Best Meatloaf We’ve Ever Made

This easy meatloaf recipe is the best I’ve ever made! It is incredibly flavorful and tender in the middle, and the homemade meatloaf glaze is out of this world.

Best Meatloaf Recipe Video

I cannot wait until you try this amazing meatloaf recipe. Our family loves it, and everyone we’ve shared the recipe with said that it is the best they’ve made. With such high praise, we knew we needed to share this classic meatloaf with you.

We serve thick slices of this easy homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a big salad. Leftovers are also fantastic, and they make the best meatloaf sandwiches. This recipe calls for ground beef, if you have ground turkey, I highly recommend using this easy turkey meatloaf recipe.

Slices of our Easy Meatloaf with a Classic Meatloaf Glaze

Key Ingredients

  • Ground beef: Use ground beef with at least 15% fat for the juiciest meatloaf. Look for 85/15 or 80/20 on the package when you’re at the store.
  • Veggies: I cook mushrooms, onion, shallot, bell pepper, and garlic in butter before adding them to my meatloaf mixture. They add so much flavor (especially the mushrooms, which I also use for turkey meatloaf).
  • Saltine crackers: I use saltine crackers instead of breadcrumbs. They are light and crispy, so they don’t weigh down our meatloaf.
  • Milk: Helps to keep our meatloaf juicy and tenderizes the meat.
  • Egg and egg yolk: Keeps the meatloaf tender and prevents it from drying out or falling apart.
  • Mustard: I use whole-grain or Dijon mustard. It adds so much flavor.
  • Ketchup: I like store-bought natural or homemade ketchup, which I use in the meatloaf mixture to make the sauce spread on top.
  • Worcestershire: Seasons our meatloaf and makes it taste more savory.
  • Maple syrup: Helps sweeten our meatloaf glaze. Thanks to the maple syrup, this is the tastiest glaze I’ve had with meatloaf.

How to Make the Best Meatloaf

To make meatloaf, you’ll start by cooking the veggies in some butter until soft and sweet. I give the mushrooms a head start and then stir in the onion and shallot. Then, when soft, I add the red bell pepper and garlic. The veggies take about 10 minutes, but cooking them this way guarantees the best texture for your meatloaf.

How to Make Meatloaf: Cooking mushrooms, onion, and garlic first.

Once your veggies are cooked and cooled, mix the meatloaf ingredients in a big bowl. You might have been told by someone else not to overmix meatloaf, but I’m going against the grain on this one and telling you to really get in there and mix! You want the mixture to look well blended, which improves flavor AND texture (it’s why our baked meatloaf won’t crumble apart).

Easy meatloaf ingredients in a mixing bowl

I bake my meatloaf on a baking sheet, not in a loaf pan. You can absolutely bake this meatloaf in a loaf pan if you’d like. I prefer the baking sheet for two reasons. First, a baking sheet means the easiest cleanup, which is enough for me, but the second reason I love using a baking sheet is that our delicious meatloaf glaze becomes more caramelized and sticky than when cooked in a loaf pan.

After forming my meatloaf mixture into a loaf on a lined baking sheet, I generously spread on my glaze. Speaking of the glaze, you will stir ketchup, maple syrup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce together to make it. It’s super simple and tastes so good once it’s baked.

Adding our meatloaf glaze to the top of meatloaf

I bake my meatloaf in a 375°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 160°F, which takes 45 to 55 minutes. Then, before slicing, I leave the meatloaf on the counter to rest for at least 10 minutes, which allows the juices to redistribute and the middle to firm up a bit.

My Favorite Meatloaf Sides

I love serving this meatloaf with classic sides like mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and mac and cheese. Roasted veggies are amazing, too. I especially love roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, and this roasted asparagus.

For quick vegetable sides, try sautéed green beans, this garlic butter zucchini, and our easy sautéed veggies. Or try a simple salad dressed with one of our favorite homemade dressings. Try homemade ranch, quick honey mustard dressing, or this easy Italian dressing.

