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Best Meatloaf Recipe

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close up overhead shot of slices of meatloaf on a wooden board
This meatloaf recipe is made of lean ground beef mixed with a savory combination of seasonings and topped off with a delicious homemade meatloaf sauce.
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Table of Contents
  1. MEATLOAF RECIPE INGREDIENTS
  2. MEAT LOAF RECIPE SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
  3. HOW TO MAKE THIS MEATLOAF RECIPE
  4. WHAT TO SERVE WITH MEATLOAF
  5. HOW TO STORE THIS MEATLOAF RECIPE
  6. MEATLOAF FAQs
  7. More Recipes You’ll Love
  8. JUMP TO RECIPE

This recipe makes the tastiest meatloaf with a unique and delicious flavor while still delivering the traditional dish we all know and love. It’s so easy to make the sauce that goes with it, and it’s the perfect finishing touch to this hearty meal.

close up overhead shot of slices of meatloaf on a wooden board

MEATLOAF RECIPE INGREDIENTS

meatloaf raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need: 

For the Meatloaf

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

For the Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

MEAT LOAF RECIPE SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

PROTEIN: When making this dish, you can swap out the lean hamburger for another type of ground meat if you’d like. Ground chicken meatloaf or ground turkey meatloaf are two other good options.

ONIONS: If you’re not a fan of onions, this recipe can be made without them.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Sauté the onion before mixing it into the beef mixture. Sautéing will release the onion’s flavors, making your meatloaf even more flavorful.

HOW TO MAKE THIS MEATLOAF RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick spray.

STEP TWO: Place all of the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl.

meatloaf ingredients added to a bowl

STEP THREE: Mix with spoons or hands until fully combined.

PRO TIP:

While messy, mixing the raw meatloaf mixture with your hands is the best way to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.

Do not overmix the meatloaf mixture. Overmixing will make the meatloaf dry and dense.

STEP FOUR: Shape the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place it into a well-greased loaf pan.

meatloaf in a baking dish and sauce ingredients being combined in a saucepan

STEP FIVE: Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

STEP SIX: Pour half of the sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

sauce being poured on top of meatloaf

STEP SEVEN: Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

STEP EIGHT: Remove the meatloaf pan from the oven and add the rest of the sauce. Then, return to the oven and bake for another 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F on a meat thermometer.

meatloaf after being baked in a baking dish

STEP NINE: Remove from the oven and let the meatloaf rest a bit before slicing.

PRO TIP:

Letting the meatloaf rest is an important step in this delicious recipe. It makes the meatloaf easier to slice but also allows time to lock in the juices.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH MEATLOAF

This flavorful meatloaf recipe is the ultimate comfort food and is perfect for an everyday meal. Add green beans and mashed potatoes or dinner rolls on the side.

Our blueberry cobbler would be a perfect end to this cozy meal.

For two more way to enjoy this classic comfort food, try our crockpot meatloaf and muffin pan meatloaf.

HOW TO STORE THIS MEATLOAF RECIPE

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftover meatloaf in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER: This traditional meatloaf recipe can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap and foil.

Then, place it in a freezer bag. Defrost meatloaf in the fridge before reheating.

close up overhead shot of slices of meatloaf on a wooden board

This homemade meatloaf recipe is a classic home-style meal. Lean ground beef is mixed with a savory combination of seasonings and then topped off with a delicious tangy glaze.

You can’t go wrong with this simple traditional dinner for busy weeknights.

MEATLOAF FAQs

How do I make sure my meatloaf doesn’t turn out dry?

Dry meatloaf can be a result of overmixing. Only mix the meat until all the ingredients are combined. The other key to moist meatloaf is adding moisture at every step.

For best results, don’t skip adding any of the wet seasonings including the eggs, tomato paste, mustard, or Worcestershire. They add both flavor and texture, while also making the meat super juicy.

What is the best meat for meatloaf?

