See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This classic Meatloaf Recipe is easy to make and so tender and moist, with the best meatloaf glaze. Serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans for a praise-worthy Sunday dinner.
Making a homemade meatloaf is easier than you might think! This classic meatloaf recipe is made with simple ingredients that come together to make the best meatloaf. It’s incredibly flavorful, tender and moist. This mouthwatering dinner recipe is a family favorite!
To keep this meatloaf moist and juicy, we use Panko breadcrumbs which trap moisture in the meatloaf for an extra delicious result. Eggs, ketchup and finely chopped onion combine with the Panko for an exceptionally moist and crave-worthy meatloaf.
Best Meatloaf Recipe Tips
- Just like when making meatballs, for the most tender meatloaf don’t over-mix the meat mixture.
- Your hands are the best tools when it comes to incorporating the meat with the other ingredients. Or, you can use a potato masher.
- Cooking meatloaf in a loaf pan helps it to keep its shape and makes it more moist, since it cooks in its own juices. If you prefer to bake your meatloaf free-form on a baking sheet, you will lost some of the juices and may have to adjust the cook time.
- Let the meatloaf rest in the pan for at least 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven. During the rest time the juices will redistribute throughout the meatloaf, keeping it moist and juicy. If you slice the meatloaf too soon it may fall apart.
- Want to cook meatloaf in the Instant Pot? Try my Instant Pot Meatloaf recipe. The mashed potatoes cook right in the pot at the same time!
Meatloaf Recipe Ingredients
- Ground Beef: 85% ground beef is best for this recipe. It has enough fat to bring moisture and flavor. I don’t recommend using a leaner ground beef.
- Eggs: Help to bind the ingredients so the loaf keeps its shape.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: I highly recommend using Panko, not regular breadcrumbs. The larger crumbs of the Panko are able to soak up more moisture for a moist meatloaf. The panko also acts as a binder to hold the meatloaf together.
- Onion & Garlic: For flavor! The onion also adds lots of moisture; be sure to chop it up finely.
- Ketchup: Adds moisture and flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Brings delicious umami flavor to enhance the beef.
- Seasonings: Dried thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper (along with the onion, garlic, ketchup and Worcestershire) make for an incredibly flavorful meatloaf.
This recipe has the most delicious meatloaf glaze, which caramelizes on top of the meatloaf as it bakes. For the meatloaf sauce you’ll need ketchup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, savory and tangy!
How to Make Meatloaf
This meatloaf recipe is so easy to make! While the prep time is quick, you’ll want to plan ahead because it takes about an hour and a half to bake in the oven.
- Make the meatloaf mixture. First, combine everything except the ground beef. You want to mix the ingredients together really well before adding the beef, so you don’t overwork the meat. Then, use your hands to combine the ground beef with the other ingredients.
- Shape the meatloaf. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and put it into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Press the meatloaf together firmly enough so that it holds its shape, but not so firmly that it becomes dense.
- Bake the meatloaf at 350° F for 45 minutes. The meatloaf won’t be done yet, but it will be time to add the glaze.
- Make the glaze. While the meatloaf is in the oven, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar.
- Glaze and finish baking. Spread the glaze over the meatloaf and then put it back in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until it reaches 160° F in the center.
- Let it rest! This is the hardest part, but it’s crucial to wait 10 minutes before slicing the meatloaf so that it will be juicy and hold its shape.
Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How Long to Cook Meatloaf
Bake a 2 pound meatloaf in a loaf pan at 350° F for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes total. The best way to tell when meatloaf is done is to use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature. The center of the meatloaf should be 160° F.
Do you cover meatloaf when baking? No, bake meatloaf uncovered so that the top gets nice and brown and the glaze caramelizes.
What to Serve with Meatloaf
This classic comfort food is so good served with Mashed Potatoes, scalloped potatoes or Roasted Potatoes plus a veggie. Try Green Beans, Roasted Carrots or Roasted Asparagus. Leftover meatloaf is delicious served in a meatloaf sandwich for lunch the next day.
Make Ahead Instructions
You can prepare and shape your meatloaf up to 24 hours ahead of time and store it, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator before baking. You may need to add a few minutes to the bake time.
Can you freeze meatloaf? Yes! You can freeze an unbaked meatloaf. Place the meatloaf in the loaf pan, tightly wrap with plastic wrap and then store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. You may have to add a few minutes to the bake time.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover baked meatloaf is even more flavorful on the second and third day, after the flavors have had more time to meld.
- Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Let cool completely, wrap airtight, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Reheat: Cover the meatloaf and reheat in a 350° F oven until hot (you can wrap it in foil if desired to trap in more moisture). Or reheat gently in the microwave.
More Easy Ground Beef Recipes
- Beef Enchiladas
- Sloppy Joes
- Taco Recipe
- Hamburger Soup
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds ground beef (85% is best)
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, Panko breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir with a fork until well combined.
- Add the ground beef to the bowl and use your hands to mix everything together until well combined. Try not to over-mix.
- Shape the mixture into a loaf and place it in the greased loaf pan.
- To make the meatloaf glaze, combine the ½ cup ketchup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Bake meatloaf for 45 minutes, then spread the meatloaf glaze over the top and continue baking for 35-45 more minutes, or until meatloaf is 160° F in the center when tested with an instant read thermometer.
- Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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