Ultimate Southern Style Ritz Cracker Meatloaf w/ Video

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This Ritz Cracker meatloaf is the most flavor-packed, delicious southern style meatloaf you’ll ever eat. With a heaping of ground beef, tasty bell peppers, buttery Ritz Crackers and a sweet chili sauce topping. This twist on a classic comfort food is a real treat that will become your whole family’s new favorite meatloaf recipe that’s even better next day! It’s a great recipe for a leftover meatloaf sandwich too! 

A photo of Ritz Cracker meatloaf on a plate with sweet and spicy glaze

For another tasty meatloaf recipe, click here.

or make this sour cream mashed potatoes that’s perfect with meatloaf with ritz crackers. 

Why this Recipe Works 

Not a meatloaf lover? Wait until you’ve tried this delicious meatloaf with ritz crackers. It’s one of my favorite ways to make a southern meatloaf. Even sworn enemies of meatloaf LOVE it. Both of my sisters despised meatloaf until they tried mine – now they’re the biggest fans, and you will be, too. Trust me. 


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This ritz cracker meatloaf recipe hinges on one special ingredient. Of course you guessed it – Ritz Crackers.

Along with the crackers – which, in place of breadcrumbs, make the most incredible juicy and tender meatloaf – I use 80% fat ground beef, which makes the loaf so tender and juicy.

You can also get away with 85% fat too. This recipe also makes for amazing leftover meatloaf sandwiches that taste incredible even on plain white bread. It’s that good. I’ll show you how to turn slices of meatloaf into a meatloaf sandwich.  More on that below.   

This meatloaf is jam-packed with flavor. Oh my goodness, I promise you’ll want to eat the entire loaf yourself. We make this several times a month because it’s super easy and it’s just plain addictive! You’ll see.

How to Make Tender, Moist Meatloaf

Meatloaf critics often hold their position for one of two reasons – it’s either tough or dry. And no one wants to eat meat that’s tough or dry, and especially not meat that’s tough and dry. Yuck. 

This recipe Ritz crackers in meatloaf calls for ingredients that lend themselves to tender, moist meatloaf, but even the best-written recipes are not 100% resistant to simple kitchen errors. Here are some easy tips to avoid tough and dry meatloaf:

  • Don’t skip the liquid: This seems obvious, sure, but it’s important. The liquid (milk in this case) is going to add tons of moisture and prevent your meatloaf from drying out. 

  • Don’t overmix: Say it with me: do not overmix. Overmixing will toughen the meat mixture, and that’ll directly translate into tougher meatloaf. Once the ingredients are incorporated, stop mixing. Don’t worry, there’s a reminder in the recipe. 

  • Don’t forget the eggs: Again, following the recipe correctly will prevent many of these common errors, but it’s worth mentioning. Eggs might not seem like the most important ingredient, but they’re vital. Not only do they bind the mixture, they provide some much-needed moisture, whose absence you’ll notice if you forego the eggs. 

  • Cook it low and slow: Don’t think you can get away with increasing the heat to decrease the cook time with meatloaf. That’ll deplete your loaf of all its soft texture and mouth-watering moisture. Set your oven at the correct temperature, and don’t pull it out until it’s done. 

  • Let it rest: Once your meatloaf is out of the oven, let it rest for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the moisture to spread to every part of your loaf, giving you that tender, juicy meatloaf you’re craving. 

    A picture of a southern meatloaf with ritz cracker on a plate

How to Know if the Meatloaf is Done

Knowing when meatloaf is done is important because every oven is a little different. Some run a bit hotter, some a bit cooler, and both affect when a dish is finished cooking. 

The best temperature to cook your meatloaf should be 350 or 375 degrees F. I prefer to bake this meatloaf at 375 degrees F.

To be sure your Ritz Cracker meatloaf is finished, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. FYI, a 2 lb meatloaf should take anywhere from 50-75 minutes to cook. 

Loaf Pan or No Loaf Pan?

Many meatloaf recipes call for a loaf pan, but they’re not necessary. Instead of using a loaf pan, I mold the meat mixture into a loaf, and fold aluminum foil around it to keep it in place. I’m also sure to line my pan with foil for extra support. 

How to Make Ritz Cracker Meatloaf

Ritz Crackers Meatloaf Ingredients

  • Ground beef: For tender, juicy meatloaf, use 80-85% fat ground beef. Using leaner meat will dry out your loaf. 

  • Red and green bell peppers: The combination makes for a beautiful depth of flavor, both earthy and sweet. Make sure to finely dice them for a smoother texture. 

  • Fresh minced onions: Like the peppers, having smaller onions will improve the texture of the meatloaf, making it more consistent throughout.

  • Minced garlic: Using minced garlic will aid in the texture, and give a stronger garlic flavor than crushed or chopped. 

  • 2 large beaten eggs: Remember, using eggs is vital to the moisture. 

  • Ritz Crackers crumbs: Ritz crackers in meatloaf make the most delicious flavorful meatloaf but you need to make sure you crush them into small breadcrumbs. See video….Place them in a plastic zip bag and hit with a mallet to crush the crackers. If you don’t have a mallet, use a rolling pin.

  • Whole milk: This is an important binding agent, and makes for very moist meatloaf. 

  • Slightly dried basil: The basil, of course, will cook with the rest of the loaf, but using slightly dried basil instead of completely dried basil will give it a fresher flavor. 

  • Dijon mustard: If you’re out of Dijon, use yellow mustard. 

  • Worcestershire Sauce: For the perfect depth of flavor

  • Seasonings :Dried parsley, dried thyme, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

    Meatloaf with Chili Sauce Ingredients
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Brown sugar

A photo of southern meatloaf on a serving platter

How to Make Ritz Cracker Meatloaf 

  1. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Sauté the peppers, onions and garlic. 

  3. Make the ritz cracker crumbs: To a medium bowl, add the milk and crushed Ritz Crackers. Mix well. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the ground beef, sautéed vegetables, eggs, basil, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, seasonings, and milk mixture to a large mixing bowl. Mix gently. Do not overmix. 

  5. Place meat on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan.

  6. In a small bowl, add the ketchup, sweet chili sauce, and brown sugar. Mix until combined.

  7. Spoon half of the sauce mixture over top of the meatloaf. 

  8. Place your meatloaf in your preheated oven and cook for 60 to 75 minutes.

  9. Halfway through cooking, spoon the remaining sauce over top of the meatloaf. Continue cooking until the meatloaf is done.

    A photo of a thick slice of meatloaf over mashed potatoes on a plate

How to Make a Leftover Meatloaf Sandwich

Ritz cracker meatloaf also makes a tasty sandwich. Ciabatta bun, French bread and hamburger buns are both fantastic options, but in my opinion the best meatloaf sandwich uses only white bread a thick slice that is. Whatever bread you choose, it’ll make a delicious sandwich.

Top your sandwich however you’d like, or keep it simple with just bread and meat. I prefer my leftover meatloaf sandwich with white bread and no toppings. It makes for the perfect quick and easy dinner or lunch!

If you are feeling a little extra go ahead top the meatloaf sandwich with  all your favorite toppings.

Here’s the best way to do it:

This is not a recipe for a cold meatloaf sandwich, it’s a hot and delicious recipe for the best meatloaf sandwich.

In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add a thick slice of meatloaf. Add softened butter to each slice of bread. Place bread slice face down in the skillet. Top with cheese and cook until melted.

You can even turn this meatloaf into a open-faced meatloaf sandwich. 

Assemble the sandwich with your favorite topping.

Meatloaf Sandwich Topping Ideas 

Slice of cheese 

Cooked red onions (sautéed)

Onion rings 

Crisp lettuce, 



Below you’ll find the video and step by step instructions on how to make this southern meatloaf with ritz cracker. 

A photo of Ritz Cracker meatloaf on a plate

Ritz Cracker Meatloaf

April Boller Wright
This Ritz cracker meatloaf is tender and juicy with bell peppers, onions, seasonings and sweet chili glaze sauce. I'm sure it will become your family's favorite dinner!
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8 people
Calories 450 kcal


  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper
  • 1 cup yellow onions diced
  • 1 cup crushed ritz crackers
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 lb ground beef Use 80-85% Fat
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp slightly dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper for taste

Sweet Chili Glaze


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. 
  • Add the vegetable oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onions. Sauté until translucent.
  • Add garlic at this point or add it directly to the meatloaf. If adding it to the sautéed vegetable then cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Remove the onions and pepper mixture from the heat to cool off.
  • To a small bowl add the Ritz crackers. Pour milk into the bowl with the crackers. Mix to combine. Set to the side for 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
  • To another small bowl add the sweet chili sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar. Mix well. Reserve for later.
  • To a large bowl, add the ground beef, Ritz cracker mixture, sauteed vegetables, garlic, eggs Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, parsley, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika salt, and pepper.
  • Use your hand to gently mix the beef into the other ingredients. Do not overmix. You need to mix just until combined. Shape meat mixture into a loaf.

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • Combine the sweet chili sauce, ketchup, and dark brown sugar.
  • Spread half of the glaze on top of the meatloaf.
  • Wrap foil around the meatloaf.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Add the remaining chili sauce on top of the meatloaf. Continue baking for an additional 30 minutes or until the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.
    Sharing is caring, so please share this recipe, so other people can enjoy it!



Baking Sheet Tip: Line baking sheet with aluminum foil for an easy cleanup.
Rest – Rest the meatloaf for about 10 minutes before you slice it. 
Storage –  refrigerate meatloaf in airtight containers or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap for 3-4 days. 
How to freeze – Wrap room temp meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap then foil. Place it into a plastic bag. Label and date it. Lastly, place in the freezer. It will last up to 3 months.
Meatloaf sandwiches. This meatloaf with Ritz crackers recipe tastes AMAZING as a meatloaf sandwich. Check out the post on how to make it. 
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Calories: 450kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 23gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 1030mgPotassium: 576mgFiber: 2gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 575IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 3mg
Keyword meatloaf, meatloaf sandwich, meatloaf with ritz crackers recipe, ritz cracker meatloaf
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  1. Sounds absolutely wonderful, getting ready to make it now. Please respond ASAP bc I wanted to know if I can make it & place in frig & bake tomorrow. I’m sure it is fine, April, just checking! 😊

    1. I’m happy to hear you’re excited to try out the recipe! I haven’t personally made this dish in advance, It should work fine if you prepare it now and refrigerate it to bake tomorrow though.

      To make it in advance, I recommend assembling the dish up to the point just before baking. Put the sauce in a container. Cover meatloaf tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

      When you’re ready to bake, take the meatloaf out of the fridge about 30-50 minutes before placing it in the oven. This helps the dish come to room temperature and more even cooking. Combine the sweet chili sauce, ketchup, and dark brown sugar.
      Spread half of the sauce all over the top. Next wrap foil around the meatloaf.

      Bake for 30 minutes or so. Add the remaining chili sauce on top of the meatloaf. Continue baking for an additional 30 minutes or until the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer. FYI, you may need to adjust the baking time slightly, so keep an eye on it. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Bobbybear says:

    Best meatloaf hands down. I use half beef, half pork. Doesn’t taste like a giant burger with catsup. Unique flavor like restaurant quality taste. Everybody that tried it liked it! Good job!5 stars

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad the meatloaf resulted in a restaurant-worthy meatloaf that you and your family enjoyed. Appreciate you taking the time to cook the recipe and share your experience!

  3. Lesha Barnhart says:

    This was really good.5 stars

  4. Hey , how much salt and pepper go in the 2lb meatloaf ?5 stars

    1. Hi Shanai. I used about 1 tbsp and 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of pepper. Mix the salt and pepper in with the meat and the rest of the ingredients. Salt amount depends on each person. Some are sensitive to salt so you can test how much you’d like. Here’s how to do it. Take a tiny bit of the mixed meat and cook it in a skillet then taste. If you need to add more salt then try adding an additional 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp more to the meat. Hope you enjoy the meatloaf!

  5. Hello!! This was sooo good! I have been searching for a meatloaf recipe that was easy to make and this is it! the glaze makes it. thank you for sharing!5 stars

  6. The recipe says 2 Tbs of onion powder and 2 Tbs of garlic powder. That seems like a lot. Is that a typo?

    1. Yes that is correct. There’s two pounds of beef plus several other ingredients, so 2 tbsp of each works in this recipe. People have made it and enjoyed it. Actually, someone just left a 5 star rating and comment. Hope you can try it!

  7. Family loved it. I was a bit Leary about the amount of glaze and how sweet it would be. To my surprise it was sweet with a kick of spice. I will definitely make it again. I cooked mine in a Pyrex casserole and it took a bit longer to bake however didn’t loose any of that glaze. I also will be sharing your recipe so thank you for sharing with us!5 stars

    1. Thank you for the great review! I’m so happy you and your family enjoyed it! We love a lot of glaze but feel free to half it next time!

  8. Gail Montero says:

    You totally had me at the sweet chili glaze! Love the complexity of the flavorings in this delicious meatloaf.5 stars

  9. This loaf looks fantastic. The flavors are amazing and the meat looks perfectly cooked. I’m making this for sure.5 stars

  10. SO yummy! I love what the Worcestershire Sauce, Dijon and sweet chili sauce add! It’s great to have a moist, flavorful meatloaf recipe, thank you!5 stars

  11. This is such a classic way to make meatloaf! The crackers totally make it! My family already asked for it again.5 stars

  12. Claudia Lamascolo says:

    Super flavors in this meatloaf especially with the addition of these crackers it really made the meatloaf tasty!5 stars

  13. Marisa Franca says:

    There is nothing that screams comfort food than a good meatloaf. Those buttery Ritz crackers were just what that meatloaf needed. I always used plain breadcrumbs but those were nothing compared to the Ritz. Thank you for a great recipe. I have some leftover and I’m making a sandwich out of it tomorrow.5 stars