Classic Meatloaf

Make the best meatloaf ever with ground beef and pork sausage plus a base of minced carrots, onions, celery, and seasonings. Homemade meatloaf is a staple, so keep this classic recipe on hand.

Classic Meatloaf with Ketchup
Elise Bauer

This classic meatloaf recipe is one of the first recipes we put on Simply Recipes over ten years ago. Meatloaf is one of my father's favorite things to cook and anytime we kids know he's making his homemade meatloaf, we make our way to my parents' house for dinner.


Watch How to Make the Best Meatloaf

How To Make Meatloaf Taste Amazing

My dad's trick to meatloaf? He mixes Italian pork sausage (half sweet, half spicy) in with ground beef. The original recipe came from an old issue of Gourmet (April 1994) and my father has been changing it over the years to his taste (including using Italian sausage instead of plain ground pork). It's no ordinary meatloaf.

Homemade Meatloaf Is Worth the Time

It takes a little extra prep time to make the "sofritto" base of minced carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, but it is so so worth it! Like a giant Italian meatball, in loaf form. Meatball meatloaf.

It may look like the sofritto is a time consuming extra step for meatloaf, but you can easily put the vegetables in a food processor or mini chopper to speed up the prep time. The smaller mince size that you can get with the food processor will also help the meatloaf hold together better.

How to Make Classic Meatloaf
Elise Bauer

How Long To Cook Meatloaf

Since meatloaf is quite dense packed into a loaf pan, it takes a little while to bake. It also needs to be baked at a relatively low temperature so the outside doesn't finish baking and start drying out before the center is done.

Bake this meatloaf for about an hour at 350°F, and then check it with a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf—the center should be at least 155°F when done.

Can't Get Enough Meatloaf?

How to Avoid Crumbly Slices of Meatloaf

This meatloaf is tender and moist, which can make it slightly challenging to slice into clean slices that don't crumble. For a meatloaf that's easier to slice, knead the meat and vegetable mixture for a couple of minutes before forming it into a compact loaf. Note that this will change the texture of the finished meatloaf, making it denser.

Letting the loaf cool for several minutes before slicing will also help it stay together. You can store leftover meatloaf uncut, then slice it while it's cold (and easier to cut) before reheating.

How Long Does Meatloaf Keep?

Store tightly covered meatloaf in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat individual slices in the microwave for 1 minute, adding 15 seconds at a time if necessary to heat them through.

To freeze, allow the meatloaf to cool completely. Wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Classic Meatloaf

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 75 mins
Total Time 100 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Yield 1 loaf

Italian sausage makes a difference in this meatloaf recipe! We use a combination of spicy and sweet, but it you only have one, choose sweet Italian sausage.

Save prep time by roughly chopping the celery, carrot, onion, green onions, and garlic and pulsing them in a food processor or mini-chopper to get them finely chopped.

You can also use a food processor to make the breadcrumbs: take a couple slices of fresh bread and pulse in until you have crumbs. (Even though the breadcrumbs come after the vegetables in the instructions, pulse them in the food processor first so it is dry when you add the bread.)


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2/3 cup ketchup, divided

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

  • 3/4 pound sweet ground Italian sausage, or a mix of sweet and hot Italian sausage if you are using links 

  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven.

  2. Cook the vegetables, season, and add Worcestershire and half the ketchup:

    Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed skillet, on medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the finely chopped onions, celery, carrot, green onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, until the carrots are tender, stirring every so often.

    Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the Worcestershire sauce and 1/3 cup ketchup. Cook for another minute and remove from heat to cool.

    Simple Tip!

    To cool the vegetables more quickly, remove them from the pan and spread them on a plate.

    How to make meatloaf - sautéing veggies in pan
    Elise Bauer
    Sauteed vegetables for classic meatloaf recipe
    Elise Bauer
  3. Make the meatloaf mixture:

    Once the vegetables have cooled to the touch, place them in a large bowl with the ground beef, Italian sausage, eggs, breadcrumbs and parsley. Use your (very clean) hands to mix them together until everything is evenly distributed.

    How to Make Meatloaf - classic meatloaf fillers
    Elise Bauer
    Mixing beef and Italian sausage for Homemade Meatloaf
    Elise Bauer
  4. Place in the loaf pan, cover with remaining ketchup:

    Place the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan (either 4-x 8-inch or 5- x 9-inch) and press to make compact in the pan. Or you can form a free-standing loaf onto a rimmed baking pan. Cover the meatloaf mixture with the rest of the ketchup.

    Meatloaf in pan, ready for oven
    Elise Bauer
    Topping on classic meatloaf recipe
    Elise Bauer
  5. Bake:

    Bake for 1 hour at 350°F, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf reads 155°F.

    Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Then use a metal spatula to gently lift the meatloaf out of the loaf pan to a serving plate.

    How long to cook meatloaf for classic meatloaf recipe
    Elise Bauer
  6. Serve:

    Cut into thick slices to serve. The meatloaf makes great leftovers, just chill and reheat. Slices are good in sandwiches as well.

    How to Slice Meatloaf
    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
713 Calories
44g Fat
30g Carbs
49g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 713
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 17g 85%
Cholesterol 212mg 71%
Sodium 1498mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 10mg 52%
Calcium 129mg 10%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 941mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.