Meatloaf Recipe

Every time I prepare meatloaf, my granny’s BEST simple recipe for moist meatloaf combines ground beef, ground oats, powdered milk, and a sweet glaze.


One of those dishes that people have strong feelings about is classic meatloaf. Here on the site, I’ve posted a healthier meatloaf that uses ground turkey, and I promise it tastes great, especially when paired with my favorite creamy mashed potatoes and some green beans with almondine brown butter! However, my grandmother’s simple meatloaf recipe is the one I should use on the days when I’m not feeling particularly moral or have a lot of time or ambition. Sometimes, meatloaf has the unfortunate reputation of being tasteless, dry, or unappealing before it’s even cooked. This is not that recipe, friends.

The meatloaf recipe from my grandmother is a genuine mix-and-dump dish; it doesn’t require any cooking or sautéing in order to be mixed, molded, glazed, and baked. All you need for the greatest meatloaf is ground beef, a few aromatics, and a really easy tart glaze. There are also two unexpected elements that help to make the meatloaf consistently juicy and moist. It feels like an inward embrace accompanied by a sticky, sweet, sour, glazed kiss.


What is The Secret to Moist Meatloaf

This simple meatloaf includes two key elements that give it the perfect flavor—not just a nice, typical meatloaf, but a GREAT one—while also keeping it juicy and moist even with little ingredients.

How does my grandmother manage to keep meatloaf moist? Crushed tomatoes, powdered milk, and old-fashioned oats.

  • minced meat. In this dish, use ground beef that is 85% lean. While 85% lean ground beef’s extra fat helps keep the meatloaf moist, extra-lean ground beef results in a dry meatloaf. Although ground pork and beef can be used, I like to use only beef in this recipe.
  • Traditional oatmeal. Oats are used in place of fresh bread or bread crumbs in this meatloaf recipe, which adds moisture and reduces the density of the ground beef mixture. This meatloaf is also gluten-free thanks to the oats. Old-fashioned oats can be replaced with thinner-cut quick oats.
  • milk powder. Regular milk is absorbed into fresh bread to soften it and add moisture when mixed with ground beef to make meatloaf and meatballs. Adding ordinary milk to this meatloaf recipe would result in a pasty and watery meat combination, as we are not using bread. Rather of adding moisture and fat like normal milk does, powdered milk does so without getting too wet.
  • Onion in yellow. To better integrate the onion into the meat mixture, finely chop, mince, or even grate it. Onion distributes moisture into the meat while it cooks in addition to adding flavor.
  • Onion. This recipe calls for no herbs at all, only two or three large, juicy cloves of garlic. To ensure that the garlic blends in properly, mince, grate, or crush it.
  • tomatoes crushed. Pick a reputable brand of crushed tomatoes in a can, or even better, use whole tomatoes that you have finely crushed yourself. Tomatoes give the meatloaf flavor and wetness once again.
  • sauce from Worcestershire. Worcestershire sauce, with its distinct tang and savory flavor, gives this meal a lively and complex edge.
  • freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt.
  • ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar glaze for meatloaf. The glaze, which is sweet, acidic, and caramelized, is frequently the dish’s most beloved component.
  • Parsley, for garnish and a pop of color every time.

How to Make the Best Easy Meatloaf

This dish is really very simple. Every time you make it, you’ll appear like a vintage culinary pro since it’s so simple to prepare at any skill level.

  • Dice the garlic and onion. Since the onion and garlic are to be used raw in this dish, finely cut, mince, or even grate them to make them easier to mix in and cook through alongside the steak. For myself, I prefer the flavor of the onion chunks in my meatloaf, so I chop mine somewhere between finely chopped and minced.
  • Mix the ingredients together with your hands. There’s not even any need to sauté the vegetables before baking this meatloaf because it’s so simple. All of the raw ingredients should be combined in a bowl and gently mixed with your fingers until blended.
  • Avoid overworking the combination of meats. Mix in the meat ingredients with a gentle but forceful hand. Don’t overmix the beef; else, the meatloaf can turn out dry and chalky or gummy and pasty.

What is Meatloaf Baked in

  • Place the meatloaf on a baking sheet with a rim. As the meatloaf cooks, liquid and fat will come out. Make sure you use a rimmed or lipped baking sheet, casserole dish, or bread pan to prevent oven muck. There is no need to oil the pan that the ground beef is cooked on because it contains enough fat.
  • Empty and shape the meat. The meatloaf should be equally shaped without being overworked into a 9 by 5-inch block (you could always do this in a loaf pan if you wanted to).
  • Before baking the meatloaf, glaze it. The top of the meatloaf gets a caramelized crust when the glaze is added before it cooks.

The Best Meatloaf Glaze

The meatloaf’s top has a tart, delightfully caramelized crust thanks to Grandma’s glaze. Don’t be afraid to glaze it; it’s one of the dish’s greatest components, I promise.

This meatloaf glaze is: 

  • Ketchup
  • Light brown sugar (dark brown sugar, honey, or molasses would work too)
  • Red wine vinegar (substitute cider vinegar if needed)

Other Meatloaf Glaze Ideas

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Chili sauce
  • Teriyaki glaze
  • Korean gochuchang

How Long to Cook Meatloaf

Bake the meatloaf for one hour at 350°F. This meatloaf should be cooked, uncovered, for one hour at 350°F, or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F within the loaf.

Give it a break. Give the meatloaf at least ten to fifteen minutes to rest after taking it out of the oven so that the fluids may seep into the meat before slicing it to prevent the juices from drying out. Additionally, the flesh is able to solidify as a result, making it less brittle when cut.

Can You Make Meatloaf Ahead of Time

One of those foods that tastes even better the next day is meatloaf. After cooking, a brief period of refrigeration makes the meat combination more compact and hard, making it ideal for sandwiches. Alternatively, combine the meatloaf ingredients, shape, and securely wrap the uncooked meatloaf without a glaze. For up to three months, or overnight, freeze.

How to Freeze Meatloaf

You may freeze cooked or raw meatloaf. Cooked meatloaf should cool fully before securing it firmly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and putting it in a freezer bag. If raw, carefully wrap, put in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to three months.

Reheat the meatloaf by putting it on a baking sheet frozen and baking it there for one and a half hours at 350°F, or until the center registers 160°F.


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Meatloaf Recipe

Every time, my grandma's BEST simple meatloaf recipe—which calls for ground beef, oats, powdered milk, and a sweet ketchup glaze—yields moist, tender slices.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 ½ pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion about ½ medium onion
  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • cup powdered milk
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  • Set oven temperature to 350°F.
  • The ground beef, onion, tomatoes, oats, powdered milk, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper should all be gently combined in a big basin using your hands. Avoid over-blending the components.
  • Place the beef mixture in a heap on a rimmed baking sheet or in a 9 × 13 baking dish. Shape the meat into a rectangle loaf measuring 9 × 5 inches.
  • Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Evenly cover the top of the loaf with glaze.
  • The meatloaf should be baked for one hour, or until the center reaches 160°F. After giving the meatloaf ten minutes to rest, cut it into thick slices and serve.


  • Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
Keyword meatloaf

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