French onion meatloaf recipe for a flavour-packed budget meal

22 June 2024

  • Adam Liaw transforms the family favourite meal meatloaf with just a packet of French onion soup mix.
  • Adam praises mince as crowd-pleasing protein that doesn’t have to be expensive. “It is great to have a friend that never lets you down. When it comes to meat, that’s mince, and when it comes to mince, the cheaper is often the better.”
  • His recipe, which serves eight, is bulked out by cheap, flavourful ingredients such as oats and vegetables.
In great news for your wallet, when it comes to mince, Adam prefers to use the cheaper varieties as these contain more fat than the premium, more expensive mince. The slightly higher fat content helps keep your recipes juicy and adds more flavour, too. 

While there’s no end of variations on the classic meatloaf, Adam’s budget version uses oats and veggies to bulk out the ingredients and a packet of French onion soup mix to add low-cost flavour. He tops his meatloaf with a French onion gravy for what he calls a “one-two punch of flavour”.

Video: Watch Adam as he turns a budget-friendly staple – mince – into a family favourite with a twist: French onion meatloaf. 

Adam Liaw’s budget-friendly French onion meatloaf recipe

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Serves: 8


  • 1⁄2 cup stale bread breadcrumbs
  • 1⁄2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1kg minced beef
  • 1 onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 stalk celery, grated
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix (40g)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 eggs

For your French onion gravy:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix (40g)
  • 150mL thickened cream
  • 200g green beans, tailed


  1. Heat your oven to 180°C (fan forced). Combine the breadcrumbs, oats and milk in a large bowl and stand for a minute. Add the mince, onion, carrot, celery, salt, parsley, French onion soup mix, mustard and eggs to the bowl. Mix until all ingredients are combined. You don’t need to knead the filling.
  2. Pack the meatloaf into a non-stick 1.2L loaf tin, mounding it up over the top (there will be too much filling to fit into the tin). Place a piece of baking paper on top and cover with foil. Bake the meatloaf for 90 minutes, then remove from the oven and stand for at least 30 minutes.
  3. For the French onion gravy, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and onion. Fry for 10 minutes until browned. Add the soup mix and cream and bring to a simmer. Add as much water as you need to bring the mixture to a gravy consistency.
  4. Pour boiling water over the beans and stand for 5 minutes, then drain.
  5. Slice the meatloaf into 2 cm slices and serve with the beans and gravy.

For more recipes that are big on flavour but gentle on the household budget, don’t forget to tune into The Brighter Side on Saturday at 6pm. We’ll be adding new recipes here online every week so you can try them at home! 

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