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. 🙂

Find more of my recipes on TikTok

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

Video

Servings 10 slices
Calories 164 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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).**

Notes

*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.

Nutrition

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
meatloaf

Check out all of my great ground beef recipes.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is my bookmarked go to recipe for over 5 years now. My family loves it and often requests it. I’ve made an Italian seasoning version which they liked, and also have had to mix half bread crumbs and half ritz crackers before. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

  2. 5 stars
    This was very good. The only thing I added was one half of a chopped bell pepper. . Also used a meatloaf mix (veal, beef and pork).
    Will make this again.

  3. 5 stars
    Hands down the best Meatloaf. Over 30 years of attempting meatloaf recipes herself My mother has even praised me for having the perfect meatloaf recipe. I’m now in charge of making it. It stays together perfect, never greasy, and taste so unbelievably good. The sauce ontop is thw perfect touch. I’ve saved it in my phone and wrote it in my cookbook. It’s a keeper and my only meatloaf recipe I’ll ever use again. 100%

  4. 5 stars
    My Momma who made the best meatloaf ever said this was perfect! Now that says a lot to me, now that she is no longer with us, I feel I have something to give my family that they will love that I made.

  5. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe. I make 1.5 pound. I go a little heavy on the egg and onions. I have celiacs so I have all gluten free. I was short on bread crumbs so I added an undried piece of gluten free bread. It was the best one. I do it in a 6×9 Pyrex. I go half on the brown sugar. 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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