5 from 3 votes

Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of the best classic dinner options for busy weeknight meals; it’s easy to whip up from scratch, delivering a tender, moist and flavorful feast. With its filling and tasty homemade charm, this is certainly the ultimate comfort food that takes your dinner game to the next level.

Meatloaf on a platter.


This meatloaf recipe is entirely homemade – no shortcuts or processed ingredients. And you can taste the difference! This traditional meatloaf uses breadcrumbs inside and is topped with a tangy ketchup glaze. It stays true to the original recipe that your mom made when you were a kid. 

And the best part is that anyone can make it! Even if this is the first time you’ve ever made meatloaf, or you’ve been making it for a long time, this is one recipe you’ll return to. 

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Why You’ll Love Meatloaf

  • Topped with a tangy glaze. 
  • A completely homemade meatloaf 
  • Classic recipe with bread crumbs that feeds the entire family. 

Ingredients

The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

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    You only need a few simple ingredients to make the best meatloaf of your life. Here is what I used. 

    • Ground Beef:  Beef tastes best in this juicy meatloaf recipe – use lean. 
    • Egg: This is the binder and keeps all the ingredients together. 
    • Bread Crumbs: This works with the eggs to hold the meatloaf into a loaf shape. 
    • Milk: Use either whole milk or almond milk. 
    • Ketchup: Any ketchup will taste perfect, even spicy ketchup! 
    • Parsley Flakes: This adds some earthy sweetness. 
    • Minced Onion Flakes: Some people like to use fresh onion, but dried flakes or onion powder work just as well. 
    • Seasoned Salt: This adds both saltiness and flavor to the meatloaf. Try this copycat Lawry’s seasoned salt.
    • Pepper: Black pepper rounds out the salt. 
    Meatloaf ingredients.

    How to Make Meatloaf

    • Step One: Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking dish (at least 7×11 inches) with cooking spray.
    • Step Two: Mix all ingredients except ½ tablespoon of parsley flakes and the extra ketchup for topping.  
    Steps to make meatloaf.
    • Step Three: Shape the meat mixture into a loaf and place it into the pan. Top with ketchup until the top of the loaf is fully covered (I used about ¼ cup).
    • Step Four: Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches at least 160°F.
    • Step Five: Garnish with remaining ½ tablespoon parsley (fresh or dried). Slice and serve.
    Steps to make meatloaf.

    Equipment Needed

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    • Baking dish – Use at least a 7×11 baking pan; a loaf pan is the perfect size
    • Large mixing bowl – This large bowl should be big enough to hold all ingredients. 
    • Instant-read food thermometer –  This is the best way to know whether your meatloaf is completely baked before you serve it in individual slices. 

    What to Serve with Meatloaf

    This is the best meatloaf recipe you’ll ever make. Here are some of my favorite sides to serve with this easy meatloaf recipe.    

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Add Worcestershire sauce. Just a dash will enhance all the flavors in the classic meatloaf.   
    • Add a touch of sweetness. Sprinkle some brown sugar into the meat mixture. 
    • Save time and use Italian seasoning instead of individual spices. 
    Meatloaf with slices cut on the end on a platter.

    Storage Instructions 

    Place leftover cooked meatloaf in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. You can also wrap the meatloaf in plastic wrap and place it on a plate in the refrigerator.

    To freeze, separate pieces with waxed paper, place them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

    Meatloaf Tips and Tricks

    • Put the meat in a dish bigger than the meatloaf so it can breathe and won’t pool with grease.    
    • Use lean meat. This will produce less grease in the pan. 
    • Use a meat thermometer to find out of it is fully cooked. This way, you don’t have to slice into it. 
    • Mix the meatloaf mixture in a food processor. 

    What is the Best Meat for Meatloaf? 

    Traditionally, people use lean ground beef to make meatloaf. It has the best flavor and texture and holds together really well. But you can use different types of meat to make a flavorful meatloaf.

    Make a turkey meatloaf recipe with ground turkey. Or make a tasty version with ground pork. It’s also possible to use the pre-made meatloaf mix in the grocery store’s meat section. Just remember that if you use a fattier type of meat, it will probably produce more grease. 

    Meatloaf with slices cut on the end on a platter.

    Can I Bake on a Baking Sheet? 

    If you want it to have a noticeable loaf shape, I only suggest using a loaf pan. It will stay in the shape you like. 

