This classic Easy Meatloaf recipe is, well, easy! It’s also super juicy and flavorful thanks to an umami blend of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and a perfect mix of seasonings. This one’s a keeper!
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Everyone needs a reliable meatloaf recipe in their recipe arsenal and this one is our favorite. There’s not much better than a juicy meatloaf, especially when you make it on a busy weeknight after an even busier day. Our recipe manages to be hearty and comforting yet so simple at the same time.
You’ll need just 10 active minutes to actually make the meatloaf and the smell of it cooking in the oven will totally carry you through the hectic dinner rush. The ingredients list for this easy meatloaf recipe is both short and affordable – you probably have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry already. The sauce on top is the perfect blend of sweet and savory, making it a favorite with both the kids and the adults.
We turn to this easy meatloaf recipe again, and again, and we bet you will too. So what are you waiting for?
What You’ll Need
This is a blessedly simple recipe with just a few basics required. While the list looks long, most of the ingredients used in the meatloaf are also used in the sauce as well. Here is what you’ll need:
For the Meatloaf
- Ground Beef: You can also use ground turkey. We personally prefer to use a mixture of lean ground beef (92% lean to 8% fat) and ground chuck for an extra juicy meatloaf.
- Tomato Paste: This recipe uses one whole can (divided between the meatloaf and the sauce). Yay for no wasted ingredients!
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Dried Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: You could also use crushed Ritz crackers!
For the Sauce
- Tomato Paste
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Dried Spices: Garlic powder and onion powder.
- Brown Sugar: This is optional, and it’s just 1 teaspoon worth, but it adds that classic sweet and savory topping flavor to your meatloaf.
What is the Difference Between Panko Breadcrumbs and Breadcrumbs?
Panko breadcrumbs, which are found in most grocery stores with the other breadcrumb options, are a Japanse-style breadcrumb that are often used for deep frying. Panko is made from white bread without the crusts. The bread is ground into big flakes and then toasted. You may notice that they are more crunchy than regular breadcrumbs. Panko performs really well in dishes like meatloaf that need that additional binder to add structure.
How to Make Meatloaf
Just a few steps are all you need to do to make this easy meatloaf recipe. Check out our simple method below:
- Prepare the meatloaf. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray, or line it with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the meatloaf ingredients.
- Shape and bake the meatloaf. Shape the meat mixture into a log shape in the prepared baking dish. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
- Make the sauce. While the meatloaf bakes, whisk to combine the remaining tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar in a small bowl.
- Add the sauce. Once the meatloaf has baked for 45 minutes, remove it from the oven. Add the sauce to the top of the meatloaf. Return meatloaf to the oven to cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Rest. Rest the meatloaf out of the oven for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips to help your meatloaf turn out perfectly each time.
- Use panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs have a great larger texture that help bind the ground meat better than regular fine breadcrumbs. If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs, a great substitute is an equal amount of crushed ritz crackers.
- Use a mix of ground beef. For example, I used a mixture of lean ground beef (92% lean to 8% fat) and ground chuck. If you use all lean meat it could leave you with a dry meatloaf, so I like to use a mixture to keep the meatloaf moist, but not greasy.
- No need to cover the meatloaf. I don’t think you need to cover the meatloaf while cooking, especially if you use the right mix of meat. If using ground turkey, you can cover the meatloaf to try to retain some of the moisture in the meat.
- Use a meat thermometer. To check for doneness, use an instant read meat thermometer to verify you don’t overcook the meatloaf. Meatloaf is safely cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
What to Serve with a Simple Meatloaf Recipe
Here are some of our favorite ways to serve meatloaf:
- Mashed potatoes. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes is pure comfort food! Try my Best Mashed Potatoes or my Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes recipe.
- Vegetables. Meatloaf is practically begging to be served with a side of vegetables like Roasted Broccoli or Southern Green Beans with Bacon. You could also pair it with our kids’ favorite Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
- As a sandwich. Slices of piping hot meatloaf served on slices of crusty bread to mop up all the sauce is another great way to eat meatloaf!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Store leftover meatloaf in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Then you can place slices of meatloaf on a plate and reheat them in the microwave. To reheat in the oven, place the meatloaf in an oven-safe dish and warm on low heat.
Can I Freeze Easy Meatloaf?
You can definitely freeze meatloaf. It’s best to freeze uncooked meatloaf so it doesn’t dry out. You can prep the meatloaf in advance, wrap it tightly, uncooked, in plastic wrap and foil, and store it in the freezer for 3 months. Defrost it in the fridge overnight, for best results, and then proceed with baking the meatloaf per the recipe instructions.
More Ground Beef Recipes
- Cheeseburger Casserole
- Best Taco Meat
- Crockpot Sloppy Joes
- Easy Beef Enchiladas
- Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Easy Crockpot Chili
For the Meatloaf:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste, used from the can for the sauce below
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, or crushed ritz crackers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the Sauce:
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste (minus 1 tablespoon used in meatloaf)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking dish (I used a 9×11 casserole dish) with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper, set aside.
- Using a large mixing bowl, mix to combine the ground beef and all the ingredients listed for the meatloaf. Shape meat into a log shape in the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- While the meatloaf bakes, whisk to combine the remaining tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar in a small bowl.
- Once the meatloaf has baked for 45 minutes, remove it from the oven. Add the sauce to the top of the meatloaf.
- Return meatloaf to the oven to cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until cooked through and a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160°F.
- Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Freeze up to 3 months.
- Use panko breadcrumbs, they help bind the ground meat better than regular breadcrumbs that will get lost in the meat. If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs, a great substitute is crushed ritz crackers.
- I used a mixture of 1 pound lean ground beef (92% lean 8% fat) and 1 pound ground chuck. You could use all lean if you prefer, however it can make a dry meatloaf. I like to use a mixture to keep the meatloaf moist, but not too greasy.
- I did not cover the meatloaf while cooking.
- This recipe uses one whole 6-oz can of tomato paste. 1 tablespoons of the tomato paste is used inside the meatloaf and the remaining tomato paste is used to create the sauce on top.
- Using tomato paste, instead of ketchup, gives you a thicker sauce. BBQ sauce can also be used as a meatloaf topping.