I hereby nominate today to be declared “Ugly Recipe Day!” Ugly recipes, you see, need love too. Sometimes the ugliest ones are actually the best. Cape Cod Cranberry Meatloaf is one of those recipes!
It’s definitely not pretty (and I totally bow down to anyone who has the ability to make gorgeous meatloaf), but it sure is good.
How to make Cape Cod Cranberry Meatloaf:
Well, it starts with your typical meatloaf mixture: ground beef, breadcrumbs, and onion bound together with eggs, milk and ketchup. Fresh thyme and rosemary are mixed in too, and the whole thing is set into a loaf pan loaded with a generous puddle of brown sugar- sweetened cranberry sauce. The sauce seeps into the meatloaf as it bakes, loading it with flavor and keeping it moist and tender too.
My family of three gives my Cranberry Meatloaf 3 double-thumbs-up. We usually like to use ketchup to dunk our meatloaf into, but this recipe has enough flavor on its own. No dunking ketchup needed. The meat itself is tender, and the sweetened cranberry sauce lends a slight sweet flavor to the dish. It’s a dinner-repeat in our house for sure. I serve it with my favorite scalloped potatoes.
Favorite Meatloaf Recipes:
- Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf
- Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf
- Turkey- Pesto Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce
- Mini Meatloaves
- Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana Meatloaf
Cape Cod Cranberry Meatloaf
- ½ cup whole cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2½ pounds ground beef (I used 85% lean)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 small (about ¾ cup) onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 to 4 whole bay leaves
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the cranberry sauce and brown sugar. Place the cranberry sauce mixture in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (except bay leaves and thyme sprig) and mix well. Set the meat loaf mixture in the pan on top of the sauce.
- Top the loaf with bay leaves and thyme sprig and bake 1½ hours or until cooked through. **Place a rimmed pan on the rack under the loaf to catch any excess drippings. (Line that pan with foil if you want easy clean up!)
- Allow the loaf to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig. Very carefully use a spatula to scoop underneath the meatloaf and move it to a serving plate. Drizzle some of the pan juices over the loaf.
- If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure to use brands of cranberry sauce and ketchup that are known to be GF, and use GF breadcrumbs in place of regular breadcrumbs.