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The Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe

by Levi Johnson
delicious meatloaf with lettuce and tomato

Inside this incredible homemade meatloaf recipe is tender and juicy, with a sweet and tangy topping. This traditional meatloaf is created with ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, and seasonings that are properly balanced. A ketchup-based sauce provides a lot of taste. I believe that utilizing lean ground beef is the key to delicious meatloaf.

Many meatloaf recipes call for ground beef with a high-fat level, which is an issue. The fat cooks out of the meatloaf, resulting in a greasy mess. This is not the case with this recipe! But you might wonder, won’t using lean ground beef makes the meatloaf dry? Not in the least! The meat combination contains milk, egg, ketchup, and sliced onion, all of which help to make the meatloaf moist and flavorful.

The meatloaf stays moist because the milk soaks into the breadcrumbs. In my recipes, I usually use whole milk, but you may use any sort of milk, including non-dairy milk substitutes. To maintain the moisture in the loaf pan, several recipes call for wrapping it with aluminum foil before baking. This step isn’t required in this recipe. Bake for the whole 55 minutes, uncovered. It will keep its moisture.

In other recipes, the onions are sautéed before being added to the raw meatloaf mixture. This ensures that the onions are tender and fully cooked. I’ve discovered that if the onions are sliced tiny enough, they will cook through in the oven and don’t need to be sautéed.

There’s no need to sauté the onion in this recipe because it’s finely sliced. The meatloaf may be made faster and easier by skipping the sauté stage. Because it can be made in minutes, this classic meatloaf is ideal for a hectic weekday supper.


  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley leaves
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/4 cup ketchu
  • 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Toss the meat, bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, 2 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper together in a large mixing dish. Toss and mix these elements together with your hands until fully blended.
  • Fill a loaf pan halfway with the meat mixture. Make an even layer of meat by patting it down.
  • 1/4 cup ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl to blend stir everything together. Pour the sauce over the meatloaf and smooth it out into an equal layer.
  • Bake uncovered for 55 minutes.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before serving (or it may fall apart).



  1. Make sure the meat is well mixed. Because this is a wet meatloaf recipe, undermixing might result in mushy/soft meatloaf.
  2. To take the meatloaf from the pan and place it on a cutting board, I use two thin spatulas. You may either slice and serve the meatloaf right from the loaf pan or line the pan with parchment paper to make removal easier.


Serving: 1/10th of the meatloaf | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.8g | Protein: 11.7g | Fat: 5.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.2g | Cholesterol: 49.9mg | Sodium: 399.3mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 6.7g

The Bottom Line

For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with this recipe and have made it several times. And I didn’t mind the repetition since I think I came up with the best classic meatloaf recipe ever.

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