Easy ( & perfectly moist) Meatloaf recipe in the form of Bird Nests. This is a classic family recipe that requires no breadcrumbs, milk, or loaf pan. It’s a different meatloaf recipe that can be prepared with leftover bread. This Meatloaf Bird Nests Recipe is perfect for kids too.
Are you in the search for a slightly different meatloaf recipe? Meatloaf recipe that is moist, easy to make and perfect for kids perhaps? A classic meatloaf recipe that requires no breadcrumbs, cheese, milk or even a loaf pan. You’ve come to the right place.
Our family meatloaf recipe is wonderfully moist and tender, not to mention delicious and really easy to make. This recipe was my husband’s all time favourite when he was little. Now, my kids and I love it. Hope it becomes your favourite too.
MEATLOAF BIRD NESTS – Ingredients
A mix of ground beef and pork (usually use a 1:1 ratio) – recipe can be made with either ground beef (preferably not lean) or pork mince as well.
Eggs – one egg is used for the meatloaf mix, and the rest are placed into the meatloaf bird nests.
Slices of bread (or baguette) – preferably old, dried bread or baguette, soaked in water. Then drained and crumbled. That gives tenderness to the meatloaf.
Onion – one small onion (red or yellow) is needed here.
Dried mint leaves – mint leaves add extra flavor to the meatloaf. Dried oregano or thyme can be used instead.
Salt and pepper, to taste – some minced meats come flavored and do not require extra salt. Others are pure minced meat that calls for reasoning while cooking.
Garlic powder, optional – it’s up to you to add or leave out.
Water – for soaking slices of bread in.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST MEATLOAF NESTS – tips
COOKING TIME – the recommended meatloaf temp for cooking is 180C/360F. Keeping temperature on the low end ensures meatloaf nests stay tender and moist.
HOW TO FORM MEATLOAF NESTS– divide the meatloaf mix into 6 even parts. Then, with your fingers form nests by gently pushing the meatloaf mix outwards, starting from the center (start from the center towards the sides). The bottom should be wide and as thin as possible. The walls should be tall and thick to prevent eggs from spilling out.
PRE-SOAKED BREAD vs. BREADCRUMBS
Using (leftover) bread instead of breadcrumbs ensures the meatloaf becomes tender and moist without having to use milk, cheese, or a sauce. Therefore, I do not recommend using breadcrumbs. Slices of bread could be from leftover (even already hardened) bread or fresh bread. They should be soaked in water until completely soft. Then you’ll need to drain the water and crumble the bread well with your fingers.
If you are wondering how much bread exactly to use (after all not all slices of bread are the same size), a good guide I like to follow is the meat bread ratio (2:1). That way, when baked bread cannot be tasted in the meatloaf.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH MEATLOAF NESTS?
There are a number of options on what to serve with these lovely Meatloaf Nests. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Basic sweet potato wedges – these sweet potato wedges are a dream, soft, crispy on the sides and perfectly easy to make (in oven or air fryer).
Creamy Mashed Potatoes (no milk option) – these simple mashed potatoes are soft, fluffy and extra easy to make.
Easy grilled asparagus – a spring family favorite, made on our small balcony portable grill.
MORE EUROPEAN RECIPES:
- Simit (Turkish twisted sesame seed buns)
- Stuffed Eggplant with Pasta and Parmesan Cheese
- Candied Honey Carrots (in Air Fryer)
- Breakfast Ricotta Cheese Biscuits
- Roasted Zucchini Couscous Salad with Feta
Meatloaf Bird Nests Recipe
- 1 lb (500g) ground beef and pork mix (mince)
- 7 eggs, medium size
- 2 slices of bread , or one medium to small baguette
- 1 onion, finely minced
- t tbsp dried mint leaves , powdered
- 1 tsp salt , or more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
- t tsp galic powder, optional
- water for soaking bread in
- In a medium bowl place slices of bread (baguette) and cover with water. Leave to sit for 10 min (or until bread becomes completely soaked with water and soft).
- In the meantime, in a large bowl add one of the eggs (the rest are for the bird nests) minced meat, finely chopped onion, dried mint leaves, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- The drain bread from water and crumble with your fingers. Bread crumbs should be moist, but no water should be dripping from them. Add to mince meat mix and incorporate well.
- Once meatloaf mix is ready, cover large baking dish with parchment paper. Then divide meatloaf mix in 6 even parts.
- With your hands form 'bird nests'. The bottom should be as thin as possible. The wall should be tall and thick (to prevent eggs from spilling out later). Then add eggs one by one in each meatloaf bird nest. Adjust meatloaf nests as needed to prevent eggs from spilling out.
- Bake in preheated oven (180C/360F) for about 30-40 minutes, or until eggs become cooked and look firm. Enjoy!
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