Ground beef for meat loaf is just a fancy way of saying that you can incorporate ground beef in your meat loaf. This might seem obvious, but really, many people don’t know this is a thing. So, to spread the potential savviness of all the people and their knowledge of ground beef for meat loaf I have put together this website.
The Best Classic Meatloaf
This amazing homemade meatloaf recipe is tender and juicy on the inside with a sweet and tangy topping. This is a traditional meatloaf made with ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, and perfectly balanced seasonings. A ketchup-based topping adds incredible flavor.
What Makes A Really Good Meatloaf Recipe
I think the trick to good meatloaf is using lean ground beef. The problem with a lot of meatloaf recipes is that they call for ground beef with a high fat content. As the meatloaf cooks, the fat cooks out and makes a greasy mess. Not this recipe!
How To Keep It Moist
You may be thinking, but won’t lean ground beef make the meatloaf dry? Not at all! The milk, egg, ketchup, and diced onion in the meat mixture are all working to keep the meatloaf moist and delicious.
Why Put Milk In It
Milk soaks into the breadcrumbs and helps keep the meatloaf moist. I typically use whole milk in recipes, but any type of milk including non-dairy milk alternatives could be used.
Is It Better To Cook Covered Or Uncovered
Some recipes call for covering the loaf pan with aluminum foil before baking to keep the moisture in. This is not necessary in this recipe. Bake uncovered for the entire 55 minutes. It will stay moist.
Should I Sauté The Onions First
Some recipes call for sautéing the onions before adding them to the raw meatloaf mixture. This ensures that the onions are completely cooked and soft. I’ve found that if the onions are cut small enough, they will cook through during the baking process and do not need to be sautéed.
This recipe calls for finely diced onion, so there is no need to sauté it first. Skipping the sauté step makes the meatloaf preparation faster and easier.
This classic meatloaf is perfect for a busy weeknight meal because it can be prepared in minutes.
How Long Should It Cook
This meatloaf is cooked in a 350° oven, uncovered, for 55 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 160° F. Be sure to let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before attempting to slice it, so it holds its shape.
Loaf Pan Versus Baking Sheet
I prefer to use a loaf pan because it keeps all the glaze in place perfectly and the meat is juicier. But, you could line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Shape the meatloaf into a loaf shape. Top with the glaze. And, bake as normal.
How To Make The Best Meatloaf
*Note: The full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.
- Add 90% lean ground beef to a large bowl.
- Add dried bread crumbs and some diced onion.
- Add milk, an egg, ketchup, and worcestershire sauce.
- Add dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Mix it together REALLY well.
- Pour the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
- Spread it into a flat even layer.
Make the Meatloaf Sauce
- Add ketchup, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar to a bowl.
- Whisk until combined.
- Pour the glaze over the meatloaf.
- Bake it!
- Let it cool before slicing.
Can This Be Made Ahead Of Time
Absolutely! Just cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you’re ready for it. Then, uncover it and let it come to room temperature as you’re preheating the oven.
Can This Be Frozen
Yes! Prepare the meatloaf, put it in a loaf pan, and top with glaze according to the recipe directions. Cover the pan and freeze.
Place the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator to thaw about 24 hours before you want to bake it. Then, uncover it and let it come to room temperature as you’re preheating the oven.
Why Does Meatloaf Fall Apart
- You may not have used enough binding ingredients. This recipe calls for plenty of breadcrumbs.
- It may be over baked. Fifty five minutes is all it takes.
- Or, you may have sliced into it while it was still too hot. I always let my meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing into it.
I’ve been playing around with this recipe for the past few months, making it many times. And, I didn’t mind the repetition at all because I do believe I ended up with the best classic meatloaf recipe ever. 🙂
CLASSIC BEEF MEATLOAF
What’s better than a hearty meatloaf? This is a recipe that’s easy and foolproof. No bells and whistles – just a few ingredients including beef, egg, bread crumbs and a simple tomato-based topping.
- 1 HR
- 28 G
TEST KITCHEN TIPS
Use a gentle touch with ground beef. Over-mixing will result in burgers, meatballs or meatloaves with a firm texture.
- 1-1/2 pounds Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup ketchup, divided
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine Ground Beef, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup ketchup, onion, egg, Worcestershire, garlic, thyme, pepper and salt in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape beef into 8 x 4-inch loaf on rack in aluminum foil-lined broiler pan.
- Place on upper oven rack in 350°F oven. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F; brush with remaining 1/4 cup ketchup during last 10 minutes, if desired. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into slices.
SAFE HANDLING TIPS:
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking and always after touching raw meat.
- Separate raw meat from other foods.
- Wash all cutting boards, utensils, and dishes after touching raw meat.
- Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods.
- Wash all produce prior to use.
- Cook beef until temperature reaches 145°F for medium rare steaks and roasts 160°F for ground beef.