Best Meatloaf with Homemade Glaze

Best Meatloaf We've Ever Made

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

We love this easy meatloaf recipe! It’s juicy, tender, and has the most delicious sweet and sticky meatloaf glaze.

Makes 6 Servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 pound (450g) ground beef, 80% to 85% lean

2 tablespoons (28g) butter

2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms, 8 ounces

1 cup finely chopped onion, 1/2 medium onion

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon

1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, optional

1/2 cup finely crushed saltine crackers, 12 to 15 crackers

1/4 cup (60ml) milk

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon mustard, whole-grain or Dijon

1 teaspoon ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or Pickapeppa sauce

Meatloaf Glaze

1/2 cup (125g) ketchup, try homemade ketchup

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon mustard, whole-grain or Dijon

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or Pickapeppa sauce

Directions

    1Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, cover with a lid or tent with foil, and cook for 5 minutes.

    2Uncover the pan and add the onion, shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

    3Add the red bell pepper, garlic, and Cajun seasoning and cook until the bell pepper is soft, about 5 minutes more. Cool for 10 minutes.

    4In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, cooled mushroom mixture, saltine crackers, milk, egg, egg yolk, mustard, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well until the mixture looks well blended.

    5Form the meatloaf into a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.

    6Make the meatloaf glaze by stirring ketchup, maple syrup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

    7Spread the glaze over the meatloaf. Refrigerate while the oven preheats (5 to 10 minutes in the fridge helps firm up the meatloaf before baking).

    8Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

    9Bake the meatloaf for 45 to 55 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

    10Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing (I use a serrated bread knife for clean slices).

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Ground beef: Choose beef with at least 15% fat for the best flavor and juiciness. Look for labels like 85/15 or 80/20 (these represent the lean meat-to-fat ratio).
  • Prep shortcut: Save time by using a food processor to quickly chop the mushrooms, onion, and shallot.
  • Saltine crackers: Saltine crackers in your meatloaf add both seasoning and a lighter texture. If substituting with breadcrumbs, add a pinch or two of extra salt to the mixture for flavor.
  • Leftover meatloaf: Lasts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and reheat in the microwave or a 350°F oven.
  • Make ahead: Refrigerate the formed, unbaked meatloaf (without the glaze) for up to 24 hours. You can also make the glaze, store it separately in an airtight container, and refrigerate it. When ready to bake, remove the meatloaf from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before spreading on the glaze. Then, bake as instructed in the recipe.
  • Freezing unbaked meatloaf: To freeze the uncooked meatloaf, form the meatloaf on a foil-lined baking sheet without adding the glaze. Freeze for 2 hours, wrap in foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, add the glaze, and bake as directed.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 of 6 slices / Calories 312 / Total Fat 17.7g / Saturated Fat 7.5g / Cholesterol 124.3mg / Sodium 498.2mg / Carbohydrate 19.8g / Dietary Fiber 1.4g / Total Sugars 10g / Protein 18.1g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
Inspired Taste Newsletter Signup
81 comments… Leave a Review
  • Mitzi July 17, 2024, 11:20 am

    I am not a fan of mushrooms, but my husband is…and we both love meatloaf. Since Inspired Taste has become the first website I check in with when I want to make something new or find a better way to make something (every recipe I’ve tried comes out awesome!) I thought I’d give this meatloaf a try. It’s a bit more of a process with initial veggies step, but as the authors state, it’s worth it!! A food processor does make it very easy and mushrooms undetectable. The flavors veggies adds is incredible. And I will never go back to using a loaf pan. My husband adores his moms meatloaf recipe that’s been my go to. We both agree this recipe surpasses it! My husbands co-worker had a slice of his “leftovers lunch” the next day and also thought it was great! Thank you for another fab recipe Inspired Taste!

    Reply
    • Adam July 17, 2024, 4:09 pm

      Hi Mitzi, you have made our day with this comment and review. We are thrilled that you love it 🙂

      Reply
  • Neomi Sarmiento July 12, 2024, 1:30 am

    I’ve made many meatloaves in the past but this was out of this world flavorful! Thank you for such a great recipe.

