This easy meatloaf recipe is the best you’ll ever try. Tender beef topped with a sticky caramelized topping and simple to make in under an hour.
Serve with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans for the perfect comfort meal.
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Easy Meatloaf Recipe
This is one of the first meals that comes to mind when I think of comfort food. It may not look the prettiest, but it sure does taste amazing. Especially paired with crockpot mashed potatoes.
What I love about this classic meatloaf recipe is that it’s so easy to make and done in less than one hour. It’s perfectly tender and juicy with a sweet meatloaf sauce on top. You could even add some variety and make it a cheese stuffed meatloaf.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Ground beef: I like to use 80-90% ground beef to keep the meatloaf super tender and juicy.
- Bread crumbs: You can make your own homemade breadcrumbs (toasted first) or use panko to help hold the ingredients together and give it texture.
- Broth: I use beef broth instead of milk to add more flavor.
- Eggs: These act as the binder and allows the meatloaf to hold its shape.
- Parsley: I love the taste of fresh parsley against all the other flavors.
- Worcestershire: This gives an extra dash of umami to the meatloaf.
- Ketchup: The sweetness and acid work perfectly with the beef and other seasonings. It also helps to add some moisture.
- Seasonings: It doesn’t take much to make this dish big on flavor: salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
- Glaze: A simple mix of ketchup and/or BBQ sauce and brown sugar makes the perfect glaze to this traditional meatloaf.
How to Make Homemade Meatloaf
- Mix. In a large bowl, combine the meat, breadcrumbs, broth, eggs, parsley, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix just until combined. Don’t over mix or the meat won’t be as tender.
- Glaze. In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup and/or BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Then pour over top of the meatloaf. Add pepper on top if desired.
- Shape. Press the mixture into a foil-lined (and sprayed) 9×5″ loaf pan. You can also use a foil-lined baking sheet and form the mixture into a loaf shape on the pan.
- Bake. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes, or until the meat reaches 160°F.
- Use 80-90% lean ground beef. This makes the meatloaf super tender and juicy. You can also make turkey meatloaf with ground turkey but it will not be quite as juicy (but still plenty flavorful though). Sometimes I like to mix half turkey and half hamburger to make it a little more lean.
- Beef broth instead of milk. The broth adds a heartier flavor and just makes more sense to me. But you can absolutely use milk if preferred.
- Don’t over mix! Mix just until combined, making sure not to over mix the meat mixture. An over mixed meatloaf won’t be as tender and soft.
- Use a meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature of the meat has reached 160°F, you can remove it from the oven.
- Add some heat. If you prefer a little heat, add some red pepper flakes into the meat mixture or a few dashes of sriracha to the sauce.
- Mini muffins. Turn into mini meatloaf muffins by pressing the meat mixture into a muffin tin.
5 star review
“My husband didn’t really care for meatloaf…UNTIL now!! I searched for a recipe that would be fast and easy with ingredients already at home. THIS has been made 3x and I’m making it a 4th time tonight.”-LadyRam2006
Use 80-85% lean beef. You can even add a little bit of ground pork in there as well to make it extra tender and flavorful.
This tends to happen when the mixture gets over mixed and the ground beef loses some of its structure. You want to make sure you don’t over mix when you add ingredients to keep the meatloaf tender and moist.
No you do not need to cover the top with foil. However, for an extra moist meatloaf you can cover the first 20 minutes of baking and then add the sauce after that point.
No but a thermometer will make sure you know right when your meatloaf is perfectly cooked. It should read 160°F.
You can test the meatloaf with a metal fork to see if it is cooked. Poke the fork into the center of the loaf and if it is met with little resistance, it is more than likely done. If, however, it is still pink, put it immediately back in the oven and continue cooking.
Yes you can definitely freeze the meatloaf, but I do recommend freezing before baking and adding the sauce later.
Make Ahead + Freezing
To make in advance: You can easily prep this recipe ahead of time. Simply combine the meat mixture in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You can also mix together the glaze in advance too. Then store both in the refrigerator until using. Right before baking, shape the meatloaf and add the glaze.
To freeze: I recommend freezing the meatloaf before cooking. Press the meat in a loaf pan and cover tightly with saran wrap. Alternatively, you can form into a loaf shape and wrap tightly with saran wrap. Store in freezer for 2-3 months. To thaw, place in fridge overnight. Then bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.
More Comfort Food Dinner Ideas
- 2 pounds 80%-90% ground beef , or ground turkey or 1 pound ground pork and 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup beef broth , or milk
- 2 large eggs , whisked
- 2-3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ⅔ cup ketchup or BBQ sauce , you could mix half and half
- 2-3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet or 9×5-inch loaf pan with foil. Lightly spray with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the beef, breadcrumbs, broth, eggs, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder until just combined. Don't overmix or the meat won't be as tender.
- Press into the loaf pan or form the mixture into a loaf shape on the pan.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup and/or BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Pour over the top of the meatloaf. Add pepper on top, if desired.
- Bake 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reaches 160°F. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into slices.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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