Kitchn Love Letters

The Key to the Most Flavorful, Perfectly Moist Meatloaf of Your Life Isn’t Ketchup

published Apr 17, 2024
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Gochujang Meatloaf in a white dish and on two blue dishes
Credit: Irene Yoo

I moved from Korea to the United States when I was 13, and didn’t grow up eating classic meatloaf. My first time trying it was a bit disappointing. It was bland and slightly dry, and the overly sweet ketchup glaze didn’t do much for me. As I was staring at my plate of the unfinished slice, a wild thought hit me all of sudden: What if we make meatloaf Korean?

So when I saw this gochujang meatloaf recipe from a fellow Korean recipe developer and my dear friend Irene Yoo (also known as Yooeating), I immediately had to try it. Her version proves, once again, that Korean flavors can turn the most boring of dishes into something extremely flavorful!  

Get the recipe: Gochujang Meatloaf 

Why Gochujang Meatloaf Is So Amazing

There are a couple of things that make this recipe a standout. First is the addition of fresh shiitake mushrooms. All of the classic aromatics (carrots, celery, and onion) are there, but the shiitake mushrooms bring a new level of umami, while also adding a nice, meaty bite. To make the meat juicy, you use of a combination of ground pork and beef. 

But what really sets this recipe apart is the tangy, slightly spicy gochujang glaze. Unlike most other ketchup glazes, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) adds a flavorful kick. Its tangy spice is balanced out with light brown sugar and a little bit of fragrant toasted sesame oil for a magical touch. 

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe helps you avoid all the potential mistakes that can lead to a bland meatloaf. Cooking the vegetable mixture first will get rid of all the excess moisture, and will ensure the meat mixture remains juicy, not watery. And smart ingredient additions like shiitake mushrooms and gochujang transform the humble dish into something special. Bottom line: If your meatloaf always turns out rather disappointing, this foolproof meatloaf recipe will help you rethink how delicious it can be.

Get the recipe: Gochujang Meatloaf