The Best Meatloaf Recipe


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

The BEST Meatloaf Recipe is tender, juicy, and loaded with flavor. Below are my tips to create meatloaf perfection! 

Ground beef is seasoned, mixed with breadcrumbs and baked to perfection. It’s all topped off with a zesty topping (my favorite part)!

A whole beef meatloaf glazed with a zesty topping and sliced on a wood cutting board

Easy to Make Meatloaf

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.

I’ve always loved my Mom’s meatloaf recipe so I wanted to keep this meatloaf recipe as close to hers as possible.

Ingredients

  • Ground beef – 80/20 is perfect for this recipe
  • Breadcrumbs & Eggs – help with binding the loaf. Italian breadcrumbs have great seasonings for extra flavor.
  • Seasonings – Onions, parsley, Italian seasoning and salt & pepper.
  • Topping – This is the best part! More on this below.

Two slices of glazed meatloaf on a plate with rice and green peas

Meatloaf Sauce

Zesty. Tangy. Sweet. Amazing.

I use a mixture of chili sauce (it’s not spicy) and ketchup (just like my mom always made) and it really takes this recipe to the next level.

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)

Making the Best Meatloaf

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

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

Binding Ingredients: Eggs and breadcrumbs help hold the meatloaf together.

Ingredients for making meatloaf in a glass bowl

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: 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 every bit of this meatloaf flavorful and moist.
  • 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!

Two slices of glazed meatloaf on a plate

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?

Before Cooking  To freeze meatloaf 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.

After Cooking Once cooked and cooled, 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.

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!

Two slices of glazed meatloaf on a plate with rice and green peas
4.93 from 357 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
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • cup onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Meatloaf Sauce
  • ½ cup chili sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar optional

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a foil lined baking tray with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, and breadcrumbs. Allow mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Add the ground beef, onions, 1 tablespoon of chili sauce, Italian seasoning and parsley. Mix until just combined.
  • Form a 8"x4" loaf on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 40 minutes. 
  • 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.
  • Allow meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 262, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 640mg, Potassium: 599mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 415IU, Vitamin C: 5.8mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 3.7mg
Keyword ground beef, meatloaf, meatloaf recipe

More Comfort Food Favorites

More Recipes You'll Love

About the author

Holly

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

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!

More Posts by Holly

Latest & Greatest Dishes