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"Paper-Bag" Meatloaf

“Paper-Bag” Meatloaf
10 votes, 3.70 avg. rating (74% score)
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I’ve been cooking a lot of meat in (or on) parchment paper lately: chicken wings, meatloaf. And I’m finding that not only is this technique neat and tidy, it does a bang-up job of creating a very crisp crust. My theory is that the paper encourages the meat to render its fat more completely, the way bacon crisps up when you cook it well, but I need to do a little more reading to confirm this. In any case, I highly recommend lining your baking sheet with the paper next time you want to produce crisp-skinned chicken thighs, wings, or breasts. Cook the meat skin-side down and you’ll be all set.

Meanwhile, parchment also works similar wonders with this meatloaf recipe. You’d think the meat would merely steam when wrapped in paper, coming out gray and soggy, but here’s what I got:

Cooking in parchment gives the meatloaf a crisp crust and moist interior.
Photo/Art by Amy Traverso
Cooking in parchment gives the meatloaf a crisp crust and moist interior.


It’s utterly delicious, with that browned crust and rich flavor. The recipe comes from our latest cookbook, Yankee’s Lost and Vintage Recipes and is a favorite of our friend, Faith Middleton of WNPR in Connecticut.


“Paper Bag” Meatloaf Recipe

This recipe is adapted from one shared by reader Carol Learned, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “My Grandfather, George Learned, taught me how to cook,” she wrote. “This is his recipe for meatloaf that I’ve been using for 45 years and I would imagine he used it for as many before that. He was well known in Ware, Massachusetts, for running Dale Brothers’ Laundry until he retired, and then he often cooked at church suppers. Any meatloaf recipe can be used—the secret is in the brown paper wrap.”

George did use regular brown paper bags for his loaf, which he buttered,  but I like parchment because the meat doesn’t stick to it and doesn’t require the extra fat.

Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1¼ pounds ground beef
¾ pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium-size green pepper, finely chopped
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1 ¾ teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and use clean hands to gently toss them together until evenly mixed.
  2. Lay a piece of parchment approximately 18×13 inches into a rimmed baking sheet, and turn the meat mixture onto the paper. Shape into a rounded loaf; then wrap completely in parchment to form a neat package, tucking the ends underneath.

Meatloaf, wrapped and ready to bake

3. Transfer the loaf on the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 160° to 170°, about 1 ½ hours.  Let cool 10 to 15 minutes–the crust will set during this time—then remove the parchment and serve.20131114_132629

Amy Traverso


Amy Traverso


Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !
Updated Thursday, November 14th, 2013

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2 Responses to “Paper-Bag” Meatloaf

  1. February 12, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    i tried putting my meatloaf in parchment paper. i didn’t have all the ingredients that you had, but i ‘m going to make your recipe one day soon because it looks so yummy. you are right parchment make meat loaf so moist and delishious!

  2. tina January 15, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    This looks so tasty – but what about the grease? Does it stay inside the parchment?

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