Classic Meatloaf Recipe: A Comforting Family Favorite


 Meatloaf is a timeless classic in American cuisine, loved for its hearty, comforting flavors and simplicity. This recipe takes the traditional approach, combining ground beef with aromatic herbs, vegetables, and a savory glaze for a dish that's sure to please the whole family. Whether it's a weeknight dinner or a weekend gathering, this meatloaf recipe will surely become a staple in your home.

Classic Meatloaf Recipe: A Comforting Family Favorite

What is the Best Meat for Meatloaf?

The best meat for meatloaf is typically ground beef. Specifically, a blend of ground beef with a higher fat content, such as an 80/20 blend (80% lean meat, 20% fat), is often recommended. This ratio of lean to fat helps ensure a juicy and flavorful meatloaf. However, you can also use other types of ground meat or even a combination of meats, such as a mixture of beef, pork, or veal, depending on your taste preferences. Each type of meat will impart its unique flavor to the meatloaf, so feel free to experiment to find your favorite combination.

Additionally, ground turkey or ground chicken can be used as a leaner alternative to beef, which can be a healthier option for those watching their fat intake. While these alternatives may result in a slightly different texture and flavor compared to beef-based meatloaf, they can still yield delicious results when seasoned well and paired with complementary ingredients.

Ultimately, the best meat for your meatloaf depends on your personal preferences, dietary restrictions, and health considerations. Whether you opt for classic beef, a combination of meats, or a leaner poultry option, the key is to choose high-quality meat and season it well to create a flavorful and satisfying dish that's sure to be a hit at the dinner table.

When selecting ground beef for your meatloaf, aim for meat that is fresh and preferably organic, if possible. Freshly ground beef tends to have better flavor and texture compared to pre-packaged varieties. Look for ground beef with a vibrant red color and minimal visible fat, as this indicates higher quality meat.

If you prefer a leaner meatloaf, you can opt for lean ground beef with a lower fat content, such as a 90/10 blend. However, keep in mind that leaner meat may result in a slightly drier meatloaf, so you may need to compensate by adding moisture-rich ingredients like milk, broth, or finely diced vegetables to the mixture.

Sauce for Meatloaf:

The ideal blend of sweet and acidic tastes makes this meatloaf sauce an amazing glaze for the meatloaf. Brown sugar, onion garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and pepper are added to ketchup to make an enticing sauce. The glaze caramelizes after baking and tastes AMAZING! 

Can I use a baking sheet to prepare meatloaf?

 You can use a baking sheet to prepare meatloaf. While traditional meatloaf recipes often call for baking the meatloaf in a loaf pan, using a baking sheet is a convenient alternative that allows for quicker cooking and a slightly different texture.

To prepare meatloaf on a baking sheet:

1. Preheat your oven to the temperature specified in your meatloaf recipe.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil to prevent sticking and facilitate cleanup.

3. Shape the meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape directly on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring it is evenly distributed and compacted to hold its shape during baking.

4. If desired, you can brush the top of the meatloaf with sauce or glaze before placing it in the oven.

5. Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven according to your recipe's instructions, typically until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) for beef or 165°F (74°C) for poultry.

6. Once cooked through, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Using a baking sheet allows for more surface area contact with the heat, resulting in slightly crispy edges and caramelization on the bottom of the meatloaf. It also allows any excess fat to drain away from the meatloaf during baking, resulting in a leaner finished product.

Leftover Meatloaf?

Classic Meatloaf Recipe: A Comforting Family Favorite

Leftover meatloaf is a versatile ingredient that can be transformed into delicious meals for days to come. Here are some creative ideas for using leftover meatloaf:

1. Meatloaf Sandwich: Slice the leftover meatloaf and place it between two slices of bread or on a roll. Add your favorite condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayo, or barbecue sauce, along with lettuce, tomato, and cheese for a hearty and satisfying sandwich.

2. Meatloaf Wrap: Use slices of leftover meatloaf to fill a tortilla or flatbread along with lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and a drizzle of ranch or chipotle sauce. Roll it up for a tasty and portable meal on the go.

3. Meatloaf Hash: Chop leftover meatloaf into small pieces and sauté it with diced potatoes, onions, and bell peppers until everything is golden and crispy. Top with a fried egg and serve for a substantial brunch or breakfast alternative.

4. Meatloaf Pasta: Crumble leftover meatloaf and mix it into cooked pasta along with your favorite marinara or Alfredo sauce. Add some sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini for extra flavor and nutrition.

5. Meatloaf Pizza: Use leftover meatloaf slices as a topping for homemade pizza. Spread pizza sauce over a pizza crust, sprinkle with shredded cheese and arrange slices of meatloaf on top. When baking, add your preferred pizza toppings, including onions, peppers, and olives, and bake until bubbly and golden.

6. Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers: Cut bell peppers in half and remove the seeds. Fill each pepper half with crumbled leftover meatloaf and top with shredded cheese. Bake in the oven until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted for a tasty twist on stuffed peppers.

