The Best Classic Meatloaf

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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.

3 slices of Meatloaf with ketchup glaze

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!

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.

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.

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 Meatloaf Sauce

  • 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.

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. 🙂

More Comfort Food Recipes:

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Best Meatloaf with ketchup glaze - 3 slices

The Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe

4.97 from 1628 votes
This amazing homemade meatloaf recipe is tender and juicy with a sweet tangy topping. It's a traditional meatloaf with ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, seasonings and a ketchup-based 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
    Best meatloaf I’ve ever eaten..hands down! I thought I would deviate from my usual meatloaf and just try a different recipe. This was the best and moistest I have ever cooked and eaten and will definitely be making this again…as I finally found a meatloaf that was worth the effort of making. Super easy and super delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    My first time making. Big hit with family!
    Great presentation and VERY tasty.
    Love this meatloaf recipe! Will definitely be making again and again. (Thanks for sharing!)

  3. 5 stars
    This is our go to meatloaf recipe! We leave out the onions(not a fan of the texture) and sub for onion powder to give it the flavor. It really only takes 55 mins in the oven and is moist and delicious every time!

  4. 5 stars
    I actually doubled the recipe and it turned out perfect and I think my husband is still salivating over this meatloaf.

  5. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for meatloaf. It’s moist and delicious! I love the topping, it’s exactly what it should be. The only change I make is I sauté the onions with real garlic before adding to the meatloaf since we don’t like onion pieces in the loaf. I also was out of breadcrumbs once so I crushed saltine crackers and it turned out so great I do that every time now. Thanks for the great recipe! xo

  6. 5 stars
    I really don’t comment on line to much but this meatloaf recipe was out of this world!! I’ve made this recipe 4 or 5 more times since the 1st time that it turned out so yummy. This will be my “put in my recipe file box” Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!

    1. Came here to ask the same question. I assumed so and when I made it, I doubled the recipe and it was nowhere near done at 55 mins.

    2. I doubled it and did cook it at least 10-15 minutes longer, but I used a thermometer to gauge when it was done. 160 degrees.

  7. 5 stars
    This is actually my second time making this Meatloaf recipe!
    I have never had anyone notice my Meatloaf was different before, first time my husband took a bite he said WOW this is really good , what did you do different? ! LOL
    Hope this one is just as yummy or better 😋! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. 4 stars
      I don’t do a lot of cooking but I had been craving meatloaf and found this recipe on line. the directions were very easy to follow, even for someone like me who doesn’t cook much. The meatloaf was very good although a little mushy even though I thought I had mixed it well enough. I will definitely make this again and make sure that I mix it really well. And I really enjoyed the meatloaf sandwiches too!

  8. I recently made this most delicious receipe recently.Now my family requests that I make it weekly.I serve it with garlic mashed potatoes &green beans.Serve with crusty Italian bread Yummy.Leftovers for sandwiches.

  9. 5 stars
    Been using this recipe for about 3 years now. It is BY FAR THE BEST! I’ve gotten so many compliments thanks to you Amanda!

    1. 5 stars
      I use this recipe often, I love it. The family loves it. I started doing one thing differently because of my family’s taste preference, I use jalapeño ketchup in the glaze instead of regular. It kicks up the flavor but doesn’t make it spicy. It’s a great variation. Great meatloaf recipe 👌

    2. 5 stars
      My son & grandson’s love this recipe. They come for dinner every Wednesday & would be happy with this each week. I make the recipe as written but I may try some of the suggestions on the other reviews. Thanks!

    3. 5 stars
      We are thoroughly enjoying this meatloaf it was wonderful I’m glad you took the time to figure it out and share with us. It turned out so nice I photographed it as well to share

  10. 5 stars
    My husband loves meatloaf but I have never made a good one till now!!! He absolutely loves this recipe!!!!

  11. 5 stars
    I doubled the recipe and used one pound of ground turkey and one pound of ground sweet sausage. It was moist and delicious!

  12. 5 stars
    Followed to the T except had no parsley so I used Italian seasoning and im in love with the taste my new favorite recipe for meatloaf!!!

  13. 5 stars
    This is my go to recipe, I use it every time I make meatloaf. My boyfriend specifically requests it, even though he never used to eat meatloaf.

    1. 5 stars
      My mother use to make the most delicious meatloaf, but I was never able to duplicate it. She’s gone now, so I just decided I would have to find a recipe totally different from hers, and this one is, but it’s also wonderfully delicious! We love this recipe! This is the one we use all the time now! Thank you so much for sharing!

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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