Easy Meatloaf

Meatloaf
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 80 mins
Resting Time: 10 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
598 Calories
29g Fat
36g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 598
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 198mg 66%
Sodium 1105mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 127mg 10%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 799mg 17%
*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.)

This simple meatloaf recipe is a great fit for Sunday dinner, and it's easy enough for a weeknight. For a tasty meal, serve the meatloaf with homemade mashed potatoes and peas and carrots or your favorite steamed or roasted vegetables. Meatloaf also pairs well with macaroni and cheese, or you might choose a rice pilaf or scalloped potatoes.

The simplicity is what makes this meatloaf so good, and you are likely to have most of the ingredients on hand. There's no need to pre-cook or chop ingredients either. Just combine everything in a bowl, shape the loaf, and bake!

The meatloaf is versatile as well. Feel free to add some fresh sautéed vegetables or change the flavor with a different seasoning or spice blend. Feel free to use plain ketchup or barbecue sauce to top the loaf, or—if you're feeling a little adventurous—make the optional topping. For a zestier meatloaf, you might choose chili sauce or cocktail sauce instead of ketchup.

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"This classic meatloaf recipe can satisfy your craving with minimal effort. It's very fast to mix up and very little hands-on work. The topping adds lots of flavor too. The recipe is a great jumping-off point for adding other herbs, spices, or ingredients. But even as-is,it offers a flavor that's quite comforting." —Danielle Centoni

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Optional Glaze/Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons ketchup

  • 4 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Meatloaf:

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons minced dried onions

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons burger seasoning

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Meatloaf with topping ingreadients
    The Spruce
  2. Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

  3. If using the optional topping, in a small bowl, combine the ketchup, honey, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce until well mixed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

    Mix ingredients for topping of meatloaf
    The Spruce
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, burger seasoning, and 1/2 cup of ketchup.

    Combine the ground beef, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, burger seasoning, and 1/2 cup of ketchup
    The Spruce
  5. Mix until well blended and pack into the prepared loaf pan.

    Mix ingredients and place in loaf pan in the oven
    The Spruce
  6. Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

  7. Carefully drain off any excess fat.

  8. Then top the loaf with the optional topping mixture or about 4 tablespoons of ketchup.

    Bake meatloaf and spread topping on finished loaf
    The Spruce
  9. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer.

  10. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil.

  11. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Can You Use Oats Instead of Breadcrumbs In a Meatloaf?

Oats are an excellent replacement for breadcrumbs in a meatloaf. Oats add texture and, with the eggs, help hold the meatloaf together and soak up excess moisture.

Why Does My Meatloaf Fall Apart?

Just like when you are cooking other meats, it's important to allow your loaf to rest before you slice it. This will allow the juices to lock in, the loaf to firm up, and make it easier to slice. If you don't let your loaf rest, you run the risk of having the meatloaf fall apart.

Should Meatloaf Be Cooked Covered or Uncovered?

Meatloaf can be cooked covered or uncovered. Typically, when covering a dish, it is to keep more moisture in and prevent it from burning too quickly on top. This should not happen when cooking at the recommended temperature of 350 F. But, as each oven can vary in temperature, if you are cooking meatloaf uncovered and notice that it's starting to burn, place a piece of aluminum foil on top.

Make It Ahead

  • To make a meatloaf a day in advance, prepare the loaf and cover the pan. Refrigerate the loaf for up to 24 hours and bake as directed, or until it reaches at least 160 F (If the loaf includes poultry, cook until 165 F).
  • To freeze an uncooked meatloaf, shape it and wrap it tightly in a sheet of plastic wrap and a sheet of foil. Or line a loaf pan with foil and freeze it in the pan. Grasp the ends of the foil and remove the frozen loaf from the pan. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Freeze the uncooked meatloaf for up to 4 months.
  • To bake the frozen meatloaf, unwrap it and place it in a rimmed baking pan or loaf pan. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it reaches at least 160 F (165 F if the loaf includes poultry) in the center.

How To Store and Freeze Leftover Meatloaf

  • Refrigerate leftover meatloaf in shallow, airtight containers or wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Use leftover refrigerated meatloaf within 4 days.
  • For longer storage, meatloaf may be frozen. Wrap the meatloaf or slices tightly with plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 4 months. Defrost frozen cooked meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat leftover meatloaf in a 350 F oven until it reaches at least 165 F, the minimum safe temperature for leftover cooked food.

Tips

  • Ground beef with a ratio of 80/20 or 85/15 will produce a moist and flavorful meatloaf. 
  • Baking the meatloaf in a specialty meatloaf pan or on a rack will help drain away some of the excess fat. If you don't have a specialty pan, you can make a free-form loaf on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or ​9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.
  • Line the loaf pan with parchment paper or foil, like a sling. Just grab the ends of the paper or foil and lift the meatloaf out of the pan when it's done.

Recipe Variations

  • For the topping, replace the honey with maple syrup.
  • Use 1/2 cup finely minced onion instead of dried onion.
  • Instead of burger seasoning, use 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • Experiment with meat mixtures. While beef gives excellent flavor and holds together well, adding a portion of lean ground pork will provide juiciness. Ground veal would add lightness to a loaf, and ground chicken or turkey would reduce some fat and calories.
  • Instead of the optional topping, top the meatloaf with prepared barbecue sauce just before it's finished baking.
  • Use cracker crumbs, crushed cheese crackers, or soft breadcrumbs in the meatloaf instead of fine dry breadcrumbs.
  • Bake the meatloaf in individual muffin cups. Use about 1/4 cup of meatloaf mixture for each muffin cup.
  • Top the meatloaf with strips of bacon before baking, or add crumbled cooked bacon to the meat mixture.
  • Pack the meatloaf mixture into individual oiled ramekins, and then invert them onto a rimmed baking sheet for perfectly shaped individual meatloaves.