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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

What Can You Serve with Meatloaf?



four slices of meatloaf on white plate
What can you serve with meatloaf? Find some new, exciting side dishes for meatloaf tonight.

There’s no meal more comforting and that reminds us of home more than meatloaf.

What you can serve with meatloaf isn’t much of a problem either, since it pretty much goes with anything.

But if you’re tired of the same old, same old side dishes, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are eleven side dishes that can be served with meatloaf divided into three categories. From traditional mashed potatoes to healthier options of vegetable sides, you will never have a problem with figuring out what side dishes to serve with meatloaf ever again.

Click the type of side dish you want to create below, or take a look at all our side dish recipes to get inspired.

Meatloaf Side Dishes: Potatoes

Meatloaf Side Dishes: Vegetables

Meatloaf Side Dishes: Other Delicious Options

Meatloaf Side Dishes: Potatoes

Whatever you do with them–mash, bake, or fry–potatoes can fill in the gap of any meal. Sometimes, they can even determine the success, or failure, of your meal.

Bacon mashed potatoes in a white oval bowl

Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Featuring sour cream, bacon, and chives, this recipe is a tasty alternative to plain mashed potatoes. This traditional comfort food will really go very well with meatloaf, but it’s a great side for almost any entrée.


  • 1 pound baby potatoes, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 scallions, sliced


  • In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with 2 inches of water. Bring to boil over medium to high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, covered. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • While the potatoes are being cooked, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. When cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon.
  • Add the milk, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and mash with a potato masher until the liquid is incorporated and some chunks of potato remain. Fold in sour cream, scallions, and the crumbled bacon.
Handful of sweet potato fries

Sweet Potato Fries

This healthier potato recipe actually calls for baking the sweet potatoes, doing away with most added fats. The spice mix of garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper makes these seasoned fries addicting.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3-inch long sticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a big bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with oil. In a small bowl, mix the spices, salt, and pepper. Toss with the sweet potatoes.
  • Spread the seasoned sweet potatoes on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until brown and crisp on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is also crisp, about 10 minutes.
Mashed potatoes in a black bowl next to a black fork

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Another mashed potatoes recipe, but with some spice! Greek yogurt and fresh horseradish bring a tasty twist to a well-loved side dish. It has a harmonious balance of flavors that will complement meatloaf.


  • 2 ½ pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus ½ teaspoon more for seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish (finely grated)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • Fresh parsley (chopped, for garnish)


  • In a big pot, put the potatoes and cover with water up to 1 inch above the potatoes. Add one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain using a strainer and return potatoes to the pot over medium heat.
  • Add the butter, horseradish, milk, and yogurt. Mash the potato mixture using a potato masher until smooth and lump-free. Season with salt and garnish with fresh parsley.

Meatloaf Side Dishes: Vegetables

It’s time to say goodbye to boring veggies. These easy vegetable side dishes that will want you to skip the main entrée! Even kids will be piling their plates with veggies if you prepare any one of these.

Green bean casserole wrapped in cooked bacon

Green bean Casserole Bundle

If you’re looking to switch up your menu, why not try these green bean casserole bundles? This recipe is a more modern take on the favorite green bean casserole, wrapping the green beans in slices of delicious bacon.


  • ½ cup cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup French’s fried onions
  • 3 ½ cup green beans, trimmed, blanched, and cooled
  • 1 pack bacon


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, mix and stir mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, and French’s fried onions. Add green beans and toss to combine.
  • Get small bundles of the green beans and wrap with a bacon strip. Place each in the baking dish with the seam side down.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the bacon is fully cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Roasted vegetables on a table

Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables

This recipe brings you veggies that are perfectly tender and packed with flavor. The best thing about this recipes is that you can use any vegetables you have on hand!


  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Put all the vegetables on the baking sheet. Pour olive oil over the veggies and mix using a wooden spoon or your hands.
  • Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Gently toss to thoroughly combine. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Roast until the vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Brussel sprouts in a white bowl

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

I present to you a new, go-to, quick and easy side dish. Charred and crispy on the outside, lightly caramelized, and meaty on the inside, these brussels sprouts are a better alternative to the traditional roasted Brussels sprouts. They taste fantastic–addictive, even.


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw walnuts
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish


  • Heat skillet over medium-high for 4 minutes. Add the oil and when it is hot but not smoking, add the Brussels sprouts. Shake the skillet so that as many of the sprouts as possible have their cut-side down. Allow them to sit undisturbed until they develop a dark, caramelized sear, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring every few minutes until they are browned all over but becoming tender inside, about 6 to 8 more minutes.
  • Remove skillet from the heat. Stir in the vinegar and the walnuts. Let the residual heat from the skillet toast the nuts. Stir very often to allow even toasting on all sides and avoid burning. When done toasting, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving plate and sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese.

Meatloaf Side Dishes: Other Delicious Options

If you’re looking into reinvigorate your meatloaf meal, here are five recipes to do just that. We include a healthy alternative to a classic and a real version of a boxed favorite side dish, among others.

Broccoli cranberry salad in a green bowl

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

There are a lot of great broccoli dishes and this is one of them. This recipe adds some fruity flavors with apples, cranberries, and lemon. Together with the tangy and creamy dressing, this salad is packed with flavor, color, and crunch.


