27 Best Meatloaf Recipes
Revealed: the most-popular meatloaf recipes on Yummly! From classic meatloaf slathered in ketchup glaze, to meatloaves with creative seasonings and add-ins, these are the recipes you’ve sought out and saved the most.
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Meatloaf, or at least an ancestor of it, dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, but I think of it as a quintessentially American dish. After all, most recipes call for an all-American condiment like ketchup or BBQ sauce. And I’d wager that if you’re reading this article, you grew up eating meatloaf, just like I did. Heck, I still have my mom’s grease-spattered recipe card for the best meatloaf ever, which came straight from the Lipton onion soup mix package.
There are more than 4,000 meatloaf recipes on Yummly, no surprise for such a popular dish. But sorting through all of them to find the very best meatloaf recipes could take a while. That’s why we asked Yummly Analytics Manager Cansu Kaya to analyze the data to find the homemade meatloaf recipes Yummly home cooks turn to most often. These recipes have been saved, cooked, and served by thousands of people.
Whether this is your first time making meatloaf or your five hundredth, you’ll find a new favorite here.
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Good meatloaf requires just a few things: It must be tender enough to eat with a fork. It must be moist and juicy. And it must be vaguely loaf-shaped.
What goes into meatloaf?
No matter which recipe you follow, most have the same basic ingredients:
Meat (or “meat”): It might be lean ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey, or even a combination of vegetarian ingredients that mimic meat’s texture.
Binders: Many recipes use large eggs as well as a starch like panko bread crumbs or regular breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, bread, or oats. You’ll often find milk or some other liquid, like broth or even water, finely chopped vegetables, and sometimes cheese.
Seasoning: Nobody wants to eat plain meat, right? In addition to salt and black pepper, your recipe might call for finely chopped onion or onion powder, minced cloves garlic or garlic powder, dried or fresh herbs, Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Ketchup or tomato sauce often goes into the meat mix, too.
Glaze: While there’s no rule that says meatloaf must have a sweet, tomatoey sauce spread on top before baking, I think meatloaf looks naked without it. It might be as simple as plain old ketchup, or you might stir in additional flavors like brown sugar, Worcestershire, mustard, or cider vinegar.
How to make meatloaf
The ingredients can vary widely, but the preparation will be something like this:
Preheat oven and grab a large bowl.
Combine the meat with the other ingredients. Use your clean hands for this — you want to make sure it’s well-mixed, but not overmixed. Pro tip: When a meatloaf recipe calls for both starch and liquid, let the two ingredients soak together for a few minutes before you add the meat. The paste that results is known as panade. When you mix it with ground meat, the panade keeps the meat’s protein fibers from drying out and tightening up in the oven. You’ll wind up with the moist, tender meatloaf of your dreams.
Transfer the meat mixture into a loaf pan, or line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and shape it into a loaf. Brush with the glaze.
How long to cook meatloaf varies by recipe, but you should always bake it to an internal temperature of 160°F — use a meat thermometer to be sure. Let your meatloaf rest before slicing, so the juices can settle.
What to serve with meatloaf
Meatloaf is a main dish, so you’ll need to accompany it with something. Mashed potatoes and green beans are the classic side dishes, but you can choose your favorites. To me, spuds are a requirement, as is something green — think air fryer-roasted potatoes, oven-roasted potatoes, garlicky sauteed greens, or steamed broccoli.
How to store leftover meatloaf
I suspect one reason meatloaf is so popular is that most recipes make a lot. Unless you’re feeding a crowd, you’ll have enough for sandwiches the next day or even another dinner. Transfer any leftover meatloaf into the fridge within two hours, in either plastic wrap or an airtight container. Or do what I do, and slice the entire thing, then reassemble with parchment or plastic wrap between each slice. Wrap tightly and freeze. Whenever you want a serving or two, defrost individual slices in the fridge overnight or in the microwave.
27 best meatloaf recipes on Yummly
Stock up on ground meat — you’re going to want to try all of these. Your best recipe for meatloaf awaits.
This easy meatloaf recipe tops the list, and it’s not even close — it has tens of thousands more hits than the next recipe. You only need one bowl, a handful of ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now, and five minutes of prep time. As one delighted reviewer wrote, “My favorite simple meatloaf recipe! My picky eating daughter devours this.”
Coming in at #2 is an instant classic, a supremely beefy meatloaf thanks to beef bouillon in the meat mixture. A glaze of ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and spices goes on in three layers, ensuring a hint of sweet and tangy flavor in every bite.
Your mother’s meatloaf recipe may depend on where your family came from. The #3 choice leans towards Italy, with dried basil and oregano and little pops of heat from crushed red pepper flakes. Before popping it into the oven, pull out a small bowl and mix up a glaze to go on top by mixing 1/2 cup ketchup with Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.
The next most-popular recipe uses lean ground beef and minimizes carbohydrates by swapping in almond meal for breadcrumbs. The glaze uses lightly sweetened tomato sauce instead of ketchup, so it’s got far fewer grams of sugar, too. Fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese add flavor, so you definitely won’t notice it’s better for you than most meatloaves.
What, you may wonder, makes a meatloaf “gourmet”? In this case, several things. First, it originated in the late, great Gourmet magazine. And the recipe itself has more flair than everyday versions: It uses finely chopped vegetables, bacon, and prunes or dried cherries with ground beef and ground pork for an exceptionally flavorful, moist meatloaf.
