Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (2024)

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Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (1)

by: Gerhild Fulson / Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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This is THE best meatloaf recipe. It is so simple, so quick, and so delicious! In German, it is called Falscher Hase meaning false hare. The similarity is in shape, not taste!

The loaf is formed into a slightly elongated, flattened shape to resemble a hare (or rabbit). Just think of it like shaping a loaf of bread.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (4)Oma's best German meatloaf is delicious, served either hot or cold. This one's wrapped in bacon, and it really makes the BEST sandwiches. I mean, anything wrapped in bacon is WUNDERBAR!

A traditional German meatloaf recipe is covered with bacon and often has hard-boiled eggs hidden inside.

Especially fun for Easter, it’s a surprise to dinner guests when the meatloaf is first sliced open.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (5)Can you imagine everyone's surprise when you cut this meatloaf into slices? And it tastes so delicious as well!

Since this is such a quick meatloaf recipe to throw together, I usually like to make at least a couple of loaves at once.

One loaf is to eat hot right away, while the other(s) will be stored and reheated for another dinner (slices warmed in the microwave are delicious) or sliced for sandwiches (a real treat!).

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (6)Just meatloaf. No hard-boiled eggs. But it's still covered in bacon. Yep. Bacon adds that outstanding flavor!

Above, I’ve made it without the hard boiled eggs. Whether you make this German meatloaf recipe with or without the eggs, it makes a great dinner that also provides wonderful leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

How to make meatloaf

You’ll see what an easy meatloaf recipe this is to make.

Start by gathering your ingredients for the meat mixture and pre-measure them. For a single loaf, you'll need: 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork (or just use all beef), 2 large eggs, 1 finely chopped onion, ½ cup bread crumbs, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (7)

You’ll want to have everything ready because you’ll be using your hands to mix.

(Ok, you CAN use a wooden spoon if you prefer, but it’s just so much more fun squishing everything together with your fingers!)

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (8)

Mix everything together gently. You don’t want to over mix or the meatloaf will be tough. Just mix it all together until well combined.

Then it’s time to form your meatloaf. You’ll see that below I formed the mixture of ground meat into two small loaves. That’s because I wanted to make one covered with bacon and the other brushed with BBQ sauce.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (9)

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (10)

After it is shaped like a loaf, it is placed in a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Do not use a loaf pan!

Not only does this ensure that the fat cooks out of the meat, making this a healthy dinner choice, it also produces a wonderful crust that is just so yummy.

Making smaller loaves also means there’s more crust to share. The best part of the meatloaves is the amazing crust. YUM!

Then it’s off into the oven. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the meatloaf is fully cooked.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (11)

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (12)

Once the meat reaches 165°F it’s ready to come out and rest a bit. Then it’s ready to cut into thick slices and serve.

You can also let it cool down totally and use it for sandwiches. This is always such a treat.

There’s something absolutely mouth-watering about having a German meat-and-potato dinner. Get Oma's revised collection of her favorites inGerman Meat Dishes.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (13)

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

Meatloaf Variation

This German meatloaf recipe is so versatile. Here I’ve turned 8 pounds of ground beef (that I got on sale) into:

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (14)

  • German meatballs that will be oven-browned and then frozen;
  • 4 mini bacon-covered meatloaves to be eaten right away;
  • meatballs that will be cooked as Königsberger Klopse mit Sossefor the coming week;
  • and some left ground beef to freeze for some future use.

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (15)

I love making this best meatloaf recipe into mini meatloaves… that way there's lots more crust for everyone!

What to serve with meatloaf

Meatloaf served with red cabbageand mashed potatoes is always such a treat.

It is also delicious served with boiled potatoes and vegetables such as creamed Brussels sprouts, traditional German sauerkraut, or pan-roasted baby carrots.

Another German way of making meatloaf is to pour a cup of hot beef broth over the meatloaf while it is baking. When the meatloaf is done baking, the liquid is thickened with a slurry of corn starch and cold water. Then sour cream is stirred in, along with salt and pepper to taste, for a delicious sauce to serve with the meatloaf.

And, of course, one of the best ways to serve meatloaf is cold in a sandwich. So yummy on rye bread with a little mustard or ketchup!

Oma says,

To check seasonings before baking, I put a small amount, about one teaspoon, of raw meat mixture onto a plate.

I microwave that for about 1 minute, or until it sizzles and is cooked through. Let it cool momentarily and taste.

Add extra salt and/or other seasonings as required :-)

Other delicious German meat recipes

  • Oma’s German Beef Rouladen
  • Oma’s Classic German Sauerbraten
  • Oma’s German Schnitzel Recipe
  • Oma’s Chicken Cordon Bleu

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Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (17)

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase

This is THE best meatloaf recipe. It is so simple, so quick, and so delicious! In German it is called Falscher Hase, meaning false hare. The similarity is in shape, not taste! The meat loaf is formed into a slightly elongated, flattened shape to resemble a hare (or rabbit).

