Classic Meatloaf

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

If you don't have access to spicy ground pork or Italian sausage, mix in a half teaspoon each of fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, and hot sauce into regular ground pork.

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.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6, with plenty for leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped green onion, including the green onion greens
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 teaspoon salt (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if using Italian sausage)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup ketchup, divided 1/3 and 1/3
  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (chuck)
  • 3/4 pound of spicy ground pork sausage or Italian sausage (a mix of sweet and hot if you are using links)
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (take a couple slices of fresh bread and pulse in a blender until you have crumbs)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves


1 Preheat oven to 350° F, with a rack in the middle of the oven.

2 Sauté onions, celery, carrot, green onions, garlic, then add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, 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.

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 one-third cup of the ketchup. Cook for another minute and remove from heat to cool.

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3 Mix vegetables with ground beef, sausage, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley: 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.

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4 Place in loaf pan, cover with ketchup: Place the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan (either 4x8 or 5x9) 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.

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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.

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

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  • Roberta

    Loved it! I’ve been looking for a great recipe with good consistency and flavor because we all love meatloaf. This is it! I used sweet Italian sausage and a green pepper since that’s what I had on hand. It was great!


  • Tina

    Wow, best meatloaf ever! I forgot the parsley though and I even bought just for this recipe, but it is the I have been searching for a good meatloaf recipe and my search is over. Per another reviewers suggestion I baked it on a cookie sheet, which is now soaking and I hope I can save it, but even still worth the ruined cookie sheet. I used barbecue sauce and used fresh sourdough bread crumbs and Italian sausage as suggested. So worth the extra step of sautéed veggies, it wasn’t that time consuming. Thanks for sharing this terrific recipe. Might try adding mushrooms as someone suggested. Recipe is good as posted, always try that first and this one does not require tweaking.


    • Glen

      Hey Tina, This has been my go-to meatloaf recipe for years. I line the cookie sheet with parchment and fold up the edges really well so no juice escapes wreaking havoc on your cookie sheet. I am tired of soaking scrubbing and scraping.

  • Elizabeth

    Made with Italian Sausage and instead of ketchup used a spicy barbecue sauce I had in the fridge. So yummy!

  • Amy MaC

    I lurve lurve lurve the recipe! I’ve been making it since I found it a few years ago, and people never go with less than third helpings! Thank you! The only variation I take on this amazing recipe is I add a small amount of crushed up sweet corn, which just adds a bit more moisture to the loaf, and gets rid of that half can of corn I have usually have left over from the meal before. Thank you again!


  • Jill Z

    My husband loves this recipe. He makes sandwiches to share with golfing buddies, they all go crazy for the meatloaf. Today I added a twist, after seeing a Bobby Flay cooking show. I used Korean Bafbeque sauce and shisito peppers instead of catsup. I also made Ina Gartens smashed potatoes to serve with this and steamed broccoli with lemon. Crazy good and healthy? I made meatloaf with 1 lb mild pork sausage and 1 1/2 lb of ground beef, 20% fat, but fat drains off in my special meatloaf pan with insert to hold meat and let fat drain to bottom. Can’t wait to see if the guys go for these sandwiches.


  • Joansey

    Definitely my go-to recipe for this old timey dish. I love the vegetable flavor and texture within this loaf. I also love that I can buy a container of mirepoix at Trader Joe’s and I’m all ready to start cooking.


  • Kelly K

    I have struggled finding a good meatloaf recipe… found it!


  • Cathy

    This was absolutely delicious! The best meatloaf I have ever made and my husband and I both loved it.
    Finally, a meatloaf with flavor. Thank you so much for this recipe

  • Linda Lepe

    This was the best meatloaf ever !!!

  • Ste jones

    Blend peppers , spring onions , chillies ( to taste) tbl spoon good olive oil 100mls water , heat add sage and onion stuffing oregano too replace breadcrumbs carrot celery and eggs . Once baked and cooled slice thick and place in veg Pasteur sauce, serve wit pasta

  • Heather McBride

    This sounds delicious. Do you think substituting the bread crumbs for cooked brown or white rice would work, for a gluten free version?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Heather, good question! I haven’t tried subbing the breadcrumbs with cooked rice, but we do use rice mixed with ground beef in our stuffed bell pepper and and meatball soup recipes so I could definitely see it working!

  • VM

    I rarely post comments on recipes, but I made this tonight and it was fantabulous!!!I added a little chopped green pepper and used Italian breadcrumbs instead of the fresh bread crumbs and it worked out great!

  • Carol

    I have made this many times since I found this recipe. My entire family loves it! When we have a family get together everyone wants meatloaf


  • stephanie

    why is it that everytime i make meatloaf it never finishes in the time allotted, are you supposed to leave the grease in the loaf pan or pour it out? bc ive had meatloaf cooking for over an hour and a half and it is still only at 100 degrees in the middle and pink and mushy in the center…what am i doing wrong here!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Stephanie, sounds like your oven is running on the low side? Also, every time you open your oven it drops the temp at least 10 degrees, so lots of testing can make the cooking go slower. The amount of grease you have in the pan depends on how fatty your meat is to begin with. If it’s too much for you, you can pour some out, but be careful to remove the fat, not the juicy drippings!

