Turn on the jukebox and slice yourself up a traditional Meatloaf Sandwich.
A meatloaf sandwich is the answer to leftover meatloaf (Turkey Meatloaf is the perfect recipe), and will get you lovin’ on meatloaf if you aren’t so sure about it yet.
When you sink your teeth into toasty, buttery bread holding together juicy meat with melted provolone, you’ll think: “this could not possibly be meatloaf!”
Meatloaf would do anything for love! (Wait, wrong meatloaf).
A leftover meatloaf sandwich is not so dissimilar to a Steak Sandwich or BLT, both classic, comforting meaty sandwiches.
I know a meatloaf sandwich might sound like what Susie Q. would order at a 1950s diner, but there are good reasons why meatloaf and meatloaf sandwiches have been an enduring part of American culinary culture.
A Brief History of Meatloaf
- Meatloaf originated as a way to use up scraps of leftovers and stretch protein, becoming a staple for these reasons during the Great Depression.
- Today, meatloaf is still a staple on the family dinner table, as it is easy, healthy, tastes savory, is filling, and makes great leftovers.
You might also have mixed feelings about meatloaf if you have childhood dinner table trauma surrounding a chunk of ketchup-smothered mystery meat your mom said was grandma’s recipe.
I encourage you to overcome your loafy bias and give meatloaf a second chance with this easy leftover meatloaf sandwich recipe.
How to Make a Traditional Meatloaf Sandwich
Step one: Make meatloaf.
Step two: Turn it into a sandwich!
It’s as easy peasy as a grilled cheese sandwich (like this Air Fryer Grilled Cheese), with just five minutes prep time, ready in less than 20 minutes total time.
- Meatloaf! This Turkey Meatloaf is the tried-and-true perfect meatloaf recipe, which can be made with ground turkey or beef. If using a freshly-baked meatloaf for meatloaf sandwiches instead of leftover meatloaf, let the meatloaf rest before slicing.
- Bread. You can use your favorite sandwich bread for making your leftover meatloaf sandwich recipe. I would choose something sturdier like sourdough or multigrain to keep the sandwich from falling apart.
Best Bread for Meatloaf Sandwich
- Sourdough is great because its oval shape matches the shape of the meatloaf, making for a tidy sandwich with every ingredient in each bite.
- English Muffin Bread would be delightful with this meatloaf sandwich recipe because the little pockets of bread would get filled with your mayo (or other meatloaf sandwich condiments of choice) and cheese.
- Oatmeal Bread is another no-knead sandwich bread recipe that is sturdy enough to hold the meatloaf.
If your bread is larger than the meatloaf slices, you can grill a few extra slices of meatloaf, then piece a few together for each sandwich (the cheese will hold the pieces together).
- Butter. For coating the bread slices to toast the sandwich. You may also use buttery spread.
- Cheese. I like the mild flavor and high melt factor of provolone with the meatloaf, but you can use your cheese of choice.
- Mayo. Or Greek yogurt, my favorite creamy condiment for meatloaf sandwiches. It muddles with the melted cheese to deliver an ooey-gooey sandwich of your dreams.
- Sear the sliced meatloaf (you can also have a cold leftover meatloaf sandwich—see below).
- Place buttered bread in skillet. Top with mayo or Greek yogurt, cheese, meatloaf, and toppings.
- Lay another slice of bread on top, buttered-sides up. Grill the meatloaf sandwiches on each side until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. ENJOY!
Be patient! Low-and-slow guarantees melted cheese and crisp, but not burned bread. Don’t be tempted to speed it along on medium-high or even medium heat.
How to Serve Up a Meatloaf Sandwich
As with any sandwich, toppings can be king, or you can go as Plain Jane as you please.
Hot or Cold?
A meatloaf sandwich can be enjoyed hot or cold (served cold and topped with mayo is considered a classic), but I’m partial to it warmed as per this recipe for the melty cheese and toasted bread factor.
