Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf

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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 with tangy ketchup meatloaf topping

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!

Sliced Brown Sugar Meatloaf with tangy meatloaf topping

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.

Free form Brown Sugar Meatloaf made with meatloaf recipe using brown sugar



Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf

4.75 from 8 votes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf with tangy ketchup topping and crushed saltines is the easiest and most flavorful take on a classic meatloaf you'll ever make!


  • 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)


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lay the two pieces of sandwich bread onto the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the beef, milk, egg, salt, pepper, onion, ginger and saltines.
  4. Shape the mixture into a loaf on top of the bread.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.

  6. While the meatloaf is cooking add the brown sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce in a small bowl and mix.
  7. Glaze the meatloaf and cook a final fifteen minutes.

  8. 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.
  9. You can also line the other half of the tray with foil to prevent any grease from coming over to the vegetables.
  10. Rest the meat for 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 servings, Amount per serving: 343 calories, Calories: 343g, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 806mg, Potassium: 537mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 180g, Vitamin C: 2.1g, Calcium: 81g, Iron: 3.7g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Brown Sugar Meatloaf with tangy ketchup meatloaf topping with vegetables

Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf with tangy ketchup topping and crushed saltines is the easiest and most flavorful take on a classic meatloaf you'll ever make!
Glazed Brown Sugar Meatloaf with tangy ketchup topping and crushed saltines is the easiest and most flavorful take on a classic meatloaf you'll ever make!

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. Monica maybe our ovens temp is different from hers. My meatloaf takes about an hour and a half to cook to.

  4. 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…