This Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf brought back delicious childhood memories. The magical mixture of thyme and marjoram sold me!

This Meatloaf Recipe comes from First Lady, Pat Nixon. I imagine it was published in the newspaper back in the 70s and home cooks across the US gave it a whirl. It’s an Easy Meatloaf Recipe that tasted like my mom’s meatloaf and has stood the test of time. Topping with ketchup and bacon were my additions as well as using a meatloaf mixture instead of all ground beef!

A plate with sliced meatloaf in front of a tray of meatloaf.

Why You Must Make

  • #1 is the addition of BACON! Bacon makes everything taste better!
  • The combination of ground meat makes a tender, flavorful, yet classic meatloaf.
  • It’s easy comfort food!!

The youngest member of the family really, really detests meatloaf. Even meatloaf with bacon! In fact, he dislikes any entree with the word “loaf” attached. One evening, when he was not even 4 years old, Nick inquired about dinner.

I happened to be preparing his father’s favorite salmon loaf (yes, the pickiest man in the world loves salmon loaf. Go figure). I knew he’d pitch a fit if he got wind of my plans, so I spelled out F-I-S-H-L-O-A-F, knowing he knew of no entree starting with F. This kid, who was too young to read, couldn’t tie his shoes, and didn’t venture anywhere without his threadbare Winnie the Pooh, shouted, “FISHLOAF?!!!! I hate fishloaf!” And stomped off. Now he’s nearly 30 and will eat anything. Whew.

Meatloaf Ingredients on a sheetpan with labels.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Eggs, Salt, Olive Oil, Milk
  • Onions – Diced.
  • Garlic Cloves – Minced or use a garlic press.
  • White Bread – Diced into cubes or grind into bread crumbs.
  • Meatloaf Mix – I buy equal parts ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal from my butcher.
  • Dried Thyme and Dried Marjoram
  • Bacon – Par-cooked to make sure it’s fully cooked when the meatloaf is done.
  • Ketchup – To top the meatloaf. May also use your favorite BBQ sauce.

How to Make

Recipe Tips

I tested meatloaf after meatloaf, searching for one that reminded me of my mom’s best version. A friend shared a recipe from our former first lady, Pat Nixon, and I knew it was the one after my first bite.

  • The magical mixture of marjoram and thyme in this recipe reminds me of the meatloaf of my childhood.
  • Using a combination of ground meat makes for an outstanding flavor and texture. Beef is classic, pork adds extra fat, and veal provides tenderness.
  • Feel free to use 2 pounds of lean ground beef if you prefer.
  • PRO-Tip: Don’t use extra lean ground beef. The fat makes for a better texture and moister meatloaf. Plus, using my tip below, any excess grease will cook off into a pan below the meatloaf.
  • I’ve tweaked this easy meatloaf recipe to our liking by topping it with ketchup and bacon.
  • You can use your favorite barbecue sauce instead of ketchup. Or use the retro topping of tomato puree and bread crumbs in Mrs. Nixon’s original recipe.
  • I like to use ground bread crumbs as part of the binder, but cracker crumbs (reduce the salt if the crackers are salty) or quick oats are other options.
  • Adding some milk along with onions will add some moisture to counteract your binder.
  • Also, don’t overwork your mixture while mixing and shaping. I like shaping my meatloaf into a classic loaf, gently with the palms of my hands.
  • Make sure to add enough salt and seasonings. You can swap out my thyme and marjoram for Italian spices, Greek spices, or whatever spice blend works for your family. If you’re unsure about how much salt, start with a smaller amount and test a bit of the meat by frying it in a saute pan. Taste and add more if needed.
  • I precook my bacon so that it will have some color and also so that some of the fat is rendered. Since it will be in the oven for at least an hour, it does not need to be fully cooked.
  • PRO-Tip: Bake this easy meatloaf on an ovenproof rack over a rimmed sheet pan. That way, the meatloaf will not be cooking in the grease and other drippings, as they collect in the pan below.
  • PRO-Tip: If you use a rack over a sheet pan, you can line your pan with a wide piece of foil to make for easy cleanup.
  • For my Meatloaf Sauce Recipe: “Recipe” is probably a bit of an exaggeration! I put a thin coating of ketchup over the meatloaf before adding the bacon. You could also use barbecue sauce if you like that pairing. Both are simple meatloaf sauces.
  • Let your meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

I’m still hoping my bacon-wrapped meatloaf will turn Nick into a classic meatloaf fan one day. My salmon loaf is more of a long shot!

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf in a white casserole dish garnished with fresh thyme.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Meatloaf?

Meatloaf is essentially ground meat mixed with seasonings before cooking. It can be shaped into a loaf form or baked in a loaf pan. Some of the add-ins include onion, garlic, herbs, and ketchup.
To help hold the meatloaf together binders such as eggs, breadcrumbs or even oatmeal are used. Meatloaf can be made with beef, pork, turkey, lamb, or a mixture like in my meatloaf recipe.

How Long Do You Cook Meatloaf?

About 1 hour at 350-375º does the trick for most meatloaf. If you’re unsure that your meatloaf is fully cooked, check that the meatloaf’s internal temperature is 160º. It can be pulled out of the oven at 155º as there will be some carryover cooking time as it rests before you slice.
Cover the meatloaf with foil when it comes out of the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes for easier slicing. To check the internal temperature, insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the meatloaf about halfway down. Note that overcooking can contribute to a dry meatloaf.

What Keeps the Meatloaf from Falling Apart?

The combination of eggs and breadcrumbs helps bind the ingredients together.

Why Do You Add Eggs to Meatloaf?

Eggs provide flavor, richness, moisture along with helping the meatloaf keep its shape.

What is a Panade?

A panade is a combination of bread, crackers or oatmeal with milk. This helps bind the meatloaf along with adding moisture.

You May Also Like:

Check out my How to Make the Best Meatloaf post for more tips along with how to make individual muffin tin meatloaves. And I hope you’ll give this retro Meatloaf Recipe a try!

Stay in touch through social media @ InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes! And if you love the results, please give it a 5-star rating in the recipe card.

Bacon wrapped meatloaf slices on a white dinner plate with a fork and two broccoli spears

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 6 servings

An old-fashioned meatloaf recipe adapted from Pat Nixon, former first lady


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½- 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 slices white bread, either diced into small pieces or ground into bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 pounds meatloaf mix (equal parts ground beef, ground pork and ground veal)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Ketchup
  • 6-8 slices of bacon, partially cooked


  1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
  2. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Add olive oil to a sauté pan, add garlic, and sauté until just golden. Let cool.
  3. Dice or grate bread and soak it in milk.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground meat by hand with sautéed onions and garlic and bread pieces.
  5. Add eggs, salt, pepper, thyme, and marjoram and mix by hand in a circular motion.
  6. Turn this mixture into the baking pan and pat it into a loaf shape, leaving at least one inch of space around the edges to allow fat to run off.
  7. Coat the top of the meatloaf with ketchup and lay strips of bacon across the width of the loaf.
  8. Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour, or until the meat is cooked through. Pour off the accumulated fat after the meat is fully cooked.
  9. Let stand on a wire rack for five minutes before moving to a cutting board and slicing.


If you prefer, use all ground beef instead of the trio of 3 varieties of meat.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 182mgSodium: 1491mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 33g


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