This amazing homemade meatloaf recipe is tender and juicy on the inside with a sweet and tangy topping. This is a traditional meatloaf made with ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, and perfectly balanced seasonings. A ketchup-based topping adds incredible flavor.
What Makes A Really Good Meatloaf Recipe
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!
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.
Why Put Milk In It
Milk soaks into the breadcrumbs and helps keep the meatloaf moist. I typically use whole milk in recipes, but any type of milk including non-dairy milk alternatives could be used.
Is It Better To Cook Covered Or Uncovered
Some recipes call for covering the loaf pan with aluminum foil before baking to keep the moisture in. This is not necessary in this recipe. Bake uncovered for the entire 55 minutes. It will stay moist.
Should I Sauté The Onions First
Some recipes call for sautéing the onions before adding them to the raw meatloaf mixture. This ensures that the onions are completely cooked and soft. I’ve found that if the onions are cut small enough, they will cook through during the baking process and do not need to be sautéed.
This recipe calls for finely diced onion, so there is no need to sauté it first. Skipping the sauté step makes the meatloaf preparation faster and easier.
This classic meatloaf is perfect for a busy weeknight meal because it can be prepared in minutes.
How Long Should It Cook
This meatloaf is cooked in a 350° oven, uncovered, for 55 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 160° F. Be sure to let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before attempting to slice it, so it holds its shape.
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: The full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.
- 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.
- Mix it together REALLY well.
- Pour the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
- Spread it into a flat even layer.
Make the Meatloaf Sauce
- Add ketchup, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar to a bowl.
- Whisk until combined.
- Pour the glaze over the meatloaf.
- Bake it!
- Let it cool before slicing.
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.
Why Does Meatloaf Fall Apart
- You may not have used enough binding ingredients. This recipe calls for plenty of breadcrumbs.
- It may be over baked. Fifty five minutes is all it takes.
- Or, you may have sliced into it while it was still too hot. I always let my meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing into it.
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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The Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe
- 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).**
Check out all of my great ground beef recipes.