Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf with tangy ketchup meatloaf topping and crushed saltines is the easiest and most flavorful take on a classic meatloaf you’ll ever make!
Brown Sugar Meatloaf – Hands down Favorite
Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf has been a staple in our meatloaf rotation for years and was one of the first recipes I made for my husband when we were dating. When you’re younger and rely on more inexpensive cuts of meat, finding new ways to enjoy ground meats is something you get used to.
Brown Sugar Meatloaf is one of about three meatloaves we enjoy, but it is hands down the favorite meatloaf I make for clients.
This meatloaf recipe with brown sugar uses simple ingredients and has a unique use of saltines instead of breadcrumbs. Brown Sugar Meatloaf is guaranteed to be a huge hit with both kids and adults!
Important notes about this Brown Sugar Meatloaf recipe:
- I added two slices of sandwich bread to the recipe but this bread is not consumed. Since I use ground chuck, the fat content is a bit higher than say a 90/10 mixture and there will be fat that renders.
- Since I bake free form, not in a loaf pan, and with other vegetables the bread helps soak up the fat and doesn’t interfere with roasting additional vegetables on the side of the sheet pan which makes this a one tray meal.
- Toss the bread after the cooking, it will be full of fat and not pleasant to eat.
- Add the meatloaf topping or glaze in the last fifteen minutes so it doesn’t run off the meatloaf as it cooks and it won’t crack or dry out.
- Cooking this brown sugar meatloaf without a loaf pan allows for browning (and not steaming the meat) on three sides instead of one.
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I use ground chuck, 80/20)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small yellow onion , chopped finely
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
- 2 slices sandwich bread (any variety, this is to soak up the fat, not for consuming)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lay the two pieces of sandwich bread onto the pan.
- In a large bowl, mix the beef, milk, egg, salt, pepper, onion, ginger and saltines.
- Shape the mixture into a loaf on top of the bread.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- While the meatloaf is cooking add the brown sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce in a small bowl and mix.
- Glaze the meatloaf and cook a final fifteen minutes.
- Since you're adding bread under the meatloaf you can also cook potatoes or other vegetables on the side without worrying about too much fat running over.
- You can also line the other half of the tray with foil to prevent any grease from coming over to the vegetables.
- Rest the meat for 10 minutes before slicing.
Can you prepare the meat mixture the night before, if you keep it refrigerated or will the cracker crumbs get too soggy?
Mix all the ingredients together with the exception of the saltines. When you’re ready to make the recipe, stir in the saltines and follow the recipe.
I made this meatloaf and it was sooo delicious. I loved how the bread soaked up all the fat and grease, but had to scrape the bread off the bottom of each slice so as not to eat what was soaked up. There’s got to be a better way. Would love some advice on that.
Made this the other night for dinner. We loved it. Another delicious, easy recipe from Sabrina.
Another winning recipe!
Thanks so much, Barbara!
We make this with ground venison and it’s wonderful. By the time fall rolls around, my husband is impatient as can be waiting for the freezer to be filled so he can have it again. Thanks for sharing such a simple, tasty and versatile recipe!
That sounds amazing! So glad you all enjoy the recipe.
My family’s go to meatloaf recipe is the Allrecipes version of this recipe except its not backed upside down. Your version makes all the correct adjustments. My entire family loves this meatloaf. I love the addition of the bread at the bottom. It kept the loaf looking nice. My wife couldnt help but have seconds. This recipe is definitely getting added to our recipe box.
Thanks so much, Gavin. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it.
Made it today, the bread on bottom worked like a charm. Everybody loved it!!
Hello there! I just wanted to pop in and note that my cooking time for the loaf was a lot longer than 45 minutes for a 1 1/2 lbs of meat. It’s been in the oven for a little over an hour now and it is still very pink throughout. I’m estimating it’ll take about another 20 minutes before it’s actually done for a total cook time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. I’m not exactly sure why my cook time is so far off from yours but perhaps a note in your recipe would be helpful for others that may have the same issue.
I’d like to add that it finally finished! Very good loaf recipe. I spiced up the glaze a little and added sriracha and a little cayenne. I think next time I will just make two smaller loaves. Thanks for the great recipe!
Love the added spice! Glad you enjoyed it!
Monica maybe our ovens temp is different from hers. My meatloaf takes about an hour and a half to cook to.
Baking these free form must result in a such a nice, crunchy outside! I’ll have to try this.
You know, it has been months since I have made a meatloaf! I think this one just made my dinner rotation for next week. 😉 Love that brown sugar glaze!
I hope you enjoy it!
That trick with the bread sponge under the meatloaf is wonderful, and that brown sugar glaze is seriously making my mouth water!
Meatloaf is such great comfort food, it’s been ages since I’ve had it – that’s got to change! Brown sugar glazed sounds wonderful!
Meatloaf is one of our favorite meals… and I love the idea of using the bread to soak up the fat!
I’ve been looking for a new meatloaf recipe to try!! I think this is it! thanks!
Love your tip on using the bread to soak up the fat from baking — this meatloaf reminds me of my Mom’s recipe 🙂
Made for lunch today and it was sooooooo much better than my boring plain old ketchup glaze. Plus I LOVED the crispy sides doing it free form instead of steaming in the loaf pan. But the pure genius was putting the meatloaf on bread slices to soak up the rendered fat!!! Kudos for a terrific recipe…
Thanks, Wanda! So glad you enjoyed it!