Tom Colicchio’s Dairy-Free Meatloaf is a Top Chef Contender


I’m always on the lookout for cozy family-friendly recipes in the winter. I’m also on the lookout for sales. My local Aldi had 2-pound packages of ground turkey on sale recently. I decided to try Tom Colicchio’s Dairy-Free Meatloaf recipe from our archives. Even with turkey instead of ground beef, the meatloaf was full of flavor.

Tom Colicchio's Dairy-Free Meatloaf Recipe - a Top Chef Contender! Great with beef or turkey, for dinner or sandwiches. Includes gluten-free and egg-free options. Naturally nut-free and soy-free.

Dairy-Free Meatloaf with Celebrity Chef Status

Believe it or not, meatloaf is often made with dairy. It’s very common to moisten the breadcrumbs with milk before stirring them into the meat. Some breadcrumbs are made with dairy. And some recipes add cheese, naturally. But Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio knows that the best meatloaf is made without dairy.

Tom Colicchio’s dairy-free meatloaf recipe was originally shared with us by Cate O’Malley of Sweet Nicks. She found it in People magazine’s Meals Under $10 column back in 2009. Fortunately, this recipe is a timeless classic.

Tom Colicchio's Dairy-Free Meatloaf Recipe - a Top Chef Contender! Great with beef or turkey, for dinner or sandwiches. Includes gluten-free and egg-free options. Naturally nut-free and soy-free.

I’ve added a few options and adapted instructions from my kitchen, and updated the post with new photos. This hearty dairy-free meatloaf makes enough for dinner as well as for sandwiches the next day. The original recipe says to make a free form loaf and bake it on a roasting sheet. I used an 8×4-inch bread pan instead. Either method will work just fine.

Tom Colicchio's Dairy-Free Meatloaf Recipe - a Top Chef Contender! Great with beef or turkey, for dinner or sandwiches. Includes gluten-free and egg-free options. Naturally nut-free and soy-free.

Special Diet Notes: Tom Colicchio’s Dairy-Free Meatloaf

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free.

For an egg-free, dairy-free meatloaf, see Alisa’s Egg Substitute Guide. She has included at least three options in that guide which work well for meatballs and meatloaf. You can also see the reader comments below.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tom Colicchio's Dairy-Free Meatloaf
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is adapted from People magazine. It was originally shared with us by Cate O'Malley, but I've added some options.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs (see post above for egg-free options)
  • ¾ cup fresh dairy-free bread crumbs (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden, 6 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic).
  3. Remove the vegetables from the heat and let cool.
  4. In a bowl, stir together the meat, eggs, onion and garlic mixture, bread crumbs, mustard, oregano, salt, and pepper until combined.
  5. Form a loaf and place it in an 8x4-inch baking dish or loaf pan (preferably glass) or shape it into a 7x5-inch loaf and place it in a roasting pan.
  6. Spread the ketchup evenly over the top of the loaf.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF for beef or 160ºF for turkey. It may take an additional 15 minutes or so if using ground turkey.
  8. Remove and allow to rest slightly, draining any excess fat or liquid if necessary.
  9. Cut the meatloaf into ½-inch thick slices and serve.
  10. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 2 days.

Resources for Adapting this Dairy-Free Meatloaf

Vegan Grain Meat Grind for a Plant-Based Loaf

Grain Meat Grind Recipe - Homemade Vegan Ground Meat Alternative created by the Head Chef of Field Roast! Dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free.

Great Bread for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Bread Crumb Needs

Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Bread - All dairy-free!

Easy Aquafaba is My Favorite Egg Sub for Meatloaf

Aquafaba - Your Complete Guide to this Vegan Substitute with FAQs, Step by Step Pictures, and More

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. She also shares food and daily dilemmas as a milk allergy mom via her blog, No Whey, Mama. Sarah’s previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.


  1. Kristy Newman on

    I make this using flax egg (1 tbspn flax mixed with 3 tbspns of water per egg and let sit for 5 mins). I also used gluten free rice crackers. We have made the recipe 3 times now and love it. Thanks!

  2. Just made this. It’s really good. So many recipes online have more liquids (milk, or much more ketchup etc) that I was worried it might be dry. It was great. I did make two minor changes: 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground turkey. and I topped with 1 tbs ketchup and 1tbs BBQ sauce.

    My wife is the cook, but I wanted to make my son his favorite meal, meatloaf. With help as good as yours, I got this!

    Thank you,

  3. Just made this for my family. My son is allergic to dairy and eggs. Used an egg replacer and it was delicious!! Definitely a keeper!

  4. Pingback: Sunday Morning Coffee: January 28, 2018

  5. I made this tonight. I used 1 pound of lean ground turkey and 1 pound of lean ground beef. I also left out the salt and pepper, and used GF bread crumbs and no-salt-added ketchup. My 91 year old Mom does not like meatloaf, but she LOVED this recipe! She even had seconds! The meatloaf was moist and tasty. I made two loaves— doubled the recipe. I sliced and froze the second loaf for easy future meals.

  6. This is an excellent recipe. I left out the salt, used oats instead of breadcrumbs, and cut the dijon mustard & ketchup by 1/2 as the meal included by 94 year old grandmother who is on a sodium restriction. Thanks for a great recipe.

  7. We can’t do eggs in our family either so I used a “chia egg” in place of the egg, and it came out great! Just grind 1 Tbsp chia seeds and mix with 3 Tbsp warm water. Let stand a few minutes until it’s goopy and egg-like.

    • Linda, I haven’t specifically tested this recipe without egg, so these are merely suggestions as to what might work well:
      Flax eggs – ground flax combined with water to make a gelatinous egg-like mixture (could also use chia seeds)
      Added moisture – like coconut milk or otherwise to help bind the bread better
      Ener-G egg replacer – I know many people use this successfully in meat loaves
      Avocado – I often use mashed avocado as a binder in savory foods.

      Each egg is about 1/4 cup, so you would want to use roughly that amount for replacement.

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