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 1740 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
    I never used to like eating meatloaf until
    I found this recipe and now I find myself making this meatloaf a couple times a month. The meatloaf is so moist and the ketchup glaze is so delicious I double the topping recipe so every bite has a good amount of topping for it. Thank you so much for posting this it really the best!

  2. 5 stars
    My family really enjoyed this meatloaf recipe, prepared exactly as written. We all went back for another slice! I’m making it for the second time tonight. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe and everyone including my picky toddler ate it all up. Has anyone tried making it in muffin tins? Just curious how one might adjust the cooking time so as not to overcook.

  4. 5 stars
    I have made this several times. It is my go to meatloaf recipe. I love I! And the sauce on top is delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    This meatloaf was truly delicious! I used Italian breadcrumbs and honey instead of brown sugar. This will be an all time go to. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday; 10/26/2022, super easy, very moist and taste great.
    Frist time I have ever made a meatloaf.
    Everyone loved it, will make again and again.

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I’m always looking for easy, tasty meals and this has becomes a firm family favourite! Really moist and the sauce is so simple to make and really lovely. Clean plates all round when I cook this for dinner 😀

  8. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I really like meatloaf, but this is the best I’ve ever tasted in any restaurant or kitchen. Such a great flavor and texture. I haven’t tried the sauce yet, because I do like simply squeezing ketchup onto my meatloaf slices, but I look forward to trying it again soon! Can’t wait to make this for others.

  9. 5 stars
    Great meatloaf, followed the recipe to the “t” and it was perfect, great flavor! It came together quickly, too.

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious. I love making it for my boyfriend and me, along with some mashed potatoes and peas. I love that I can make it ahead and stick it in the fridge and warm it up later. My absolute go-to recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    Just want to thank you again for this recipe, not had it for a couple of months, but made it again tonight and I’d forgotten how good it is, it’s pretty special.

  12. 5 stars
    This is the one meatloaf recipe my family agrees on. When my husband asks what’s for dinner and I say meatloaf, he asks if I’m making this one.

    1. 5 stars
      This meatloaf has been a family favorite for a while now! My kids and husband devour it, the neighbor kids love it, extended family loves it. Everyone! I follow the recipe exactly and will always just make 2. One is never enough for a family of four.

  13. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe many times including using Beyond Beef (plant based ground). Family loves it each and every time. I’ve substituted red wine for red wine vinegar. I’ve also substituted flax seed and water for the egg. Very forgiving recipes and always delicious.

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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