Classic Meatloaf with Oatmeal

Partially sliced meatloaf with oatmeal topped with ketchup glaze on white serving platter

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Rest: 15 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 meatloaf (8 slices)
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
403 Calories
22g Fat
15g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 403
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 149mg 50%
Sodium 580mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 85mg 7%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 610mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Click Play to Learn How to Make Classic Meatloaf with Oatmeal

This classic meatloaf with oatmeal recipe is an easy recipe that is quick to assemble. Here, quick-cooking rolled oats are used as a filler to help keep the texture of the meatloaf light and to help retain the moisture of the meatloaf so it doesn't become dry. Quick-cooking oats are ideal because they are finer than old-fashioned rolled oats which would add too much texture to the dish. Do not use steel-cut oats in a meatloaf, since they will remain hard and inedible.

Meatloaf tastes great when served alongside buttery mashed potatoes and your choice of green vegetable such as string beans. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. It is common to transform leftover meatloaf into a delicious meatloaf sandwich the next day.

"This is a solid, basic meatloaf recipe. Oatmeal is an interesting filler instead of breadcrumbs. Preparation is straightforward, and the ingredients are mostly kitchen staples. The meatloaf was moist and held together nicely. The glaze was tasty and quick to make, too. Next time, I’ll increase the spices to give it even more flavor." —Colleen Graham

Meatloaf with Oatmeal Tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Meatloaf:

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

For the Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Ingredients for classic meatloaf with oatmeal recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, quick-cooking rolled oats, onion, milk, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Use your hands to combine. Do not overwork.

    Ground beef, oats, onion, milk, eggs, and seasonings mixed in a large bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Transfer to a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Smooth out the surface at the top.

    Raw meatloaf mixture filled into loaf pan with the top leveled and smoothed

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard until smooth.

    Ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard being stirred in a small bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Spoon half of the glaze over the meatloaf.

    Half of the ketchup glaze evenly spread on raw meatloaf in loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Bake (uncovered) for about 1 hour.

    Baked meatloaf with lightly browned top, pulling away from the sides of the loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and tilt the pan to drain off the grease. Spread the remaining glaze on top and return to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160 F.

    Baked meatloaf in a loaf pan evenly topped with more ketchup glaze

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Let stand on a wire rack for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

    Baked meatloaf in a loaf pan on a metal wire cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  9. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

    Partially sliced meatloaf with ketchup glaze on a white serving platter

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • When making meatloaf, do not overmix or overwork the meat, otherwise the final product can become tough and dry.
  • Meatloaves prepared in a loaf pan have a uniform shape and look great when sliced. However, you might need to drain off excess grease that may accumulate while the meat is cooking.
  • Freeform meatloaves are shaped by hand and cooked on lined a baking sheet. This option allows the grease to flow from the meat while it is cooking.
  • Exercise caution when pouring the grease out of the pan. Hot grease can cause severe burns.

Recipe Variations

  • You can swap the oatmeal for a heaping 1/2 cup of dry breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.
  • Boost the flavor by doubling up on the garlic and onion powders, adding 1/2 teaspoon of oregano or parsley, or a few cloves of finely minced garlic.
  • Switch from ketchup to chili sauce—not the spicy kind but the sort found near the ketchup. Use it alone or mixed with the mustard and brown sugar.
  • Try topping the meatloaf with barbecue sauce instead of the glaze.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Wrapped properly, the cooked meatloaf will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 days.
  • Meatloaf leftovers freeze well and can be reheated for a wholesome and delicious meal later on.
  • Once the meatloaf is fully cooked, allow to cool completely. Wrap the meatloaf in plastic wrap or slice into desired sizes and wrap the individual slices. Place in a zip-top bag or freezer-safe container. Be sure to clearly label with the name of the recipe and the date frozen. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to reheat frozen leftover meatloaf, thaw the individual piece or pieces overnight in the refrigerator. Place on a microwave-safe plate and heat in the microwave until warmed through.

What Is the Best Beef for Meatloaf?

One of the secrets to moist meatloaf is to use meat with a good amount of fat. Save lean beef for other dishes and use ground beef with 80 percent meat and 20 percent fat (often called 80/20) in meatloaf for the best results.

Why Does Meatloaf Fall Apart?

There are a few factors that cause meatloaf to fall apart. Too much filler (the oatmeal in this recipe) and vegetables that aren't finely chopped are two common issues. Dry meatloaf will also fall apart and that can be caused by working the meat or compressing the loaf too much or overcooking the meatloaf.