    Make meatloaf in a sheet pan if it is a rimmed baking sheet. Remember, meatloaf creates grease, so a baking sheet without raised edges could allow the grease to spill.  

    What to Do with Leftover Meatloaf 

    As a home cook, you want to ensure that none of your meatloaf goes to waste. Thankfully, there are some creative ways to use your leftovers. My favorite thing is to crumble it up and mix it with spaghetti sauce – this is the perfect topping for spaghetti! 

    Or use it to make meatloaf shepherd’s pie. Place the meatloaf in a casserole dish with more beef gravy, then top with mashed potatoes. It’s delicious! 

    Finally, crumble it up and place it on top of baked potatoes. Then drizzle your favorite sauce on top. 

    How to Keep Meatloaf from Falling Apart 

    Watching your meatloaf fall apart is annoying, especially after all this work! Troubleshoot by adding more breadcrumbs first. This is the most common problem. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then next time, add another egg. 

    The egg and the bread crumbs hold the meatloaf together, so those are the first two ingredients I would change. 

    Is it OK if it’s Pink? 

    Color is not the best indicator of whether meat is completely cooked. Your meatloaf might be 165F in the middle – completely cooked – and still have some pink in some places. If you let the meatloaf recipe before slicing it, this should help all of it brown up. But the best way to know whether it is cooked is to check the internal temperature. 

    Slices of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans on a plate with a fork.

    Should You Cover Meatloaf When Baking? 

    This depends on how your oven bakes. Does it typically burn the top of food? If so, you might want to cover it with foil. If your oven cooks evenly, you don’t have to cover it. 

    Best Fillers for Meatloaf 

    The best fillers for meatloaf will be bread based  – like plain bread crumbs or homemade bread crumbs. 

    If you don’t have bread crumbs, use a dried stuffing mix or crushed saltine crackers. It’s important to use some kind of dry cracker or bread crumbs to bind the meat mixture together. 

    What Other Toppings Can I Use Instead of Ketchup?

    If you don’t like ketchup on top, you can top it with beef gravy or tomato soup, or tomato paste in the last 15 minutes of baking.

    Or get creative! Add some bold flavors with smoky barbecue sauce, or bring in the heat with some zesty chili sauce on top. You can even make a sweet glaze with sugar and tomato sauce. 

    What Temperature to Cook Meatloaf 

    Meatloaf should be cooked until it reaches at least 160F, but 165F is the extra-safe temperature. 

    Meatloaf on a fork.

    FAQ

    What other type of milk can I use in meatloaf?

    Use an unflavored type of milk – like plain almond or oat milk. 

    What is the secret to juicy meatloaf?

    Use enough wet ingredients to keep the meatloaf perfectly juicy! This recipe gives you the perfect balance of moisture and binding ingredients, so every bite is flavorful. 

    How many servings does this make? 

    This recipe makes six servings. 

    Meatloaf Recipes    

    Want more tasty meatloaf recipes that the whole family will love? Here are some of my favorites:

    Try this Impossible Cheeseburger Pie.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    5 from 3 votes

    Classic Meatloaf

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 6
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
    This easy family dinner is a classic recipe perfect for busy weeknight meals. Enjoy the moist and flavorful homemade taste in every tender bite.

    Ingredients
     
     

    • 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
    • ¼ cup milk
    • ¼ cup ketchup
    • 1 ½ tbsp parsley flakes divided
    • 1 tbsp minced onion flakes
    • 1 tsp seasoned salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • Extra ketchup for topping

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking dish (at least 7×11 inches) with cooking spray.
    • Mix all ingredients except for ½ tablespoon parsley flakes and the extra ketchup for topping.
    • Shape into a loaf and place into pan. Top with ketchup until the top of the loaf is fully covered (I used about ¼ cup).
    • Bake for 1 hour or until meatloaf internal temperature reaches at least 160°F.
    • Garnish with remaining ½ tablespoon parsley. Slice and serve.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 636mg | Potassium: 495mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Main Course
    Cuisine American
    Keyword meatloaf

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    5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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    One Comment

    1. Moushira Samuel Abdel Malek says:

      Dear Stacey,
      Love your recipes. I first ran into your Shrimp Chowder, which I have loved then through e-mail got the rest. I just want to tell you I’m from Cairo, Egypt and the nearby retailer to buy the ingredients from does not apply to me. Thank you for all you send ; soups and all .. Bless you Stacey and bless your family ❤️❤️

      Yours Truly
      Moushira

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