Eggs are key to a moist and delicious meat loaf. Keep your ratios on point with our Test Kitchen's recipes to always achieve a juicy, comforting meat loaf for dinner.

By Katlyn Moncada
Updated August 04, 2020
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Before we get into the egg to ground beef ratio, you might be wondering what eggs are doing in meat loaf, anyway. An egg is a simple ingredient that plays a complex role in baking and cooking. In cooking up a meat loaf, they serve almost as a glue that holds the ingredients together as well as maintains moisture. So yes, it is important to include those eggs in your recipe. And if you don't have any eggs on hand, we'll give some egg substitutes that could work if you're mid recipe and need an easy swap.

Credit: Blaine Moats
Try Our Best Meat Loaf Recipe

How Many Eggs to Put In Meat Loaf

With the average meat loaf recipe requiring about 2 lbs. of ground meat, you'll usually have 2 to 3 (lightly beaten) eggs included. That makes the egg to ground beef ratio 1 to 1½ eggs per pound of meat in the recipe. This will also depend on the type of meat you're using. For example, our classic meat loaf recipe has 1 lb. ground chuck, 1 lb. ground sirloin, and 2 eggs (along with the milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings). The ground beef chuck has a higher fat percentage (85% lean, 15% fat) adds flavor and moisture while the sirloin (90% lean, 10% fat) adds good structure. This makes 2 eggs the perfect amount. If you have leaner meats such as ground turkey and pork, you might need an extra egg to keep the mixture together.

Test Kitchen Tip: Meat loaf mixtures on the leaner side can be covered with foil for the first 35 minutes of baking to prevent drying out.

Egg Substitutes in Meat Loaf

Maybe you're out of eggs or have someone in the family with an egg allergy. You can still accomplish a delicious meat loaf without eggs! Here are a few egg substitutes you could try swapping in your recipes.

Each egg substitute amount is per one egg:

  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed meal ($3, Target) or chia seeds with 3 Tbsp. water. Mix to combine and let sit about 10 minutes before using.
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce (Sure, it sounds weird, but you won't get the flavor. Just moisture!)
  • 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin with 3 Tbsp. room temperature water

Craving a moist and juicy meat loaf yet? Give one of our favorite twists on the comforting dish a try or make some mini loaves in your air fryer.

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