WHAT MAKES A GOOD MEATLOAF RECIPEThe key to good flavorful meatloaf is to use 80% fat ground beef. Too lean ground beef just isn’t as flavorful. 80% ground beef has more fat and that equals more flavor. Instead of soaking the bread in milk, opt for beef or chicken base. Beef or chicken broth works too but the bases has more flavor. It’s way more flavorful than milk. Most liquids will help meatloaf stay moist so I love to use flavorful beef broth as much as possible. For even more flavor, one reader said she used 3/4 tsp of onion and garlic powder. I tried it recently. It’s delish!
WHAT CAN I SUB FOR MILK IN MEATLOAFAs I mentioned above, you can sub milk for just about any liquid. Chicken, beef or vegetable broth work great. You can also add water if you like, but of course it won’t add additional flavor.
MEATLOAF SAUCEMeatloaf sauce is like the icing on the cake. To make the meatloaf sauce, you’ll need ketchup, brown sugar and pepper. I love to make a peppery brown sugar glaze. I know it may seem like too much pepper per the recipe, but it so flavorful and delicious. The pepper perks up the sauce! People that have made this meatloaf, suggested adding chili sauce or chipotle seasonings to the sauce. Also, if you don’t want to use a meatloaf sauce try wrapping it up in bacon. I got that suggestion from a reader too.
WHY DOES MY MEATLOAF FALL APARTThere are a couple reasons why a meatloaf falls apart. It could be that you didn’t add enough eggs or vegetables. Yes, vegetable do help in binding the meatloaf together. Secondly, you may have used a leaner beef. As I said earlier, opt for an 80% fat ground beef. The higher fat content helps the meat stay moist and moist meatloaf keeps it from falling apart. It’s not impossible to make leaner meatloaf stick together but it’s tricky. Thirdly, do not add too much liquid. That will definitely make your meatloaf fall apart. Lastly, let your cooked meatloaf rest for about 10-15 minutes before you slice it. Slicing it right away, may make the meat fall apart.
CAN YOU PREPARE MEATLOAF THE NIGHT BEFOREAbsolutely! We all have busy lives. It’s a HUGE time saver when we can prep meals in advance. First, prepare the meatloaf mixture.Keep the meatloaf mixture in the bowl. Next, cover it tightly with a lid, saran wrap or foil. Not only is this a big time saver, but chilling in the fridge also makes the meatloaf more flavorful. When you are ready to bake it, make the meatloaf into a loaf. Place it on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and bake per the recipe. FYI, chilled meatloaf may take a bit longer to cook through.
CAN YOU FREEZE MEATLOAF
- Of course! Wrap each raw meatloaf tightly in saran wrap then foil. Put it into a ziploc bag. Label and date it. Properly storing meatloaf in the freezer will prevent freezer burn or contamination. Frozen meatloaf wrapped properly will last up to 3 months.
- When you are ready to bake it, let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator and proceed with the baking instructions per the recipe. Yes you can cook the meatloaf frozen, but it will take much longer to cook through.
HOW TO STORE MEATLOAFRefrigerate cooked meatloaf in airtight containers or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap for 3-4 days. To freeze cooked meatloaf, wrap room temperature meatloaf tightly in saran wrap then foil. Put it into a ziploc bag. Label and date it. Next, place in the freezer. Frozen meatloaf wrapped properly will last up to 3 months.
HOW LONG TO COOK MEATLOAFMost meatloaf recipes take anywhere between 45-60 minutes to cook. This recipe can take up to 60 minutes depending on your stove. In our old stove, this meatloaf was done in 45 minutes. Our new stove takes longer, about 55-60 minutes to cook through.
HOW TO MAKE MEATLOAF STEP BY STEPMake the meatloaf
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the entire top and sides of a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. If you only have parchment paper line the baking sheet with it.
- Add 4 slices of bread to a food processor and process. Add the bread crumbs to a bowl with the eggs, broth, and seasonings. Soak for 5 mins. Saute the vegetables. Cook until fragrant. Set to the side to cool (photos 1- 4).
- Ketchup glaze: Mix the ketchup, brown sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Add the ground beef and soaked bread mixture to a large bowl. GENTLY combine. Do not over mix(photos 5-7).
- Place meatloaf on the baking sheet. Shape into a loaf. Spread the meatloaf sauce over the top. Bake from 45-60 minutes. Brush the remaining meatloaf sauce over the top. Let the meatloaf rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables(photos 8-9).
MEATLOAF RECIPE TIPS:
- Meatloaf should be full of flavor, therefore, don’t skimp on seasonings and use a generous amount of sautéed onions. The cooked onions makes this meatloaf super delicious. A lot of meatloaf recipes use milk but I don’t use it. I only use beef broth. It works. Trust me, the beef broth provides so much flavor. I love to use Better Than Bouillon Beef Base.