      • James DeShazo

        Always check internal temperature with a meat thermometer (155 160 degrees for a meatloaf).. Good Luck

    • Shelley

      Check your oven. The temp might be off. Mine is. If I want 350 degrees I need to set my oven at 370.

  • Maggie

    Made this tonight…….added finely chopped mushrooms to the veggie mix and used sage sausage mixed in with the ground beef. Man was it good! Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you liked it Maggie! Love the idea of adding chopped mushrooms. The mushrooms would help bring even more moisture into the meatloaf.

  • Angel

    This is my first time to ever leave a comment on any recipe and I’ve made dozens of things from this site. I have to say that your meatloaf has impressed my husband and myself so much that I don’t think we will ever make any other recipe again! Thank you for such a flavorful,juicy,and not too complicated recipe that anyone can follow, even after a work day. I really love using the fresh bread crumbs! Thanks again!

  • Beth

    I found this recipe a few years ago and it is now my favorite meatloaf ever. The only thing I do differently is to make a free form loaf on a baking sheet instead of baking it in a loaf pan. I like a crusty outside. Delicious!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Beth, I’m so glad you like it! It’s our family favorite meatloaf too.

  • Lori Erokan

    As a kid, meatloaf, baked potatoes, and peas was always my favorite meal–and I still love it. When I was raising my four kids, I used another recipe (twice a month at least haha!), but after 30 years of making it, I was kind of tired of it. Found this recipe here a few years ago, and now it is my go-to. But one thing the first recipe taught me (mentioned in Elise’s recipe as an option) was to form the loaf into a mound, place it in the middle of a 13″x9″ pan, and bake it that way. My mom had taught me to press the meat into a loaf pan, but that results in a pretty greasy loaf. With the mound method, the oil just drips off and end up in the pan. I’m making this tonight!


  • Maria Sawszak

    Hi Elise,
    Thanks for this great recipe. What a brilliant success! Followed your instructions but doubled the quantity as we wanted to share with neighbours. I will keep this recipe and certainly make the meatloaf again. Great for these cold winter weather.

  • Tommy C.

    I made this in my gas grill in a loaf pan with indirect heat at 350* for 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was done when the internal temp read 165*, and then let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. The only thing I added was a half cup of panko bread crumbs to the fresh breadcrumbs (I used a hamburger bun potato roll) as the loaf was a a little too soggy. Instead of ketchup on top I used Howard’s sweet pepper relish. (It’s delicious on meatloaf) This the BEST meatloaf recipe I have ever had, and I LOVE meatloaf. The flavor addition of the hot Italian sausage was brilliant. I used 4 links without the casing and incorporated it into the meatloaf meat mixture of beef, pork, and veal. Outstanding!

    • Elise Bauer

      What a great idea to put it on the grill Tommy, I love it!

  • Sakimi

    This is the the best meatball recipe I ever cook. My family loves it thank u 4 sharing. Iove it..

  • becky

    This recipe is awesome! Don’t even like meatloaf but my daughter made for her boyfriend but substituted the ketchup with barbeque sauce and it was out of this world. Couldn’t stop going back for more. Highly recommend this recipe.

  • Vera

    I just made this! Chose this particular recipe because I wanted to make a meatloaf with carrots and onions etc. But man! The meatloaf turned out absolutely fantastic, way beyond my expectations! Thanks for putting this recipe online!
    They don’t sell Italian sausage where I live, and I did not have all the spices at hand for Italian sausage, so I had to improvise with Italian seasoning, cumin and ground chili pepper. That worked alright!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Vera, I’m so glad you liked it! BTW, the next time you need Italian sausage and can’t get it, just use ground pork, and add some crushed fennel seeds along with Italian seasoning. It’s the fennel seeds that give Italian sausage its characteristic flavor.

  • Walter

    Could you please clarify the “spicy pork sausage?” Is this the breakfast pork sausage in the 1# chubs? (Bob Evans brand) My wife and I are into meatloaves and are trying different recipes.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Walter, I’m not familiar with that brand of sausage. I typically buy sausage in bulk, outside of the casings, from the meat department of my grocery store. Italian sausage comes in two basic mixtures—–sweet and spicy–-the spicy one being similar to the sweet but also includes red pepper flakes to make it spicy.

  • Bob The Builder

    This is the best meatloaf recipe I’ve ever made. My family loves it. Thank you for sharing your Father’s recipe with us. It truly has a great flavor.

  • Ariana B

    This meatloaf is the best I have ever had, ever. I am not much of a cook (having married a lovely man who loves to cook), but this recipe was incredibly easy. I even managed it all with a 10 month old baby in my arms! My husband is not used to meatloaf (having grown up in New Zealand), but he loved this; my 10 month old son did too! We didn’t change a thing and we won’t. It was absolutely perfect!

  • [email protected]

    I had to laugh, My folks love it and have asked me to make another plus my daughters husband wants your recipe~Oye
    My only change is the bread crumbs are Pancow Italian. Other than that me and the Mrs. Love your Dad’s recipe
    Thanks so much.

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you like the recipe!