Lean meat is perfect for this easy meatloaf recipe. An 80/20 meat mixture is just right as you want a bit of fat for flavor but you don’t want your meatloaf swimming in grease.

How long should I cook meatloaf for?

The cooking time will depend on the amount of beef you are using. Make sure your meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

What ingredient keeps meatloaf from falling apart?

There are three components that help keep the meatloaf from falling apart. First, you will want to use ground beef with a high fat content as it helps to bind the ingredients together. Similarly, eggs also act as a binder. Finally, breadcrumbs or oatmeal will help absorb any excess moisture and hold the ingredients together.

Do you bake meatloaf covered or uncovered?

Our recipe instructs you to bake your meatloaf uncovered and we find that adding the sauce partway through cooking will help keep your meatloaf moist while it is in the oven.

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close up overhead shot of slices of meatloaf on a wooden board

Meatloaf

5 from 84 votes
This meatloaf recipe is made of lean ground beef mixed with a savory combination of seasonings and topped off with a delicious homemade meatloaf sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Meatloaf

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean hamburger
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  • Place all of the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl
  • Mix with spoons or hands until fully combined.
  • Shape into a loaf and place into a well-greased loaf pan
  • Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour half of the sauce over the meatloaf.
  • Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and add the rest of the sauce. Then return to the oven and bake for another 45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 160°F.
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest a bit before slicing.

Video

Notes

  • Sauté the onion before mixing it into the beef mixture. Sautéing will release the onion’s flavors, making your meatloaf even more flavorful.
  • While messy, mixing the raw meatloaf mixture with your hands is the best way to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Do not overmix the meatloaf mixture. Overmixing will make the meatloaf dry and dense.
  • Letting the meatloaf rest is an important step in this delicious recipe. It makes the meatloaf easier to slice but also allows time to lock in the juices.

Nutrition

Sodium: 937mg | Calcium: 101mg | Vitamin C: 4mg | Vitamin A: 264IU | Sugar: 12g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 791mg | Cholesterol: 150mg | Calories: 369kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fat: 11g | Protein: 38g | Carbohydrates: 28g | Iron: 5mg
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    Comments

  1. Hannah Griffin says

    5 stars
    I didn’t think there was a meatloaf recipe that was as good as my mom’s, but I think this one may have it beat!

    • Suzzette says

      At what point do you use “the best ever meatloaf sauce” with this meatloaf?
      I’m making the meatloaf tonight and I’m not sure about the best ever sauce. Help?

  2. Kristi Clenney says

    How long would you need to bake this if you half the recipe? I’m cooking for 2 so this is way too much for us. I would either half it, or make 2 smaller loaves and freeze one. Thanks!

  3. Pamela says

    5 stars
    The recipe above lists a sauce of three ingredients- but at the end there is another sauce recipe with many more ingredients including a 16 ounce can of tomatoe sauce and chili powder to name a few – what sauce is this?

  4. April says

    I am going to try out this recipe but I was wondering what kind of breadcrumbs do you typically use? Regular plain ones, Italian style breadcrumbs, or Panko?

    • Layne Kangas says

      I’ve used all of them and it’s really a personal preference kind of thing. I usually grab just regular ones, but I’ve had the others in my pantry and used them just fine before as well. Enjoy 🙂

  5. Cheryl says

    Love this recipe and can’t wait to make it. By any chance can I substitute ground chicken for beef. Please don’t hate me for asking 😊

  6. Angela says

    5 stars
    very good my picky children loved it, thank you for sharing. Next time I will make extra topping to serve on the side

  7. Betty says

    Trying this recipe for the first time , if it turns out tastes as good as it looks I will be one happy cook can’t wait to try it

  8. Darlene says

    I always add bell pepper (finely ground in a food processor) and fennel seeds to my meat loaves. I also use the meatloaf mixture sold in grocery stores rather than just ground beef. Other than that, this is my go to meat loaf recipe!

