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Classic Meatloaf Recipe

Make this Classic Meatloaf Recipe for dinner and serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. A hearty and delicious supper!

Meatloaf gets such a bad rap. It’s one of those things that you aren’t supposed to like for some reason, but we love meatloaf. Like my daughter says, it’s really just a big yummy meatball! Mmmmm…she’s so right! So if you’re looking for a tasty traditional meatloaf recipe, you’re in the right place!

a meatloaf cut into slices on a plate. it is garnished with sauce and fresh parsley

A great weeknight meal!

Meatloaf is an easy meal for a weeknight because it’s quick to make, you can make it ahead of time, and it’s delicious! This easy meatloaf recipe is meaty, hearty and so delicious drenched in the sweet and sour sauce. Yum.

a meatloaf cut into slices on a plate. it is garnished with sauce and fresh parsley

Homemade Meatloaf Recipe Tips:

  • BEEF: Use lean ground beef. If you wish, you can use a mixture of ground meat (ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey).
  • SAUCE: This recipe makes a lot of sweet and sour sauce. Use half to bake with the meatloaf (it’s almost like a glaze), and use the other half for serving.
  • OATS: If you don’t want to use oats in this meatloaf, you can use bread crumbs instead. They both act as a binding agent.
  • SERVING SUGGESTION: This meatloaf is great served with mashed potatoes and veggies such as green peas or green beans.
  • LEFTOVERS: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftovers also make a great meatloaf sandwich!
  • FREEZING: Yes you can freeze meatloaf! Make the meatloaf without the sweet and sour sauce and freeze it. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make the sauce right before you wish to bake and serve.

Classic Meatloaf

Make this Classic Meatloaf Recipe for dinner and serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. A hearty and delicious supper!

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Oven


Units Scale


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oats or breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Sauce (See Notes)

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1/21 cup brown sugar (I use 1/2 cup)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the sauce first by combining all of the sauce ingredients and mix well. I use a hand blender to do this. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl combine the ground beef, onion, milk, egg, oats, salt and pepper.
  4. Press the meat mixture down into a loaf pan, then make a well down the centre of the loaf. To do this, just run a table knife lengthwise down the centre of the loaf, making about a 1/4 x 1/4 inch indent.
  5. Pour about 1/2 of the sauce into the well, coating the top of the loaf a bit. Save the other half of the sauce for when you serve the meatloaf.
  6. At this point, you can put the meatloaf into the fridge until you are ready to bake it (just cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap).
  7. Bake for 1 hour (the meatloaf is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the centre reads 160 degrees F). Drain. And put onto a serving plate or dish.
  8. Drizzle on the remaining sauce when serving the meatloaf.


This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so use half for the baking, and half for serving with the finished meatloaf.

Keywords: meatloaf, classic meatloaf, meatloaf recipe

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Recipe from The Joy of Cooking

I hope you enjoy this, we really think it’s the best meatloaf recipe! Have a delicious day!

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  1. I’m one of those non-meatloaf lovers :/ My mom just never made it for us growing up (and I’ll even admit that I don’t really like meatballs either…too meaty lol). My husband, however, loves it and all things meaty (Lol). I may have to give it a try 🙂

  2. Looks delish, now I know what to have for supper tonight … love the new look but I have to say I still miss “one glue gun burn at a time” 🙂

  3. Thank you! I am not much of a cook as my husband does most of the cooking but with his new job, I will be looking for ideas! I am making this tonight but with turkey! Hope the kids like it! Thanks again!

  4. My husband LOVES meatloaf but I have never tried to make it. If I were to cook it in individual muffin pan servings so I could freeze for Lon lunches how long should I cook for? Should I adjust the temp too? Sorry I am totally a home cooking newbie.

    1. Hi! Funny you should ask that – I debated whether or not to make this recipe in my little pans too! I saw on a recipe on AllRecipes.com for mini loaf pan meatloaves, and the suggestion was to arrange the tins in one large pan for baking, and then to bake for 45 minutes. I would start there and just watch them to see if they are done. Hope that helps?

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