Meatloaf is one of those dishes that many people just can’t help but crave!
There’s something about the simple flavor of a good meatloaf that is just irresistible.
Unfortunately, there are some ingredients in the typical meatloaf recipe that may not be ideal to eat for certain individuals, and among those are eggs!
If you or someone you’re cooking for cannot consume eggs for some reason, does that mean that meatloaf is just something they will no longer be able to enjoy?
Well, that’s not necessarily the case, and that’s because egg alternatives for meatloaf are available.
What Is Meatloaf ?
Before delving deeper into how we can tweak the meatloaf recipe to make it suitable for those who would prefer not to have eggs in the dish, it’s first important to understand what it actually is.
Meatloaf is a pretty straightforward dish.
It’s made by mixing some kind of ground meat together with basic ingredients including some vegetables as well as a binder of some kind.
The binder is needed for maintaining the distinct shape of the meatloaf.
The meatloaf is typically baked, and right before serving, it is cut irecnto thick slices.
Variations of the meatloaf recipe exist all over the world. Some incorporate additional staple ingredients into the recipe, and the meatloaf itself may also be served with a sauce to help prevent it from drying out.
The Pros and Cons of Using Eggs
It was mentioned earlier that the typical meatloaf recipe calls for a binder, and more often than not, the egg fills this role.
So why does an egg make sense as a binder for meatloaf?
Listed below are some reasons.
- The proteins present in eggs work well when it comes to keeping ingredients in place. As the proteins are cooked, they combine with the rest of the ingredients and hold them together.
- Eggs possess a familiar flavor that many people are fond of. The egg flavor is not overwhelming, so the other ingredients used in a meatloaf will not be overpowered.
- Eggs also add a textural element to the meatloaf. When cooked properly, the eggs add a creamy element to the meatloaf, which works well with the crisp outer crust.
- The creaminess inherent to eggs also brings moisture to the meatloaf.
- Eggs are easy to find, so you won’t need to make any other extra trips to complete the ingredient list for your meatloaf.
Those are the reasons why eggs can work well when used for meatloaf recipes.
However, there are also some good reasons why some people may prefer to avoid using eggs if they can and they are listed below.
- Eggs are “one of the most common allergy-causing foods for children,” according to the Mayo Clinic.(1) Allergic reactions to eggs may include the development of hives, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and in extreme cases, consuming an egg can even lead to the occurrence of Anaphylaxis and a trip to the emergency room.
- Adults may also have an allergic reaction to eggs, although those occurrences are significantly rarer. When an adult does have an allergic reaction to eating eggs, it can lead to nausea and/or an anaphylactic reaction, per Healthline.(2)
- According to a separate article from the Mayo Clinic, eggs aren’t as bad for cholesterol compared to food items with saturated and trans fats.(3) However, there is still quite a bit of cholesterol included in the egg yolk, so people may prefer to avoid consuming that if they can.
- Also, eggs are not consumed by people who belong to certain cultures and religions, and so they would likely want that ingredient out of their meatloaf as well.
The Binders That Can Be Used Instead of Eggs
The good news for those who want to avoid consuming eggs for one reason or another is that there are many alternatives that can be used because other ingredients can also work well as binders inside a meatloaf.
Breadcrumbs are already commonly used to hold together meatballs, so why not ask them to do just a little more and bind together a meatloaf. The bonus of using breadcrumb inside a meatloaf is that they add some pleasing contrast to the soft texture of the meat. It’s important not to use too many breadcrumbs though, as they may suck all the moisture out of the meat.
#2 Flax seeds
According to the Happy Herbivore, flax seeds can also be used as substitutes for eggs when they are ground up and mixed with water.(4) Health-conscious meatloaf-lovers may even prefer flax seeds to eggs, and they also add a different layer of flavor to the dish.
In pursuit of something that can replace the creamy element that eggs add to the meatloaf, people can use cheese. I recommend choosing a type of cheese that melts quickly for a meatloaf recipe.
Applesauce possesses a flavor that partners well with different kinds of meat, so from that perspective, it makes sense as an ingredient to use for meatloaf. It will also help keep the meatloaf nice and moist as it cooks inside the oven.
Cooking an Eggless Meatloaf
Genius Kitchen has an easy-to-follow recipe for an egg-less meatloaf.(5)
The ingredients list includes:
- 2 lbs of ground beef
- 1 cup of ketchup
- 1 teaspoon of spicy brown mustard
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder or more depending on your tolerance for spice
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of onion flakes
- ½ teaspoon of celery salt
- 2 teaspoons of beef bouillon paste
In the case of this recipe, breadcrumbs are used as the egg substitute, but you can also add your preferred alternative.
- With all the ingredients gathered, you can preheat the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After that, mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls while setting aside the ground beef.
- Once both sets of ingredients have been thoroughly combined, you can mix them together along with the ground beef.
- Place the mixture inside a loaf pan. Alternatively, you can also make use of a baking dish and just form the loaf shape yourself.
- Put the meatloaf inside the oven and let it cook for 90 minutes.
- After letting it rest for a bit, you can slice the meatloaf into even portions and then serve them to your friends and/or family members.
If you prefer a meatloaf with a sauce component, we suggest mixing together ½ cup of ketchup and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar to create a sauce that can be slathered over the top of the meatloaf prior to baking and also serve as something to dip into while eating.
You can follow these same steps when using the other egg alternatives.
Because the binder is going to be used inside the meatloaf, even if you use cheese, the ground flax seeds, or the applesauce, they will not burn with all that meat surrounding them.
Also, some delicious side dishes can be served with meatloaf.
For those who want to keep things classic, they can opt for a side of mashed potatoes, while a salad featuring some acidity could provide a nice contrast to the richness of the meatloaf.
Now that you know about the pros and cons of using eggs for your meatloaf recipe and are also aware of some of the alternatives that can be used in the place of them, you can decide which recipe will work best for you and your family.
Some final tips:
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with alternatives to eggs as your meatloaf can still be delicious with them.
- Be careful of the cook time so as not to dry out the meatloaf.
- Explore and ask your friends what other egg alternatives they have used and see if they suit your taste as well.