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Keep Your Man Meatloaf with Sauerkraut

How to make your meatloaf irresistible and unforgettable? Add Sauerkraut. And cooking meatloaf in a cast-iron skillet makes this time-honored dish even more retro! Update this classic comfort food with the nutritious advantage of probiotics and improve your gut health.

December 14, 2021

Keep Your Man Meatloaf in Cast-Iron Skillet

Sauerkraut Meatloaf Recipe

Years ago, I had leftover sauerkraut in the fridge and added it to my meatloaf. It was delicious, but I worried I would not replicate it because I didn’t take notes. I made it several times and achieved the perfect recipe. My favorite way is to make it in a cast-iron skillet but making it in two loaf pans is a great option to eat one and freeze one. All these methods are in this post and recipe below. Try this delicious sauerkraut meatloaf recipe – it makes an excellent addition to your meal rotation.

Sauerkraut and Gut Health

In addition to the flavor, sauerkraut provides to meatloaf, it also improves your gut health. Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that contains probiotics. According to Well + Good, eating sauerkraut can improve your microbiome. A healthy gut provides:

  • Better energy
  • Quality sleep
  • Boost immunity
  • Improves mood
  • Enhances digestion

Ingredient Notes

Meatloaf is forgiving and great for using ingredients in the fridge or pantry. I learned that from my mom. Once we were on summer vacation at the cottage, and she ground Quaker Quisp Corn Cereal into the loaf because it was handy. We ate every bite. But after creating this sauerkraut meatloaf recipe, I don’t wing it anymore. Why I use these ingredients:

  • Sauerkraut – look for packages that say they contain probiotics or live active cultures – usually in the refrigerated section or from the local farmers market.
  • Protein: Grass-fed ground beef, ground turkey or lamb can all be used. The nutrition facts panel below shows this recipe with 90% lean ground beef.
  • Garlic, onions, and carrots are prebiotics. Web MD notes that a healthy gut also needs prebiotics. Ingredients rich in prebiotics give food to the probiotics to do their work. Don’t skip these crucial ingredients.
  • Binding ingredients keep your meatloaf from falling apart. The binders in this recipe are eggs and uncooked quinoa, or almond flour which also makes it paleo and gluten-free. Toasted wheat or rye bread are options if you are not on a paleo or gluten-free diet.
  • Ketchup and mustard add flavor to the meat. Look for condiment brands that comply with your health goals – low salt, no sugar, gluten-free, Whole 30, etc.
  • Meatloaf Toppings – Ketchup, tomato sauce, and barbeque sauce are very common toppings for meatloaf. Look for sugar-free products and low-salt products that comply with your nutritional goals.
meatloaf ingredients
Meatloaf in two loaf pans


Meatloaf can be made in the morning and cooked later or the next day. Assemble the meatloaf and form it into the loaf pan (8 ½” X 4 ½”) or a similar size. Cover the meatloaf and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking; remove the wrapping and follow recipe directions. Note: If you make the recipe below using 1 pound of meat, you may have extra room in the pan. Form the mixture toward the middle (making taller slices) rather than covering the bottom.

Cast-Iron Skillet Meatloaf

Cooking meatloaf in a 10” cast-iron skillet works excellent. It provides more surface area for the barbeque sauce on the top and is easier to serve out of the cast iron skillet than a loaf pan. I know it’s called a meat “loaf,” but it does not have to be in a loaf shape. Since making a meatloaf requires a fair amount of prep work and an hour of cooking, I recommend doubling the recipe to take advantage of the skillet’s size and save time for another meal or leftovers. And using your cast-iron skillet makes this time-honored dish even more retro!

Meatloaf in a cast-iron skillet

Freezer Meal – Eat One and Freeze the Other

Another way to make good use of your time is to triple the recipe. Form the mixture into two loaf pans and cook according to the recipe directions. After the uneaten loaf cools, wrap the container and place it in the freezer or remove the loaf from the cooking pan and wrap it in foil. Follow one of these versions to reheat and set the directions on a freezer label.

  1. Defrost the frozen loaf in the fridge overnight and cook in a pan at 350º for 1 hour. Add extra BBQ sauce on the top, if needed.
  2. Defrost the frozen loaf in the fridge overnight and heat in the microwave on reheat setting in 2-minute increments until warm. Add extra BBQ sauce to the top, if needed.
  3. Forgot to defrost? Place frozen meatloaf in preheated 350º oven for 1.5 hours or until the temperature reads 160º with a meat thermometer.

