The Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe is a perfect blend of fresh ingredients that comes out juicy and packed with flavor in every bite. Every family needs a go-to homemade meatloaf recipe that carries on the tradition of this classic. My family loves this one and it makes great leftovers that are quick and easy when picking my kids up from soccer practice. This tasty meatloaf recipe is a true family favorite that has everyone coming back for seconds!
Best Meatloaf Recipe
What makes the best meatloaf recipe? It’s meatloaf that is full of flavor yet has a nice, juicy texture inside. That’s the key. And with this easy meatloaf recipe, you’ll have the best of both worlds with unbeatable flavor that isn’t dry when you slice into it. Plus, the meatloaf sauce on top is tangy and sweet, something the kids will definitely get into!
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
While the list of ingredients might seem long, this is one easy meatloaf recipe with few ingredients. You likely have everything you need in your cabinets. Only 30 minutes of your time, and you’ll soon be rewarded with a delicious dinner that virtually takes care of itself.
- Lean ground beef – choose 80/20 for best results.
- Bread crumbs – these help bind your meat mixture together while adding more flavor.
- Herbs and seasonings – meatloaf seasoning is what give you a spectacular taste that make your meatloaf the best.
- Sauce – the finishing touch is in the sauce that pulls all the flavors together.
Pro tip: If you have Italian style breadcrumbs, you can use those and omit the added Italian seasoning.
How do You Make Meatloaf from Scratch
If you’ve never made great meatloaf before because you’re worried it will be too dry or it won’t taste good, I’m here to change all that for you. There are a few key elements to remember when following this simple meatloaf recipe:
- In a large bowl, only mix until everything is combined or else it will be too dense
- Lean beef is the best choice for meat
- Let it rest after it comes out of the oven before you serve it so it stays juicy
Why do you put milk in meatloaf?
Milk is essential for the best meatloaf ever because it adds moisture to your breadcrumbs. You don’t want your meatloaf to be dry and crumbly. For dairy-free, you can use a non-dairy milk substitute.
What is the best filler for meatloaf?
Breadcrumbs by far reign supreme for filling meatloaf. However, don’t forget to add milk in to keep it moist and delicious!
Should you cook onions before putting in meatloaf?
While some recipes will have you cook the onions first, this recipe simplifies things and has you add it in the first step. With all the moistening ingredients, it will cook the onions perfectly and render them a lovely texture at the finish.
Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Meatloaf
- Don’t skip wet ingredients – these add moisture in so your meatloaf has flavor and juicy texture to go with it. If you want an extra boost of flavor, add in a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to kick it up a notch.
- Take a taste – if you’re not sure how the flavor is, take a small amount and fry it up to taste it to see if it’s got all the flavors you desire
- Give it room – use a meatloaf pan that’s slightly larger so the meatloaf has breathing room to allow for caramelized edges
- Prep early – you an even prepare the meatloaf mix ahead of time and simply cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. Simply let it warm up to room temperature while you’re preheating the over and pop it in.
- Temperature perfection – If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of meatloaf should reach around 160° F. Instant-read thermometers are a great option if you have one.
- Let it rest – when you take the juicy meatloaf out of the oven let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it. Letting it rest will help it hold its shape together.
How Long to Cook Meatloaf
With this traditional meatloaf recipe, you’ll only need to take a hands-on approach for 30 minutes. After that, the oven does the rest! Plan on an hour and a half until your baked meatloaf is ready, plenty of time for you to put your feet up for a bit before getting your side dishes done.
How do you keep meatloaf moist?
The secret to moist meatloaf is using moist ingredients. While you want the breadcrumbs to bind, the addition of eggs, milk, and ketchup don’t just add flavor but also add that essential moisture.
How can I make my meatloaf better?
Using high-fat meat is best so you don’t get a dry and grainy meatloaf. Additionally, adding eggs, ketchup, and milk will help it retain that tender and juicy texture inside.
How long to bake meatloaf?
Depending on the size of your loaf, cooking times will vary. A standard meatloaf cooking temp is 350°F. At 350°F, 35 to 45 minutes per pound of meatloaf is a fairly accurate rule to follow. The best way to not overcook or undercook your meatloaf is to use a meat thermometer to check the meatloaf internal temperature. The ideal meatloaf internal temp is 160°F.
How long to cook a 1 lb meatloaf?
Using a conventional oven you will need to cook the meatloaf at a minimum of 350°F. For a 1 lb meatloaf you can estimate between 35 to 45 minutes cooking time.