  9. Samantha Smart says

    I made this a few weeks back – by far the best meatloaf I’ve ever made!! Definitely replaced my old “go to” meatloaf recipe with this one! It was moist, flavorful, DELICIOUS!! Planning to make another one tomorrow! 🙂

  10. Amy says

    5 stars
    I have never had a good recipe for meat loaf until now. One thing that I have learned is to mix all ingredients except meat first. This allows the bread crumbs to become moist. Then mix in meat !! We love this recipe with Brussels Sprouts and potatoes !!! Thank you for the recipe!!

  11. Cynthia says

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was the best I’ve ever had. My family devoured it! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Layne Kangas says

      If you Google, there are suggestions for substitutions that you can use – I would check that way to see if you have any of those items on hand 🙂 If not, you could just omit. Enjoy!

  12. Joy says

    5 stars
    Made this recipe a couple of months ago. My husband and I loved it. I just made a double batch and have them in the oven now. Can’t wait to dig into it’s delicious flavors. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Tiffany says

    I love this recipe. Although I do use ketchup instead of tomato paste, cracker crumbs instead of bread crumbs, I add celery and I use regular mustard instead of Dijon mustard in the loaf. I make the sauce just as stated. It’s delicious and turns out great! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Bernice says

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Everyone in the family loves it!! We all love the sweet glaze that goes on top too. Thank you and your grandma for this fabulous recipe that will be a definite regular in our home too! ❤️

  15. Karen says

    These were absolutely delicious!! Cooked them in muffin tin. Meat was moist and flavour was soooo good! Use the meat thermometer and removed at 160F. Cooking time on convection oven was 35 min approx.

  16. Kasey says

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I had never made meatloaf before but I had a bunch of hamburger meat and some potatoes so I decided meatloaf and mashed potatoes would be great. I didn’t have break crumbs so I used crushed Ritz crackers, I don’t eat onions so I left them out and also subbed ketchup for the tomato paste. It turned out great and my family loved it. Thank you!

  17. Jaclyn says

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and my family thinks I’m an amazing cook now. Lol. It is so good.
    How well do you think it would freeze? Should I freeze it raw or cooked?
    Thank you for an amazing recipe.

  18. Mary Shauf says

    I absolutely love this recipe. The only thing I did differently was I substituted Chili sauce in place of
    the tomato paste. Turned out great.

  19. Pam A says

    5 stars
    Hi, Just made this recipe for 8 community members and they loved it!
    Instead of brown sugar I substituted Vermont Maple Syrup-yum
    Thank you!

  20. K says

    Do you put the mini loaves back in after you add the sauce? It didn’t say to, but in the main recipe, it did. Thanks- I’m making it right now 🙂

  21. Tammi says

    5 stars
    This really is the best meatloaf ever! Next time I’m trying the mini meatloafs since it’s very hot weather already where we live. Too hot to bake.

    Does anyone know how this would do cooked in the microwave in a ring shape (to ensure it cooks throughout e meatloaf)?

    • Layne Kangas says

      If it’s half the recipe, I don’t think you’ll need to cook it as long but I haven’t ever halved it so I can’t speak for exactly how long! Enjoy 🙂

  22. Peggy Young says

    5 stars
    Excellent meatloaf. Easy to make, absolutely delicious. Must use this sauce too. Makes the difference especially if you add the red crushed peppers. Either in the sauce or the meatloaf itself, you won’t go wrong.Peggy Young

  23. Lindsey says

    5 stars
    I made this as written and it’s fantastic! Even my 2 year old and husband who “doesn’t like meatloaf” enjoyed it. I’m already thinking about the meatloaf sandwich I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow.

  24. Linda Fisher says

    5 stars
    Never thought I would find a meatloaf as good as my mom’s. Shhh, don’t tell her but we like this better.

  25. Allyson Frazier says

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS! I make twice the amount of the sauce so we have extra to dip in. Very filling and with a 15yr old growing boy that is important!