Meatloaf Sandwich Condiments
While a meatloaf sandwich is not a burger, it can be enjoyed with similar toppings.
- Mayo. I like to swap the mayo for plain Greek yogurt to keep it light (and if you’re an OG Well Plated reader, you know how I abhor mayonnaise).
- Ketchup and mustard.
- Hot sauce.
- Sprinkle of salt.
More Topping Suggestions
Choose your favorite toppings!
- Pickled Onions. Prepare zippy red onion and then keep on hand in the refrigerator for sandwiches and salads.
- Roasted Red Peppers are another ka-pow topping.
- Sliced tomato
- Arugula, lettuce, or other similar greens
- Air Fryer Bacon
- Sautéed Mushrooms
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover meatloaf sandwich in an airtight storage container for up to 1 day.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or with a panini press, or enjoy sandwich cold.
- To Freeze. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and then foil. Let thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
This recipe yields 8 sandwiches, but you can adapt it to any amount of leftover meatloaf. You can prep the sandwiches the day before up to the grilling step. If grilling a single sandwich, you can do so in a small skillet.
What to Serve with a Meatloaf Sandwich
Air Fryer Potato Chips
Sweet Potato Fries
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Non-Stick Frying Pan. This pan comes in multiple sizes, is oven and dishwasher safe.
- Bread Knife. Proper knives for each type of cutting and slicing job is a game-changer.
- Cooking Oil Sprayer. This is a nifty tool for turning your cooking oil of choice into a spray.
Whether you are a longtime meatloaf sandwich lover or just learning to change your tune, this fabulous meatloaf will be love at first bite.
Frequently Asked Questions
Obviously, you are going to want to try this leftover meatloaf sandwich recipe first. If still looking for more ideas, think of using leftover meatloaf as you would meatballs (meatloaf is akin to one giant meatball, after all). Try it crumbled on top of a pizza (Whole What Pizza Dough is so easy), or crumbled in a vegetable soup, such as Minestrone Soup, to add some protein.
Meatloaf can be made gluten free by swapping the breadcrumbs for certified gluten free bread crumbs, and then convert your gluten-free meatloaf into a sandwich with your favorite gluten-free bread. Easy!
A meatloaf sandwich can be enjoyed hot or cold! If you have the time to toast it in a pan, I recommend it.
For the Meatloaf Sandwiches
- 4 slices leftover meatloaf see Turkey Meatloaf for a great recipe
- Nonstick spray canola oil, or additional butter
- 8 slices sourdough or similar bread I like an oval-ish loaf to match the meatloaf slice shape
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mayo or plain Greek yogurt, optional
- 1/4 cup buttery spread or softened butter
- 4 slices provolone cheese cheddar cheese, or your cheese of choice
- Sliced tomato
- Pickled Onions
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Arugula lettuce, or similar greens
- Coat a large, nonstick skillet with nonstick spray, or brush with oil or butter so that you have a light coating. Heat the skillet over medium low. Place two slices of meatloaf on the skillet. Cook on each side for until the meatloaf is lightly browned in places and warmed through, about 3 minutes per side. If your bread is larger than the meatloaf slices, you can grill a few extra slices, then piece a few together for each sandwich (the cheese will hold the pieces together).
- Meanwhile, spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of mayo (or Greek yogurt) and the other with a thin layer of buttery spread, spreading the butter all the way to the edges. Remove the meatloaf slices from the skillet. Lay 2 slices of bread in the skillet, buttered-sides down. Top each with a slice of cheese, slice of warmed meatloaf, and any other desired toppings. Lay another slices of bread on top, buttered-sides up.
- Grill the meatloaf sandwiches on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 4 minutes per side (be patient! Low-and-slow guarantees melted cheese and crisp, but not burned bread). Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches. Let sandwiches cool a few minutes before serving.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover meatloaf sandwich in an airtight storage container for up to 1 day.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or with a panini press, or enjoy sandwich cold.
- TO FREEZE: Wrap individually in plastic wrap and then foil. Let thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating.
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