Yasss The Best Meatloaf Recipe Highly Rated w/ Video

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You’ll be hollering “Yasss” after you try this delicious classic, tender, and moist meatloaf.  Pinterest loves this meatloaf recipe!

And these mashed potatoes are a must! Make sure to check out my Ultimate Southern Style Ritz Cracker Meatloaf. It’s also DELICIOUS! I can’t decide which one I like better! 

This recipe is different than most meatloaf recipes. No 1, there isn’t any milk, A super flavorful beef base is used and no need for a meatloaf pan. And everyone loves the glaze with a kick! 

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Read more below to find out what I use to make it juicy and tender! I should also mention that there is no need to buy breadcrumbs. Just use regular white bread. 

 Slices of meatloaf with a brown sugar ketchup glaze on a serving plate.

 

I struggled to snap a perfect picture of my best meatloaf!  Normally I wouldn’t brag about things, but this meatloaf is seriously good.😋

It’s hard to make meatloaf look good but at the end of the day, the flavor is all that matters. Right?

UPDATE! I posted the above photo almost two years ago. Since then, I’ve been working hard on my photography game and I think I’ve managed to take a better photo of my meatloaf. Check it out below! Yay! 

A photo of the Best Meatloaf Recipe with a peppery ketchup and brown sugar glaze on a serving platter



This is my absolute favorite comfort food…wait…My other fav is my Salisbury steak
I’m afraid to say this, but I could probably eat the WHOLE 2 lbs!  

This tasty meatloaf recipe is so easy to make! My family always fight over the last slice.

Back in the day, you wouldn’t find me fighting over meatloaf because I pretty much hated it.  That same hatred for the loaf motivated me to develop a meatloaf recipe. 

 

WHAT MAKES A GOOD MEATLOAF RECIPE 

The 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 MEATLOAF

As 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 SAUCE

Meatloaf 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 APART

There 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 BEFORE

Absolutely! 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 MEATLOAF 

Refrigerate 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 MEATLOAF

Most 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 STEP 

Make 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 processAdd 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 step by step recipe pictorial

 

 

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.

     

A raw meatloaf with brown sugar ketchup glaze on a parchment lined cookie sheet

 

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.

A photo of the Best Meatloaf Recipe with a peppery ketchup and brown sugar glaze on a serving platter

The Best Meatloaf Recipe

April Boller Wright
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. 
4.98 from 134 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 472 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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**BE SURE TO READ NOTES BELOW
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch ground thyme *see seasoning notes
  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • For an easy clean up (optional) place the loaf 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. 
    Sharing is caring, so please share this recipe, so other people can enjoy it!

Video

Notes

Better Than Bouillon beef base: Use 1/3 cup of water plus 1/2 tsp or up to 3/4 tsp of BTB. DO NOT USE 1/4 cup of BTB  unless you want a saltY meatloaf!
Seasonings:  The video clip of how to make this meatloaf is new. I added additional optional seasonings. In the video, you'll see that I used 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, pinch or up to 1/4 tsp dried parsley, crushed red peppers (add as much or as little as you like). If you don't care for spice eliminate it.
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.
The meatloaf video below was added to the post on 8/11/2021  
Follow Whisk it Real Gud on Instagram.

Nutrition

Calories: 472kcal
Keyword #bestmeatloafrecipe, easymeatloaf, meatloaf, meatloaf recipe
Like this? Leave a comment below!Let us know how it was!

A plate of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and broccoli

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 great 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:

 

 

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458 Comments

  1. Definitely 5+ star meatloaf ! Tried to leave 5 star but last 3 stars wouldn’t highlight! Best meatloaf I’ve ever made in my 40yrs & I’ve made plenty! I did tweak a bit, added grated carrots 🥕 &
    additional seasoning to include 2tsp cajun seasoning! Husband loved it & said it was best he’s tasted…2 stars

    1. Thank you so much for the glowing review! I’m thrilled to hear this was the best meatloaf you’ve made in 40 years – that is high praise! It put a huge smile on my face that your husband loved it too. His positive feedback is so rewarding to hear! Thanks again!

  2. Hands-down the best! The entire family loved the flavor of this meatloaf! So it’s a winner in my book. My youngest is a super picky eater and thinks it is too crumbly. Any suggestions? Thank you for sharing this awesomeness!!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m so glad to hear the flavor was a hit with your family. Sorry to hear your little one found it too crumbly as I have never experienced that problem. For a less crumbly texture, you could try mixing an extra egg or more breadcrumbs into the meatloaf. That helps bind it together more. You could also try baking it in a loaf pan instead as the shape may help it hold together better. Thanks again for taking the time to leave your feedback!”

  3. Absolutely delicious! Very simple to make; even with the fresh red onion, fresh garlic, and fresh thyme. The sauce on top was very tasty (1/2 the pepper would be enough).5 stars

  4. I have been making this for several years with great success. I do add a tsp of Worcestershire sauce to the Ketchup sauce. Both mainly I would like to share a hack I use for a completely crusty loaf. After mixing, I line a bread pan with plastic wrap and form the meatloaf in the pan, then refrigerate for several hours. This seems to let the flavors meld and when I am ready to bake I just turn the pan upside down on a parchment lined pan and peel the plastic wrap off. Sauce and bake. I have prepared loafs a day in advance many times5 stars

    1. Thank you for your wonderful tip and feedback! Adding Worcestershire sauce sounds tasty. Your prep-ahead method is clever—I’ll definitely give it a try.

  5. Caroline Gelston says:

    Made this tonight and it was absolutely fantastic, so tasty. I used a mix of minced beef and pork as I bought these to make ragu but changed my mind and made meatloaf instead. So glad as this is now a favourite. Only 2 of us so have some for the freezer. Thank you5 stars

  6. Absolutely delicious,I had 1 green pepper I needed to use so I added it and just delicious is all I can say. Love the sauce, thanks for sharing5 stars

  7. Heather W says:

    DO NOT USE ANY OTHER MEATLOAF RECIPE!!
    I have made this meatloaf at least a dozen times and it comes out perfect. My10 yo son loves it, and he has to be the pickiest eater on the planet. Always a favorite here and never any leftovers. Highly recommend!!!!

  8. I have made this several times and it’s delicious but every time it falls apart in the oven and this time I weighed everything, so what am I doing wrong????. It’s still a great meatloaf but not so pretty5 stars

  9. This has been my go-to meatloaf recipe for a year now. It’s so tender and tasty.5 stars

  10. Karen Deans says:

    I only have chicken broth, will that work?? This looks so delicious!

  11. This is by far the best meatloaf recipe I’ve ever made, my man loves it as much as I do5 stars

  12. Best meatloaf EVER!!! I have been making meatloaf for over 30 years and usually change up my recipes, but no more I have found my one TRUE recipe now! I did make a couple changes though, I just grate in about 1/2 an onion (I have used both yellow and red either works) and also grate in a couple cloves of garlic. That way I don’t have to chop up the onions and then fry them. It turns out perfect and moist every time! Thanks so much for the recipe!5 stars

  13. Darlene Hogen says:

    This is the best meat loaf I ever made and my son in law m was impressed
    Thanks for the recipe

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