Kick the bells-and-whistles to the curb. You won’t need them for this no-fail, Traditional Meatloaf Recipe. It’s made with the simplest combination of ingredients, yet always turns out juicy, tender, and never dry. Topped with a sweet and tangy brown sugar-ketchup glaze, this meatloaf packs a ton of flavor and as much as we hate to say it, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be better than moms.
Easy to make and quick to prep, this is a classic, All-American weeknight dinner that never goes out of style. Serve it alongside creamy mashed potatoes and fresh green beans for a wholesome and comforting family meal!
TRADITIONAL MEATLOAF INGREDIENTS
- Ground Beef – 80/20 ground beef will yield the juiciest, most flavorful meatloaf. Worried about the fat? No problem. Baking the meatloaf on a rimmed sheet pan (rather than in a loaf pan) gives the fat a place to go. No special equipment needed.
- Breadcrumbs – Breadcrumbs are a necessary ingredient for meatloaf. They help to bind the meat together, improve texture, and, not to mention, stretch that dollar just lit-tle bit further. As promised, there are no bells-and-whistles in this Traditional Meatloaf Recipe — just standard, plain dried breadcrumbs are all you need.
- Onion – To keep this meatloaf recipe extra simple, we’re not sauteeing any veggies at the get-go, which means the onion will go in raw. To help it cook through, chopping the onion as small as possible is necessary. Be sure to mince the yellow onion to the best of your ability.
- Egg – The egg, in addition to the breadcrumbs, help bind the meatloaf mixture together. One large egg is all you need.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Worcestershire sauce is a wild combination of flavors in and of itself, but what you really need to know here is that it will add a ton of flavor to your meatloaf. Ever heard of Umami? Yeah. It’s all up in that bottle.
- Seasoning — We can’t emphasize enough the importance of seasoning in a Traditional Meatloaf Recipe. Adding Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to the breadcrumb mixture before the beef is added ensures the seasoning gets evenly distributed!
TRADITIONAL MEATLOAF GLAZE
The Meatloaf Glaze — as far as we’re concerned, is almost as important as the meatloaf itself. What’s a Traditional Meatloaf Recipe without a sweet and tangy ketchup glaze, anyway? Pitiful. That’s what. To make the all-time best meatloaf, you’ll need a Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze to top things off.
The Meatloaf Glaze is easy to make and comes together with a quick stir in one bowl. It’s a simple mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Be sure to use good, high-quality ketchup for best results.
HOW TO MAKE MEATLOAF
- Prep – Preheat the oven and have ready a rimmed sheet pan lined with foil for easy removal and easy cleanup. Nonstick foil is preferred.
- Make Breadcrumb Mixture – To kick off this Traditional Meatloaf Recipe, you’ll begin by making the breadcrumb mixture. Mix together breadcrumbs, seasoning, milk, egg, and Worcestershire sauce in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix in Ground Beef – Add the ground beef and minced onion. Then, use your hands to mix until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Shape the Loaf – Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and shape into a narrow loaf. You want to shape the meatloaf to match the size and shape of a loaf pan…only a little more narrow as the meatloaf will spread as it bakes.
- Make the Glaze – To make the Traditional Meatloaf Glaze, combine ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning and whisk to combine.
- Bake – Pour half of the glaze over the meatloaf and bake for 35 minutes. Then, remove the meatloaf from the oven and carefully pour the remaining sauce over the top. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Rest – Allow the meatloaf to rest about 15 minutes before slicing into. Serve and enjoy!
HOW LONG TO COOK MEATLOAF
A traditional meatloaf recipe made with 2 pounds of ground beef will take 50 minutes to 1 hour to fully cook through. However, the meatloaf cook time may vary depending on how much beef you are using and the method you use to cook your meatloaf. For example, meatloaf baked on a baking sheet will take less time to cook than meatloaf housed in a loaf pan.
When in doubt, use a thermometer to ensure it is properly cooked before removing it from the oven to serve. FoodSafety.gov recommends cooking ground beef to a minimum temperature of 160° before serving. Keep in mind your meatloaf will continue to rise in temperature a few degrees as it rests.
5 MORE GROUND BEEF DINNERS YOU’LL LOVE
- Italian Meatloaf is a fun twist on a traditional meatloaf recipe, and features Fontina cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a sweet balsamic tomato topping!
- Salisbury Steak is the perfect family-style comfort food dinner! It’s served with brown onion gravy, and you’re basically getting your own personal-sized meatloaf on a plate! Yes, please.
- 15-Minute Coney Sauce is quick and easy to make, and perfect for topping hot dogs, fries, and nachos! The best part? You can do it at home, just as good as any restaurant. Actually, you can do it better.
- Ground Beef Stroganoff made with ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and sour cream is seriously budget-friendly and comes together in just 20 minutes! Serve over egg noodles for a beefy, comforting weeknight dinner that’s as easy as it is delicious!
- Homemade Hamburger Helper made with savory, seasoned ground beef, a creamy, homemade cheddar sauce, and macaroni livens up an old childhood classic, and once you ditch the box, you’ll never go back again.
An easy, no-fail Traditional Meatloaf Recipe made simple and delicious! Topped with a sweet and tangy meatloaf glaze. Always juicy, tender, and never dry!
- 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, finely minced
- 2/3 cup good-quality ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350° and have ready a rimmed sheet pan lined with foil, preferably nonstick foil.
In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the milk, egg, and Worcestershire and mix once more.
Add the ground beef and minced onion and mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and shape into a narrow loaf (the meatloaf will spread as it bakes).
To make the topping, combine ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Pour half of the sauce mixture over the meatloaf and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully pour over the remaining sauce and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Allow the meatloaf to rest about 15 minutes before slicing into. Serve and enjoy!