- Refrigerate food promptly.
3.5g SAT FAT
18% DV **
3.5 mg IRON
6.6 mg ZINC
* Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
** Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet
Nutrition information per serving: 276 Calories; 80.1 Calories from fat; 8.9g Total Fat (3.5 g Saturated Fat; 0.2 g Trans Fat; 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat; 3.6 g Monounsaturated Fat;) 115 mg Cholesterol; 630 mg Sodium; 19 g Total Carbohydrate; 0.5 g Dietary Fiber; 8.4 g Total Sugars; 28 g Protein; 6 g Added Sugars; 33.1 mg Calcium; 3.5 mg Iron; 529 mg Potassium; 0.2 mcg Vitamin D; 0.3 mg Riboflavin; 6.7 mg NE Niacin; 0.5 mg Vitamin B6; 2.9 mcg Vitamin B12; 253 mg Phosphorus; 6.6 mg Zinc; 24 mcg Selenium; 123.9 mg Choline.
The Best Meatloaf Recipe
The best Meatloaf Recipe is one that is easy to make and full of flavor.
Ground beef, seasonings, onions, and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs with a zesty topping (my favorite part)!
Below I share my favorite tips to ensure a flavorful meatloaf that is tender, holds together, and will get rave reviews every time.
This easy meatloaf recipe is a family favorite and is pretty simple to make! Serve with a side of mashed potatoes or mac and cheese for the perfect comforting meal.
- GROUND BEEF: We use 80/20 ground beef for meatloaf. This provides enough fat to keep it juicy without being greasy.
- Breadcrumbs & eggs help hold the loaf together and give it the perfect texture. Seasoned/Italian breadcrumbs are best as they add extra flavor.
- Seasonings – Onions, parsley, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper. Simple but delicious.
- Topping – This is the best part! A zesty combo of ketchup and chili sauce (with a hint of brown sugar) is a favorite topping.
My favorite sauce for meatloaf is a flavorful zesty topping that caramelizes and gets a bit sticky to glaze the meatloaf as it bakes. I use a combo of chili sauce and ketchup (just like my mom always made) and a pinch of brown sugar.
Chili sauce is not spicy, it is similar to very zesty ketchup with more tang and less sweetness. (Find chili sauce near the ketchup). Mixed with ketchup, it creates a beautiful topping. (It’s also great mixed 50/50 with BBQ sauce for burgers and ribs).
- Brown Sugar Meatloaf Glaze: Skip the chili sauce and combine equal parts brown sugar and ketchup with a dash of cider vinegar.
- Brown Gravy: Skip the topping altogether and serve the meatloaf with brown gravy (homemade, leftover, or packaged).
How To Make Meatloaf
- Soften the onion in a pan (per recipe below).
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
- Form into a loaf and bake (cook times below based on the size of the loaf).
- Top with the meatloaf sauce and bake until bubbly.
Tips for Perfection
- Do Not Overmix: Mix until everything is just combined. Over mixing will create a dense loaf!
- Use Lean Meat: Use lean beef (but not extra lean). 80/20 is the best mixture for meatloaf. You need a bit of fat for flavor but don’t want it swimming in grease so lean beef is the perfect option.
- Add flavors and moisture: Adding in seasonings and soaking the breadcrumbs in milk keep every bit of this meatloaf flavorful and moist.
- Skip the Loaf Pan: Using a baking sheet to cook your meatloaf gives the best results. If you cook in a loaf pan you’ll get steam (and nobody wants steamed meat) and nowhere for the drippings to go. Form your own loaf on a foil-lined pan.
- Rest the Meatloaf: With any meatloaf recipe, it should be rested once it comes out of the oven. This helps redistribute the juices and makes sure it won’t fall apart when you cut it!
How Long To Cook Meatloaf
A 2 lb meatloaf (recipe below) will cook at 350°F for about 55-65 minutes or at 375°F for 45-55 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
Meatloaf Cooking Times
If you are making half of a recipe (or increasing it) you can use the cook times below to cook at 350°F. A thermometer is the best way to ensure the meatloaf is cooked through yet perfectly tender.
- Bake a 1lb meatloaf for about 45 minutes total.
- Bake a 2lb meatloaf for about 55 minutes total.
- Bake a 3 lb meatloaf for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Kitchen Tip Always let meatloaf rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it. This helps it retain its juices and ensures it doesn’t fall apart when you slice it.
How to Freeze Meatloaf
Before Cooking To freeze meatloaf before cooking, place in a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap (or form a loaf on a pan). Freeze completely, seal well. Defrost raw frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator 24 hours. Bake as directed.
After Cooking Once cooked and cooled, freeze individual slices on a parchment-lined pan. Once the slices are frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. This makes it easy to grab one slice or several to reheat! Simply reheat in the microwave or in the oven.