You've baked a nice meat loaf, but it crumbles once you cut it.The addition of eggs and breadcrumbs are key factors in keeping a meat loaf together as is making sure the meat loaf isn't too dry, which can also make it fall apart. Oversaturating your meat loaf with too much milk or sauce will also make it crumbly. The addition of vegetables can help keep the meat loaf together too.
Use ground chuck beef when making meat loaf. The fat of the meat is an important component of the meat loaf as it helps keep the meat loaf moist thereby keeping the meat loaf together. Lean minced meat or sirloin has less fat and is therefore harder to use.
Add three to four fresh eggs per pound of meat and about one-fourth of a cup of cracker or breadcrumbs per pound of meat to the meat loaf.
Add vegetables such as half a cup of chopped red bell pepper, spinach or portobello mushroom to your meat loaf which will also help it retain its moisture. Combine these with your other meat loaf ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Press the meat loaf together firmly on a pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil before baking. Pressing the meat gets rid of any air pockets and will help keep your meat loaf together.
Food Network.com recommends adding ground pork to your meat loaf mix to help it bind or making a meat loaf out of ground turkey to reduce calorie and fat intake. Soak the breadcrumbs in water, if you are still having trouble binding your meat loaf. Adding a cup of flour is also an option.
High-calorie toppings including bacon, canned cream of mushroom soup and ketchup add fat and sodium to your meat loaf recipe, according to Food Network.com.