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This Ritz Cracker meatloaf is the most flavor-packed, delicious southern style meatloaf you'll ever eat. With a heaping of ground beef, tasty bell peppers, buttery Ritz Crackers and a sweet chili sauce topping. This twist on a classic comfort food is a real treat that will become your whole family's new favorite meatloaf recipe that's even better next day! It's a great recipe for a leftover meatloaf sandwich too!
For another tasty meatloaf recipe, click here.
or make this sour cream mashed potatoes that's perfect with meatloaf with ritz crackers.
Why this Recipe Works
Not a meatloaf lover? Wait until you’ve tried this delicious meatloaf with ritz crackers. It's one of my favorite ways to make a southern meatloaf. Even sworn enemies of meatloaf LOVE it. Both of my sisters despised meatloaf until they tried mine - now they’re the biggest fans, and you will be, too. Trust me.
This ritz cracker meatloaf recipe hinges on one special ingredient. Of course you guessed it - Ritz Crackers.
Along with the crackers - which, in place of breadcrumbs, make the most incredible juicy and tender meatloaf - I use 80% fat ground beef, which makes the loaf so tender and juicy.
You can also get away with 85% fat too. This recipe also makes for amazing leftover meatloaf sandwiches that taste incredible even on plain white bread. It’s that good. I'll show you how to turn slices of meatloaf into a meatloaf sandwich. More on that below.
This meatloaf is jam-packed with flavor. Oh my goodness, I promise you'll want to eat the entire loaf yourself. We make this several times a month because it's super easy and it's just plain addictive! You'll see.
How to Make Tender, Moist Meatloaf
Meatloaf critics often hold their position for one of two reasons - it’s either tough or dry. And no one wants to eat meat that’s tough or dry, and especially not meat that’s tough and dry. Yuck.
This recipe calls for ingredients that lend themselves to tender, moist meatloaf, but even the best-written recipes are not 100% resistant to simple kitchen errors. Here are some easy tips to avoid tough and dry meatloaf:
- Don’t skip the liquid: This seems obvious, sure, but it’s important. The liquid (milk in this case) is going to add tons of moisture and prevent your meatloaf from drying out.
- Don’t overmix: Say it with me: do not overmix. Overmixing will toughen the meat mixture, and that’ll directly translate into tougher meatloaf. Once the ingredients are incorporated, stop mixing. Don’t worry, there’s a reminder in the recipe.
- Don’t forget the eggs: Again, following the recipe correctly will prevent many of these common errors, but it’s worth mentioning. Eggs might not seem like the most important ingredient, but they’re vital. Not only do they bind the mixture, they provide some much-needed moisture, whose absence you’ll notice if you forego the eggs.
- Cook it low and slow: Don’t think you can get away with increasing the heat to decrease the cook time with meatloaf. That’ll deplete your loaf of all its soft texture and mouth-watering moisture. Set your oven at the correct temperature, and don’t pull it out until it’s done.
- Let it rest: Once your meatloaf is out of the oven, let it rest for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the moisture to spread to every part of your loaf, giving you that tender, juicy meatloaf you’re craving.
How to Know if the Meatloaf is Done
Knowing when meatloaf is done is important because every oven is a little different. Some run a bit hotter, some a bit cooler, and both affect when a dish is finished cooking.
The best temperature to cook your meatloaf should be 350 or 375 degrees F. I prefer to bake this meatloaf at 375 degrees F.
To be sure your Ritz Cracker meatloaf is finished, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. FYI, a 2 lb meatloaf should take anywhere from 50-75 minutes to cook.
Loaf Pan or No Loaf Pan?
Many meatloaf recipes call for a loaf pan, but they’re not necessary. Instead of using a loaf pan, I mold the meat mixture into a loaf, and fold aluminum foil around it to keep it in place. I’m also sure to line my pan with foil for extra support.
How to Make Ritz Cracker Meatloaf
Ritz Crackers Meatloaf Ingredients
- Ground beef: For tender, juicy meatloaf, use 80-85% fat ground beef. Using leaner meat will dry out your loaf.
- Red and green bell peppers: The combination makes for a beautiful depth of flavor, both earthy and sweet. Make sure to finely dice them for a smoother texture.
- Fresh minced onions: Like the peppers, having smaller onions will improve the texture of the meatloaf, making it more consistent throughout.
