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Juicy Meatloaf

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There’s nothing worse as a kid than eating dried out meatloaf, over the years I’ve had some strange meatloaf recipes, one even using a can of condensed chicken noodle soup! This one is pretty straightforward, and results in a juicy meatloaf.

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Classic Homemade Juicy Meatloaf Recipe: A Comfort Food Favorite

There’s something about meatloaf that just screams comfort food. Whether it’s a chilly evening or you’re just in the mood for a hearty meal, meatloaf is a classic dish that never fails to satisfy.

Today, I’m sharing a tried-and-true homemade meatloaf recipe that’s bound to become a favorite in your household. With a delicious glaze topping, this meatloaf is juicy, flavorful, and perfect for any family dinner.

Meatloaf is a traditional dish made by shaping a mixture of ground meat, usually beef, with ingredients like breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings into a loaf form. It’s baked until cooked through and often topped with a tangy sauce. This hearty and versatile dish is a staple of American comfort food.

two slices of juice meatloaf with baked potato

Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients in the meatloaf recipe and the roles they play in creating this classic dish:

What’s in Meatloaf:

  1. Ground Beef (85% or 90% lean): The main component of meatloaf, providing protein and flavor. The fat content helps keep the meatloaf moist and tender during baking. Leaner beef is often preferred to avoid excess fat.
  2. Onion: Adds a sweet and savory depth of flavor. Onions are a staple in meatloaf for their ability to enhance the taste and add moisture.
  3. Eggs: Act as a binding agent. They help to hold all the ingredients together, so the meatloaf doesn’t crumble when sliced.
  4. Garlic: Infuses the meatloaf with a rich, aromatic flavor that complements the beef and onion.
  5. Ketchup: Adds moisture and a hint of sweetness and tanginess.
    It also helps to create a tender texture in the cooked meatloaf.
  6. Fresh Parsley: Provides a burst of freshness and color, balancing the richness of the meat and breadcrumbs.
  7. Panko Breadcrumbs: Serve as a filler and another binding agent, which helps to maintain the shape and structure of the meatloaf.
    Panko breadcrumbs are lighter and airier than traditional breadcrumbs, giving a less dense texture.
  8. Milk: Moistens the breadcrumbs, which in turn help keep the meatloaf moist and tender.
  9. Salt and Italian Seasoning: Enhance the overall flavor.
    Italian seasoning adds a traditional herby touch, complementing the savory notes of the meat.
  10. Ground Black Pepper and Paprika: Provide mild heat and depth of flavor, with paprika adding a subtle sweetness and vibrant color.
85percent lean beaf ingredients for juicy meatloaf with garlic and onion

For the Meatloaf Sauce:

  1. Ketchup: Acts as the base of the sauce, providing body, sweetness, and tanginess.
  2. White Vinegar: Adds acidity, balancing the sweetness of the brown sugar and ketchup.
  3. Brown Sugar: Creates a sweet, caramel-like flavor that complements the tangy ketchup. It helps the sauce caramelize and forms a sticky, flavorful glaze on top of the meatloaf.
  4. Garlic Powder and Onion Powder: These powdered forms concentrate the savory flavors of garlic and onion, enhancing the overall depth of the sauce.
  5. Ground Black Pepper and Salt: Season the sauce to enhance its savory elements.

The combination of these ingredients not only provides flavor and structure but also ensures that the meatloaf remains juicy and delicious. The sauce, with its sweet and tangy profile, is the perfect complement to the savory meat, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

How to Make Juicy Meatloaf

2 lbs ground beef (85% or 90% lean)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground paprika

Ingredients for Juicy Meatloaf Sauce:

3/4 cup ketchup
1 ½ tsp white vinegar
2 ½ tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt

meatloaf sauce mix for the juiciest meatloaf ever

Preparation Steps to Make Juicy Meatloaf:

  1. Prep and Mix: Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking and allow for easy cleanup.
    In a large bowl, combine all the meatloaf ingredients. It’s important to mix well to ensure that the flavors meld together beautifully.
  2. Shape and Bake: Transfer the mixed meat into the prepared loaf pan. Gently press the meat down and shape it evenly in the pan.
    Place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. This initial bake sets the meatloaf up for a perfect finish.
  3. Make the Sauce: While the meatloaf is baking, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients until smooth.
    This savory-sweet sauce is what sets this meatloaf apart, adding an extra layer of flavor that caramelizes beautifully.
  4. Glaze and Finish Baking: After the meatloaf has baked for 40 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven and evenly spread the sauce over the top.
    Return the meatloaf to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. This allows the glaze to thicken and caramelize, giving your meatloaf a deliciously sticky crust.
  5. Rest and Serve: Once done, let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
    This rest period helps the juices redistribute throughout the meatloaf, ensuring that each slice is moist and flavorful.
    Drizzle slices with the baking juices from the pan for added juiciness.
juicy meatloaf slices on a plate with baked potato and salad

Serving Suggestions:

Serve your meatloaf with a side of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, or a crisp garden salad for a complete meal. If there are any leftovers, it’s also perfect for next-day sandwiches!