  26. Teri says

    5 stars
    This is almost the exact recipe I’ve been using for over 30 years! The only difference is the mustard. I use dried mustard. Also, I cook it at different temp, but it’s all the same as long as it gets cooked. 🙂 . Both recipes are excellent! Thanks for posting. I’ve recently found your site and already tried 4 recipes, and here I am back again!

  27. Robin says

    5 stars
    We love this meatloaf recipe! It makes a lot, but that’s ok, we like it leftover. My husband loves meatloaf sandwiches. Have made this several times. It’s so easy and delicious! Thanks for the great recipe.

  28. Wendy says

    Can this be frozen after cooking? I really like meatliaf but no one else in my family does. I’d like to make it and portion out leftovers for me to enjoy later.

      • Cynthia Clark says

        We just ate, and even without the tomato paste this is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. Thank you for sharing!

  29. Jaclyn says

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and the entire family loves it. I’ve even mixed the sauce and put on top of my grilled hamburgers right before they are done.

  30. Virginia says

    Hi. Thank you for posting this recipe. If I freeze uncooked in cupcake tins (will remove from tins to freeze) do I add sauce when freezing or before I cook? Also, can I cook from frozen or must meat be thawed in fridge first?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Layne Kangas says

      You could cook it from frozen but it will definitely take longer. I would suggest thawing overnight in the fridge before cooking. I would add the sauce before cooking. Enjoy!

  31. Barbara Marry says

    5 stars
    I am 82 years old and I recently tried this recipe for meatloaf and I only have one question, ”where has this recipe been all my life’? It is absolutely delicious. I’ve passed the recipe on to some of my friends and they won’t make it any other way either. Thank you so much for sharing.

  32. Bob says

    5 stars
    I have tried several meatloaf recipes. My wife has one that after everything is said is done, is the go to recipe. Now, we have a new winner. Both of us agree this is the best ever meatloaf.

  33. Bonnie T Armstrong says

    5 stars
    This is one of the best meatloaf recipe’s I have tried. I usually make mine from scratch and my husband likes them. My only problem is they turn out differently each time I make them. Your recipe has all the ingredient I use but has the quantity for each ingredients. It will be my go to recipe in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Jean Dupont says

    5 stars
    Great recipe. The only change I made is not using a loaf pan. I find shaping the meat loaf and placing it on a foil covered cookie sheet works better. What do you think?

  35. Sarah Dawne says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I do add 1 LB of ground pork and reduce ground beef to 1 LB. Also double ketchup glaze (family ❤’s it😁)

  36. Cricket says

    5 stars
    I cut this recipe with 1lb of lean beef to 1lb of lamb with all the other ingredients. It was AMAZING!! It was an accident, I didn’t have enough beef, but it will put the recipe through the roof. I tried it the second time with just beef and it wasn’t as good. We also added a cheese layer throughout the middle. Delicious!

    • Cricket says

      5 stars
      I also substituted the brown sugar with an 1/8 cup of Monksugar plus a tablespoon of maple syrup. Delicious!

  37. Sharon White says

    5 stars
    This recipe sounds delicious! I usually make Individual Salsa Meatloaves which is another great and fast, easy recipe. I’m making your recipe as is but I shape them into 6 mini meatloaves, it cuts the cooking time in half!
    I have a picture of your recipe right now as they bake but I don’t see where I can attach it.
    Can’t wait to try these with mashed potatoes and a veggie!

    • Layne Kangas says

      I have made ahead of time, then covered in the fridge and baked later. You could also bake it and then just warm through again before you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!

  38. Natalie says

    5 stars
    Hi there! Delicious! This is now my new go-to meatloaf recipe. Husband couldn’t wait to try it haha. Thank you for the recipe. ♥ – Natalie

  39. Sha says

    5 stars
    Fantastic! The only thing I might try differently is to precook the bacon some. I only had thick bacon. I should have followed the directions better and used thin.

