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Easy Venison Meatloaf Recipe

Healthy and hearty Venison Meatloaf is full of flavor and nutrients! Made from venison, eggs, milk, sourdough breadcrumbs and a handful of spices, this is a great recipe for an easy weeknight dinner.

pinterest graphic for venison meatloaf

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Meatloaf was not my favorite thing ever when I was a kid. When I got married, I learned that my husband loved meatloaf.. so I figured I should learn how to make it. Let’s just say, before I learned how to make meatloaf, I learned how not to make meatloaf. The first go around was dry and the sauce was way too sweet. No one wants dry meatloaf.

After a few more attempts, I realized that when meatloaf is well executed, it’s actually so good. It’s a filling, cozy comfort meal that also makes great leftovers. We were fortunate enough to harvest our own deer this past fall, so we currently have a bunch of venison in our freezer. I have been using nutritious ground deer meat in this classic meatloaf recipe. It’s tender, juicy, full of flavor, with the perfectly tangy sauce on top. It is so delicious served with Buttermilk Sourdough BiscuitsSourdough Artisan Bread, Sourdough Breadsticks, or Sourdough Rosemary Garlic Bread. Add mashed potatoes, a fresh salad or roasted vegetables for a wholesome and delicious meal.

venison meatloaf topped with fresh parsley in a 9x13 baking dish

​what to know about cooking with venison

Venison is meat from a deer, which is a lean meat. Working with venison is similar to cooking with lean ground beef, but with the additional flavor of wild game meat. The intensity of the flavor depends on the deer itself, but it’s a tasty game meat that be used interchangeably with beef pretty easily. In this ground venison meatloaf, I add extra butter into the recipe to make sure it stays moist and tender. If you’re looking for more ground venison recipes, check out this Venison Chili.

venison meatloaf ingredients overview

  • Ground meat – This recipe calls for 100% deer meat, but if the flavor of venison alone is too strong for you, try 1 lb. ground venison and 1 lb. ground beef.
  • Other meat options – Mix things up by using any combination of ground venison, ground beef, ground pork or ground turkey. 
  • Milk – Make sure to use raw milk or whole milk in this recipe. The milk is what keeps the meatloaf nice and moist.
  • Sourdough breadcrumbs – Making your own breadcrumbs is easy and is a great way to use up extra sourdough bread.
  • 2-ingredient glaze: The combination of ketchup and barbecue sauce is the perfect, tangy glaze without being too sweet.
3 slices of venison meatloaf on a white plate. Forks, salt and pepper and fresh parsley in the background.

why you’ll love this recipe

Moist and tender. The addition of whole milk makes this the best meatloaf recipe.

Quality ingredients. Nutrient dense venison, homemade sourdough breadcrumbs, pasture-raised eggs and raw or whole milk.

Simple to make. This is an easy recipe to follow with minimal steps. A true fix-it-and-forget-it dinner. 

everything you’ll need

meatloaf ingredients
  • Ground venison
  • ​Yellow Onion
  • ​Butter
  • Sourdough breadcrumbs
  • ​Pasture-raised eggs
  • Raw or whole milk
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
​sauce ingredients
  • Ketchup
  • BBQ sauce
  • Fresh parsley
tools and equipment

Large mixing bowl

Measuring cups and spoons

9×13 glass baking dish

how to make venison meatloaf

​Preheat the oven to 375 degrees f. 

Chop the yellow onion into small pieces and saute in butter over medium heat on the stove. Add garlic powder. Remove from the heat when the onions are soft and caramelized.

onions and garlic powder in a cast iron skillet

Soak sourdough breadcrumbs, eggs and milk in a large bowl for about 10 minutes. This will allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the moisture and hold the meatloaf together. 

eggs, breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl. Packages of ground venison off to the side

Add ketchup, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper to the bowl. Stir to combine.

soaked breadcrumbs in a bowl with ketchup, salt, Italian seasoning and black pepper

Add 2 pounds of ground venison and caramelized onions to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Do not overmix the venison mixture.

venison meatloaf mixture combined in a glass mixing bowl

Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by rubbing it with olive oil. Add the meat mixture to the pan and shape into a loaf shape – about 10″ x 5″.

meatloaf shaped into a loaf shape in a baking dish

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. While it is baking, prepare the sauce.

Whisk ketchup and barbecue sauce in a small bowl. After 30 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the ketchup mixture over the top and sides. 

venison meatloaf topped with sauce in a glass baking dish

Bake for another 15 minutes or the internal temperature reads 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer. 

​Sprinkle chopped, fresh parsley over the top and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

finished meatloaf topped with fresh chopped parsley

recipe tips and notes

  • Don’t Overmix: When combining the meatloaf ingredients, avoid overmixing to keep the meatloaf moist and tender.
  • Don’t Overbake: Meatloaf is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Cool Before Serving: Let the meatloaf cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. This rest time prevents the meatloaf from falling apart when sliced.
  • Cheesy Option: Add 6 ounces (or about 1½ cups) of shredded cheese (such as cheddar, Swiss, Colby, Monterey jack, or havarti) to the meat mixture.
  • Saucy Meatloaf: If you like meatloaf extra saucy, make a double batch of glaze and use some for serving.
  • Make-Ahead Option: You can make the meatloaf mixture, press it into a loaf pan, cover, and refrigerate for up to one day, then turn it out into a prepared baking dish and bake as directed.
  • Storage: Leftover meatloaf should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
3 slices of meatloaf on a white plate. two forks and fresh parsley in the background

recipe card for venison meatloaf

Venison Meatloaf

Venison Meatloaf

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Healthy and hearty Venison Meatloaf is full of flavor and nutrients! Made from venison, eggs, milk, sourdough breadcrumbs and a handful of spices, this is a great recipe for an easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup raw or whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground venison

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • Fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Chop the yellow onion into small pieces and saute in butter over medium heat on the stove. Add garlic powder. Remove from the heat when the onions are soft and caramelized.
  3. Soak sourdough breadcrumbs, eggs and milk in a large bowl for about 10 minutes. This will allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the moisture and hold the meatloaf together. 
  4. Add ketchup, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper to the bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Add 2 pounds of ground venison and caramelized onions to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Do not overmix the venison mixture.
  6. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by rubbing it with olive oil. Add the meat mixture to the pan and shape into a loaf shape - about 10" x 5".
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. While it is baking, prepare the sauce.
  8. Whisk ketchup and barbecue sauce in a small bowl. After 30 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the ketchup mixture over the top and sides. 
  9. Bake for another 15 minutes or the internal temperature reads 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer. 
  10. Sprinkle chopped, fresh parsley over the top and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

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pinterest graphic for venison meatloaf

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