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 1986 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
    Love how easy it is to bake and prep it was my 1st time making my own meatloaf and I have falling love with this recipe I don’t have a lot of time to cook n this was perfect

  2. 5 stars
    My first meatloaf ever for me and my mom. Followed the directions and portions exactly. We both loved it and my mom was talking about it the next day still and tod me she wished made more of it.

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is incredible! Super easy too! I didn’t have red wine vinegar but I used balsamic vinegar and it was amazing!!! Will make this all the time!!!

  4. I’ve made this many times, and have shared the recipe with family and friends. All of us agree that this is truly a great classic meat loaf recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I consider myself very fortunate that my mom has always been a great cook. So growing up there wasn’t much I didn’t like and I was exposed to all kinds of food. I don’t consider myself a picky eater either. That being said there are alot of different ways to make meatloaf and hands down this recipe was the absolute best I’ve ever had. I ate three servings that evening when normally I’d either pass on eating meatloaf all together or only have a small piece. This was so moist, flavourful and savory! Definitely comfort food! I have not stopped raving about this recipe! Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    This is the BEST meatloaf recipe I have ever made or eaten I misplaced it and made a different: not as good as this one is!

  7. 5 stars
    Just amazing the flavors are very succulent. Even the after taste has a very pleasant taste.
    I have made this with one with ground beef and one with ground turkey both turned out awesome
    I mixed all dry togather and wet separately then add meat. I have also tried and use different types of breads like Italian bread and still this recipe doesn’t disappoint 😋
    I served this with mash potatoes and peas n carrots for a side 😋 highly-rated

  8. 5 stars
    This has been one of my go-to recipes for years, a perfect meatloaf recipe. Unfortunately I recently found out I have celiac disease so I’m trying to find a swap for the breadcrumbs. Has anyone found a gluten free substitute that doesn’t turn into a goopy gummy sloppy mess?

  9. 5 stars
    Great meatloaf recipe, especially like the glaze! I followed except I added the dry seasonings (parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper) to the breadcrumbs to make sure they were well blended before mixing into the meat.

    1. 5 stars
      I cook every week for a Pot Luck, mostly seniors, and this is one of the most requested by the group. Moist and very flavourful. Great recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    I love this meatloaf recipe and I always get rave reviews!
    Question – if I want to double it for a large crowd, how would that change the cooking time? (Maybe I’m better off making two…..)

  11. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I made it as stated to the best of my ability. I only had panko breadcrumbs and I also had no milk. I subbed for equal parts water and soaked the panko breadcrumbs in the water before adding to the mixture, just to help incorporate the two items more easily. Not sure it that was necessary, but it turned out perfectly. Thanks for the great recipe! I will make it again and double it and freeze one.

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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