FAQ about Meatloaf, You Asked, We answered!

What is the best type of meat to use for meatloaf?

The best type of meat for meatloaf is typically ground beef with a fat content of 15-20%. This ensures the meatloaf is moist and flavorful. Mixing other meats like pork or veal can also enhance flavor and texture.

How long should you cook meatloaf?

Meatloaf should be cooked at 375°F for about 1 hour or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. The cooking time can vary based on the size and shape of the loaf.

What can I use as a binder for meatloaf instead of breadcrumbs?

Alternatives to breadcrumbs for binding meatloaf include oatmeal, crushed crackers, or cooked rice. These help hold the meatloaf together and add texture.

Why does my meatloaf fall apart?

Meatloaf may fall apart if it doesn’t have enough binding ingredients like eggs and breadcrumbs, or if it’s not mixed well. Overcooking can also cause meatloaf to crumble.

Can you freeze meatloaf?

Yes, you can freeze meatloaf either baked or unbaked. Wrap it tightly in foil or freezer-safe wrap and store for up to 3 months. Alternatively, you can vacuum seal meatloaf and it will last up to a year without losing quality. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating or cooking.

How do I keep meatloaf from sticking to the pan?

To prevent sticking, line your baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it with cooking spray. This makes removal easier and helps with cleanup.

What is the best temperature to bake meatloaf?

The optimal baking temperature for meatloaf is 375°F. This ensures that it cooks through evenly without burning the outside.

How can I tell when meatloaf is done?

Meatloaf is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Using a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure it is cooked safely and perfectly.

Juicy Meatloaf Recipe Print Now

delicious juicy meatloaf slices drizzled with sauce
cropped b101 header logo

Easy Juicy Meatloaf by Melissa 'Liss' Burnell
This meatloaf is a hearty, flavorful dish made with ground beef, finely chopped onions, and a blend of spices, all topped with a sweet and tangy sauce. Perfect for those nights when you need something comforting yet budget-friendly.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Comfort food
Servings 6
Calories 456 kcal


Meatloaf Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs ground beef 85% or 90% lean
  • 1 med onion finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • cup milk
  • 1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
Meatloaf Sauce Ingredients:


  • Line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatloaf. Mix well to combine.
    2 lbs ground beef 85% or 90% lean
    1 med onion finely chopped
    2 large eggs
    3 garlic cloves minced
    3 Tbsp ketchup
    3 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
    3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
    1/3 cup milk
    1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
    1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning
    ¼ tsp ground black pepper
    ½ tsp ground paprika
  • Add meat to the loaf pan, gently press meat down and shape evenly and bake meatloaf at 375˚F for 40 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together for the sauce.
    3/4 cup ketchup
    1 ½ tsp white vinegar
    2 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
    1 tsp garlic powder
    ½ tsp onion powder
    ¼ tsp ground black pepper
    ¼ tsp salt
  • Spread the sauce over meatloaf then return to oven and bake additional 15-20 minutes.
  • Rest meatloaf 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Drizzle with baking juices from the pan.
Recipe Size Alteration Note

If you altered the ingedients above by doubling or tripling the recipe, you may also need to change the pan/dish size and adjust the cooking/baking time.


Serving: 1gCalories: 456kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 32gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 1203mgPotassium: 677mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 554IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 4mgNet Carbs: 24g
Tried this recipe?Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101com!


This homemade juicy meatloaf recipe is more than just a meal; it’s a comforting embrace in the form of food. It’s simple enough for weeknight dinners yet impressive enough for guests. Give it a try and see why meatloaf has remained a beloved classic through the generations. Enjoy the smiles around your dinner table as everyone digs into this ultimate comfort dish!

Tried this recipe? Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101

Love this Easy, Juicy Meatloaf Recipe? Pin it!

Whip up the ultimate budget-friendly meatloaf! Packed with flavor, this recipe uses ground beef, onions, garlic, and a tangy homemade sauce. Perfect for comforting weeknight dinners without breaking the bank. Easy to make and even easier to love! Get the full recipe and tips on 🍽️ #Meatloaf #BudgetRecipe

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