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Venison Meatloaf

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Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

No matter what the weather, comfort food is always on the menu in my house! We love making easy, tasty comfort food that the whole family can enjoy, and this venison meatloaf is just the ticket.

Venison Meatloaf with ketchup sauce on mashed potatoes

The venison mixture adds a twist on traditional ground beef – perfect for a flavorful and juicy venison meatloaf or to make venison burgers. This meatloaf recipe is so easy to make, and so delicious. So pull out your meatloaf pan and give it a try tonight!

Venison Meatloaf with ketchup sauce on mashed potatoes on circle white plate

Venison Meatloaf Ingredients & Substitutions:

Venison Meatloaf ingredients

Ground venison – use other ground meat instead of ground deer meat such as ground beef or ground pork. This will alter the flavor slightly. 

Canned tomatoes with green chilis – drained. The green chilies add a kick of heat to this meatloaf mixture. Plain canned tomatoes could be used instead. 

Small onion – finely chopped. Use yellow or white onion. 

Large eggs – bring to room temperature. 

Old-fashioned oats – uncooked. These oats help to bind the meat mixture so that the meatloaf keeps its shape and doesn’t fall apart. Bread crumbs could also be used. 

Parmesan cheese – Always use freshly grated cheese for the best flavor. Mozzarella or another mild cheese would also work in this recipe. 

Seasoning – I’ve used black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. For extra flavor, consider adding fresh parsley, cayenne pepper, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. 

How To Make Venison Meatloaf

  • Preheat the oven and grease the meatloaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine venison, tomatoes with green chilis, chopped onion, eggs, oatmeal, Parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, and garlic powder in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.
  • Transfer the meat mixture from the large mixing bowl and shape it into a loaf shape in the greased loaf pan.
  • Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F.
  • Let stand a few minutes before serving. You can add your favorite sauces to the top of the meatloaf or leave it plain. 


Different palates like different toppings. We love a simple ketchup glaze, while others prefer BBQ sauce or even brown gravy.

Here are a few popular ways to top your venison meatloaf:

  • brown gravy
  • sawmill gravy
  • melting cheddar cheese on top, during the final 10 minutes of cooking
  • BBQ sauce on top, during the final 10 minutes of cooking

Vegetables are a natural pairing with meatloaf. Carrots, green beans, and even mashed potatoes all go well with this comfort food classic.

If you want to get a little fancier, try adding roasted brussels sprouts or roasted sweet potatoes as a side dish.

Try one of these delicious side dishes with your venison meatloaf:

  • Roasted brussels sprouts
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Mashed potato fritters
  • Green beans with bacon
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Honey-glazed carrots
  • Roasted red potatoes

You can also find my list of 25+ side dishes that go with venison here.

How To Store Venison Meatloaf

Store leftover deer meatloaf in the fridge for up to 3 days, wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, to prevent dry meatloaf. Reheat the sliced meatloaf in an iron skillet with some olive oil over medium heat. Leftover meatloaf can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat as directed above. 

Recipe FAQ’s:

How do I know when the meatloaf is done cooking?

Venison is very similar to ground beef in texture, but it usually has less fat. It can burn, or be overcooked quite easily because of this. But, don’t let that scare you away from making this tasty venison meatloaf. The secret is to watch the time and take it out as soon as the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F internal temperature.

It will continue to cook a bit after removal from the oven, so don’t worry about it being underdone. It’s actually better to be a bit underdone for more flavor and juiciness. We love ground venison recipes in our house and we eat it much more often than beef.

What is venison?

Venison is the name for meat from a deer. The word comes from the Latin word venari, which means “to hunt.” Venison can be hunted or farm-raised, but regardless of its origins, it’s a delicious and healthy alternative to other meats like beef or pork.

There are many different cuts of venison, including tenderloin, roast, and ground venison. Ground venison is perfect for making meatloaf, as it’s already been trimmed of fat and cut into small pieces.

Where do you get deer meat for dinner?

Venison is deer meat. If you are fortunate enough to have a hunter in your family, venison may be plentiful. However, if you don’t have a hunter, you can try bartering with friends who DO hunt.

Some butcher shops are even starting to carry venison. Call around and see if you can find a source of deer meat near you.

What is the best meatloaf pan?

There are all sorts of different pans on the market that claim to be the best for meatloaf. We’ve tried a few of them and have found that the best pan for meatloaf is actually a simple glass loaf pan.

You don’t need any special features, just a plain old glass pan. This will help the meatloaf cook evenly and brown nicely on the outside.

Now that you know all about venison meatloaf, it’s time to get cooking! This is a delicious, easy recipe that the whole family will love.

Other Venison Recipes You’ll Love

I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious classic meatloaf recipe! If you try it, please come back and leave me a comment letting me know how you liked it. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I love hearing from you!

Venison Meatloaf Recipe:

Venison Meatloaf with ketchup sauce on mashed potatoes on circle white plate

Venison Meatloaf

Yield: 8 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes

No matter what the weather, comfort food is always on the menu. We love making easy, tasty, comfort food that the whole family can enjoy. This venison meatloaf is just the ticket.


  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • 10 ounce can tomatoes with green chilis drained
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


    1. Heat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine venison, tomatoes with green chilis, chopped onion, eggs, oatmeal, parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, and garlic powder in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.

    3. Shape mixture into greased 8” x 4” loaf pan.

    4. Place upper oven rack in 350°F oven.

    5. Bake 60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F.

    6. Let stand 10 minutes.
    7. Cut into slices and enjoy.


You can substitute ground beef or ground turkey for venison, if you'd like.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 469mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 34g

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