- Always use fresh bread, not the breadcrumbs from the store. Why so? Well, fresh bread will make moist meatloaf. Use a food processor to make bread slices into breadcrumbs.
- Avoid tough meatloaf using a light touch. Gently combine the ground beef with the egg, bread, and onion mixture. Do not over-mix.
- For an easy cleanup, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Lastly, place an empty baking sheet on the bottom shelf. Fill with water. Place the meatloaf on the shelf right above the pan with water.This will help keep the meatloaf nice and moist. That’s all there is to this meatloaf recipe. Simple is best. Remember to let the cooked meatloaf rest for 10-15 minutes then slice it.
BEST MEATLOAF!Do you see all that great flavor? The sweet tangy peppery red ketchup glaze. Yum! The diced cooked onions are looking good too! This meatloaf is amazing. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. I won’t be surprised if your family gobbles it up in minutes. I’m just so excited about the FLAVOR! It’s the best meatloaf I’ve ever tasted. It’s easy to make and so DAMN good! My sister tried this meatloaf recipe. Her picky husband and daughter both hate meatloaf but LOVED this one! She said it tasted like the ones at them famous restaurants. Those are the type of things I love to hear. I love cooking and I love helping people create delicious easy food. I hope you can try it! Now how about some simple but so good peach cobbler? If you LOVE soul food/ southern food join our NEW FB group: Soul Food Love/Southern Recipes.
If you make this I’d love to know! Leave a comment below! Make sure to save this PIN to your Pinterest board for later read the reviews and while you are there, follow me! If you like this meatloaf recipe then you may also like these other beef recipes and sides:
The Best Meatloaf Recipe
Yasss may be the only word you utter after your chomp down and savor the bursting flavors of this delicious classic, tender, and moist meatloaf.
- 2 lb ground beef preferably not lean ground beef
- 4 slices of fresh bread food processed
- 1/3 cup beef broth I used Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
- 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 pinch ground thyme
- 2 pinches dry parsley
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups red onion diced
- salt for taste
- pepper for taste
Brown Sugar Glaze
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 4 tbsp light brown sugar about 4-5 tablespoons
- 2 tsp pepper optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the entire top and sides of a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. See notes. Fill a baking sheet or sheet pan with water and place it on the very bottom shelve in the oven. *See notes.
- Add the vegetable oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, enough add the onions and cook until softened about 6-8 minutes. A minute before the onions are done, add the garlic.
- Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Remove the onions and garlic from the skillet and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
- To a small bowl add the fresh breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Mix gently. Let the breadcrumbs soak for 5 minutes.
- To a bowl add the ketchup, pepper and brown sugar. Mix well. Reserve for later.
- Use a bowl big enough for the ground beef and breadcrumb mixture. Add the ground beef to the bowl with all the seasonings, salt, and pepper. Add the breadcrumb mixture, onions and garlic and gently mix.
- Place the beef on the baking sheet lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil or line it with parchment paper. Shape the beef into a loaf. Pour only half of the brown sugar ketchup over the meatloaf. Put the meatloaf on the shelf right above the pan with water.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the temperature on your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit *See notes. Cover the meatloaf with the remaining ketchup glaze and serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Bread: Use regular store brand white bread. You can break the bread into small pieces or use a food processor. Just make sure the bread is soaked through before you add the bread mixture to the beef. Tough meatloaf is no good - With a light touch, combine the ground beef with the egg, bread, and onion mixture. Do not over-mix. Juicy and tender meatloaf - Fill a baking sheet with water. Place it on bottom oven shelf. Place the meatloaf on the shelf right above the pan of water. Fill with water. Easy cleanup - line the baking sheet with parchment paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil. I used parchment paper for this recipe since I was out of foil, BUT I prefer to use aluminum foil. The baking tray stays a bit cleaner with foil. Rest - let the cooked meatloaf rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing. Storage - refrigerate meatloaf in airtight containers or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap for 3-4 days. How to freeze - to freeze cooked meatloaf, wrap room temperature meatloaf tightly in saran wrap then foil. Put it into a ziploc bag. Label and date it. Next, place in the freezer. It will last up to 3 months. Freeze raw meatloaf - Wrap each raw meatloaf tightly in saran wrap then foil. Put it into a ziploc bag. Label and date it. Properly storing meatloaf in Frozen meatloaf wrapped properly will last up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake it, let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator and proceed with the baking instructions per the recipe. TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS GDealer Super Fast Instant Read Thermometer Better Than Bouillon Beef Base Nordicware Aluminum Commercial Bakers Big Sheet Pan FYI. Be careful when using Better than bouillon because it contains salt. But for this meatloaf recipe, if you use the measurements shown in the recipe card, you will need to add additional salt to the meat mixture. Post published in Jan 2018. Updated Jan 28 2019. No change to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!