything, including cooking bacon. They’re super easy to clean!
Drain the bacon and set it aside to cool, then crumble or chop it.
Then, cook the onion in the bacon drippings until it’s soft.
Combine the bacon, cheddar, ground round, ground pork, cooked onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, worcestershire sauce, parsley, and salt in a large bowl.
Mix gently with your hands to combine. Be careful not to overmix the mixture, as that will make the meat tough.
Form the mixture into a meatloaf shape, roughly 12 inches long by 5 inches wide.
Make sure to place it on a baking sheet with a rim to catch any juices that run from the meatloaf (and also to catch the drippy cheese!).
Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes, and then spoon on a mixture of ketchup and ranch dressing. Trust me on this one—the ranch adds a tasty zip to it!
Finally, place it back in the oven for 10 minutes, where the ketchup will set and the meatloaf will finish cooking.
The Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf is one of those comfort food dinners that hits the spot. It’s easy enough to feed your family on a weeknight, but it can pull double duty and impress guests at a casual get-together for dinner.
Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf: Frequently Asked Questions
You do not need to cover meatloaf in the oven. The beef and pork has enough fat to prevent it from drying out.
To make meatloaf gluten-free, substitute an equal measure of crushed pork rinds instead of breadcrumbs. That will also make meatloaf keto-friendly. In addition, check the label of your worcestershire sauce to ensure that it is gluten-free. If not, just leave out the worcestershire sauce.
The base of this meatloaf is dairy-free, so just omit the cheese to make it dairy-free. Check the ingredient label on your breadcrumbs to ensure that those are dairy-free, too.
For the best texture, cook and crumble bacon before adding it to uncooked meatloaf, then bake the loaf. If the bacon is raw, the flavor will be there, but it’ll be mushy.
How to freeze meatloaf
To freeze meatloaf, cook the meatloaf as directed and let it cool. Do not make the ketchup mixture yet. Wrap the meatloaf tightly in foil, and place it in a resealable freezer bag. Freeze for up to two months.
Defrost the meatloaf for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Place it on a sheet pan and bake for 20–25 minutes at 350°F. Add the ketchup/ranch mixture during the last 10 minutes of baking time.
What to serve with meatloaf
If you want to make a side dish ahead, this Mashed Potato Casserole reheats beautifully.
For a lower-carb option, Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic would be delicious.
If you’re short on time, frozen sweet potato fries and a salad are great accompaniments. We’ve been loving the sweet potato puffs from Alexia!
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- ½ lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground round
- ⅔ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- 4 oz sharp cheddar, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until crisp. Place the bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain (keep the bacon grease in the pan), then chop into fine pieces.
- Add the onion to the bacon grease. Cook until soft, about 3–4 minutes. Remove the onions but leave the bacon grease (which you can save for another use or discard).
- In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ground round, breadcrumbs, eggs, worcestershire sauce, parsley, cubed cheddar, salt, chopped bacon, and cooked onions. Mix very gently with your hands to combine.
- Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet with a rimmed edge. Form it into a loaf with your hands, packing it gently so it stays together.
- Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the ketchup and ranch dressing in a small bowl. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour the ketchup mixture on top. Return to the oven for 8–10 more minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.