This easy meatloaf recipe will knock your family’s socks off! It’s moist, flavorful, tender, and the perfect comfort food that everyone enjoys. Ready in about an hour from start to finish!
I’m not sure anyone knows exactly why, but meatloaf topped with a tomato glaze is an American classic dinner. It became popular in the U.S during the great depression, because it allowed families to stretch their food budget by using inexpensive meat mixed with other ingredients to feed more people with less.
Meatloaf also exists in some form in many other countries and regions around the world. I believe that meatloaf is therefore the world’s best comfort food dinner recipe.
If you haven’t made meatloaf before, you’ll find that this recipe is super simple, satisfying, and delicious.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Inexpensive Ingredients: I said it already, but I’ll mention it again: ground beef is an inexpensive protein, particularly when mixed with other less expensive ingredients to make filling, comforting food. The other ingredients in this meatloaf recipe are simple, common kitchen items.
- Ketchup Chili Glaze: What’s a good meatloaf recipe without a delicious sweet glaze on top? This one uses ketchup, chili sauce, and flavorings to create the perfect tangy topping.
- Family Favorite: After the first time I made this, my family asked me to make it again, week after week. This meatloaf recipe is a keeper!
For the meatloaf:
We’re mixing together ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings.
- Breadcrumbs: Italian breadcrumbs are my choice here, because they come already seasoned with herbs and parmesan cheese.
- Milk and Eggs: These add moisture to the breadcrumbs which will help keep the meatloaf from getting dry.
- Ground Beef: 80/20 beef is perfect for meatloaf. You don’t want to use something that’s too lean, as the fat from the meat keeps things tender and delicious.
- Onion and Garlic: These aromatic vegetables add tons of flavor, texture, and more moisture.
- Seasonings: Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, fresh parsley, salt and pepper are added to the meat to season it well and bring out the best possible flavors.
For the Glaze:
- Ketchup: This is the classic meatloaf topping, but we’re making it even better with some additional ingredients.
- Chili sauce: Heinz chilli sauce (or a generic equivalent) adds a subtle spiciness and sweetness. It’s worth picking up a couple bottles of this to have on hand for recipes, but if you don’t have any, you can substitute with more ketchup, or a spicy tomato-based barbecue sauce.
- Brown Sugar: this meatloaf glaze is sweet! The brown sugar will help it caramelize as the meatloaf bakes in the oven.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, and salt help to balance the sweetness with savory notes.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How To Make Meatloaf
I promise that this recipe is way easier than it looks!
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Then line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spray it with cooking spray.
- Moisten Breadcrumbs: In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs with milk and eggs. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes so that the breadcrumbs absorb the liquid.
- Mix Everything Up: Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl, and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Don’t Overmix! Mix everything together gently, just until combined. This will help the meat retain its texture and stay juicy and delicious.
- Shape: Shape the meat mixture into an 8×4 inch loaf shape, compress it so that it holds this shape while cooking. You can use a loaf pan if you prefer, but I like the way this cooks on a sheet pan better.
- Bake: Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
- Make Glaze: While the meatloaf is baking, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
- Brush it on: Use a brush to spread the glaze over the meatloaf after the first baking stage. Bake for 15 minutes more until it’s fully cooked. Use a thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the meatloaf is at least 160°F/71°C.
- Rest: Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe Success Tips
- Meatloaf can be served cold or warm, or at room temperature. It’s a great meal item to make early in the day so it’s ready for dinner. Reheat in a low oven, just until warm.
- Make a freeform loaf. I started making my meatloaf on a sheet pan rather than in a loaf pan for two reasons. One, I think it cooks faster and more evenly this way. Two, I can put the delicious glaze all over the loaf, rather than just on the top, which gives me crispy, amazing edges.
- Save Time. To cook it faster, divide the meat mixture into 2 smaller loaves. Cook for 20 minutes before adding the glaze, and then continue cooking until done.
What To Serve With Meatloaf
For a vegetable side dish, go with your family’s favorites. This is after all a comfort food meal, so give them what they love! Steamed green beans or broccoli with butter are simple options. Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms or Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots would both be amazing with meatloaf too.
Use leftover meatloaf to make meatloaf sandwiches. This is perfect for packing lunches as it’s best enjoyed cold. Use a sturdy bread or roll, topped with thin slices of meatloaf, and finish with mayonnaise, ketchup, or try my Fry Sauce on your meatloaf sandwich.
Frequently Asked Questions
160°F/71°C is the safe cooking temperature for ground beef. Use an instant read thermometer to test the meatloaf temp in the very center of the loaf for doneness.
Milk soaks into the breadcrumbs, and together they add moisture and bulk to the meat. If you aren’t a milk drinker, any liquid can be used. Try beef broth or any unsweetened dairy free milk.
Eggs work as a binder, and help the meatloaf hold its shape. Without them, I’m afraid you’d end up cooking a pile of meatloaf mixture that isn’t easily sliced. There are alternatives to eggs in some meatloaf recipes, but I haven’t personally tried any of them. Cornstarch or a commercially available egg alternative seem to be popular.
Yes, any kind of breadcrumbs will work, even old stale bread that you’ve chopped in a food processor. Just make sure that the breadcrumbs sit in the milk long enough to soften really well. This recipe uses seasoned breadcrumbs, so if yours are not seasoned, I suggest adding a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your breadcrumb mixture to make up for that.
Make meatloaf into a freezer meal by freezing the loaf before cooking. Wrap well and freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as directed
Enjoy your new meatloaf recipe and the confidence that comes from making a dinner that the whole family loves!
- ¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 pounds (900g) ground beef 80/20
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped or grated
- 3 cloves garlic minced finely or pressed
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the glaze:
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spray it with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs with milk and eggs. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined, do not over mix.
- Shape the meat into a 8×4 inch loaf and compress it to hold its shape, and place it on the prepared baking sheet (or shape it over the baking sheet). You can also use a loaf pan for this.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the glaze ingredients. Mix until well combined.
- Using a brush, spread the glaze over the meatloaf, and bake for 15 more minutes or until it’s fully cooked. The internal temp must reach 160°F.
- Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve over mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli or green beans.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen