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Best Homemade Meatloaf Recipe

This easy meatloaf recipe is tender, juicy and topped with a sweet glaze. Simple to make and ready in less than an hour!

Slice of meatloaf on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans.
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Favorite Comfort Meal

Meatloaf is one of those nostalgic meals that we enjoyed as a family growing up. It’s a dish that reminds me of my childhood, along with sloppy joe’s, pot roast and grilled cheese with tomato soup.

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 mashed potatoes and green beans!

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. Plus it can even be made ahead of time and is freezer-friendly.

Recipe Ingredients

Meatloaf ingredients on marble countertop.

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.

Crockpot version

You can also make crockpot meatloaf with this recipe. Simply line your slow cooker with parchment, form the meat into a loaf shape and cook until the meat reaches 160°F. Then add the meatloaf sauce on top!

How to Make Homemade Meatloaf

Showing how to make meatloaf in a 4 step collage.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes, or until the meat reaches 160°F.

Cooking Tips

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Use a meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature of the meat has reached 160°F, you can remove it from the oven.
  5. 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.
  6. Mini muffins. Turn into mini meatloaf muffins by pressing the meat mixture into a muffin tin.
Sliced meatloaf on a white plate.

Favorite Sides for Serving

There are so many delicious side dishes to serve along the best meatloaf recipe. Here are a few of my favorite sides:

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
Slice of meatloaf on a white plate with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Recipe FAQs

What is the secret to moist meatloaf?

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.

Why was my meatloaf tough?

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.

Should I cover my meatloaf while it’s baking?

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.

Do I need a meat thermometer to make this recipe?

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.

Can you freeze meatloaf?

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.

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Sliced meatloaf on a white plate.

Meatloaf Recipe

4.99 from 66 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This easy meatloaf recipe is tender, juicy and topped with a sweet glaze. Simple to make and ready in less than an hour!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds 80%-90% ground beef , or ground turkey or 1 pound ground pork and 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 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

Glaze

  • cup ketchup or BBQ sauce , you could mix half and half
  • 2-3 Tablespoons light brown sugar

Instructions

  • 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.

Video


Notes

Substitutions: You can swap fresh onion and garlic (1 cup chopped onion and 4 garlic cloves, minced) for the onion powder and garlic powder, but sauté first with a little olive oil before adding to the meat. 
If you prefer a little heat, add in a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meat or a few dashes of chili sauce or sriracha to the meatloaf sauce. 
Make-ahead: 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.
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 2 to 3 months. To thaw, place in fridge overnight. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.
Storage: Leftover meatloaf is so good, and will keep when wrapped in aluminum foil or kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 793mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 277IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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