    Reply
  • Ester July 9, 2024, 1:30 pm

    I just made this meatloaf and good GOD it is delicious!!! I have made meatloaf many times with various recipes and this one is my favorite so far! It was the perfect balance of meat to veggies so it felt more guilt free. It wasn’t dense, and the flavors melted perfectly. The red bell pepper was a bit small so I used the whole thing and it was perfectly fine. I also made the Cajun seasoning using your recipe instead of buying one. This will be my new go-to meatloaf recipe.

    Reply
    • Adam July 9, 2024, 4:03 pm

      Yay! We are so glad you loved it and we are thrilled that you made our Cajun seasoning. Making your own really does kick things up a notch 🙂

      Reply
  • Donna R July 8, 2024, 10:55 pm

    This meatloaf is delicious!!! Served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans and it was a hit. We are loving the leftovers too. I doubled the recipe by using 1lb ground beef and 1lb ground pork. Also used ritz crackers instead of saltines since I had those on hand. The extra step of sauteeing the veggies is well with it. They add such amazing flavor. Also the ketchup glaze mixture is so much better than just plain ketchup. Yum!! Two thumbs way up for this juicy, yummy meatloaf!! 👍👍

    Reply
  • Allie July 7, 2024, 2:44 pm

    I only have all the ingredients except only a green pepper on hand. I cook all the time and suppose the red pepper is just a bit sweeter right?

    Reply
    • Adam July 9, 2024, 4:06 pm

      Yes, a green pepper would work just fine but red bell peppers are just a touch sweeter.

      Reply
  • Velma Powell July 4, 2024, 7:43 am

    I made the meatloaf and it was fantastic. Very moist and flavorful. I will make it again.

    Reply
  • Debbie M. May 31, 2024, 5:05 pm

    I made this recipe today for a special event. It was absolutely fabulous!!! Huge hit! I made per the recipe and it is SO good. I will make it this way from now on. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Joanne May 31, 2024, 5:33 pm

      I am so happy that you gave our recipe a try, Debbie! Thank you for coming back and letting us know.

      Reply
      • Rottie 162@aol.com July 4, 2024, 6:53 pm

        Very very good a lot like my recipe but a bit better. I had to triple all ingredients for a big crowd. They all loved it. Thanks for a great recipe!

        Reply
  • Margarita April 23, 2024, 3:51 pm

    This was the best meatloaf I’ve ever made!!! I was drawn to the ratio of meat and veggies, as I’m not a big meat eater (my “boys’ are though). The glaze was awesome, I made extra and put it on the table, it was gone along with the meatloaf in one seating. This is our new and best meatloaf recipe, no need to look further. Thank you!!!

    Reply
    • Joanne April 23, 2024, 5:05 pm

      Amazing! Thank you so much for coming back and letting us know. Plus, the extra glaze on the table is genius!!

      Reply
  • Graeme Rutherford April 22, 2024, 7:47 pm

    Delicious moist meat loaf using this recipe. When I have made meat loaf in the pan it’s always been a bit dry, but not using this recipe, it was moist and delicious and my family asked me to make it again and considering one of them hates mushrooms, that’s some praise.

    Reply
    • Adam April 23, 2024, 12:04 pm

      That is quite the compliment! We are so happy that your family loves the recipe 🙂

      Reply
  • Dory April 22, 2024, 4:42 am

    This is the best meatloaf, ever! Outstanding. And the sandwiches the next day, oh my. I told my husband if this was at a restaurant, I would go there over & over & over.

    Reply
    • Adam April 22, 2024, 1:28 pm

      Wow, Dory, thank you for such a lovely comment! I agree about the sandwiches!!!

      Reply
  • Lhney Steiner April 20, 2024, 3:34 pm

    Absolute perfection! The flavors are amazing and the texture is perfect! Can’t wait to make it again. Thank you for this incredible recipe!

    Reply
    • Joanne April 20, 2024, 3:52 pm

      We are thrilled you found us and tried the recipe! Thank you for coming back!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe!

 

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our comment guidelines. You must be at least 16 years old to post a comment. All comments are governed by our Privacy Policy & Terms.

Previous Post: Next Post: