You might even already have chef Rocco DiSpirito's secret ingredients on hand.

By Meghan Overdeep
May 11, 2018
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Southern Living Moist Meatloaf Secrets
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Love it or hate it, there's nothing as simple, as versatile or as filling as a good old-fashioned meatloaf.

Most families have a tried-and-true meatloaf recipe that has been passed down for generations. Though the variations are endless, nearly every meatloaf recipe has the same universal building blocks: ground meat, a starchy binder, seasoning, and various mix-ins.

And according to award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito, there's one more ingredient you probably never thought to add. This surprising element—which you probably have in your pantry already—is the key to a delicious meatloaf.

In his latest book, Rocco's Healthy + Delicious: More than 200 (Mostly) Plant-Based Recipes for Everyday Life, courtesy of Food 52, DiSpirito shares his recipe for Espresso Meatloaf, in which the secret ingredient is—you guessed it—espresso.

Now, we know what you're thinking: Really? Espresso? In meatloaf?

"Yes, just 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the topping to amplify the beefy flavor of meatloaf," DiSpirito explained to Food 52.

And he's got another breakfast-inspired secret up his sleeve. His recipe also calls for puffed rice (yes, like the Rice Krispies kind) instead of bread as a binder. According to DiSpirito, it's the key to a delectably moist meatloaf.

"In meatloaf, bread is the go-to stretcher-filler and texturizer," he said. "But it turns out that puffed brown rice does a better job, with the mixture of meat, stock, and puffed rice producing the best final flavor and texture."

And, it's gluten free!

WATCH: The Best Way to Shape a Meatloaf

Skeptical? Give it a try and let us know what you think. You can find DiSpirito's recipe for Espresso Meatloaf on and in his latest book, Rocco's Healthy + Delicious: More than 200 (Mostly) Plant-Based Recipes for Everyday Life available now on Amazon.