The Best Meatloaf Recipe

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The BEST Meatloaf Recipe is something I’ve worked years at perfecting… and here it is! I absolutely LOVE meatloaf and I always have!

This easy meatloaf recipe comes out juicy every time, 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 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 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!

Love this Meatloaf Recipe? More Recipes You’ll Love

Print Recipe
4.86 from 7 votes
Servings: 8 servings
The Best Meatloaf Recipe
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 10 mins
 
Author: Holly
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef, meatloaf, meatloaf recipe

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
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. 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: 8.3%, Vitamin C: 7%, Calcium: 7.3%, Iron: 20.6%

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

REPIN this Delicious Recipe

Classic Meatloaf slices on a white plate

This classic meatloaf recipe couldn't be easier or more delicious! It is just like my mom used to make! #spendwithpennies #meatloaf #meat #dinner #beef #groundbeef

Holly

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!

37 comments on “The Best Meatloaf Recipe”

  1. Want to make it but can’t have the bread crumbs. What can I sustutute ?

    • You can crush up any kind of crackers in place of breadcrumbs. You could also place a slice of bread in the blender and make crumbs but this will have more moisture so you might want to reduce the milk slightly.

  2. Hi, Holly! I just wanted to say how useful your recipes have been to me! It’s easy to find recipes that my whole family loves (kids and adults) that don’t break the bank!

    Your recipes keep me sane, and help me stick to my grocery budget! Thank you!

  3. I don’t have Chili Sauce. I do have Chili Powder what should i use?

  4. I made this tonight and also a Quorn vegetarian version. Absolutely delicious and so easy to make, thank you.

  5. I made this from frozen meat ,can I refreeze it after cooking?

  6. I buy no means consider myself a good cook, I do it more for fun so I am a big follow the recipe type guy. I tired this, did not change a thing, and it turned out perfect. This was only my second meatloaf (first one from a different source was a disaster). Thank you for taking the time to publish these for all of us to use.

  7. The breadcrumbs used in this recipe are they store bought Italian bc? Or Do you make ur own by grinding fresh bread in a food processor? And if so, do you toast them b4 using in this recipe? Thx!

  8. I just prepared this recipe and wrapped in plastic wrap. I thawed my meat from frozen so I don’t want to freeze again. Do you think it will be ok in the fridge for a day or two?

  9. Funny your recipe is the same as mine, and it was also my moms who was the best cook I ever knew. 
    I love all your recipes I have tried, keep them coming.
    Sue

    • What a great compliment Sue! Thank you and I’m glad you love the recipes. Thank you for leaving your comment!

  10. Great Meatloaf. I added about 3 links of italian sausauge and a pinch of cayenne. Was hoping to attach a photo as I made a Halloween yummy mummy but it seems I can’t…. lol

  11. This is the best meatloaf! Everyone I have made it for loves it. I make large quantities of the meatloaf mixture and then make smaller, individual-sized meatloaves and then freeze what I don’t use immediately for baking later, saving me prep time that second time around. This is my new go-to meatloaf recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

    • I’m so glad to hear you loved this meatloaf Diane! Great idea to make a lot at once. Definitely a time saver!

  12. I have to say this is one of the best meatloaf sauces I have ever tasted!!! Even my fussy 20 year old step son loved the meatloaf and sauce!! A keeper for sure.

  13. I didn’t have any chili sauce so I used salsa.  Followed the rest of the recipe as written and it was delicious!
    This one will be on my go to list!!

  14. I use stuffing mix in my meatloaf.

  15. Can I use a timed thermometer or is it better to use an instant read thermometer?

  16. Can I make in morning or night before and cook that night or next day? Or will that dry it out? Recipe sounds sooo Yummy!!!!!

    • That should work just fine as long as it’s well covered or sealed. You may need to add a few minutes of cook time if it’s very chilled from the fridge. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

  17. Your timing is perfect since I am making meatloaf tonight. Thank you thank you!

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