Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Old fashioned glazed meatloaf on a plate with side dishes.

When craving an old-fashioned meatloaf like Mom makes, this easy meatloaf recipe is the best. It uses ground beef and other everyday ingredients, has a simple ketchup brown sugar glaze, and makes a 2 lb meatloaf.

A pewter platter with sliced meatloaf.

I grew up eating my Mom’s meatloaf. Not only was it good the first night, it made the best meatloaf sandwiches the next day. You know what I’m talking about. There’s something about this homey dish that pings the nostalgia center of our brains.

That same innate reaction happened when I made this easy meatloaf recipe last week. I served it with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and my Garlic Green Beans Recipe. My husband, Scott was positively giddy when he came to the kitchen table. He took two slices for his FIRST helping, while claiming whatever leftovers there might be for HIS lunches the rest of the week.

Clearly, I don’t make this enough.

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Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • The ketchup and brown sugar glaze is spiked with horseradish, which adds a tingly bite and rounds out the taste.
  • You can make the easy meatloaf mix in about 15 minutes.
  • It cooks in about an hour, which gives you plenty of time to assemble a side dish or two.
  • This recipe makes a 2 lb meatloaf to feed the whole family (or one greedy husband).


  • Ground Beef – I used ground round, but ground chuck also works.
  • Bread – Bread is more than a binder, it’s part of the panade, which will keep the meatloaf moist and tender. You can use white, wheat, rye or sourdough bread.
  • Milk – the other ingredient in making the panade. The bread soaks in the milk and makes a pasty blend to distribute throughout the meatloaf mix.
  • Onion – I used a small yellow onion, but you can also use red onion or white.
  • Egg – works as a binder and keeps the loaf moist and tender.
  • Parsley – I recommend using fresh parsley, but you can use dried as well.
  • Kosher Salt – I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (it has less salt by volume than Morton’s).
  • Black Pepper – Freshly ground pepper will give you the best flavor.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – adds concentrated umami flavor. You don’t need a lot.
  • Brown Sugar – for the glaze.
  • Ketchup – I used Heinz, but you can use your favorite brand.
  • Prepared Horseradish – This gives the brown sugar meatloaf a spicy, tangy bite. Scott noticed and LOVED it.
  • Dijon Mustard – just a few teaspoons rounds out the flavors in the glaze.

Step-by-step instructions:

Making a panade.
  1. Tear the bread apart into small chunks and transfer to a small bowl. Add the milk and let it sit until the milk has been completely absorbed by the bread and the bread is noticeably soggy. Use your fingers to mush it up (technical cooking term).
Making the brown sugar glaze for the meatloaf.

2. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set the glaze aside.

Combining the panade with the ground beef.

3. Combine the ground beef and bread and milk panade in a large bowl. Mix with your hands to evenly combine, breaking up any bigger pieces of bread as you go.

Adding kosher salt, black pepper and an egg to the meatloaf mixture.

4. Add the egg, salt and pepper and mix with your hands until evenly combined.

Adding onions and parsley.

5. Add the chopped onion and parsley and combine thoroughly with your hands.

Forming the 2 lb meatloaf.

6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil (helps with cleanup) and form the meatloaf mix into a loaf shape with your hands. Bake for 30 minutes at 350° F.

Spreading on the brown sugar glaze.

7. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and brush on the brown sugar glaze. Put it back into the oven and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 160° F for the center of the loaf.

Spoon away the denatured protein.

8. Let the loaf rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. While it rests, use a spoon to scoop away the denatured proteins that have puddled around the meat. Transfer to a serving platter and slice.


  • You can use a loaf pan to bake, but I recommend a freeform meatloaf, as it’s easier to scoop away the unsightly denatured proteins that seep from the meat.
  • You can assemble the meatloaf mix a day ahead and store it in the bowl, covered with cellophane, in the refrigerator. Remove it about 20 minutes before baking to take the chill off, and form it into a proper loaf to bake.
A brown sugar meatloaf on a platter.


  • Don’t like horseradish? Substitute it with bourbon in the brown sugar meatloaf glaze to add a smoky flavor.
  • Use a combination of ground beef and ground pork or veal for more varied flavor or for a healthier dish, use lean ground beef.
  • Add dried herbs or spices to the meatloaf mix, such as oregano, basil, thyme, onion powder or garlic powder. You can also substitute Montreal Steak seasoning for the salt and pepper.
  • Pulse the fresh bread in a mini food processor to make it finer breadcrumbs, which will make it easier to blend into the meat mixture.
  • Make it gluten-free by using a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce and gluten-free bread.
  • Substitute oatmeal for the bread – you can use quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats. Do not use steel-cut oats.
  • Substitute panko breadcrumbs or crushed crackers for the bread; ensure they are well-soaked before adding them to the meatloaf mixture.
  • You can make mini meatloaves by dividing the meatloaf mix into 6 or 8 individual loaves and baking them for 20-25 minutes, depending on their size.
  • Keep it dairy-free by swapping the milk for your favorite milk alternative.
Serving the old fashioned meatloaf recipe with mashed potatoes and salad.


