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

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

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I searched and searched for that magical meatloaf recipe that reminds me of my mom’s. This Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf brought back delicious childhood memories.

This Traditional 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 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.!

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

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

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.

He feels the same way about meatloaf, even this traditional meatloaf recipe.  Nick would much rather have Beef Tenderloin (well, I can’t blame him there!), Beef Teriyaki Kabobs, or even Strawberry Salsa Topped Salmon. He’s away on a 3-day overnight retreat with 60 other seniors in high school. I imagine one of the blessings he’s counting is not having meatloaf for dinner.

Overhead view of a Easy Meatloaf topped with Bacon in a white casserole on a green and white checked napkin

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

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.

It was the magical mixture of marjoram and thyme that was etched in my memory. I’ve tweaked this easy meatloaf recipe to our liking by topping with ketchup and bacon and using a blend of ground meats.  Feel free to use 2 pounds of lean ground beef if that’s your preference.

Mrs. Nixon topped her meatloaf with tomato puree and bread crumbs, but bacon definitely trumps that combo.

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

Tips for How to Make Meatloaf with Bacon

  • PRO-Tip: a mixture of equal parts ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal. The veal adds some tenderness and the pork some extra flavor and fat. If you have objections to either the pork or veal, all ground beef is fine.
  • PRO-Tip: Don’t use extra lean ground beef. The fat makes for a better texture, moister meatloaf. And using my tip below, any excess grease will cook off into a pan below the meatloaf.
  • 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: I like to bake my 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.
  • 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 about 10 minutes before slicing.

Wondering How Long to Cook Meatloaf?

I find that about 1 hour at 350-375º does the trick. 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.

More Meatloaf Recipes You’ll Love:

Check out my How to Make the Best Meatloaf post for more tips along with how to make individual muffin tin meatloaves.

Bacon Topped Meatloaf - Pure comfort food with a retro flavor profile!

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

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

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


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2- 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Ketchup
  • 6-8 slices of bacon, partially cooked


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

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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69 comments on “Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf”

  1. I bet that bacon added loads of flavor! Yum!

  2. It looks delicious. I have never had meatloaf, but I’m sure it’s one of these dishes which can be disgusting but also amazingly good when made well with good quality products. If i make one, I’ll certainly add the bacon layer.

  3. YUM! These bacon topped meatloaf looks so delicious! Love it! 🙂

  4. I <3 bacon.... havent had it in two years, but man I couldn't resist that. It really stinks to get old!

  5. I am into meat loaf Lizzy but that does not mean I am not admiring this lovely one you have made. That bacon pieces on top looks so good with that crispy part here and there.

  6. hands down amazing. Who doesnt love bacon? I love this

  7. Fantastic that topping with bacon helps keep moist the meat but also give a great flavour!

  8. Kids man, they just ruin everything 😉

    I jest! I bet your fishloaf was ace. I certainly know this BACON COVERED DREAM is ace!!!

  9. too funny – gotta say – Not sure how mine would have done with fishloaf at that age. This meatloaf looks great. I love meatloaf and it is always better with bacon!

  10. Oh Lizzy I love meatloaf …. sorry if I didn’t visit your blog, but I was on Holidays in Morocco…. hugs, Flavia

  11. I absolutely love meat loaf! Great idea adding ketchup and bacon. Definitely a winning recipe.

  12. Now you’re making me hungry ! tsk ;D It looks absolutely decadent ! Salmon loaf really sounds delicious though hahaha

  13. Ah the joys of eating what you like when the kids are gone! This does look fabulous, bacon makes everything wonderful. Enjoy the day!

  14. My family likes meatloafs of any kind, even meatless! But this one looks so good, I guess bacon keeps all the juices locked in, so the flavor must be incredible. Great post, Lizzy!

  15. I’d say that your little man knew his mind for sure. His loaf spidey senses are akin to Dudette’s with regard to zucchini. Kids are amazing.

    I’m loving the bacon on top of your loaf. Since I’m just coming into loaf love myself, this appeals to me a lot. The juices from the bacon would baste the loaf and keep it so moist and tender. I’m sold!

  16. Meatloaf is always a favorite in my house and the bacon just makes it awesomer!

  17. Now I am craving this for lunch it looks so good. I can also imagine how good it smells too.

  18. Meat-loaf – we don’t eat a lot of it in Europe… it’s quite an American thing I think, but I’ve had it a few times and love it… what’s not to like about it. Not sure about fishloaf though, lol 😀

    Love all that bacon draped over the top… yum!

  19. Liz, love this meatloaf and your bacon is wonderful on it~!! There’s hope for took a while for Rees to come around too~!

  20. Such a great story. 😉 I was cracking up. Love that bacon topping.

  21. This sounds delicious. I always love meatloaf on day two when it can be thinly sliced and made into a sandwich. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  22. It’s the bacon! I’ve go to try this recipe.

  23. After seeing the pictures of this my 14 year old wants to move in with you!
    mary x

  24. Liz – This dish looks delicious! My boys love bacon so I’m sure this would be a homerun with them. And I love the new look of your blog (haven’t been here in a while)!

  25. You had me at bacon! I’ve put bacon in meatloaf, but never thought to top it with bacon!!! This looks delicious and we are def loaf lovers here. Too cute about your son!

  26. This looks wonderful. I am a huge fan of bacon meatloaf, but we are ALL meatloaf lovers here. With cheese, bacon or balsamic glaze… We love them all equally.

  27. How can he not like meat loaf wrapped in bacon, bacon make everything good. I think of meatloaf as an old fashion dish but when ever I eat it I want more, more, more. great recipe.

