Easy Meatloaf

The whole family will devour this Easy Meatloaf! It’s super simple—making it perfect for all levels of cooks in the kitchen.

Meatloaf is such a classic dinner recipe from everyone’s childhood! It’s one of our favorite ways to use ground beef along with other favorites like Homemade Meatballs and Goulash.

White plate filled with sliced meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Mom’s Classic Recipe

Meatloaf is the all-American recipe of food. It’s a classic comfort food that never goes out of style for dinnertime.

This is my mom’s famous recipe that I have loved all my life. I can’t remember a time in my life that we didn’t have this meatloaf recipe because it has always been a Sunday staple, especially with a side of Mashed Potatoes.

When my mom would cook up meatloaf, we could smell it’s tasty aroma throughout the house! This recipe has a soft spot in my heart and I’ll always love it.

We know there are so many variations for this recipe, and this can be changed up based on the spices you like most or if you prefer regular bread crumbs, but we love this version.

Ingredients for classic easy meatloaf recipe in a mixing bowl.

How to Make Meatloaf

This meatloaf is the easiest dinner recipe ever. Basically it consists of combining everything together in a bowl, baking it up, and topping it with the glaze! So simple that even your kids can get in on the cooking fun.

PREP. Start by grabbing all of your ingredients and prepping everything before you start. That will make it even easier to make.

FORM LOAF. Combine ground beef, shredded bread crumbs, onion, eggs, bouillon cube and remaining lemon juice in a large bowl. Add ½ cup of the ketchup mixture and mix until well combined. Form meat into a loaf and place in a casserole dish.

Tip: One of the tips I always tell people is to not handle the ground beef mixture too much. Over-mixing can cause the meatloaf to turn out tough and dense. Form into a loaf and place in a baking dish.

BAKE. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Pull out of the oven and top the loaf with remaining ketchup sauce, then bake for an additional 10 minutes.

SERVE. Before you slice into that perfectly baked meatloaf, make sure to let it rest for a few minutes so that it can absorb all of the juices.

Tip: I like to keep the juices from the pan so that I can pour it over the top of my meatloaf after it’s done baking. This makes it even more moist and juicy.

Forming easy meatloaf recipe for cooking.

Modifications

You can switch up the flavors in this recipe to give it some variation. Try any of the following:

  • Try adding some Mexican spices to give it a more Tex-Mex taste.
  • Instead of using ground beef, try using ground pork or ground turkey.
  • You could also try using dried uncooked lentils for a vegetarian meatloaf.

Breadcrumbs instead of bread: If you want to use bread crumbs instead of slices of bread, then you’ll need ⅓ cup bread crumbs per slice. This recipe calls for 4 slices of bread so that means you’ll need 1 ⅓ cup bread crumbs. You will also need to soak the bread crumbs in 1 cup of milk for a few minutes before combining it with the other ingredients in the recipe.  

Make it in a loaf pan: You can use an 8.5×4.5×3 inch loaf pan or larger to bake this meatloaf. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 60-80 minutes. Adding the glaze during the last 10 minutes.  The best way to tell if the center is done is to insert a meat thermometer. The center should reach 160°F. Note: That baking in a bread pan will cause the meatloaf to steam a little more than in an open baking pan.

Best meatloaf sauce in a white bowl.

homemade Sauce/glaze

Do not forget to make the sauce that goes over the top of your meatloaf. It adds tons of flavor that you definitely want for this recipe. The steps are really simple.

MIX. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice and dry mustard in a small bowl. Mix everything until smooth.

SAUCE. You’ll add ½ of the sauce to the mixture of the meatloaf before it’s cooked. Then you’ll add the rest of the sauce to the top of the meatloaf after it’s cooked.

BAKE. Then bake the meatloaf with the sauce on top for another 10 minutes before serving and eating.

Glazed easy meatloaf in a casserole dish.

Leftovers are just as good!

Meatloaf Sandwiches: Leftovers make the best meatloaf sandwiches. I feel like it’s a cross between  hamburger and Sloppy Joes. It’s flavorful and filling, so much so that it’s worth making extra meatloaf just so you have enough leftovers for a next day sandwich.

  • For younger kids keep the slices to about 1/3-½ inch, but older people can handle much larger slices. 
  • Heat up the meatloaf: Once the meatloaf has been sliced I like to heat up pieces in a hot pan. It gives a nice crust to the meat and warms it all the way through. You can also heat up multiple slices in a hot oven or use a microwave.
  • Bread: You want to choose a bread sturdy enough to handle the meatloaf and toppings Hamburger buns, slices of French bread, Ciabatta, sourdough or Italian Bread. I like to butter the bread, add a bit of garlic salt and then lightly toast it. 
  • Add your favorite sandwich toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions.
Glazed meatloaf sliced and served on a white platter

FAQ

How to store? Store any leftover meatloaf in an airtight container in the fridge. It should last up to 3 or 4 days when kept in the fridge.

How to freeze? Freeze your meatloaf to eat at another time or make ahead- wrap it tightly in freezer wrap and keep it in a freezer-safe bag. It will keep its quality of taste if kept in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.

How to reheat? Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or you can put large portions in the oven. Preheat the oven to a low temperature (220°-240°F) and place loaf in a casserole dish with any remaining juices to help retain moisture. Cover with foil and bake until heated through.

I just know you’re going to LOVE this classic meatloaf recipe. Just like Mom made it. ?

One of the many things that is great about meatloaf is that you can serve it with tons of different side dishes.

What goes with Meatloaf? So many options. here are some of our favorites:

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

5 from 16 votes
The whole family will devour this Easy Meatloaf! It's super simple—making it perfect for all levels of cooks in the kitchen.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 440 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

ketchup mixture

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tsp dry mustard

meatloaf

  • 2 pounds ground beef lean
  • 4 bread slices
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 beef bouillon cube crushed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice and dry mustard in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  • Crumble bread slices in food processor until crumbled and uniform size.
  • Combine ground beef, shredded bread crumbs, onion, eggs, bouillon cube and remaining lemon juice in a large bowl. Add ½ of the ketchup mixture and mix until well combined. Form meat into a loaf and place in a casserole dish.
  • Bake for 1 hour. Drain fat from dish, then top with remaining ketchup mixture and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Video

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe- Simple and classic. I dO like to doubLe the sauce recipe because my family likes it extra saucy.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this easy recipe! My husband loves meatloaf & I’ve never been the biggest fan, but I made it for him & had some myself & was pleasantly surprised at how good it was!

  3. 5 stars
    Such a classic dish! My mom use to make it all the time and now, i love being able to make it for my family!

  4. 5 stars
    I know some people knock meatloaf, but my family loves it! This one is nice and simple, and everyone wanted seconds. The glaze is super yummy!

  5. 5 stars
    **Had to repost – forgot to rate the recipe.

    My friend gave me this recipe a few years back and my kids LOVE it. I use breadcrumbs instead of bread and I omit the onions, but it is a family favorite and the kid’s friends that have joined us for dinner were huge fans as well.

  6. 5 stars
    This was my first time making meatloaf. This was the best meatloaf I’ve ever had!!! Thank you so much! We’re adding this to our rotation!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to hear it was a success and you enjoyed the recipe. Meatloaf can get a bad rep but when made right, it’s pretty darn tasty! 😉

  7. 5 stars
    This had the best taste of any recipe I’ve tried. I did use a little more carrot, celery and garlic than called for and it didn’t hold together well. I probably should have added an extra egg, too. But sooo delicious!

  8. 5 stars
    Super simple and SO easy! Just the way I like family dinner! Great recipe for meatloaf. Goes PERFECT with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli!