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Meatloaf with Guinness Gravy

This meatloaf with Guinness gravy starts with a base 3-pound meatloaf recipe that can be easily multiplied to feed 25, 50, or even 100 people. Comforting and affordable, tender meatloaf is a traditional American, crowd-pleasing favorite. This recipe lets you deliver that comfort on a larger scale complete with a creamy Guinness Gravy for an extra special meal. (Alternative preparation without beer is included).

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sliced meatloaf topped with Guinness gravy sliced on white dish

Why this recipe works

I have made my favorite family meatloaf at home countless times, but I have also made meatloaf for 50-70 people. The latter requires some adjustments, which is the whole point of this blog haha.

My meatloaf philosophy starts with what I grew up with: stuffing instead of breadcrumbs. Stuffing is my secret for light, moist, tasty meatloaf time and again, regardless of how many people I am feeding.

This meatloaf for 50 or more works because I have worked out the kinks so that you can make wonderful nostalgic meatloaf for a lot of people easily.

  • We use both pork and beef, and lots of airy stuffing, to ensure we get a tender meatloaf because dense meatloaf sucks.
  • We use just the right seasonings and flavor to make it delicious, because bland meatloaf also sucks.
  • Then we top it off with a super easy Guinness Gravy to add even more flavor and to keep it all moist while serving. Because dry meatloaf sucks the most.

The Guiness Gravy is bonus. It is delicious on its own, but it also serves to moisten and protect the meatloaf against drying once sliced for serving. Meatloaf will dry out quickly like the Sahara once it is sliced. So, when serving a crowd of people, this is a significant issue to take into consideration. The Guinness Gravy delivers flavor and protects the meat to keep it perfect.

collage of 2 photos: meatloaf ingredients in bowl (left); the ingredients combined (right)

TIP: If serving people in a location, venue, or situation where alcohol is not allowed, omit the Guinness Gravy. Instead, combine 1 cup ketchup plus 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and drizzle over the formed meatloaf before cooking. Use these amounts of ketchup and BBQ sauce for every 8 servings and multiply accordingly.

How to make meatloaf on a large scale

The challenge to making meatloaf in quantity is the mixing. Everything else: the measuring, the procuring of ingredients, the Guinness Gravy, the baking… is very easy.

A KitchenAid stand mixer or industrial mixer with a paddle attachment is the easiest to use to combine the ingredients. But if that is not available, then simply make in 2x or 3x batches using your hands and a little elbow grease. The ingredients only need to be lightly combined – overmixing leads to a denser meatloaf.

collage of 2 photos: formed uncooked meatloaf (left); cooked whole meatloaf (right)

The size of the meatloaf isn’t as important as is going for uniformity, because we want even cooking. This base 3-lb meatloaf fits perfectly in a 13×9 dish end-to-end. If making more, I do that same geometry (i.e. cross-section of roughly 5- to 6-inch diameter) in hotel pans.

It doesn’t matter how much we are making – the loaf will cook the same no matter how long it is. We cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

collage of 2 photos: left, sliced cooked meatloaf without gravy; right, sliced cooked meatloaf toped with gravy

How much meatloaf to make for a crowd

Quantity is always the big dilemma, right? Just how much food to make because we want to have enough but not too much food.

Meat shrinks as it cooks and loses up to 25% of its weight in water while cooking, so always add 25% when calculating portions. This recipe uses 3 pounds yielding 8 generous servings after cooking. So 25 people would be 10 lbs and 50 people would be 20 lbs (always round up!).

TIP: To ensure perfectly cooked (and not overcooked) meatloaf, cook just to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

sliced cooked meatloaf on white plate


Can this recipe be made with all beef?

Yes. I use all beef in my smaller quantity family meals, but added pork to increase moisture and tenderness in this recipe. I have, however, used only beef at times in my quantity cooking and it works. Be sure not to overmix the ingredients which can lead to a tough loaf.

Can this meatloaf be made in advance and reheated?

Kinda yes. You can make it and keep it warm for up to an hour provided you make the gravy and spoon over AND keep it covered. Keep in a 150 degree F oven, covered tightly in foil, to keep warm.

Is there an alternative for the beer?

This Guinness Gravy is a quick and easy recipe that is easy to scale up. I have not tested other ways to make it at this time. Definitely, do not use beef broth or beef stock in place of the beer as that will be very salty. The easiest alternative is to omit the gravy and go old school: combine 1 cup of ketchup and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, and drizzle that over the meatloaf before cooking to act as a glaze.cooked large meatloaf topped with ketchup in hotel pan

Can the Guinness gravy be made in advance?

Yes, the gravy can be made a day in advance. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat on low heat slowly. The gravy has to be reheated slowly to prevent separation.

TIP: It is always best to finish with a little green! Just a sprinkling of chopped flat-leaf parsley is a perfect finishing touch.

sliced meatloaf topped with gravy sliced on white dish

Needs side dishes to go with your meatloaf? Check out my Easy Oven Peas and Buttermilk, Boursin, and Chive Mashed Potatoes.

sliced meatloaf topped with gravy sliced on white dish

Meatloaf with Guinness Gravy

This meatloaf with Guinness gravy starts with a base 3-pound meatloaf recipe that can be easily multiplied to feed 25, 50, or even 100 people.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 3 lb meatloaf, Guinness gravy, meatloaf for 50, meatloaf for a crowd
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Calories: 599kcal
Author: Erica
Servings: 8


For the meatloaf

For the Guinness gravy


Assemble meatloaf

  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Working in batches as necessary, loosely combine the meatloaf ingredients. A paddle attachment on a stand mixer works well. Alternatively, gloved hands work. Take care to not overwork the meat, or the loaf will come out dense.
  • Assemble meatloaf mixture into loaves or approximately 6-inch diameter in 13×9 bake dishes or full-size hotel pans, depending how much is being made.

Bake meatloaf

  • Bake meatloaf at 350℉ for 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature of the center reads 160℉.

Make Guinness gravy

  • While meatloaf is cooking, make the gravy: melt butter in pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Let it bubble 1-2 minutes to cook the flour.
  • Add the garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Whisk in the beer and cook, stirring constantly, until just slightly thickened.
  • Add the beef gravy, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, if it still needs to thicken. Otherwise, remove from the heat.

Slice meatloaf and serve

  • Once meatloaf is done, remove from the oven and rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve meatloaf topped with gravy.


This recipe calls for purchased prepared gravy, not gravy packets. I have tested McCormick and Heinz brands of beef gravy for this recipe. Both work very well; though I find McCormick has a bit of an edge for flavor.
The Guinness Gravy makes enough for a 1/4 cup per person. A 2-ounce ladle works best for serving.
Once sliced, if the meat is going to sit for any length of time before serving, spoon some gravy overtop to prevent drying.


Calories: 599kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 1078mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g

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