A traditional classic Easy Meatloaf Recipe! This meatloaf is tender, juicy and really flavorful! It’s satisfying and extremely easy to make!

overhead shot of a meatloaf sliced on a white cutting board.

Who doesn’t love a good meatloaf? It’s our comfort food, it’s what Sunday suppers are all about! But nobody wants a dry or dense meatloaf. They should be tender and juicy, yet not fall apart on you. We all want a meatloaf that is flavorful and when you bite into one, you get a taste explosion in your mouth. You know, one that is both delicious and comforting.

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Why Meatloaf Is A Classic

While meatloaves are the farthest thing from a fancy meal, its hominess is what makes them so incredible. By combining a handful of basic ingredients, we end up with a hearty and comforting meal. I’m talking tender, savory bites of meatloaf glazed with ketchup! It’s the best thing ever!

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Making meatloaf is probably one of the easiest things to do. If prepared properly, meatloaf can be perfectly juicy and flavorful. The other great thing about meatloaf is that the ingredients are common ingredients we’re likely to already have in our pantry or our fridge! So let’s get to this comfort food classic!

Ingredient Notes

  • Ground Beef – Any type will do. The fattier the meat, the juicer the meatloaf.
  • Onion – A medium onion, white or yellow, grated or finely chopped.
  • Breadcrumbs – I used panko, use what you have.
  • Milk – Any type will work, dairy or non dairy.
  • Carrot – Small carrot, shredded or finely chopped.
  • Celery – Finely diced.
  • Garlic – Fresh is best! Minced.
  • Parsley – Fresh, chopped.
  • Tomato Paste – Make sure your grab tomato paste and not tomato sauce. Tomato paste has a more concentrated flavor.
  • Eggs – Large eggs, these will act as a binder for our meatloaf.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This adds a nice boost of flavor to the dish.
  • Seasoning – Salt & pepper, to taste.
  • Ketchup – Or BBQ sauce, for the topping.

How To Make Meatloaf

detailed process shot showing how to make meatloaf.
  1. Heat oven: Heat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet or a baking dish with aluminum foil.
  2. Prepare meatloaf mixture: Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well using your clean hands. Do not over mix the ingredients to avoid creating a dense loaf.
  3. Shape loaf: Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the prepared baking sheet or baking dish. Shape it into a loaf roughly 9 inches by 5 inches. If using a loaf pan, just pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan.
  4. Add ketchup: Spread ¼ cup of the ketchup mixture over the meatloaf and reserve the other ¼ cup for later.
  5. Bake: Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes, then spread with the remaining ¼ cup of ketchup. Bake the loaf for another 10 to 15 minutes (about 1 hour total), until the middle of the loaf registers at least 155°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  6. Cool before slicing: Let the loaf cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. If you baked your meatloaf in a loaf pan, carefully drain off the liquid fat before transferring the meatloaf to a cutting board. Cut into thick slices and serve.

FAQs & Expert Tips

FAQs

two slices of meatloaf over a bed of mashed cauliflower.

Tips

  1. When mixing ingredients together, just mix them all together until everything is just combined. Do not to over mix the ingredients, since this could cause the loaf to be dense.
  2. Always line your baking sheet with aluminum foil. I love this method because you’re not dirtying up any loaf pans or baking sheets.
  3. The best temperature to cook the meatloaf at is 350°F and it requires about 1 hour, give or take a few minutes, depending on size and shape. 1 hour should be more than enough for a 2 pound meatloaf.
  4. Do not cut into the meatloaf right away, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes after cooking. This will ensure it doesn’t fall apart and it will retain all its juices.
  5. The most important step to making a great tasting meatloaf, if I do say so myself, is to brush the top of the loaf with ketchup or your favorite BBQ sauce. This really does add a lot of flavor to the meatloaf.
meatloaf sliced on a white cutting board.

Leftovers

Store leftover meatloaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Freezing/Make Ahead

Meatloaf freezes well. The great thing is that you can freeze it before or after cooking.

Make Ahead

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To freeze it before cooking, place the meatloaf in a loaf pan and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, then in foil and freeze. Thaw it out in the refrigerator for about 18 hours before placing it in the oven to bake.

Freezing Leftovers

To freeze it after cooking, allow it to cool completely. You can either freeze it in individual slices, wrapped up tightly in plastic wrap or wrap up the whole loaf tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped up slices or loaf into a large freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

If you’re freezing individual slices, you can reheat them in the microwave oven, otherwise I like to place the frozen loaf on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper in the oven at 350°F until heated through.

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two slices of meatloaf over a bed of mashed cauliflower.

More Delicious Recipes To Try

  • Easy Meatloaf Recipe
  • Instant Pot Meatloaf
  • No Knead 1 Hour Cinnamon Rolls
  • Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat)
  • Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

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