A cozy, homestyle meatloaf can still be yours, even (or especially?) on the keto diet! This Perfect Keto Meatloaf is a zesty dinner option that’s moist, flavorful, and just about the perfect healthy comfort food.
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Moist, Tender Meatloaf Without the Breadcrumbs!
I know, I know – you’re wondering if it’s really possible to make a good meatloaf without that essential starchy ingredient: breadcrumbs. It’s true, adding breadcrumbs (or cracker crumbs, oats, or what-have-you) helps a meatloaf bind together and absorb liquid, which helps create that ultra-tender texture and juicy bite.
But, I’m here to prove that a keto meatloaf can be just as delicious, even if it is made a little differently. This low-carb lovely is a homestyle meatloaf recipe with all the flavor of your favorite old-school meatloaf, and just a fraction of the carbs! An array of tasty spices, some cheese, and a bit of your favorite nut flour make this recipe work.
What Foods Do You Eat on the Keto Diet?
If you’re familiar with the keto diet, you may know that it’s very low in carbs. In fact, some people mistakenly think that keto means no carbs at all! That’s not the case, but it’s close. One of the most common ways to stay on the keto diet is by limiting yourself to 50 grams (or less) of carbohydrates each day.
For reference, a slice of bread contains about 15 grams of carbs, while half a cup of rice contains about 25 grams.
Other foods have low carbs, but may still add a few to your carb count: for example, half a cup of cooked broccoli is about 3 carbs, while a cup of strawberries rings in at around 8. As you can see, sticking to low and no-carb foods is essential, if you want to keep your count under 50 grams.
So what can you fill up on when you’re following a keto diet? Keto meatloaf, definitely! But also…
- Proteins. Eggs, beef, pork, poultry, fish, and wild game are all great options. Basically, meats are no-carb foods, while eggs contain only about 0.6 grams per egg.
- Dairy Products. Dairy products can be tricky, because some have more carbohydrates than others. Recommended dairy items include butter, heavy cream, plain Greek yogurt, and cheese. Each one of these has different carb counts, so you’ll want to do the math before you use them.
- Veggies: Yay for veggies! Low-carb vegetables include (but aren’t limited to!) avocados, bell peppers, cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts), along with most leafy greens, zucchini, and squash. Again, the carbs per item vary.
- Fruits: Most fruits are sweet, and sweet stuff equals carbs – so you won’t find bananas on this list of low-carb foods. However, berries are lower in carbs than most fruits, making them popular with keto dieters. Limes and lemons can be used to perk up a drink, salad dressing, or other dish, but keep in mind that sweeter citrus fruits like oranges can use up a lot of your daily limit.
- Other Items: Nuts, seeds, unsweetened chocolate, and unsweetened coffee and tea can all be enjoyed in moderation on the keto diet.
The list of ingredients for keto meatloaf may seem long, but it’s still quick to pull together. A lot of the items on it are just seasonings and other pantry staples.
- Olive Oil: Or another neutral oil, for sauteing.
- Onion: Diced.
- Celery: Finely chop a couple of celery ribs.
- Garlic: I like minced fresh garlic for this recipe, but you could substitute garlic powder if you like.
- Seasonings: Dried thyme, oregano, chili powder, and paprika, plus salt and pepper.
- Ground Beef: Lean ground beef is less greasy, but 80/20 beef can be more flavorful and moist. Use what you prefer!
- Cheese: You’ll need a small amount of grated parmesan, as well as shredded cheese for melting. Shredded mozzarella cheese is my preference, but you can also use cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, or any other good melting cheese that you like.
- Nut Flour: I use coconut flour or almond flour.
- Eggs: Lightly beaten, to break up the yolks.
- Worcestershire Sauce: This one small ingredient adds a huge flavor boost.
- Bacon: Regular bacon or turkey bacon is fine.
Is Almond Flour Keto-Approved?
Yes! Since it’s made from ground or crushed almonds, almond flour is a very popular low-carb flour substitute. Coconut flour is also a good option, and it has the added benefit of being “thirsty,” absorbing liquid, and improving the texture of many keto recipes.
How to Make the Perfect Keto Meatloaf
If you’re concerned that making a keto meatloaf might involve a long list of workarounds, fear not! This easy recipe is very similar to old-school meatloaf. All you really need to do is combine the ingredients and stick it in the oven.
