This Old-Fashioned Meatloaf is about the only meatloaf recipe you will ever need. It’s quick, easy and delicious, making it the ultimate Sunday OR weeknight dinner. It stays super moist, has a delicious tangy glaze, and best of all, leftover meatloaf makes great sandwiches for lunch throughout the week.
Traditional meatloaf recipe
This classic meatloaf recipe couldn’t be simpler to put together and uses very few ingredients that can be easily adapted to your family’s tastes. We’ll walk you through everything you’ll need to know to make it perfect every single time.
What goes well with meatloaf?
- Best Scalloped Potatoes
- Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Broccoli Salad with Bacon
- Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon
How to make the best meatloaf:
Don’t overmix. Mix by hand, just until combined. Overmixing will make the meatloaf dense. You also don’t want to press your meatloaf into the meatloaf pan too hard or it will need to cook longer, making it drier.
Check the saturated fat content. There is a fine line between greasy and moist. We found the sweet spot to be 15/85, but you don’t want to go any more fatty than 20/80.
Use a digital thermometer to check doneness. No matter what times and temperatures we or anyone else tells you, your meatloaf is done once a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees F. Any more and it will dry out, but any less and it won’t have reached a safe temperature.
Let it rest. This is a must. Resting for just 8-10 minutes before slicing allows the juices to even out and settle in, and prevents your loaf from falling apart when you cut it.
Ingredients in Old-Fashioned Meatloaf
- Ground beef - we like to use 15/85, but you can also use 10/90 if you prefer ground beef with less saturated fat. Just add an extra egg so your meatloaf isn’t dry.
- Italian bread crumbs - any brand from the grocery store will do. You can also substitute an equal amount of Panko bread crumbs.
- Eggs - any brand of large whole eggs will do.
- Cream - heavy cream works best.
- Garlic powder - feel free to add a little more or less, depending on your taste.
- Bell pepper - we like to use a combination of yellow and red peppers, but any type will do.
- Onion - we recommend yellow Spanish onions for this recipe.
- Olive oil - avocado oil works great, too.
- Salt & Pepper
- Tomato sauce - use your favorite brand, or feel free to substitute ketchup.
- Barbeque sauce - use your favorite brand.
Can I freeze meatloaf?
How to freeze baked meatloaf. If your meatloaf is already cooked and you aren’t planning on eating it within the next day or two, freezing meatloaf is the way to go. Just cool completely, remove from the baking pan, wrap in aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag. Use within 3-4 months of freezing.
To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove the foil and place in the same baking pan. Reheat at 350 degrees until warmed through, about 1 hour.
How to freeze unbaked meatloaf. Prepare your mix as directed (except for the glaze) and line your baking pan with saran wrap. Gently press the unbaked mixture into the pan as you would normally and place it in the freezer for about an hour. Once frozen, remove from the baking pan and wrap completely in saran wrap, and then aluminum foil, and use within 3-4 months.
To use, remove aluminum foil and plastic wrap and place the frozen loaf into the same baking pan. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, mix and spoon glaze over the top and bake at 350 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
What's the best temperature to cook meatloaf at?
We've gotten the best results by cooking meatloaf at 350 degrees. Higher temperatures reduce your cooking time but can leave the meat slightly drier, and lower temperatures simply take longer.
When considering how long to cook meatloaf at 350, keep in mind that you should ALWAYS use a thermometer to make sure the internal temp is at least 160 degrees. Everyone's ovens are different. Here's a rough guide:
Cooking time @ 350:
- 1-pound loaf: 45 min
- 2-pound loaf: 55 min
- 3-pound loaf: 1 hr 20 min
Old-Fashioned Meatloaf Recipe
- 2 lbs Hamburger 15/85 (You can also use 10/90 but you'll want to add an extra egg so your meatloaf isn't dry)
- 1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs Panko Breadcrumbs work fine too
- 2 large Eggs
- 1/2 cup Cream Heavy cream works best
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil avocado oil works great too
- 1/2 med Onion
- 1 small Bell Pepper (or about 2/3 cup diced pepper)
- 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce use your favorite kind
- 1/4 cup Barbeque Sauce use your favorite kind
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, add the hamburger, bread crumbs, eggs, cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Dice the onion and the red pepper into small chunks.
- In a saute pan on the stovetop, add the olive oil, onion, and bell pepper.
- Saute on medium heat until the onions and peppers are soft and translucent.
- Add the onions and peppers to the meat mixture. Use a spoon, or your hands, to gently mix the ingredients together until well combined.
- Add the meat mixture to a loaf pan. Pat the meat into loaf shape.
- In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce and barbeque sauce. Spoon the mixture over the meatloaf.
- Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before serving (this will keep it from falling apart when you cut it).
Here are some other recipes with beef we love too!
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This Old-Fashioned Meatloaf is quick, easy and delicious, and the only meatloaf recipe you will ever need. It makes the ultimate Sunday OR weeknight dinner. It stays super moist, has a delicious tangy meatloaf glaze, and best of all, leftover meatloaf makes great sandwiches for lunch throughout the week. Your family is going to love this homemade meatloaf recipe.