7. Meatloaf Quesadillas: Place slices of leftover meatloaf between two flour tortillas along with shredded cheese, diced onions, and chopped jalapeños. Cook in a skillet until the tortillas are crispy and the cheese is melted. Accompany with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream for dipping.

Can you freeze Meatloaf?

1. Allow the Meatloaf to Cool: Before freezing, allow the meatloaf to cool completely at room temperature. This helps prevent condensation from forming inside the packaging, which can lead to freezer burn.

2. Wrap the Meatloaf: Once cooled, wrap the meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure to wrap it securely to prevent air from reaching the meatloaf, which can cause freezer burn and affect the texture and flavor.

3. Place in a Freezer Bag or Container: After wrapping, place the wrapped meatloaf in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label the bag or container with the date of freezing to keep track of its freshness.

4. Freeze: Place the wrapped meatloaf in the freezer and store it in a flat position to maintain its shape. Make sure there is enough space around the meatloaf to allow for proper airflow in the freezer.

5. Thaw and Reheat: When ready to use, thaw the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Once thawed, reheat the meatloaf in the oven at a low temperature until heated through or microwave individual slices as needed.

It's important to note that while freezing meatloaf preserves its safety and quality, the texture may change slightly upon thawing and reheating. However, properly frozen and reheated meatloaf can still be delicious and convenient for quick meals.

6. Reheating: When reheating frozen meatloaf, preheat your oven to around 350°F (175°C). Place the thawed meatloaf in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil to prevent drying out. Heat the meatloaf in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat individual slices in the microwave for a quick meal.

7. Check for Doneness: To ensure that the meatloaf is fully reheated, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. For it to be safe to consume, it must achieve a minimum temperature of 165°F, or 74°C.

8. Serve and Enjoy: Once reheated, serve the meatloaf slices with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh salad. Garnish with parsley or a drizzle of gravy for extra flavor.

Tips and Variations:

Classic Meatloaf Recipe: A Comforting Family Favorite


1. Use Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor. This includes fresh herbs, vegetables, and ground meat.

2. Mix Gently: When combining the meatloaf ingredients, mix gently just until everything is evenly incorporated. Overmixing can result in a dense and tough meatloaf.

3. Add Moisture: To prevent a dry meatloaf, consider adding moisture-rich ingredients such as milk, broth, or grated vegetables like carrots or zucchini.

4. Let it Rest: Allow the meatloaf to rest for a few minutes after baking before slicing. This makes the meatloaf more juicy by assisting in the redistribution of the liquids.

5. Customize Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. For a fiery kick, add spices like cayenne pepper, chili powder, or paprika.


1. Turkey Meatloaf: Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey for a leaner option. Turkey meatloaf can be just as flavorful and pairs well with a variety of seasonings.

2. BBQ Glaze: Instead of the traditional ketchup-based sauce, try brushing the meatloaf with a tangy barbecue sauce before baking. It adds a smoky flavor and caramelizes beautifully.

3. Cheese-Stuffed: Add a layer of cheese in the middle of the meatloaf for a gooey surprise in every bite. Cheddar, mozzarella, or pepper jack cheese work well for this variation.

4. Bacon-Wrapped: Wrap the meatloaf in bacon slices before baking for an extra layer of flavor and a crispy texture. It's a savory indulgence that's sure to impress.

5. Veggie-Packed: Incorporate finely chopped or grated vegetables like onions, carrots, bell peppers, or mushrooms into the meatloaf mixture for added flavor, moisture, and nutrition.

6. Glazed with Mustard: For a tangy twist, mix Dijon mustard into the glaze for the meatloaf. It adds depth of flavor and pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of the brown sugar.

7. Mediterranean-Inspired: Add Mediterranean flavors by seasoning the meatloaf with oregano, garlic, and feta cheese. Serve with a side of tzatziki sauce for a refreshing contrast.

Feel free to experiment with these tips and variations to create a meatloaf recipe that suits your taste preferences and dietary needs. Meatloaf is a flexible dish that works well for any occasion, whether you follow the traditional recipe or get creative with new components.


  1.  1 ½ pounds ground beef (preferably 80/20 blend)
  2. - 1 cup breadcrumbs
  3. - 1 small onion, finely chopped
  4. - 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. - 1 carrot, grated
  6. - 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  7. - 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  8. - ½ cup milk
  9. - 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  10. - 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  11. - 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  12. - 1 teaspoon salt
  13. - ½ teaspoon black pepper 

For the Glaze:

  1. - ½ cup ketchup
  2. - 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  3. - 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  4. - 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

2. combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

3. Transfer the meat mixture into the prepared loaf pan, shaping it into a loaf shape.

4. whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl to make the glaze.

5. Evenly cover the meatloaf's top with the glaze.

6. Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked through and the top is caramelized.

7. Once cooked, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

8. Serve slices of meatloaf warm, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

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