Classic Beef Meatloaf that’s tender, juicy, easy to make and the only recipe you’ll ever need for this classic comfort food favorite recipe!
Cooking with ground beef is so popular because it is economical, easy, and kid friendly, just like Ultimate Sloppy Joes and Slow Cooker Beef Chili. This Dinner recipe is sure to be added to your regular rotation!
Classic Beef Meatloaf is that perfect comfort food for when you want a hearty, familiar, and slightly nostalgic dinner. Just like a Perfect Simple Roast Chicken, this meatloaf recipe is great for feeding a hungry family, and will also yield plenty of leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches (tips on that below). If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there are also some unique meatloaf recipes on the the site including Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaf, Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf and Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf that your family is sure to love, too!
While it doesn’t seem like there is anything exciting or outrageous about this meatloaf (no cheese stuffing like in philly or cheeseburger versions), this meatloaf will be your ace in the hole for a classic, easy weeknight option. This easy meatloaf is really comfort food at it’s best. It is an American classic, served up with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables, maybe even a Wedge Salad.
One of the most common mistakes people make when making meatloaf (and hamburgers) is that they want to be sure the mixture is perfectly uniform so they will unintentionally over-mix the meat. This creates a denser meat which tastes firm and dry. For this recipe, you’ll mix all the ingredients together before adding to the beef, which helps to incorporate everything evenly without over-mixing.
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC BEEF MEATLOAF:
- Make sure you have a ground beef with at least 15% beef fat.
- Soak you milk and breadcrumbs together in a large bowl. This will hydrate them to add more moisture to the meatloaf.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beef and topping.
- Add in the beef and mix until just combined, handle the meat mixture as little as possible.
- Place beef into loaf pan and coat with topping mixture.
- Bake, uncovered, for 55-60 minutes in a loaf pan on a baking sheet.
MORE EASY GROUND BEEF RECIPES
WHAT MEAT TO SELECT FOR MEATLOAF
When it comes to deciding on the type of meat to use in your meatloaf the classic option is to use beef. A standard 80/20 will work fine, but will leave a bit more fat than most prefer. Use 85/15 and you will find it is tender and juicy.
If you go leaner than 85/15, you might find the flavors to be impacted by your choice of a leaner cut of meat. If you do want to use a leaner ground beef, just expect a slight difference in flavor and texture. A good trick with leaner beef is to grate the onions instead of mincing for extra moisture.
If you would like to swap protein you can of course use ground chicken or ground turkey. Check out this recipe for Turkey Meatloaf for more tips on using turkey.
You can also make a fully classic version of meatloaf where you mix proteins! This variation has also been tested with this recipe to make sure it would work perfectly for you.
Three Meat Meatloaf
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ pounds ground veal
- ¼ pounds ground pork
You can continue the rest of the recipe as directed using these ingredients in place of the 1 ½ pounds of ground beef. This classic three meat variation of meatloaf will add a depth of flavor that beef alone wouldn’t provide.
A bit more shopping, a bit more expensive (mainly because of the veal), but a classic is a classic for a reason, and the three meats combined together will make the meatloaf mixture authentic to your local Italian restaurant.
If you do try it with the added meats, you can make it worth the extra effort by doubling your recipe and rolling some of the mixture into meatballs (skip the thyme in that half of the recipe). Those meatballs simmered in Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce will be a quick way to do double meal prep duty in the kitchen.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CLASSIC BEEF MEATLOAF
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VARIATIONS ON CLASSIC BEEF MEATLOAF
- Breadcrumbs: This recipe uses classic dried breadcrumbs for ease and availability, but you can use panko breadcrumbs (increase to 2 ⅓ cup), ground saltine crackers (cut salt in recipe by half if you do this), homemade breadcrumbs, or even just stale bread.
- Toppings: Personalize the toppings to your taste, especially if you prefer to lean more savory or sweet. Ketchup and brown sugar make a perfect sweet topping, or add in BBQ sauce, steak sauce, or even soy sauce for a more savory flavor.
- Meats: Swap ground turkey or ground chicken for the beef in this recipe, or follow the instructions above to make a classic mixed meat Italian meatloaf.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT MEATLOAF SANDWICH
The best thing about meatloaf is using leftovers for amazing sandwiches! Follow the instructions below to enjoy a second meal out of this recipe.
- The meatloaf must be fully chilled (preferably overnight).
- Slice into 1″ thick slices, taking care not to tear the slices.
- Melt a ½ tablespoon of butter in a nonstick pan on medium-high heat.
- Sear each side of your meatloaf for 3-5 minutes, using half the butter on each side, to form a deep crust.
- If using cheese, add your cheese to your meatloaf while searing the second side of the meat.
- Serve on a bun that’s been buttered then toasted.
- 1 cups whole milk
- 1 cups bread crumbs
- 1 large eggs
- 1/2 yellow onion , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef , (85/15)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl whisk together the milk and breadcrumbs together until the milk is absorbed.
- Whisk in the eggs, onion, salt, thyme and pepper.
- Add in the beef and mix with your hands until the ingredients are combined and add to a 9x5 loaf pan.
- In a small bowl mix the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and spread over the meatloaf.
- Bake, uncovered, for 60-65 minutes on a baking sheet (to prevent oil from spilling over into the oven).
Photos from a previous version of this post.