The whole family will devour this Easy Meatloaf! It’s super simple—making it perfect for all levels of cooks in the kitchen.
Meatloaf is such a classic dinner recipe from everyone’s childhood! It’s one of our favorite ways to use ground beef along with other favorites like Homemade Meatballs and Goulash.
Mom’s Classic Recipe
Meatloaf is the all-American recipe of food. It’s a classic comfort food that never goes out of style for dinnertime.
This is my mom’s famous recipe that I have loved all my life. I can’t remember a time in my life that we didn’t have this meatloaf recipe because it has always been a Sunday staple, especially with a side of Mashed Potatoes.
When my mom would cook up meatloaf, we could smell it’s tasty aroma throughout the house! This recipe has a soft spot in my heart and I’ll always love it.
We know there are so many variations for this recipe, and this can be changed up based on the spices you like most or if you prefer regular bread crumbs, but we love this version.
How to Make Meatloaf
This meatloaf is the easiest dinner recipe ever. Basically it consists of combining everything together in a bowl, baking it up, and topping it with the glaze! So simple that even your kids can get in on the cooking fun.
PREP. Start by grabbing all of your ingredients and prepping everything before you start. That will make it even easier to make.
FORM LOAF. Combine ground beef, shredded bread crumbs, onion, eggs, bouillon cube and remaining lemon juice in a large bowl. Add ½ cup of the ketchup mixture and mix until well combined. Form meat into a loaf and place in a casserole dish.
Tip: One of the tips I always tell people is to not handle the ground beef mixture too much. Over-mixing can cause the meatloaf to turn out tough and dense. Form into a loaf and place in a baking dish.
BAKE. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Pull out of the oven and top the loaf with remaining ketchup sauce, then bake for an additional 10 minutes.
SERVE. Before you slice into that perfectly baked meatloaf, make sure to let it rest for a few minutes so that it can absorb all of the juices.
Tip: I like to keep the juices from the pan so that I can pour it over the top of my meatloaf after it’s done baking. This makes it even more moist and juicy.
You can switch up the flavors in this recipe to give it some variation. Try any of the following:
- Try adding some Mexican spices to give it a more Tex-Mex taste.
- Instead of using ground beef, try using ground pork or ground turkey.
- You could also try using dried uncooked lentils for a vegetarian meatloaf.
Breadcrumbs instead of bread: If you want to use bread crumbs instead of slices of bread, then you’ll need ⅓ cup bread crumbs per slice. This recipe calls for 4 slices of bread so that means you’ll need 1 ⅓ cup bread crumbs. You will also need to soak the bread crumbs in 1 cup of milk for a few minutes before combining it with the other ingredients in the recipe.
Make it in a loaf pan: You can use an 8.5×4.5×3 inch loaf pan or larger to bake this meatloaf. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 60-80 minutes. Adding the glaze during the last 10 minutes. The best way to tell if the center is done is to insert a meat thermometer. The center should reach 160°F. Note: That baking in a bread pan will cause the meatloaf to steam a little more than in an open baking pan.
Do not forget to make the sauce that goes over the top of your meatloaf. It adds tons of flavor that you definitely want for this recipe. The steps are really simple.
MIX. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice and dry mustard in a small bowl. Mix everything until smooth.
SAUCE. You’ll add ½ of the sauce to the mixture of the meatloaf before it’s cooked. Then you’ll add the rest of the sauce to the top of the meatloaf after it’s cooked.
BAKE. Then bake the meatloaf with the sauce on top for another 10 minutes before serving and eating.
Leftovers are just as good!
Meatloaf Sandwiches: Leftovers make the best meatloaf sandwiches. I feel like it’s a cross between hamburger and Sloppy Joes. It’s flavorful and filling, so much so that it’s worth making extra meatloaf just so you have enough leftovers for a next day sandwich.
- For younger kids keep the slices to about 1/3-½ inch, but older people can handle much larger slices.
- Heat up the meatloaf: Once the meatloaf has been sliced I like to heat up pieces in a hot pan. It gives a nice crust to the meat and warms it all the way through. You can also heat up multiple slices in a hot oven or use a microwave.
- Bread: You want to choose a bread sturdy enough to handle the meatloaf and toppings Hamburger buns, slices of French bread, Ciabatta, sourdough or Italian Bread. I like to butter the bread, add a bit of garlic salt and then lightly toast it.
- Add your favorite sandwich toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions.
How to store? Store any leftover meatloaf in an airtight container in the fridge. It should last up to 3 or 4 days when kept in the fridge.
How to freeze? Freeze your meatloaf to eat at another time or make ahead- wrap it tightly in freezer wrap and keep it in a freezer-safe bag. It will keep its quality of taste if kept in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
How to reheat? Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or you can put large portions in the oven. Preheat the oven to a low temperature (220°-240°F) and place loaf in a casserole dish with any remaining juices to help retain moisture. Cover with foil and bake until heated through.
I just know you’re going to LOVE this classic meatloaf recipe. Just like Mom made it.
One of the many things that is great about meatloaf is that you can serve it with tons of different side dishes.
What goes with Meatloaf? So many options. here are some of our favorites:
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice and dry mustard in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Set aside.
Crumble bread slices in food processor until crumbled and uniform size.
Combine ground beef, shredded bread crumbs, onion, eggs, bouillon cube and remaining lemon juice in a large bowl. Add ½ of the ketchup mixture and mix until well combined. Form meat into a loaf and place in a casserole dish.
Bake for 1 hour. Drain fat from dish, then top with remaining ketchup mixture and bake an additional 10 minutes.