Saltine Barrel Meatloaf

Savory Sensation: Saltine Barrel Meatloaf

An Homage to Hearty Comfort

Welcome to the world of hearty comfort food with a twist – Saltine Barrel Meatloaf. This timeless classic takes the traditional meatloaf recipe and elevates it to new heights with a surprising ingredient: crushed Ritz wafers. Imagine tender ground beef infused with the savory crunch of Ritz crackers, topped with a sweet and tangy glaze. In this culinary adventure, we’ll explore the art of crafting the perfect Saltine Barrel Meatloaf, a dish that will leave your taste buds singing with delight.


  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 32 Ritz wafers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard


Mixing the Meatloaf Mixture: A Symphony of Flavors

Step 1: Prep Work

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Step 2: Binding Agents

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together until well combined.

Step 3: Cracker Crunch

Add the crushed Ritz wafers to the egg and milk mixture, along with the chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Step 4: Meaty Medley

Add the ground beef to the cracker mixture and gently combine until just mixed. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a tough meatloaf.

Forming and Baking the Meatloaf: A Culinary Crescendo

Step 1: Loaf Formation

Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the greased loaf pan, pressing it down firmly to form an even loaf shape.

Step 2: Glaze Garnish

In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard to create the glaze. Spread the glaze evenly over the top of the meatloaf.

Step 3: Oven Symphony

Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C) and the top is caramelized and golden brown.

Step 4: Rest and Serve

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful meatloaf.

Cook Notes:

  • Cracker Choice: While Ritz wafers are traditionally used in this recipe, you can experiment with other types of crackers for different flavor profiles. Try using saltines, butter crackers, or even flavored crackers for a unique twist.
  • Cheese Options: Feel free to swap out the sharp cheddar cheese for your favorite cheese variety, such as mozzarella, Swiss, or pepper jack, to customize the flavor of your meatloaf.
  • Glaze Variations: Get creative with the glaze by adding ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or balsamic vinegar for extra depth of flavor.
  • Make-Ahead Magic: Prepare the meatloaf mixture and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. This allows the flavors to meld and intensify for an even more delicious result.


1. Turkey Twist:

Substitute ground beef with ground turkey for a leaner option. Turkey meatloaf pairs well with the savory crunch of Ritz wafers and the sweet tanginess of the glaze.

2. Veggie Voyage:

Add finely diced vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, or mushrooms to the meatloaf mixture for added texture and nutrition. Saute the vegetables before adding them to the mixture for enhanced flavor.

3. Spicy Surprise:

Kick up the heat by adding chopped jalapenos or a dash of cayenne pepper to the meatloaf mixture for a spicy twist that tantalizes the taste buds.

4. Herbaceous Harmony:

Incorporate fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary into the meatloaf mixture for a burst of freshness and aromatic flavor.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

  • Replace Ritz wafers with crushed pork rinds or almond flour for a low-carb alternative.
  • Use a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or monk fruit sweetener in place of brown sugar in the glaze.
  • Serve with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar for a complete keto-friendly meal.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Opt for almond flour or coconut flour instead of Ritz wafers to reduce the carbohydrate content.
  • Use a sugar-free ketchup or make your own low-carb ketchup using tomato paste, vinegar, and spices.
  • Enjoy the meatloaf with a side of steamed vegetables or cauliflower mash for a satisfying low-carb meal.

A Homage to Homemade Comfort

As you slice into the warm and savory Saltine Barrel Meatloaf, let the aroma of onions, cheese, and spices transport you to a place of homemade comfort and culinary nostalgia. This classic dish embodies the essence of family gatherings and cozy dinners, making it a cherished favorite for generations.

Whether served alongside mashed potatoes, green beans, or your favorite side dishes, Saltine Barrel Meatloaf is sure to evoke feelings of warmth and contentment with every bite. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and prepare to enjoy a taste of homemade comfort that’s as timeless as it is delicious. Enjoy the savory symphony of Saltine Barrel Meatloaf!

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