My family strongly believes this easy meatloaf dinner is best recipe out there! Moist and juicy pork meatloaf uses ground pork mixed with shredded apples, apple butter, and a simple tangy sauce to make a weeknight dinner guaranteed be requested again and again!
Ground Pork Meatloaf Recipe
I hold meatloaf in similar regard as I do bacon roasted Brussels sprouts. Formerly, I was not a fan, but I’m officially in the club and singing the praises.
When I was little, though, different story. The words MEAT + LOAF didn’t conjure up a pleasant image for me, and I believed ground meats should stick to the basics – burgers and tacos.
Eventually I grew to love meatloaf, especially this pork meatloaf recipe, and saw its merit in being the ultimate comfort food. It’s wholesome, versatile, and the sweet sauce it’s covered in is reason enough to enjoy it.
Since my own family has always loved meatloaf, I’ve created other easy recipes to add to the rotation, such as slow cooker Italian meatloaf and Instant Pot meatloaf. But this pork meatloaf uses an unique binder that allows me to enjoy it along with my family.
Similar to gluten-free meatloaf, the recipe uses oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs for the binder. This helps absorb moisture and fat from the ground pork, keeping the loaf juicy, moist, and safe for a gluten-free diet!
The extraordinary flavor comes from the sweet and savory combination. Finely shredded apples and apple butter goes perfectly with ground pork, and it’s all smothered in a tangy, finger-licking sauce.
Below I share, step-by-step, how to make easy pork meatloaf, along with serving suggestions, storing and freezing tips, plus workable ingredient swaps to make your next family dinner a hit!
- Ground Pork – While I love the pairing of pork and apples in this recipe, feel free to swap out other ground meats or a mixture, such as ground beef, pork sausage, or ground turkey.
- Oats – Used for binding the meatloaf mixture instead of bread crumbs. I recommend using quick-cooking oats to bind the meatloaf together. To keep recipe gluten-free, be sure to use certified gluten-free oatmeal.
- Apple Butter – This is used both in the glaze and for seasoning the meatloaf. It is sold by the jams / jellies. Applesauce could be used, but the flavor will not be as concentrated and lack the signature apple flavor.
- Chili Sauce – A great substitute for ketchup in meatloaf recipes and adds a little extra tang.
How to Make Pork Meatloaf
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- Peel an apple and shred apples using a cheese grater.
- Mix together glaze ingredients and set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together meatloaf mixture – ground pork, eggs, oats, apple butter, and seasonings.
- Pour glaze over pork meatloaf and bake until a temperature of 160ºF. (I use a Thermapen One thermometer for the fastest and most accurate readings.)
Why use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs in meatloaf?
Ground oats can be used interchangeably with breadcrumbs in many ground beef recipes, like in gluten-free salisbury steak. Simply replace equal amounts of oatmeal with the amount of breadcrumbs called for.
Be sure to use quick-cooking oatmeal, rather than whole oats, which will fail to bind the meat. If substituting fresh bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of quick oats equals one slice of fresh bread.
I prefer using oatmeal in meatloaf because it’s a naturally gluten free binder. Also, I always have it on hand and it’s easy to measure and dump in. There’s no need to make gluten-free breadcrumbs or buy a special ingredient!
Other ingredients you’ll want to watch out for when making a gluten-free pork meatloaf is if the apple butter, chili sauce, and apple juice are gluten-free and free from barley or malt extract.
types of pans to use
When it comes to baking meatloaf, you have plenty of options for what kind of pan to bake it in. Whether you use a loaf pan, broiler pan, or baking sheet, the meatloaf should be uncovered.
Personally, I prefer using a small broiler pan to catch the grease. I line the bottom pan with a double layer of foil for easy clean-up. You may purchase a meatloaf loaf pan with an insert, but I don’t like storing extra kitchen equipment.
A 9X5 inch loaf pan may also be used. Line the bottom and sides with a large piece of parchment or foil so the meatloaf can be lifted out after it is done cooking. This isn’t my preferred method because a lot of grease accumulates, and the glaze can’t reach the sides.
Alternatively, use a standard baking sheet or baking pan. Simply line the bottom with foil or parchment to catch the drips.
What goes With pork Meatloaf
Besides the classic mashed potatoes side dish, there are many options from comforting, healthy, and fresh. Find what to serve with meatloaf in this free valuable resource or use some of the favorites below.
- Potatoes – mashed, roasted, french fries, or Salt Potatoes
- Vegetables – steamed corn, roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, green beans
- Other starches – rice, polenta, cauliflower rice
- Green salad
Storing, reheating, make-ahead, and freezing tips
Storing: After the meatloaf has cooled, store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Reheating: For oven reheating, place leftovers in an oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with a touch of water or broth and cover with foil. Bake in a 250ºF oven for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.
To microwave, I recommend reheating slices instead of an unsliced loaf. Reheat at 50% power for 2-3 minutes, or until almost heated through. Finish at full power until hot.
Alternatively, place a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly grease the pan and heat for 3-4 minutes per side.
Make-ahead: The meatloaf may be assembled, with the glaze stored separately, and refrigerated up to 24 hours before baking. Wrap the loaf securely in plastic wrap and place the glaze in an airtight container.
Freezing: Unbaked or baked pork meatloaf may be frozen. While unbaked meatloaf may be cooked from frozen, I recommend thawing overnight in the refrigerator for faster baking and to reduce the likelihood of drying it out.
Leftovers may also be frozen. Slice and wrap securely in plastic wrap. Transfer the slices to a ziplock freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw slices overnight in the refrigerator and reheat using on of the methods listed above.
SAVE THIS recipe for PORK MEATLOAF TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
Let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always sharing great recipes!
Juicy Ground Pork Meatloaf with Apple
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a small broiler pan with aluminum foil and place the insert on top. Alternatively, line a baking sheet or baking pan with foil and set aside.
- For the glaze, whisk together chili sauce, apple juice, 2 tablespoons apple butter, vinegar, and dry mustard. Remove ⅓ cup and set both bowls of glazes aside.½ cup bottled chili sauce,2 tablespoons apple juice (may also substitute water),2 tablespoons apple butter,1 teaspoon dry mustard,1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- In a large bowl lightly whisk the egg and then add ¼ cup apple butter, shredded apple, beef bouillon, minced onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and oats. Mix well. Add ground pork and mix with wooden spoon or hands until well incorporated. Shape into loaf and place on the prepared pan. Pour the larger amount of glaze over the loaf and spread evenly. Reserve the ⅓ cup glaze for later.1 egg,¼ cup apple butter,½ cup shredded apple,2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules,2 teaspoons dried minced onion,1 teaspoon minced garlic,½ teaspoon salt,¼ teaspoon ground pepper,⅔ cup quick-cooking oats,1 pound ground pork
- Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush over the remaining glaze. Return to the oven and increase the temperature to 400ºF. Bake for 20 minutes more, or until internal temperature reaches 160ºF. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then slice for serving.
- DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND/OR CLICK A STAR RATING ON THE RECIPE CARD!