The Best Meatloaf Recipe


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The BEST Meatloaf Recipe is something I’ve worked years at perfecting… and here it is! A tender juicy beef meatloaf topped with a zesty topping and baked until tender and juicy!

I absolutely LOVE meatloaf and I always have! This easy meatloaf recipe is loaded with flavor and is pretty simple to make! Add in a side of my favorite Crock Pot Mac and Cheese and some bread with Homemade Garlic Butter you’ve literally got the meal of my dreams. 

Juicy meatloaf on a cutting board ready to eat!

Mom’s Meatloaf

Meatloaf was always a dish my mom would make and a meal I absolutely loved so I wanted to keep this meatloaf recipe as close to hers as possible. 

Ground beef is mixed with bread crumbs, onions, and parsley but my absolute favorite part is the topping on this meatloaf recipe.

I serve meatloaf alongside mac and cheese or mashed potatoes and peas, it is the perfect classic dinner. Broccoli, pasta, and carrots all make awesome sides for this meatloaf recipe too!

Easy meatloaf made from my favorite meatloaf recipe with veggies and rice

Meatloaf Sauce

I use a mixture of chili sauce and ketchup (just like my mom always made) and it really takes this recipe to the next level. It’s all baked until crisped on the outside and melt in your mouth tender inside.

If you’ve never had chili sauce, you need to try it! It’s not spicy at all, it’s more like a zesty ketchup with tons of flavor. I add it to soups and stews (and it’s amazing added to bbq sauce for Barbecue Ribs). I love it on everything from Burgers to Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes. It adds amazing flavor to this meatloaf recipe. 

Making the Best Meatloaf

Meatloaf is not difficult to make but there are a couple of common problems people encounter.

Overmixing will cause your meatloaf to become dense making it seem tough and not tender. As with most ground beef recipes (including patties or meatballs), the beef and add-ins should be mixed just until combined for a tender result.

Adding too much liquid or not allowing the meat to rest can result in the meatloaf falling apart so be sure to leave a few minutes for rest time!

Ingredients to make the best meatloaf recipe.

How To Make Meatloaf

Meatloaf has had a bad rap in the past… which makes me sad because it’s dang good when prepared properly! There are a few tips you need to know to make sure this meatloaf recipe comes out perfectly juicy and flavorful every time!

  • Do Not Overmix:
    • You want to mix until everything is just combined. Over mixing will create a dense loaf!
  • Use Lean Meat:
    • Use lean beef (but not extra lean). You need a bit of fat for flavor but don’t want it swimming in grease so lean beef is the perfect option.
  • Add flavors and moisture:
    • Adding in seasonings and soaking the breadcrumbs in milk keep this flavorful and moist.  If you have fresh herbs, add those in as well for great results!
  • Cook on a Baking Sheet:
    • Using a baking sheet to cook your meatloaf gives the best results. If you cook in a loaf pan you’ll get steam (and nobody wants steamed meat) and nowhere for the drippings to go.  Form your own loaf on a foil lined pan.
  • Rest the Meatloaf:
    • With any meatloaf recipe, the final product should be rested once it comes out of the oven.  This helps redistribute the juices and makes sure it won’t fall apart!

Juicy meatloaf recipe topped with chili sauce and ketchup.

How Long To Cook Meatloaf

Meatloaf will need to cook at 350°F for about 50-60 minutes (depending on shape/size). The best way ensure it is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer inserted into the centre should read an internal temperature of 160°F.

Meatloaf Cooking Times

Below you can find how long to cook a 2lb meatloaf:

  • Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes
  • Bake at 375° for 45-55 minutes

If you are halving the recipe (or increasing it) you can use the cook times below to cook at 350°F. Remember that using a thermometer is your best bet to ensure meatloaf that is cooked through yet perfectly tender.

  • Bake a 1lb meatloaf for about 45 minutes total.
  • Bake a 2lb meatloaf for about 55 minutes total.
  • Bake a 3 lb meatloaf for about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Make sure you let your meatloaf rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it so it doesn’t fall apart and it retains all of its juices!  I like to tent it with aluminum foil so it keeps warm while it’s resting.

Can you Freeze Meatloaf?

You can absolutely freeze meatloaf either before or after cooking.  To freeze before cooking, place in a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap (or form a loaf on a pan). Freeze completely, seal well. Defrost raw frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator 24 hours. Bake as directed.

Once cooked, I freeze the individual slices on a parchment lined pan and once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag.  This makes it easy to grab one slice or several to reheat! Simply reheat in the microwave or in the oven.

Serve it with a caesar salad, mashed potatoes, or dinner rolls for a perfect meal that will make everyone beg for seconds!

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4.52 from 41 votes
Review Recipe

The Best Meatloaf Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
This is the best meatloaf recipe ever! It comes out juicy every time, and it seriously couldn’t be easier. 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/3 cup onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Meatloaf Sauce
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar optional

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a foil lined baking tray with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, and breadcrumbs. Allow mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes. 

  3. Add the ground beef, onions, 1 tablespoon of chili sauce, Italian seasoning and parsley. Mix until just combined.

  4. Form a 8"x4" loaf on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 40 minutes. 

  5. Meanwhile, combine the chili sauce and ketchup (and brown sugar if using). Spread mixture over the meatloaf and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cooked through and the meatloaf reaches 160°F.

  6. Allow meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Nutrition Information
Calories: 262, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 640mg, Potassium: 599mg, Carbohydrates: 17g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 28g, Vitamin A: 415%, Vitamin C: 5.8%, Calcium: 73%, Iron: 3.7%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword ground beef, meatloaf, meatloaf recipe

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Classic Meatloaf slices on a white plate

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Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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