How long to cook a 2 lb meatloaf?
Using a conventional oven you will need to cook the meatloaf at a minimum of 350°F. For a 1 lb meatloaf you can estimate between 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes cooking time.
How long to cook a 3 lb meatloaf?
Using a conventional oven you will need to cook the meatloaf at a minimum of 350°F. For a 1 lb meatloaf you can estimate between 1 hour and a half to 2 hours cooking time.
How long to cook meatloaf at 375°F?
At 375°F a 1 lb meatloaf will take about 25 to 30 minutes for the meatloaf temp to reach 160°F.
A 2 lb meatloaf will take about 40 to 50 minutes for the meatloaf temp to reach 160°F.
A 3 lb meatloaf will take about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes for the meatloaf temp to reach 160°F.
How long to cook meatloaf at 350°F?
At 350°F a 1 lb meatloaf will take about 35 to 45 minutes for the meatloaf temperature to reach 160°F.
A 2 lb meatloaf will take about 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes for the meatloaf temperature to reach 160°F.
A 3 lb meatloaf will take about 1 hour and a half to 2 hours for the meatloaf temperature to reach 160°F.
Do you bake meatloaf covered or uncovered?
In this recipe, the meatloaf is baked uncovered. With the use of milk in the mixture, it should keep your meatloaf plenty moist and juicy inside.
Sweet and tangy and utterly amazing, Southern meatloaf sauce takes kitchen-staple-ketchup and takes it to the next level. With the help of white vinegar and brown sugar, it transforms to a slightly sweet BBQ-sauce-like taste that your whole family will love. Its the perfect meatloaf topping that everyone loves!
Leave me with my leftover meatloaf and my Yesterday Sandwich. I’ll be in love tomorrow, if you come back with the ketchup.
What to Serve with Meatloaf
Naturally, you can’t just serve old fashioned meatloaf on its own! It needs some sides to round out the meal. No Southern meatloaf recipe dish is ever complete without mashed potatoes. That’s the ultimate level of comfort right there! Sautéed broccoli with garlic, creamed spinach, or even roasted garlic potatoes in the slow cooker are all delicious choices that pair very well.
Can I make meatloaf on a baking sheet?
While I use a loaf pan when cooking meatloaf, if you don’t have one, you can use a baking sheet. Line it with foil for easy cleanup and make sure it’s shaped into a loaf before baking!
Why does my meatloaf fall apart?
In order for meatloaf to stay together, it needs to have eggs and breadcrumbs to bind it. Be careful not to overcook it either. Follow this recipe and you’ll have meatloaf success!
How do you keep meatloaf from falling apart?
Meatloaf falls apart when there’s not enough to bind it together. Eggs and breadcrumbs help keep it together and this recipe gives you the right proportions. Meatloaf cook time is important too as if you overcook it, it will fall apart.
Can You Freeze Meatloaf?
Yes, and that’s the best part. You can make a bigger batch and freeze it before cooking. Just shape it into a loaf and wrap it up well. You’ll need to allow it 24 hours of defrost time in the fridge before you cook it.
You can also freeze cooked meatloaf. Once it’s cooled, you can slice it up and wrap it in freezer paper, then chuck into a freezer bag. This is even better for those busy nights when you realize you’ve forgotten to thaw something out. You’ll have a nutritious and delicious meal in no time!
How to Reheat Meatloaf
Ok, look, you can reheat your meatloaf in the microwave, but it’s going to taste funky and be dried out. You can also add it to a skillet, but honestly, the best way is in the oven. Preheat it to 250F and put your meatloaf in a loaf pan or baking dish with just a hint of beef broth, water, or gravy. About 1 tablespoon should do. Cover with foil and then heat it for 20 to 25 minutes when it’s heated through completely.
The Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 red onion (medium) ((finely chopped))
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 4 tbsp parsley ((chopped))
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 garlic cloves ((minced))
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt ((To taste))
- 1/2 tsp pepper ((To taste))
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Spray a loaf plan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, onion, ketchup, parsley, milk, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, paprika, salt to taste. Mix until well combined.
- Place meatloaf mixture into prepared loaf pan layering mozzarella cheese in the middle (optional). Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes.
- Start preparing the meatloaf sauce. In a small mixing bowl, mix ketchup, brown sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add salt and pepper to taste (kosher salt is ok to use). Mix until ingredients are well combined. Spread the meatloaf glaze on top when it has 10 minutes left to bake.
- Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy!
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