Sheet-Pan Meatloaf With Apple Butter Glaze

January 20, 2022
3 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger, prop styling by Brooke Deonarine, food styling by Lauren Lapenna
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Wondering how to use that jar of apple butter in the cabinet and ground pork in your freezer? This pork meatloaf is packed with fresh sage, apples, and vegetables, has a sweet and tangy apple butter & mustard glaze, and plenty of black pepper for a little kick of spice to play with the sweet and savory for an exciting addition to your winter dinner table.

The technique for this loaf comes from my all-time favorite meatloaf recipe written by Alton Brown and shared with the world via the second season of his show “Good Eats” back in the year 2000. The written method requires a food processor, but you can make this recipe without one—you’ll just need to crush the croutons as finely as possible and get your veggie and apple cuts teeny-tiny, which will take a touch more prep-time.

This meatloaf is shaped by hand and uses a parchment-lined sheet tray as opposed to a loaf pan for baking. The shape is wider and flatter than usual, cooks fast—which makes it an easy option to get on the dinner table during the week—and uses a thermometer to assess doneness.

The secrets to a great meatloaf are:
1) Letting the meat temper slightly and not using it right out of the fridge, which prevents the loaf from cracking when the outside cooks much faster than the inside
2) Seriously small cuts on the additions—I make an exception here for half an apple, which I cut slightly larger so there would be meatloaf bites studded with bits of apple
3) Uniform mixing of the ingredients makes for a cleaner slice. I use my hands.
4) Waiting to brush on glaze until after the meatloaf has been in the oven for at least 15 minutes which allows the outside of the loaf to dry slightly and hold onto the glaze better.
5) Resting the loaf for at least 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings if you have folks that want seconds, which I learned happens with this loaf. If you’ve got leftovers, slice and keep them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and sear both sides on a griddle to reheat for a winning sandwich. —Jessica Romanowski

What You'll Need
  • Meatloaf:
  • 2 1/2 cups or 1 (5-ounce) bag seasoned croutons
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into quarters
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 apple, such as Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Fuji, halved, cored, half quartered and half finely chopped
  • 12 to 15 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • Glaze & Assembly:
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Creamy potatoes and/or roasted vegetables, for serving (optional)
  1. Meatloaf:
  2. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven; heat to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a food processor, process the croutons, salt, black pepper, and Dijon mustard until fine breadcrumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In the food processor, quickly pulse the onion, celery, garlic, quartered apple, sage, and parsley 25 to 30 times until finely chopped and even-sized pieces remain, but not so far that they liquify. If there are some larger apple bits, that’s fine, but pull out any pieces of onion or celery that are much larger than the rest. Transfer to a sieve and let drain in the sink. Add to the breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Add the pork, egg, and finely chopped apple to the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Using your clean and/or gloved hands, mix the pork mixture until the veggies, apple, egg, and breadcrumbs are uniformly and evenly distributed throughout the meat.
  7. Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking sheet and form into a rectangle. You are aiming for 6 inches wide, 9 inches long, and 2 inches high, which will feel short, but just go with it—it doesn’t have to be perfect. This recipe works in an oblong shape but will cook and slice more evenly if rectangular.
  8. Bake the meatloaf for 15 minutes.
  1. Glaze & Assembly:
  2. In a small bowl, combine the apple butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Add the vinegar and Worcestershire and stir until well combined.
  3. Brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the meatloaf after 15 minutes, using all of the glaze. Continue to bake, rotating the pan and checking the temperature at the 25-minute mark, for another 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160°F.
  4. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy with the potatoes and/or veggies, if using.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hollie Day
    Hollie Day
  • Elenahunt

2 Reviews

Hollie D. September 12, 2022
Better the next day!
Made this meatloaf last night exactly as written. SO liked it, but I put the recipe in the pass pile. The meatloaf was kind of bland to me, but we had leftovers. I just heated some up for lunch, and flavors are much more pronounced. Very "ready for fall" weather recipe with Thanksigivng stuffing flavor profile. Will make this one again. I will say for the sauce on top, I did give it a once over with the kitchen torch to give it a bit of carmelization that it didn't get with the low oven temp.
Elenahunt February 5, 2022
I have never thought to make a meatloaf with pork, but now I’m a believer!! The apple glaze was delicious. The flavors of apple, sage, and dijon married so well with the pork. I will definitely be making this again!