Prep Time

15 minutes

Bake Time

60 minutes

Total Time

75 minutes


Makes 4 - 6 servings


  • 2 pounds lean beef (or half beef and half pork)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, (browned in vegetable oil, if desired)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs or 1 Kaiser roll (see hints below)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (optional)
  • 4 strips bacon


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix ground meat, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. If you're hiding hard-boiled eggs inside: flatten the meat into the shape of a square, lay the peeled eggs in a straight line in the middle of the meat, and then fold sides over them. Shape meat into a loaf shape.
  4. If you're not hiding hard-boiled eggs inside: mold meat mixture into a loaf shape.
  5. Place meatloaf into a large shallow container - not into a loaf pan! I use a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  6. Lay bacon slices on top of the meatloaf.
  7. Place dish in preheated oven for 50 - 60 minutes or until done. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat loaves are at 165°F.
  8. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


  • Traditionally, stale buns were used instead of bread crumbs. Easiest is to use a Kaiser roll, and soak it in some warm milk or water for about 10 minutes. Drain it, squeeze out the liquid, and crumble the roll and add to the meat instead of the breadcrumbs.
  • Shape into 2 smaller loaves, so there's more crust - everyone just loves the crusty ends - they're extra delicious!
  • Add any or several of the following: ¼ to ½ cup ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, and/or sautéed mushrooms.
  • Change flavor by adding 1 teaspoon thyme and/or a teaspoon paprika.
  • Other seasonings to try: caraway seeds, fresh parsley, or dried parsley flakes.
  • You can omit the bacon strips to wrap the loaves. Instead, brush with barbecue sauce or ketchup before baking.
  • This tastes so good when it's served with German potato salad.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma |

02.24.2022 revision update

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Top of Best Meatloaf Recipe

Traditional German Meatloaf Recipe – Oma's Falscher Hase (2024)


What is German meatloaf made of? ›

  • 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 lb Beef, 1/2 lb Pork)
  • 12 cup fine dry breadcrumb.
  • 1 tablespoon butter.
  • 2 medium onions.
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley.
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 12 teaspoon black pepper.

What ingredient keeps meatloaf from falling apart? ›

Binders like eggs or breadcrumbs will certainly help to keep your meatloaf together.

What is the basic meatloaf formula? ›

In essence, it boils down to a few simple steps: Combine ground meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and other flavorful ingredients of your choice. Put this mixture in a lightly greased loaf pan and bake it until it's cooked through.

Why do you put milk in meatloaf? ›

Milk and other dairy products, like heavy cream and buttermilk, contain both water and fat, adding two types of moisture to our meatloaf. There's a long-held theory that milk can tenderize ground meat, and this is the reason often cited for cooking ground meat in milk to make a Bolognese-style ragù.

What happens if you put too many eggs in meatloaf? ›

Fewer eggs will create a denser and firmer meatloaf that will be more compact and easier to slice, but more eggs can create a more tender and light texture that allows the meatloaf to melt in your mouth.

What is Bavarian meatloaf made of? ›


What is Bavarian loaf? ›

Bavarian meatloaf is a mix of finely ground beef and pork mixed with herbs, spices, onions, and bread to create a dish that melts in your mouth.

How to make a Bobby Flay meatloaf? ›

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. ...
  3. Whisk together the eggs and herbs in a large bowl. ...
  4. Whisk together the remaining ketchup and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl then brush the mixture over the entire loaf.
  5. Bake the meatloaf for approximately 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Should you cover meatloaf when baking? ›

Should I cook my meatloaf covered or uncovered? The meatloaf can be cooked uncovered. However, if you are concerned about it burning, you can cover the meatloaf with foil for the first 45 minutes and uncover it for the final 15 minutes to allow the meatloaf to brown on top.

Is it better to cook meatloaf at 350 or 375? ›

The best temperature to cook the meatloaf at is 350°F and it requires about 1 hour, give or take a few minutes, depending on size and shape. 1 hour should be more than enough for a 2 pound meatloaf.

How many eggs in the meatloaf? ›

The number of eggs to use in the meatloaf recipe may vary depending on the specific recipe and the quantity of the other ingredients. In many meatloaf recipes, eggs act as a binder that helps hold the ingredients together. A common ratio is about 1 to 2 eggs per pound of meat.

What is the best fat content for meatloaf? ›

A ratio of 80 percent meat to 20 percent fat is the generally accepted formula. Some cooks use 30 percent fat, but there is a fine line between juicy and greasy. This is the reason most cooks choose ground chuck since it has this ideal proportion of fat to meat.

How do you keep meatloaf moist when baking? ›

Use Extra Egg: Eggs act as binders and provide moisture. Add one or two eggs per pound of meat for a moist texture. Make Use of Milk: Soak breadcrumbs in milk before adding them to your mixture. This will keep your meatloaf moist during baking.

Is meatloaf better on a sheet pan or loaf pan? ›

Not only does sheet pan meatloaf bake up faster than its traditional loaf-shaped cousin, it also has more surface area, meaning every bite is laden with that deliciously caramelized topping.

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