- Minced garlic: Using minced garlic will aid in the texture, and give a stronger garlic flavor than crushed or chopped.
- 2 large beaten eggs: Remember, using eggs is vital to the moisture.
- Ritz Crackers crumbs: Place them in a plastic bag and hit with a mallet to crush the crackers. If you don’t have a mallet, use a rolling pin.
- Whole milk: This is an important binding agent, and makes for very moist meatloaf.
- Slightly dried basil: The basil, of course, will cook with the rest of the loaf, but using slightly dried basil instead of completely dried basil will give it a fresher flavor.
- Dijon mustard: If you’re out of Dijon, use yellow mustard.
- Worcestershire Sauce: For the perfect depth of flavor
- Seasonings :Dried parsley, dried thyme, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
Meatloaf with Chili Sauce Ingredients
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Brown sugar
How to Make Ritz Cracker Meatloaf
- Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sauté the peppers, onions and garlic.
- Make the ritz cracker crumbs: To a medium bowl, add the milk and crushed Ritz Crackers. Mix well. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, sautéed vegetables, eggs, basil, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, seasonings, and milk mixture to a large mixing bowl. Mix gently. Do not overmix.
- Place meat on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan.
- In a small bowl, add the ketchup, sweet chili sauce, and brown sugar. Mix until combined.
- Spoon half of the sauce mixture over top of the meatloaf.
- Place your meatloaf in your preheated oven and cook for 60 to 75 minutes.
- Halfway through cooking, spoon the remaining sauce over top of the meatloaf. Continue cooking until the meatloaf is done.
How to Make a Leftover Meatloaf Sandwich
Ritz cracker meatloaf also makes a tasty sandwich. Ciabatta bun, French bread and hamburger buns are both fantastic options, but in my opinion the best meatloaf sandwich uses only white bread a thick slice that is. Whatever bread you choose, it’ll make a delicious sandwich.
Top your sandwich however you’d like, or keep it simple with just bread and meat. I prefer my leftover meatloaf sandwich with white bread and no toppings. It makes for the perfect quick and easy dinner or lunch!
If you are feeling a little extra go ahead top the meatloaf sandwich with all your favorite toppings.
Here's the best way to do it:
This is not a recipe for a cold meatloaf sandwich, it's a hot and delicious recipe for the best meatloaf sandwich.
In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add a thick slice of meatloaf. Add softened butter to each slice of bread. Place bread slice face down in the skillet. Top with cheese and cook until melted.
You can even turn this meatloaf into a open-faced meatloaf sandwich.
Assemble the sandwich with your favorite topping.
Meatloaf Sandwich Topping Ideas
Slice of cheese
Cooked red onions (sautéed)
Below you'll find the video and step by step instructions on how to make this southern meatloaf with ritz cracker.
Ritz Cracker Meatloaf
- 1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter or vegetable oil
- ½ cup red bell pepper
- ½ cup green bell pepper
- 1 cup yellow onions diced
- 1 cup crushed ritz crackers
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 lb ground beef Use 80-85% Fat
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp minced garlic minced
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 ½ tsp slightly dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp paprika
- tbsp salt for taste
- tsp pepper for taste
Sweet Chili Glaze
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ¾ cup sweet chili sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Add the vegetable oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onions. Sauté until translucent.
- Add garlic at this point or add it directly to the meatloaf. If adding it to the sautéed vegetable then cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Remove the onions and pepper mixture from the heat to cool off.
- To a small bowl add the Ritz crackers. Pour milk into the bowl with the crackers. Mix to combine. Set to the side for 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- To another small bowl add the sweet chili sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar. Mix well. Reserve for later.
- To a large bowl, add the ground beef, Ritz cracker mixture, sauteed vegetables, garlic, eggs Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, parsley, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika salt, and pepper.
- Use your hand to gently mix the beef into the other ingredients. Do not overmix. You need to mix just until combined.
Sweet Chili Sauce
- Combine the sweet chili sauce, ketchup, and dark brown sugar.
- Spread half of the glaze on top of the meatloaf.
- Wrap foil around the meatloaf.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Add the remaining chili sauce on top of the meatloaf. Continue baking for an additional 30 minutes or until the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer. Sharing is caring, so please share this recipe, so other people can enjoy it!