Recipe Steps

meatloaf ingredients

Prep ingredients for a triple batch that makes two loaf pans serving six.

Meatloaf ingredients in a bowl

Mix ingredients in a bowl.

Meatloaf in two loaf pans

Smooth the mixture into two loaf pans.

meatloaf in two loaf pans with BBQ sauce

Top with the barbeque mixture and cook in the oven.

prepearing meatloaf in foil

Remove the cooled meatloaf from the pan.

meatloaf in foil for the freezer

Wrap meatloaf in foil and date. Place in freezer.

Recipe History

This recipe is a family favorite and has a bit of history. One of my daughters named it “Keep Your Man Meatloaf” because a boyfriend was very impressed with the recipe when she made it. All three of my daughters made this recipe while dating to prove they could cook comfort foods for their boyfriends. Now two are married, and one is engaged!

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meatloaf cooked in a cast-iron skillet

Keep Your Man Meatloaf with Sauerkraut

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Karen
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 80
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


How to make your meatloaf irresistible and unforgettable? Add Sauerkraut. And cooking meatloaf in a cast-iron skillet makes this time-honored dish even more retro! Update this classic comfort food with the nutritious advantage of probiotics and improve your gut health.


Units Scale


  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut, somewhat drained
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup*
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard*
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons uncooked quinoa or almond flour or 1 slice of rye bread, toasted, cut into small cubes**
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef, ground turkey or ground lamb


  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (half used in sauce and another half to serve as a garnish)*
  • 1 Tablespoon red curry paste, chili paste, or sambal oelek, optional*


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. Make Meatloaf – Combine the following in a large bowl – beaten egg, minced garlic, chopped onion, sauerkraut, grated carrot, ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper. Mix ingredients. Add meat and quinoa (or toasted bread) and combine all ingredients. Using hands works best.
  3. Single Recipe: Shape the meat mixture into an 8 ½” X 4 ½” loaf pan or similar size pan and press down to smooth with a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon. Double Recipe: A 10” cast-iron skillet works well or press the mixture into two loaf pans. You may need to form the meat mixture toward the middle of the pan if there is not enough to fill the pan. See Illustration in post. Triple Recipe: eating one and freezing the other, press into two loaf pans 8 ½” X 4 ½”. It’s three times the recipe, but each loaf uses 1.5 pounds of meat in two pans.
  4. Make Sauce – Combine sauce items in a bowl and spread sauce over the meat.
  5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. The meat thermometer should read 165º. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with the remaining BBQ sauce.


* GF, Paleo, SCD – use compliant condiments – ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, chili paste

**For GF use quinoa or almond four, Paleo use quinoa, SCD use almond flour.

Note: The calorie and nutrition panel is based on grass-fed ground beef 90% lean


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Let me know your thoughts on this post!

7 responses to “Keep Your Man Meatloaf with Sauerkraut”

  1. I had this for dinner tonight after prepping it yesterday. I cooked it in my stoneware loaf pan. It is delicious, and I look forward to enjoying leftovers during the upcoming work week. I have always loved meatloaf! Such a filling “comfort food,” and this recipe is a healthy twist on a favorite. I’ll be making this again!

  2. Yum! Make YOURSELF happy with this delicious meatloaf. 😉

    Instead of bread or quinoa, I used almond meal leftover from making almond milk. Since my meatloaf wouldn’t fall out of the upside down bowl into my cast iron pan, I simply smoothed it with a wooden spoon.

    Next time I’m gonna use homemade sauerkraut instead of canned. Anybody know a good recipe?

    • Great job on the substitutions! I have a fermenting cookbook but I have never attempted homemade sauerkraut. Good Luck and thanks for the review. I’m glad you liked it.

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Karen the Supper Sanity Home Chef

Welcome to Supper Sanity

Hello, I’m Karen, a very passionate meal planner. As a mother of three, I have been planning family menus for years. When I was diagnosed with a digestive condition, I found it necessary to follow an eating regime that eliminated many ingredients. That made meal planning a health necessity. I’ve learned a lot and want to share my resources to simplify meal planning, shop efficiently and cook affordable homemade meals. If you wish to try new recipes, plan healthier meals, and enjoy a great dinner with your friends and family, Supper Sanity can help.

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