  • 8 cups broccoli, washed and chopped
  • 4 stalks green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 green apple, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup pecan nuts, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  • In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
  • In a big bowl, toss diced apple with lemon juice. Put all the remaining ingredients in the bowl. Toss with dressing until well mixed.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Mashed cauliflower in a pan

Mashed Cauliflower

This is a very easy and low carb recipe. It is an awesome alternative to mashed potatoes that even people who hate vegetables will love. The secret is flavoring the cauliflower with the right ingredients to turn them mouthwatering.


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Steam cauliflower florets until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Put half of the cauliflower in a food processor, cover, and blend on high. Add the remaining florets, a little at a time, until they are creamy. Blend in garlic, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, and pepper.
Macaroni and cheese in a spoon

Easy Macaroni and Cheese

We promise: once you taste this mac and cheese, you and your family will say goodbye to boxed mac and cheese forever. This creamy real-cheese version will have you craving it again and again.


  • 8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions, drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour mixture and whisk to combine. Cook until the mixture is slightly brown, about 1 minute. Add milk and whisk. Add sour cream and whisk again until the mixture is smooth.
  • Cook on medium-high until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let it boil. You will know the mixture is thick enough when it sticks to the back of the spatula. Once it is thick enough, reduce heat to low. Add cheese and whisk until cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add more seasoning if desired.
  • Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to make the sauce evenly distributed. Let the mac and cheese cool for about 3-5 minutes or until the cheese sauce has thickened a bit more to be able to stick to the pasta.
Creamed spinach in a red bowl

Creamed Spinach

One of the great things about this recipe is it is the perfect dish to use up your dying or not so fresh spinach in the fridge. The creaminess will turn you into an instant fan of leafy greens, spinach particularly.


  • 20 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Cook spinach in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, drain and squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add garlic until soft and fragrant.
  • Add milk, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Simmer until cream cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Add spinach and parmesan. Stir to combine.
Pepper and cheddar bake in an orange pot

Pepper and Cheddar Bake

Here is a perfect side dish that will add the homemade touch to any meal. The bell peppers make this dish both delicious and colorful.


  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups crumbled bread crumbs
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Use cooking spray to coat a baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except butter. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Dot the top with butter.
  • Bake until slightly brown, around 50-55 minutes.

Tips to Make Meatloaf

  • Always use a higher-fat cut; the leaner the meat, the dryer and grainier the meatloaf.
  • To make the meatloaf juicier, don’t skip adding eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, or other wet seasonings.
  • Soak crustless bread in milk first and avoid using packaged bread crumbs as an ingredient.
  • Sauté the veggies to add flavor, texture, and moisture. Cook them before chopping, or, to save on prep time, throw them in a food processor.
  • Remember to not overmix the meat if you don’t want your meatloaf to be dry and dense.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How bad is meatloaf for you?

Traditionally made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef, pork, and veal, meatloaf has too much fat and sodium to be considered good for you. However, you can improve this typically unhealthy dish by using healthier ingredients in preparing it–try ground turkey instead of ground hamburger, for example.

Choosing healthy sides for meatloaf can also make a big difference. Sides are the perfect vehicle to incorporate and vegetables in an otherwise slightly unbalanced meal.

What dessert goes well with meatloaf?

Some delectable desserts that you can serve to finish off a meatloaf meal are ice cream, cake, and fruit pie. Traditional choices such as bread pudding or strawberry shortcake are also suitable.

How do you dress up leftover meatloaf?

Leftover meatloaf need not be boring. There is plenty you can do besides reheating it and putting ketchup on it. Leftover meatloaf is versatile and you can use it in nearly all recipes that use ground beef or sausage. You can use it in spaghetti, quiche, beef sliders, casseroles, and tacos.

Additional Resources:

Image Credits from Flickr and Pexels : “Classic Meatloaf” (CC BY 2.0) by Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife; “Garlic Bacon Mashed Potatoes” (CC BY 2.0) by arnold | inuyaki; “Sweet Potato Fries” (CC BY 2.0) by Kate C Hopkins; “Mashed Potatoes in a Bowl” (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel;”Bacon Wrapped Green Beans” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by David Reber’s Hammer Photography; “roasted veggies” (CC BY 2.0) by karenandbrademerson; “Brussels sprouts sauteed in butter and a” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by TheGirlsNY;”44/365: Cranberry broccoli salad” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by SarahSphar; “Mashed cauliflower anyone? #paleo #David” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by David Reber’s Hammer Photography; “Macaroni and Cheese” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Vancouver Bites!;”Creamed Spinach” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by mealmakeovermoms; “buttermilk mexican casserole” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by telepathicparanoia

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Rhonda Richardson, Editor

Rhonda grew up with parents who gardened, hunted, fished, canned, and preserved food. Her mother was a professional cook and Rhonda credits her teaching everything from how to make homemade biscuits and gravy to what kind of meals to serve for different occasions. In the kitchen, Rhonda uses a mix of old-fashioned country cooking and up-to-date fads in the kitchen, often experimenting with replacing higher-calorie or fat ingredients with healthier options that still retain the delicious flavors of the originals.

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