How long to cook a 2-pound meatloaf?

It usually takes 45-60 minutes to fully cook, but to be sure, use an instant-read thermometer. The interior of the loaf should read 160° F.

Does this meatloaf make good sandwiches the next day?

You bet it does! We like ours on white bread with a thick layer of mayonnaise, salt, pepper, slices of ripe tomato and crunchy iceberg lettuce.

Slicing the meatloaf to serve.


  • Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days well wrapped or placed in an airtight container in the fridge.


  • You can re-warm slices of meatloaf in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or wrap in foil and heat in a 300° oven for 10-15 minutes.


  • Freeze meatloaf double-wrapped in plastic wrap and freezer paper for up to 3 months. Defrost completely before reheating.
  • You can also freeze this classic meatloaf recipe unbaked for 2-3 months. Double-wrap it before freezing. Remove the loaf from the freezer to defrost, then bake and glaze as instructed in the recipe card.
Serving the classic meatloaf with mashed potatoes and spinach.
Taking a bite of meatloaf with extra glaze and mashed potatoes.

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Sliced homemade meatloaf on a platter.
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4.59 from 12 votes

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Your whole family will love this easy meatloaf recipe with ketchup and brown sugar glaze. It’s great the night you make it and leftovers are delicious for sandwiches. This recipe makes a 2 lb meatloaf.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword ground beef, ground pork
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8


For The Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

For The Meatloaf

  • 2 slices bread torn into very small pieces
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds ground round or chuck


  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.


  • In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar,, 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, ¼ cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish. Whisk to combine. Divide the glaze in half, one is for glazing the meat, and the other for serving.


  • In a small bowl, combine 2 slices bread, torn into small pieces and ½ cup milk and milk. Let them soak for 5 minutes or until the bread is very soft and mushy.
  • Add 2 pounds ground round to a large bowl and add the bread and milk mixture. Work it through with your hands so the bread practically dissolves into the meat.
  • Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce mix to combine.
  • Add 1 small onion and ¼ cup parsley. Mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Transfer the meat to the baking sheet and mold it into a loaf shape.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and spread the brown sugar glaze over the ground beef.
  • Return it to the oven and continue baking for 20-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160° F. Let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve with extra glaze.


Calories: 263.17kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.88g | Protein: 24.98g | Fat: 12.78g | Saturated Fat: 5.12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.66g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.35g | Trans Fat: 0.73g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 540.3mg | Potassium: 480.55mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 6.45g | Vitamin A: 255.32IU | Vitamin C: 4.23mg | Calcium: 58.06mg | Iron: 3.25mg

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  1. 5 stars
    Easy to make and the results were really delicious.

  2. Daniel Hanrahan says:

    Can it be made in a loaf pan?

  3. Julie Roberts says:

    5 stars
    Switched it up. I used a small can of tomato sauce and rum. Opted for Italian bread crumbs. And made individual loads. Awesome sauce!!!

    1. Hi. How much bread crumbs would you suggest for the substitution?

  4. 5 stars
    Never liked meatloaf as a child, but wanted to try to make my own to see if that changed. Well it’s either this recipe or I changed drastically, but this was fantastic, simple and easy to put together. This will be my go to for meatloaf drone here on our. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m glad we’ve converted you, Ron! Welcome to the dark side.

    1. Instead of bourbon? If you don’t want to use alcohol, just skip it and proceed with the glaze as directed. Let me know how you like it.

  5. Stan Carte says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for the wife who loves meatloaf! I altered the glaze a bit as we didn’t have any brown sugar or bourbon. I used maple syrup and laphroaig single malt whisky. It turned out amazing!

    1. Oh, Wow! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Your substitutions sound incredible. Can I steal that idea?

  6. This looks like a really hearty meal with the mashed potatoes & beans!

    1. TBH – it’s mashed cauliflower. My husband actually prefers it to potatoes and it’s healthier!

  7. This sounds perfect! I love meatloaf and I’m slowly (after 23 years of marriage) proving to my husband that meatloaf does not have to be abomination his mom served when he was young! Maybe this recipe will help bring him around 100%!!! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. No, meatloaf does not have to be an abomination! That’s too funny!

  8. 5 stars
    I love meatloaf and this recipe is the best! I love the sauce with the touch of bourbon. Nice twist.

  9. Your meatloaf sure looks like we could be good friends! I love your photos and recipe. Perfect for dinner. Thanks.

    1. We all need friends — and friends that cook — that’s a bonus!