  40. STephanie Pepin says

    5 stars
    I’m so GLAD I stumbled onto your website. All of your recipes are easy for the homecook who is learning from scratch to feed my family. The recipes are also all delicious!! My only complaint will be you guys need to put out an app. So that we can find you in a click of a button and not going to my email to find an old one to click on to find you.
    That’s it! Bravo Job!
    Stephanie Pepin

  41. Jason Coppernoll says

    5 stars
    When I make my meatloaf I make it like my mom used to, something like yours but add diced olives or salad olives

  42. Katie says

    5 stars
    My husband loves meatloaf, but I didn’t really grow up with it and have been struggling to find a recipe we both love. This is it! I added carrots to the meat mixture to increase the nutrition and used BBQ sauce instead of the sauce on the recipe to make it even easier for me. This recipe gets added to the monthly rotation. Yum!!!

  43. Heather says

    5 stars
    Made this delicious recipe tonight and my husband loved it! The best meatloaf we’ve had. The only change I made was using grainy mustard instead of Dijon and also added a tablespoon of same to sauce. Thanks

    • Layne Kangas says

      I would reheat 15-25 minutes until it’s warmed through. You can put a tablespoon of broth in the bottom of the dish to help it not be dry. You could also slice it before freezing and separate each slice with pieces of wax paper so they don’t stick to each other and then you can warm individual slices as well, either in the oven or microwave. Enjoy!

  44. Laura Kelly says

    5 stars
    Made ta double batch of his for my son’s annual birthday meatloaf. Yummmm. He gave it 2 thumbs up. So do I.
    I did everything just like the recipe said except I added an envelope of Lipton’s Onion soup mix because I always put that in meatloaf and couldn’t stop myself. It didn’t hurt it.
    I did not make the sauce. My son does not like sauce or condiments and it was his birthday. Still delicious.
    This was easy an turned out great. This will be the new regular in our home.
    Good job!

  45. Angie says

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe. I did half the recipe because I only had 1 LB of ground chuck. However, I did use the full recipe for the sauce. I added a little Sriracha sauce to both the meatloaf ingredients and the sauce. I also added a little Parmesan cheese to the meatloaf ingredients as well. My husband and kids loved it.

  46. Barbara Cresta says

    5 stars
    I have been searching for the Best Meatloaf for years. I’ve been doing the Lipton Onion Soup Mix meatloaf only because I have not found any other that my husband and I both liked. Well, I made this today. I made it this morning because we were going over to my son’s for the afternoon. When we got back, I mixed the top sauce and popped the meatloaf into the oven. OH MY GOSH, It is the “BEST” meatloaf. My husband and I loved it. I could have eaten two huge pieces, but opted for 1 huge piece. The other half that is left will be warmed up in a day or so. But I have to say, this was a great recipe. My husband told me to be sure not to lose this recipe.

  47. Allison says

    5 stars
    This was excellent. My family said it was the best and I need to make it again soon. I added two slices of bread (end pieces) to the bottom of the loaf pan before adding the meat mixture. It soaked up the meat drippings so the meatloaf wasn’t soggy. Worked well, and the meatloaf was incredibly moist and delicious!

  48. Jennifer Clemmer says

    5 stars
    This is the BEST meatloaf I have ever had in my life! The only thing I did differently was I added a bell pepper and sautéed it in butter along with the onion. It really kicked the taste of the meatloaf up a notch. Thank you so much for this recipe! It is definitely a keeper in my house! It is picky eaters approved! 😊❤️

  49. Caril says

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved it!😍Thanks for the tip of precooking the onion!Ive made many meatloaves in my day(I’m 67)this was one of the best!Will share the recipe so others can enjoy!

  50. Violet says

    5 stars
    Made this for my family tonight and it came out sooo good! My ketchup already had sugar in it so I skipped the brown sugar but definitely added Worcestershire for the sauce. My house smelled so good and it was so hard waiting for dinner to be done! It was mouthwatering, I would make again.

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