If you want a simple, stick-to-your ribs, traditional meatloaf recipe like you’d get in a diner, look no further than #6. This recipe calls for nothing but ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, onion and garlic powders, and ketchup. Easy peasy.
Italian seasoning and finely chopped onion provide savory notes to this down-home meatloaf. Grab your loaf pan and get cooking. Pro tip: Before adding all the ingredients to a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and half-cup milk and let it sit for a few minutes. You’ll be making a panade, which helps keep the meatloaf moist.
No breadcrumbs? No problem! The recipe claiming the #8 spot calls for quick-cooking oats, which — bonus — add a whole-grain boost. Seasoning stays simple here, nothing but finely-diced onion, salt, and pepper, but the glaze gets some extra zing when you stir mustard and brown sugar into the traditional ketchup.
This meatloaf doesn’t come from just any mama — it’s Chef Carla Hall’s, and she’s added some smart, easy tricks to make it taste even better than she remembered. Don’t miss the step-by-step videos, which include some clever tips you can use with other recipes, too.
Rounding out our top 10 is this tasty loaf, which has some special twists: Instead of ketchup, you’ll use a can of tomato sauce for both the glaze and the meat mixture, and fresh breadcrumbs instead of dried. Be sure to check out the tasty variations, both of which use bell pepper.
I’m surprised that no turkey meatloaf made it into the top 10, but here comes one at last. Other than swapping turkey for beef, this is a pretty classic meatloaf recipe — but it does have you saute the finely chopped onion and garlic before adding them to the bowl, which mellows their allium sharpness.
Reviewers really love this meatloaf: “This is hands down my family’s favorite meatloaf!!” said one. “Fantastic, best meatloaf we've had! All the kids loved it,” from another. And why not? It’s easy, flavorful, and juicy.
13. Glazed Meatloaf
I know, I know, most meatloaves have some kind of glaze. But #13 goes an extra step — you’ll simmer ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and hot sauce for a few minutes, then set aside a portion to glaze the meatloaf. The rest? That becomes a meatloaf sauce, to serve with each slice. I repeat: This recipe has meatloaf sauce.
Shredded cheese plus finely chopped onion and bell pepper help bind this meatloaf and keep it moist, and they also make it memorable. I love how simple and straightforward the directions are. You can get this into the oven in about ten minutes.
And here it is, at last: The recipe my own mom used for meatloaf, starring Lipton’s onion soup mix! Sometimes, to be fancy, she’d turn it into “meatloaf surprise.” What was the curveball? She’d put half the meat mixture into the loaf pan, then place three hard-boiled eggs down the center, and cover them with the rest of the mixture. When you slice into it later, surprise! This recipe doesn’t call for hard-boiled eggs, but as you’ll see in the comments, plenty of cooks feel free to create their own variations.
Number 16 on our list uses a panade, but this time it’s made with beef broth and Worcestershire sauce rather than milk. The result is super-savory, a meatloaf that’s just bursting with beefy flavor.
17. Turkey Meatloaf
If you’re looking for a lighter meatloaf recipe that comes together with minimal prep time, look no further. Seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs, minced onion sauteed in olive oil, and marjoram all add flavor, while the glaze uses relatively little sugary ketchup — but still tastes amazing.
18. Turkey Meatloaf
Our third turkey meatloaf takes a little more effort, but the result is delicious enough for company. Turkey’s natural mildness gets punched up with onion, garlic, fresh parsley, and grated carrot, which adds a lovely touch of natural sweetness.
Meatloaves that rely on onion soup mix or garlic salt for flavor can be downright salty. If you or someone in your family has been told to watch their sodium intake, check out this recipe. It makes up for the lack of added salt by seasoning generously with dried herbs and spices.
20. Classic Meatloaf
Grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and fresh parsley keep things lively in our 20th recipe. The glaze, made with ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire, goes on in stages, which creates an almost lacquered effect.
When you’re looking for comfort food, you can’t go wrong with a cozy slice of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans. This recipe delivers everything you just imagined — and with just eight ingredients and five minutes of prep time.
22. Easy Meatloaf
The basic recipe is truly easy — you don’t even have to chop an onion, since it uses onion powder — and the hot sauce in the glaze really perks things up. But if you happen to have some leftover caramelized onions, the recipe’s headnote suggests adding them. I heartily endorse this idea.
Nuts, rice, mushrooms, onions, herbs, and cheese combine into a shockingly meaty vegetarian meatloaf. As one reviewer said, “This is so good, you guys! I never would have come up with this combination of ingredients, but lo and behold, it comes out with the flavor, color, and texture of real meatloaf.”
BBQ sauce is the secret ingredient in #24. Most goes into the ground pork-and-beef mixture, but some gets brushed on top as a glaze — and boy, does that sweet-and-smoky flavor shine through.
25. Turkey Meatloaf
Tons of vegetables, including carrots, spinach, onion, and three garlic cloves, pump up the flavor of this meatloaf and help to keep it moist. I suspect this would be a good way to get more veggies into reluctant eaters, too.
I’m reluctant to endorse the idea that some foods are more manly than others, but reviewers seem to agree that guys really like this meatloaf. “My husband LOVES this recipe! This is a new family favorite,” is just one example. Maybe it’s the chili sauce, which replaces ketchup in the meat mixture.
Drumroll for the last meatloaf on our list… This recipe is exactly what the name suggests — a basic meatloaf — but a very, very good one. It uses both ketchup and mustard in the meat mixture, which adds an additional layer of flavor. The suggestion to swap in hot Italian sausage for half the ground meat takes this well beyond basic.
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