- Get Ready. First, you’ll want to prepare for making the meatloaf. Preheat your oven to 400˚F, and lightly grease your baking dish. Next, heat the oil in a skillet, and saute the onion and celery for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, followed by the herbs and spices. Place the sauteed ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Make the Meatloaf Mixture. Add the rest of the meatloaf ingredients (except bacon) to the mixing bowl. Stir and mix until it’s well combined – you may want to use your hands for this, or go with a large rubber spatula.
- Shape the Meatloaf. Turn the meatloaf mixture out into your baking dish, and form it into a loaf. Lay the slices of bacon over the loaf, and tuck the ends under.
- Bake! Bake your keto meatloaf in the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the beef mixture is fully cooked and the bacon is nice and crispy. (If the bacon gets done faster than the meatloaf, you can cover it lightly with foil to prevent it from burning.
- Enjoy. Let the meatloaf stand for about 10 minutes, before slicing and serving with your favorite side dishes.
Helpful Hints for an Awesome Dish
Although this recipe is super-simple, it’s still good to know a few of the little quirks for making keto meatloaf. Read on for my recipe notes, plus a couple of easy variations.
- Don’t Overmix: Overmixing meatloaf can cause the meatloaf to be tough. You want to get the ingredients well-blended, but don’t overdo it! This also applies to shaping the meatloaf – don’t pack it down, just gently form it into a loaf.
- Tomato Paste: This recipe doesn’t have any tomato in it, but if you like a tomato flavor to your meatloaf, feel free to add a teaspoon or two of tomato paste (not sauce!). You may want to add a teaspoon or so of almond flour, to offset the extra moisture.
- Bacon Alternative: The bacon helps keep the meatloaf moist and adds a lot of flavor, but if you don’t want to use bacon, feel free to spread keto-friendly ketchup on top of the meatloaf, or top the meatloaf with sauteed onions.
- Serve Carefully: Low-carb meatloaf tends to be more crumbly than regular meatloaf, so be sure to let it stand for a while before you cut it, and then serve it carefully. A cake server can be helpful for this.
Serving Suggestions You’ll Love
Meatloaf is a hearty main course that only needs a side dish or two to round it out. These easy recipes will make your meal complete.
- Mushrooms: Any beef dish is that much better combined with a mushroom side dish – these Pan-Fried Oyster Mushrooms are just the thing!
- Roasted Veggies: Potatoes and carrots are amazing roasted, but have you tried radishes? These easy Roasted Radishes become soft and almost sweet in the oven – a great low-carb alternative to your favorite roasted root veggies.
- Macaroni and Cheese: Classic mac and cheese is a family-pleasing favorite that’s great alongside a helping of meatloaf. If you want to keep things low-carb, try this easy Keto Mac and Cheese!
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating
- Store: Keto meatloaf is easy to store. Keep it well-wrapped, or store it in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
- Freeze: To freeze, cut the meatloaf into slices and wrap each one in two layers of plastic wrap, or a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil.
- Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
- Reheat: Warm up leftover keto meatloaf in the oven at 350˚F, until heated through.
Perfect Keto Meatloaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, you can also use cheddar cheese, pepperjack cheese, etc.
- ½ cup nut flour, I use coconut flour or almond flour
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten to break up the yolks
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 slices bacon
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet set over medium heat.
- To the heated oil, add the onion and celery and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds.
- Add thyme, oregano, chili powder, and paprika; stir and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer the veggies to a large mixing bowl.
- To the mixing bowl add the ground beef, shredded cheese, nut flour, parmesan cheese, eggs, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix and stir until everything is well combined. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the beef mixture to the baking dish and shape it into a loaf.
- Lay the bacon slices on top, and tuck the ends under the loaf.
- Cook in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until beef is cooked through and bacon is crispy. Cover dish with foil IF the bacon is cooking too quickly.
- Remove from oven and let it stand 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cut and serve.
- Meatloaf Mixture: Mix the meatloaf ingredients just until combined, and try not to overmix because that will result in a tough meatloaf.
- Tomato: This meatloaf recipe is without tomatoes or tomato sauce because of the sugar content, but if you want a tomato flavor, add in couple teaspoons of tomato paste.
- Bacon: If you want to make this without the bacon, that is okay to do, but keep in mind that the bacon does add flavor and extra juiciness. Turkey bacon is also good in this recipe.
- Cheese: I love me some cheese in meatloaf. I like to use shredded mozzarella, but you can also use shredded cheddar or pepper jack, or whatever you like.
- Slicing Keto Meatloaf: Due to the absence of breadcrumbs, low carb meatloaf tends to fall apart if not handled slowly and carefully. I use a cake server to pick up a slice and transfer it to a dinner plate.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.