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The Best Meatloaf Recipe EVER

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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. Best Meatloaf Ingredients
  2. How to Make Our Recipe For the Best Meatloaf EVER
  3. Best Meatloaf Recipe Substitutions
  4. What to Serve with this Recipe for Meatloaf
  5. How to Store the Best Meatloaf Recipe
  6. Best 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
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Creating the best meatloaf recipe isn’t just about mixing ingredients—it’s about honoring tradition, expertise, and a love for comfort food. At Spaceships and Laser Beams, we have meticulously crafted this meatloaf recipe, drawing on decades of culinary experience and rigorous testing in more than a dozen kitchens to ensure it meets the highest standards of taste and quality.

Our team of seasoned at-home chefs has fine-tuned this recipe to perfection. We prioritize clear and concise instructions, practical tips, and versatile substitutions, ensuring every home cook can replicate our success. This meatloaf is moist, flavorful, and easy to prepare, embodying the perfect balance of taste and texture.

We’ve been a trusted source of innovative and reliable recipes for over ten years. Our commitment to culinary excellence has earned us a loyal following and recognition within the food community. When you try our best meatloaf recipe, you’re not just cooking—you’re benefiting from years of expertise and a passion for creating memorable meals.

Join countless home cooks who have discovered the joy of making this beloved classic and trust in our authority as a leading voice in the culinary world.

Best Meatloaf 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

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 Our Recipe For the Best Meatloaf EVER

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.

Best Meatloaf Recipe Substitutions

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 or don’t have any on hand, you can substitute them with finely chopped celery or bell peppers. These alternatives will add a similar crunch and flavor to the meatloaf.

In addition, if you’re not a fan of onions, this meatloaf recipe can be made without onions.

HERBS AND SPICES: Feel free to customize the flavor profile of your meatloaf by adding different herbs and spices.

Try adding dried oregano, thyme, or rosemary for an aromatic twist. You can also experiment with spices like paprika, cumin, or chili powder to add a hint of heat.

KETCHUP: If you prefer to use a different sauce or don’t have ketchup on hand, you can substitute it with barbecue sauce or tomato sauce.

However, remember that this will give the meatloaf a slightly different flavor profile, so choose a sauce that complements your taste preferences.

What to Serve with this Recipe for Meatloaf

Suggestion 1: Classic Comfort – Serve slices of meatloaf alongside green beans and mashed potatoes or dinner rolls for a comforting and nostalgic meal.

The rich and savory flavors of the meatloaf complement the creamy potatoes, while the freshness of the green beans adds a vibrant touch to the plate. Our blueberry cobbler would be a perfect end to this cozy meal.

Suggestion 2: Sandwich Sensation – Transform your meatloaf into a hearty sandwich by slicing it and placing it between two slices of crusty bread.

Add some tangy barbecue sauce, crisp lettuce, and juicy tomatoes for a mouthwatering meatloaf sandwich that will satisfy any lunchtime craving.

Suggestion 3: Fresh and Crisp – Serve your meatloaf with a refreshing side salad consisting of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a tangy ranch dressing.

The light and crisp flavors of the salad provide a refreshing contrast to the savory meatloaf, while the vinaigrette adds a zesty kick that enhances the overall taste. 

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

Both these meatloaf recipes are great options for potluck parties or gatherings with friends. They can be easily prepared in advance and reheated on-site.

How to Store the Best Meatloaf Recipe

Once you’ve made this delicious meatloaf recipe, you may find yourself with leftovers or wanting to prepare it ahead of time for convenience.

Here are some tips on how to store your meatloaf to ensure it stays fresh and delicious.

MAKE AHEAD: If you’re looking to save time on a busy day, you can definitely make this meatloaf ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe instructions until the point of baking. Instead of placing it in the oven, cover the meatloaf tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate it.

When you’re ready to enjoy it, just pop it in the oven and bake it according to the instructions. This way, you can have a hot and freshly baked meatloaf without all the prep work.

IN THE FRIDGE: To store your cooked meatloaf in the fridge, allow it to cool completely after baking. Once cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any air from getting in. This will help keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.

Your meatloaf can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply reheat it in the oven or microwave.

IN THE FREEZER: If you have more leftovers than you can finish within a few days, you can freeze your meatloaf for later. Allow the cooked meatloaf to cool completely and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.

It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw the meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, you can either bake it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 20-30 minutes or microwave individual slices on a microwave-safe plate for 2-3 minutes.

REHEATING: To reheat your meatloaf, there are a few methods you can choose from. If you prefer to use the oven, preheat it to 350°F (175°C) and place the meatloaf on a baking sheet.

Cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.

If you’re short on time, you can also reheat individual slices in the microwave. Place a slice on a microwave-safe plate and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.

Remember to always check the internal temperature of the meatloaf to ensure it reaches 165°F (74°C) before serving.

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.

Best 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

The Best Meatloaf Ever

5 from 135 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

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

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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  1. Marisa says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! This is my go to meatloaf, I have made several times. Have you ever tried putting the the freezer to have later? If so any recommendations?

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Marisa – so glad you’re enjoying it! You can definitely freeze it and reheat. My favorite way is to store the leftover slices in an air-tight freezer-safe container and then you can easily heat up portions to enjoy later. You can heat up in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. You can add a little liquid to your pan in the oven so it doesn’t dry out, like water or veggie stock. Enjoy!

  2. HR says

    5 stars
    Delicious. I’ve made this several times. Today I made a couple of additions to the sauce. First of all…I doubled it. With that in mind, I added 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke. Excellent smoky tang.

  3. Marie says

    5 stars
    Great recipe!! My take on it is 1lb hb & 1lb ground sweet Italian sausage. Didn’t have Dijon so used spicy brown & used chili sauce in place of tomato paste. Also used a BBQ sauce topping for convenience! Very satisfying! My go to from now on!!!♡♡♡

  4. George Moy says

    If you don’t have milk or you want to something else,let’s say sour cream (like I did)could you just use sour cream instead?Also,usually with the leftover I make spaghetti with the leftover meatloaf, but this time, I made fried rice using the leftover meatloaf and it came out really great and a meaty fried rice that you couldn’t find at any restaurant in town.

  5. Ren says

    5 stars
    I love this meatloaf recipe it’s the only one I make it’s the best!! Highly recommend it’s great with ground turkey or beef. I always double the sauce because it’s so good.

  6. Bekah says

    5 stars
    I hate meatloaf except this one! The kids love the sauce and the husband is something of a meatloaf connoisseur and this is his fave. Thanks so much for the regular rotation recipe!

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