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Lean Mean Meatloaf

The weather is turning cooler and it’s time to dig out the sweaters and the comfort food recipes. This Lean Mean Meatloaf recipe definitely hits the spot. Made with lean ground beef, this meatloaf recipe cuts the fat but still turns out flavorful and juicy. And isn’t the topping the best part? This one has a secret ingredient.


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Keys to Success #1 – The Lean Meat

For a great meatloaf with less fat, you’ll want to use lean ground beef.

Look for at least 97% lean.

If you can’t find ground beef this lean, you can still use it but you’ll just have to plan for more fat/grease.

You can use anywhere between 2 – 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef.

I made a meatloaf with 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef and it worked perfectly.


Keys to Success #2 – The Pan

If you’re a meatloaf fan, I highly recommend the USA Pan Meat Loaf Pan.

It comes with a perforated insert that allows the fat and grease to drain to the bottom of the pan.

The USA Pan Meat Loaf Pan is a 10X5-inch pan and it easily cooks a 2 1/2 pound meatloaf.

I’ve made meatloaf in it a few times and it drains off an impressive amount of grease but leaves the meatloaf moist and tender.

Having said that, I’ve never had any grease spill over the side when I’ve used my USA Pan Meat Loaf Pan.

There’s plenty of grease left in the bottom of the loaf pan but the meatloaf is not sitting in it and it doesn’t spill over.


Keys to Success – #3 The Secret Sauce

Let me tell you, this sauce is divine!

It has such a unique tangy flavor and it goes perfectly with this meatloaf.

The secret to the sauce is in the apricot preserves.

The apricot preserves add a sweet and tangy touch to the sauce and it’s just so delicious.

Can you use other jellies or preserves? Of course.

It won’t hurt my feelings at all.

If you try other things, I’d love to know your experience.


For 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef, it’ll take 90 minutes to fully cook your meatloaf.

You can add the sauce any time after 45 minutes.

Sometimes I forget and only put the sauce on with 15-20 minutes of cook time left and it’s always been good.

Save this Meatloaf recipe to your favorite Comfort Foods board or your Beef Dinner Recipes board.

Lean Mean Meatloaf

Lean Mean Meatloaf

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Maybe it's magic but this meatloaf is juicy without being greasy. It has loads of delicious flavor without the extra fat and calories. 


For meatloaf:

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef, look for 97% lean
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, finely crushed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

For topping:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 5X9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatloaf. Mix together well. 
  3. Press meatloaf mixture into loaf pan. Set pan on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 1 1/2 hours.
  4. After 45 minutes, mix together ingredients for topping. Spread half the topping over the meatloaf and continue cooking. Use the rest of the topping for dipping. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 560Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 1147mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 47g

Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.

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Thursday 9th of February 2023

Love this sauce! It has just the right sweet zing to it, and the meatloaf is wonderfully moist. I used 93% lean groundbeef, and peach preserves rather than apricot. I made this for two, so only used one pound of beef, and reduced the ingredients accordingly. Using one pound of beef, I was able to add the sauce right away. I tucked a couple slices of bacon over the top and it was done in 35 to 40 minutes. My husband gave it a two-thumbs up :)

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