  28. Fishloaf…?! what?!

    Hhaha, L O V E the bacon on the meatloaf. Creative 🙂

  29. i am a nonloaf liker too, but i know man food when i see it and my husband would worship me if i made him this tonight 🙂

  30. You had me at bacon. I love meatloaf. I will have to give your version a try. Thanks for sharing.

  31. It. It’s. It’s beautiful.

    Like something out of Epic Meal Time.

    I need to make this. This, of all the recipes you have posted. I have a new goal.

  32. Like your son, I have an aversion to meatloaf. Unlike him, though, it’s because growing up my mom made the worst meatloaf and it’s scarred me for life.
    I’m sure yours is tasty. The pictures are fantastic!

  33. I simply cannot imagine NOT liking meatloaf. It is one of my comfort foods. This looks like the ultimate meatloaf wrapped in all that bacon. It has to be delicious!

  34. We aren’t big meatloaf fan at this house, but you add bacon, and I think all of us would be happy!

  35. This sounds delicious and I love the bacon wrapped about the loaf. I have to agree with your son, tho – I hate fish loaf! lol But meatloaf – now that’s just good comfort food!

  36. What if you called it meat cake or baked bacon and meat patty? Did he attend a hostel. Meat loaves served there can probably forever traumatised you. BTW great bacon to meat ratio.

  37. Wow, I love your meatloaf…looks delicious especially wrapped in bacon…who can resit bacon?
    Hope you are having a great week Lizzy 🙂

  38. I’m actually a big fan of meatloaf (and really, anything with bacon) but I have to admit that I haven’t made meatloaf myself yet! This is a great recipe and one that’s making my mouth water 🙂

  39. Oh, how I love those delicious, crispy slices of bacon on top! Great recipe, Lizzy!

  40. I love meatloaf, Brian doesn’t. (What kind of man doesn’t like meatloaf? I always though of it as “guy” food.) So I never cook it. Oh, and with bacon on top…sigh. Guess I’ll have to come to your house 🙂

  41. I love meat loaf and bacon makes everything better! This looks amazing! What time’s dinner? We all be right over 😉

  42. Your son reminds me of my son and onions. I ban him from coming into the kitchen if I’m starting to cook because if he sees me put onions into something… he’s not eating it. You know I love meatloaf and bacon… win.. win… and since you made it I know it’s going to be another win. 🙂

  43. This looks delicious Liz! When I was younger we only had one incident with meatloaf and it was probably my moms only attempt. Somehow it caught on fire! Yes fire! Then it ended up being more like meatloaf slop. Fond memories of meatloaf. 😉 But this seriously sounds delicious & I especially love the bacon on top!

  44. Aren’t families funny? I remember little honest tricks – my father wouldn’t eat goat cheese – but he liked chevre. Tee hee. This house loves, loves meatloaf and I always look for new ways to prepare it – but it must be hearty and this is definitely a “meat-lovers” meatloaf! Love it.

  45. The meatloaf sounds amazing with all the yummy bacon on top!

  46. I love anything with bacon & this looks so inviting, dear!

  47. Heavenly!!!!

    I bet this baby is so moist and yummy….
    Beautiful job Liz!!!

  48. I can’t believe that people doesn’t like meat loaf, my sister hates it since she was a child but I LOVE it I think that it’s one of my favorite meals and yours looks perfect

  49. I love, love bacon. Great recipe.

  50. Bacon gives everything such wonderful flavor, and presentation. Love your meatloaf with all those beautiful crispy slices of bacon. I remember, in the seventies there were so many recipes that were topped with bacon…even put slices on turkey, shrimp wrapped in bacon, even hot dogs wrapped in bacon…good Lord…just babbling and reminiscing over here; next thing you know, I’ll be “bawling” missing the old days:DDD

  51. Lizzy, I forgot to congratulate you for the Top 9!

  52. Woah! This is top 9 material Liz! Congratulations. 🙂

  53. It’s been ages since I’ve made a meatloaf! I would pick the bacon off first and no one else would get any.

  54. And I can’t imagine how somebody can not like meatloaf 🙂 I just love them 🙂

  55. This looks awesome…love the bacon on top…

  56. Meatloaf gets such a bad name, as most people have a 50’s diner perception of the food. Recipes like this help to change these unfortunate ideas. Of course bacon makes everything better. 🙂

  57. We know it’s not an original thought, but bacon really does make everything better! Once we went to bacon-topped meat loaf we never went back, it just doesn’t seem complete without it! Very delicious!

  58. Hah, look at em being the voice of descent. i am not really a huge fan of bacon, so I think I would like the meatloaf (the flavoring of which I adore!) better without it 😉

  59. I love the look of this meatloaf! look at those bacon strips! so yummy!

  60. My son is addicted to bacon – I bet he could eat this all by himself! 🙂

  61. I say hooray for meatloaf! 🙂 Looks so tasty and delicious with his crispy bacon… buono!

  62. I don’t know how anyone could detest meatloaf! I love it, and I know your has to be good especially with the bacon!

  63. Handsome loathes anything with the word loaf in it too… which makes me terribly sad, because I love a meatloaf and this one looks like its perfect.

  64. Thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday: Meatloaf. Have a great week.

  65. I can understand picky eaters since I was once the pickiest of them all. Love this fall comfort food, and I can’t wait for some cooler weather here to go with it!

  66. The bacon on top takes this meatloaf over the top! So delicious! This will definitely be a regular on our rotation!

  67. Thank you so much for the tips! This was a huge hit at my house!

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