Meatloaf

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This classic Meatloaf recipe is just like Mom used to make: baked as a free-form loaf and brushed with a ketchup glaze. It’s delicious for dinner and just as good as leftovers the next day (meatloaf sandwich, anyone?).

Meatloaf slices on a wooden cutting board.

Meat loaf is a classic Midwestern entrée and one that I love seeing on menus. It’s cozy and comforting and absolutely delicious.

There are a few rules about meatloaf: You need binders to hold the loaf together. Eggs are an obvious choice (I like 1 egg per pound of meat). Bread crumbs, rolled oats, or a panade help too. When it’s time to bake it, you can bake it in the pan or out of the pan. You can free-form the loaf or use the loaf pan as a guide (like I do in this recipe).

Your final decision is to sauce it or not. I like a sweet ketchup glaze brushed on towards the end. It’s also delicious served with turkey gravy (and probably mashed potatoes, too). And there you have it: Your very own Blue Plate Special.

Recipe ingredients

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Ground beef: No need to seek out a special meatloaf mix; regular 80% lean, 20% fat ground beef tastes terrific.
  • Eggs: The yolks lend moisture and flavor, while the whites add structure and help the meatloaf maintain its shape.
  • Bread crumbs: To make your own breadcrumbs, just pulse bread in a food processor or blender.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl by hand, combine beef, onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, ½ cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix on low until combined.
Meatloaf mixture in a silver bowl.
  1. Rinse a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with water (to help the meatloaf release). Pack the meat mixture tightly in to the pan.
Meatloaf mixture in a baking pan.
  1. Flip the pan over the prepared baking sheet and jiggle carefully until the meatloaf slides out.
Meatloaf on a baking sheet before being baked.
  1. Bake 60 minutes and remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush remaining ¼ cup ketchup on all sides of the meatloaf.
Someone brushing sauce on a meatloaf.
  1. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer.
Meatloaf on a baking sheet after being baked.
  1. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before slicing. 
Sliced meatloaf on a cutting board.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Meatloaf recipe makes six thick slices, ideal as an entree-sized portion. Double the batch to ensure plenty of leftovers for sandwiches!
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: The meat mixture can be made and packed in to a loaf pan a day in advance. Turn out on to a baking sheet right before baking.
Three slices of meatloaf and mashed potatoes on a white plate.
Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes.

Recipe FAQs

Why does the meatloaf need to rest for 15 minutes?

This allows the meat to rest, just like we do for Roast Turkey or Prime Rib, so the juices don’t all run out once you slice it. Don’t worry; the Meatloaf will stay plenty warm, it just won’t be mouth-burningly hot! You can cover it with foil if you’re concerned about heat loss.

Why do you brush on ketchup at the end?

I love the sweet and sticky glaze from ketchup on Meatloaf. But if you cook the sugary sauce for the entire bake time, it may burn. Brushing on the final coat for the last 10 minutes of cook time ensures the topping is caramelized but not scorched.

Cheesy Meatloaf

Mom’s classic meatloaf recipe gets even more cozy once you stuff it with cheese! Double this 7-ingredient comfort food dinner and transform leftovers into meatloaf sandwiches. Confession: When I was initially testing this homemade meatloaf…

1 hour 25 minutes
View Recipe

More ways with ground beef

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Meatloaf slices on a wooden cutting board.

Meatloaf

This classic Meatloaf recipe is just like Mom used to make: baked as a free-form loaf and brushed with a ketchup glaze. It's delicious for dinner and just as good as leftovers the next day (meatloaf sandwich, anyone?).
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 583

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds ground beef 80% lean (see note 1)
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 eggs (see note 2)
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (see note 3)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup divided
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  • In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl by hand, combine beef, onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, ½ cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix on low until combined.
  • Rinse a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with water (to help the meatloaf release). Pack the meat mixture tightly in to the pan.
  • Flip the pan over the prepared baking sheet and jiggle carefully until the meatloaf slides out. Bake 60 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush remaining ¼ cup ketchup on all sides of the meatloaf. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before serving. 

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Ground beef: No need to seek out a special meatloaf mix; regular 80% lean, 20% fat ground beef tastes terrific.
  2. Eggs: The yolks lend moisture and flavor, while the whites add structure and help the meatloaf maintain its shape.
  3. Bread crumbs: To make your own breadcrumbs, just pulse bread in a food processor or blender.
  4. Yield: This Meatloaf recipe makes six thick slices, ideal as an entree-sized portion. Double the batch to ensure plenty of leftovers for sandwiches!
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: The meat mixture can be made and packed in to a loaf pan a day in advance. Turn out on to a baking sheet right before baking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 583kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 37gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 187mgSodium: 665mgPotassium: 641mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 463IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 226mgIron: 4mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. I’m a little confused about the meatloaf recipe The list of ingredients has breadcrumbs but the instructions lists oats instead Also there is a mention of a sweet ketchup glaze but the instructions don’t list one only plain ketchup

    1. Hi Barbara, so sorry about that! I’ve corrected it. The recipe card now itself calls for bread crumbs, but you can substitute oats (or even crushed saltine crackers!) for the bread crumbs. The ketchup, which is already sweet, becomes sweeter as it caramelizes on top of the meatloaf. Hope you love this, Barbara! Thanks again! – Meggan

    1. Hi Maria, thanks for noticing that! I’ve fixed it. Breadcrumbs and oats are interchangeable, even crackers if you desire. The recipe card above now lists bread crumbs, but you can use whatever you prefer! Hope you love this meatloaf! – Meggan