Sweet And Sour Meatloaf Recipe

It's pretty hard not to love retro or vintage recipes — and recipe developer Kate Shungu from Gift of Hospitality completely agrees with this sentiment. And, what better way to enjoy an old-fashioned meal than through this sweet and sour meatloaf recipe? "The recipe was popular in the 1970s and 1980s," Shungu explains of her meatloaf. "It's a fun, retro dish to make for family members of all ages." Because it takes under 15 minutes of prep but spends an hour in the oven, it's an ideal dish to make and then serve for a casual family gathering or any time you feel like stretching your legs out while the scent of smoky, sweet, meatloaf wafts through the air. 

And yeah, we did say "smoky." Shungu's meatloaf is studded with smoky bacon and slathered in a sweet and sour glaze that caramelizes beautifully as it's exposed to the heat of the oven. Shungo says that the glaze not only "complements the savory meat" but also will appeal to anyone who normally enjoys ketchup on meatloaf. Without further ado, let's get going on this fun, easy, and delicious recipe!

Gather the ingredients for sweet and sour meatloaf

Shungu's recipe for sweet and sour meatloaf begins with ground beef, and ideally a grind that is no more than 80% to 85% lean (because no one ever asks for "dry" meatloaf). In addition to ground beef, you'll need bread crumbs, eggs, some slices of bacon, a small yellow onion (which you will be dicing), a couple teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, and a teaspoon of salt. For the sweet and sour glaze, you'll need a can of tomato sauce, ½ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and some yellow mustard. It may sound like a unique combination, but the ingredients will blend together wonderfully to create a sweet, tangy, and acidic sauce!

Get started by preheating your oven and prepping your onions

Let's get this supper started by preheating the oven to 350 F. If you didn't purchase your onions pre-diced, you'll want to take care of that now because you're going to need them for the next step in this recipe. To dice your onion, use a chef's knife to slice off the ends. Then peel off the onion skin. Slice the onion in half, and then into quarters — keep halving your halves and chopping the onions into smaller and smaller pieces until it's all finely diced. 

Fry the bacon in a pan

If you're making this sweet and sour meatloaf while family (or friends) are gathered, then you might want to consider frying up a little more than the four slices of bacon this recipe calls for, because you can't go wrong by adding more bacon! However, if you want to follow Shungu's recipe exactly, then you'll need to grab just four slices of bacon. Place the slices in a skillet over medium heat, and cook them until they're mostly browned (which is when they'll be crispy). Drain and chop or break the bacon into small pieces, and set aside. 

Form and bake the meatloaf

Grab a large mixing bowl — it's time to form the meatloaf itself. Combine the ground beef, diced onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and the bits of cooked bacon that you just prepared in the bowl. Mix everything gently with your hands, and be sure to avoid overmixing the meat. Then, grab a 9x5-inch loaf pan and pat the meatloaf mixture into it. Finally, pop the meatloaf into the oven and allow it to bake for 50 minutes.

Add the sweet and sour sauce to your meatloaf and serve

While the meatloaf is cooking in the oven, grab a small saucepan or skillet. Combine the tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, and yellow mustard, and allow the mixture to come to a boil. As soon as it does, remove the glaze from the heat. When the meatloaf has cooked for 50 minutes, open the oven, and pour the glaze over the meatloaf. Then pop it back into the oven, and set a timer for 10 minutes. 

After it's done baking, remove the meatloaf from the oven, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve your meatloaf while still warm. This meatloaf pairs wonderfully with mashed potatoes, though it's also just as delicious and fulfilling on its own. We hope you enjoy this flavorful sweet and sour meatloaf recipe!

Sweet And Sour Meatloaf Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
There's nothing better than a fun, retro recipe — and this sweet and sour meatloaf recipe definitely fits the bill.
Prep Time
Cook Time
meatloaf in pan
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ⅔ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 ounces) can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the bacon slices in a skillet over medium heat and cook until crisp. Drain and chop into small pieces, then set aside.
  3. Combine the ground beef, yellow onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, and salt in a large bowl. Add the cooked bacon pieces. Mix gently with your hands to combine, being careful not to over mix the meat.
  4. Pat the meat into a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes.
  5. While the meatloaf is cooking, combine the tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, and yellow mustard in a small saucepan or skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then take it off the heat.
  6. Pour the sauce over the cooked meatloaf, then cook for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Serve while warm.
Calories per Serving 518
Total Fat 32.5 g
Saturated Fat 11.8 g
Trans Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 146.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 19.7 g
Sodium 543.6 mg
Protein 26.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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