The Best Classic Meatloaf

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This is the best meatloaf recipe ever! This traditional meatloaf recipe is just like mom used to make, made with ground beef and a sweet and tangy glaze topping.

Three slices of meatloaf with ketchup glaze on top.

What Makes A Really Good Meatloaf

I think the trick to good meatloaf is using lean ground beef.  The problem with a lot of meatloaf recipes is that they call for ground beef with a high fat content.  As the meatloaf cooks, the fat cooks out and makes a greasy mess.  Not this recipe!

Best Meatloaf recipe - 2 slices on a blue plate

How To Keep It Moist

You may be thinking, but won’t lean ground beef make the meatloaf dry?  Not at all!  The milk, egg, ketchup, and diced onion in the meat mixture are all working to keep the meatloaf moist and delicious.

Loaf Pan Versus Baking Sheet

I prefer to use a loaf pan because it keeps all the glaze in place perfectly and the meat is juicier.  But, you could line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Shape the meatloaf into a loaf shape.  Top with the glaze.  And, bake as normal.

How To Make The Best Meatloaf

*Note: This is a summary. The full printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.

Make the Meatloaf:

  • Add 90% lean ground beef to a large bowl.
  • Add dried bread crumbs  and some diced onion.
  • Add milk, an egg, ketchup, and worcestershire sauce.
  • Add dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Meatloaf recipe ingredients in a mixing bowl: ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper.
  • Mix it together REALLY well.
Meatloaf ingredients mixed together in a mixing bowl for the best meatloaf recipe
  • Pour the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
  • Spread it into a flat even layer.
Meatloaf mixture pressed into a loaf pan, ready to bake

Make the Ketchup Glaze

  • Add ketchup, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar to a bowl.
  • Whisk until combined.
  • Pour the glaze over the meatloaf.
Uncooked meatloaf with ketchup glaze in a loaf pan, ready to bake
  • Bake it!
  • Let it cool before slicing.
The Best Easy Meatloaf sliced on a white plate

Can This Be Made Ahead Of Time

Absolutely!  Just cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you’re ready for it.  Then, uncover it and let it come to room temperature as you’re preheating the oven.

Can This Be Frozen

Yes!  Prepare the meatloaf, put it in a loaf pan, and top with glaze according to the recipe directions.  Cover the pan and freeze.

Place the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator to thaw about 24 hours before you want to bake it.  Then, uncover it and let it come to room temperature as you’re preheating the oven.

I’ve been playing around with this recipe for the past few months, making it many times.  And, I didn’t mind the repetition at all because I do believe I ended up with the best classic meatloaf recipe ever. 🙂

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Three slices of meatloaf with ketchup glaze on top.

The Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe

4.97 from 1986 votes
This traditional meatloaf recipe is just like mom used to make, made with ground beef and a sweet and tangy ketchup glaze topping. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


Servings 10 slices
Calories 164 kcal


  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley leaves
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, add the beef, bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, 2 tablespoons ketchup, worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Use your hands to mush and mix these ingredients together until well combined.*
  • Add the meat mixture to a loaf pan. Pat the meat down into an even layer.
  • In a small bowl, add ¼ cup ketchup, the brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir to combine. Pour the sauce on top of the meatloaf and spread it into an even layer.
  • Bake uncovered for 55 minutes.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before serving (or it may fall apart).**


*Be sure to mix the meat really well.  This is a very moist meatloaf recipe so under mixing can cause the meatloaf to be too soft/mushy. 
**I use two thin spatulas to remove the meatloaf from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. You could also slice and serve the meatloaf directly from the loaf pan, or use parchment paper to line the pan for easy removal.


Serving: 1/10th of the meatloaf | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.8g | Protein: 11.7g | Fat: 5.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.2g | Cholesterol: 49.9mg | Sodium: 399.3mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 6.7g
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Main Dish
Keyword best meatloaf recipe, classic meatloaf, meatloaf with ground beef
Cuisine American
Author Amanda Finks
the best classic meatloaf with glaze in a loaf pan

Check out all of my great ground beef recipes.

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    1. 5 stars
      You would double them. So 1/4 cup would turn into 1/2 cup..1/2 cup of milk would turn into 1 cup; etc. I used 2lbs and doubled everything to add.

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, this was a great recipe for a cold day with snow on the ground….comfort! I had everything but an onion and the milk. So, I used chicken broth for the liquid and added a little Italian seasoning with the dried parsley. I was surprised at how the broth was just fine…..and by not adding onion I could share a bite with the pup:) It was moist and tasty….thanks for the share. I find good recipes make good cooks:)…oh, forgot….used a good BBQ sauce for the topping because I used alll my bit of ketchup in the loaf….delish!

  2. 5 stars
    LOVE this meatloaf, but the prep time is MUCH longer than 10 minutes for me. Maybe about 30 minutes. Very easy to make though.

  3. 5 stars
    It was a cold snow-day in Georgia, so I thought this would be a great comfort food option. Good decision…although I did make a few substitutions. I used oatmeal for the bread crumbs, half/half for the milk, and BBQ sauce for the ketchup, then added a tablespoon of brown sugar and some chopped green pepper. For the topping, I just used a bit more BBQ sauce. OMG-YUM!!

    1. I hope so because I just doubled it, and mine are in the oven. 🙂 I’ve made this very recipe before, and it did seem to look okay doubled.

    1. Try oatmeal. I just made today using oatmeal and it turned out great. Use quick cook or regular, but not steel cut.

  4. I did it!! And I didn’t have a loaf pan but a cake pan, so I wanted to share that I put aluminum paper to crate the wide of the loaf that I wanted in each side, and put the mix of the meat in the center and it work perfectly! Also in the sides between the aluminum walls and the pan it served for the grease to fill in those parts, so it was easier to get ride of all that meat grease. I would share a picture if I could of but I see no upload filed. Oh well.. thanks for this recipe!

  5. I don’t have any red wine vinegar. Can regular vinegar be used in sauce? Excited to try it tonight. Not able to get to the store for red wine vinegar tho. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe, just like my Mom’s. I take a sheet of tin foil a little longer then my loaf pan and fold it into thirds. Place in pan with the ends folded over for handles. Easy to lift out of loaf pan and drain any grease.

  7. 5 stars
    This is first meatloaf I’ve ever made and the taste and texture is perfect. Thank you from a guy who’s 66!!!! Great Job Amanda And THANX!!!

  8. 5 stars
    This is hands down the best meatloaf I’ve ever made! the taste and texture is perfect. Thank you so much for posting this!

  9. If I don’t make the Ketchup sauce on top of the Meatloaf can I bake it covered
    In the roasting pan?

  10. 5 stars
    UNFREAKING BELIEVABLE, Awesome, I am allways scouring he internet for new recipes. Next day sandwiches from leftovers ( If There are any)are great. Better to make 2 to have some left

  11. 5 stars
    I think you nailed the classic meatloaf! Lovely hint of garlic, good texture and the glaze was delightful. My husband was in heaven.

  12. This looks delicious! So, meatloaf has been my birthday dinner for my entire life, so I am clearly a fan! Will definitely have to try your recipe!

  13. I loved that you used your Mom’s recipe. I know it makes her so proud. I have been meaning to tell you how great the photos are in your recipes. You are doing a great job. Happy Thanksgiving to all your family.

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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