Recipe Review

I Tried the Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf Reddit Is Obsessed with (and Did Not Expect These Results)

published Nov 9, 2020
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Credit: Kelli Foster

Meatloaf — specifically classic, old-fashioned meatloaf — holds a very special place in my heart. My dad made it regularly when I was growing up, and even after I moved out he made it anytime I came home because he knew it was my favorite. For years his no-frills meatloaf eclipsed all other recipes I tried. When I eventually asked him for the recipe, I learned “his recipe” actually came from a 1970’s-era Betty Crocker cookbook.

Needless to say, when I stumbled on French’s (yes, French’s like the mustard!) 1950’s Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf on the subreddit Old_Recipes, I was instantly intrigued. The meatloaf gets its name because it’s baked in a round casserole dish and topped with a pillowy, yellow-hued topping. At first glance it looks as if the topping could be mashed potatoes, but it’s not — it’s a savory mustard-flavored meringue, which one Redditor described as “the savoury equivalent of Jell-O.” Insert wide-eyed emoji here. It honestly sounded pretty gross, but totally intriguing at the same time. My curiosity got the best of me and I had to give it a try. Here’s how it went.

Get the recipe: Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf

Credit: Kelli Foster

How To Make French’s Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf

The recipe — which looks like it was maybe part of a magazine advertisement for French’s mustard — is short, straightforward, and easy to follow. I started by mixing 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef with 1 1/2 cups fine breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl I mixed egg yolks, kosher salt, French’s mustard, horseradish, finely diced green bell pepper, French’s minced onions, and ketchup. Once combined, I added the mixture of wet ingredients to the ground beef and used my hands to mix everything together. I lightly packed the meat mixture into a 9-inch skillet (I didn’t have a 9-inch round baking dish), and baked at 325°F for 30 minutes.

To make the topping, I beat four egg whites until frothy (about 30 seconds) using an electric hand mixer, added in 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and continued beating on medium-high speed until stiff peaks formed (about two minutes more). I folded in four tablespoons French’s mustard, then swirled the meringue mixture over the par-baked meatloaf. I returned the meatloaf to the oven and baked about 20 minutes more.

Credit: Kelli Foster

My Honest Review of French’s Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf

It was hard not to feel super skeptical about the mustard meringue. But I do love a good old-school meatloaf, and this one had crunchy onions mixed in, so I remained open-minded and optimistic.

This meatloaf — including the mustard meringue — was surprisingly good! The meringue was light and airy, with a mellow yellow mustard tang. I will say that despite all the add-ins (crunchy onions, bell pepper, horseradish, and ketchup), the meat was more mild than I expected. But perhaps that was intentional, because the best way to eat it was partnered with a bite of the mustard meringue, making the whole thing somewhat reminiscent of a ketchup and mustard-topped burger.

What surprised me most of all, though, is that I actually think I’d make this meatloaf again.

If You’re Making French’s Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf, a Few Tips

  1. Any kind of mustard will do. While the recipe calls for French’s Yellow Mustard, any variety will do.
  2. Swap the green pepper for red, or leave it out entirely. Green bell peppers can be very polarizing, and while only a small amount is used here, you do taste it. If green peppers aren’t for you, swap in an equal amount of red, orange, or yellow bell pepper. Otherwise, leave it out entirely. The recipe only calls for three tablespoons and it’s not a critical ingredient.

Have you ever made French’s Crown o’ Gold Meatloaf? Tell us what you thought!