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 1818 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
    I’ve ate a lot of meatloaf but this one is by far my favorite, I usually need spicy to eat thinge but not this.

  2. 5 stars
    My only critique on this excellent recipe is ensuring to mix correctly, liquids, egg and seasoning first mixed then hamburger mixed, then finally the breadcrumbs. Little more effort for the best possible result in my opinion. Thank you for this recipe, a 5 star family favorite.

  3. Oooh this was the best meatloaf I’ve ever made!! It made our house smell so good while cooking. Definitely bookmarking this, it’s a keeper!

  4. 4 stars
    Tried this last night and my teenaged son almost ate the entire loaf himself!!! I would call this a hit =]

    The glaze was too sweet but can be altered a bit for next time. Already have requests to make this again soon!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this for a crowd and used 7 lbs of beef- all I had was 80/20 but this still worked beautifully because I shaped all of it into 4 loaves and baked them on sheet pans. The grease was able to escape and not make the meatloaf too greasy. So. Many. Compliments. People really loved it. One woman came back for seconds and said, “This is so good, and I HATE meatloaf!” Haha! This is now my go to meatloaf recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 5 stars
    This meatloaf has been a favorite in my family for several years now! I’m re-working my recipe binder and decided to finally rate this delicious dish!

  7. 5 stars
    This truly is the best meatloaf recipe, I have made it multiple times now and it is great every time. You really need to make it!

  8. 5 stars
    We ketoed this delicious recipe by substituting 1 cup almond flour for the bread crumbs and 1/2 c goat yogurt to replace the milk. Other changes that result in a delicious meat loaf are the addition of lightly sautéed diced carrots, green and red peppers, and onion plus 1/2 c of my homemade beet/cabbage sauerkraut. Everything else stayed the same as in the original recipe. My husband is a meatloaf lover and he loves this variation.

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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