  • Debra Sharkey

    Elise – please tell your Dad how much Michael and I loved this recipe. I’m new to making meatloaf but his mom has made them for years so he isn’t easy to impress. I didn’t have spicy pork (or italian) sausage in house so substituted 1 lb. ground pork (and 1 lb. grassfed beef) for the meat and added 1/2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, and about 1 tsp. dried oregano. Very happy with the results but next time I’ll try the italian sausage as directed. Thank you!


    • Elise

      Will do Debra, I’m so glad you liked it! And I love your substitutions.

  • Katherine

    My new husband told me months ago that he didn’t like meatloaf, but I had a pound each of sausage and ground beef that I had to use or lose and I made this recipe anyway. What a happy find! It was easy in spite of the “extra effort” caveat, and my husband went back for seconds and told me to “print it!”

  • Jenny C

    Hi Elise, Can I substitute the ketchup with tomato sauce?

    • Elise

      Hi Jenny, Sure! If you prefer tomato sauce to ketchup, go for it.

    • C.J. Cannon

      I prefer to use tomato paste, rather than sauce, but I like my meatloaf to be extra moist, so I also use ketchup. :-) Of course, I also add bell peppers. I like to use rings of those to decorate the top, but cut the rest of them to match the sofritto sized veggies.

  • Kevin Michael East

    I may have first found this recipe here and I’ve used it so many, many times. Sometimes exactly as written, sometimes with minor changes. I like a good burger as much as a good steak – this recipe does great justice to ground meat. I love serving it to people that wrinkle up their nose to the mention of meatloaf, and delight when they come back for more. Makes me glad I discovered GOOD meatloaf later in life; I didn’t have Bad Meatloaf memories to forget.

    • Elise

      Hi Kevin, I’m so glad you like it!

  • Robert

    Taste is AWESOME!! Tried this but changed ketchup for BBQsauce. When I make meat loaf, I put the meat in a saran wrap lined loaf pan and then when it is ready to go into the oven I line a small sheet pan with foil and place a cooling rack over it and turn the loaf out on it. That way the loaf doesn’t braise in its fat and the outside is nice and crispy. It is also easier to glaze that way if you wish to.

  • Estoy Listo

    My sweetheart came over to my parents the other day for dinner.

    Lucky guy.

  • Roger

    Lovely reading recipe – very similar to one I’ve been using for years. One minor difference is that I use steel cut oats instead of breadcrumbs. They hold things together nicely and soak up some of the juices from the meat, keeping the whole thing very moist.

    • Elise

      Great idea to use steel cut oats Roger, thank you!

    • C.J. Cannon

      I agree oats are better, given my taste in meatloaf styles.

  • Doretta

    This recipe is delicious. My husband is gluten intolerant so i substituted gluten free bread and as he has to eat more protein i put a row of boiled eggs down the middle. Also added some fresh thyme. The secret is the sofretti. Thank you.

  • scotty

    This is a fantastic recipe, one of my “go-to” dishes for sure! just a little clarification on the base is the reason for the post.. say what you will…….
    mirepoix is the base of the recipe: celery, onion, carrots.
    sofrito is a Latin style base of usually onion, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic..
    always great to have leftover meatloaf the next day for sandwiches..if it makes it!

  • Nina D

    Hi, Elise.

    We had a rainy Sunday recently and my husband requested meatloaf. He’s the type who, once he tries a certain recipe and likes it, he wants it over and over. I’m the cook, and that’s just boring. So I went looking for a “new” recipe and came across this one. It is outstanding! I think this is the one he will want over and over again now, but I can’t imagine this meatloaf ever getting boring. Had some cold in a sandwich today and it was great.


  • Michelle

    Absolutely fantastic, my hubby asked for meatloaf with carrots and peas, I thought yuck, so searched and found this one, it is the one, and I will be using again as we both loved the flavour and it was easy to follow the directions. Please thank your father for his tweeting over the years, thanks very much for sharing your family recipe, Michelle from New Zealand

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you and your husband liked it Michelle!

  • Jon O'Barr

    Very good recipe but even though I like spicy food the 3/4 pound of Italian sausage was a little overbearing, next time I’ll put in regular sausage or cut the Italian sausage to 1/3 pound.

  • Rhonda Bierer

    It is my go to recipe for meatloaf. I have it memorized now. I still come to the site for new twists on the old favorites. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kevin

    Andrea (and others)…try increasing the egg count, or use Eggbeaters or egg whites. This is pretty much a rule of thumb anytime you make meatballs, meatloaf and the like. If you’re only using small or medium eggs, an extra large egg may do the trick.

  • Andrea

    I also have trouble with the meatloaf crumbling when slicing. This happens even after cooling. I’m wondering if it has to do with the breadcrumbs I am using? I am not doing fresh as stated in the recipe but instead using the standard ground crumbs from the store aisles. How do you make your fresh bread crumbs? And this recipe, even if crumbled when slicing, is my absolute favorite meatloaf. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elise

      Hi Andrea, great question! The recipe calls for “fresh” breadcrumbs, which you can make by pulsing a couple slices of fresh bread in a blender until they are crumbs. I’ve clarified that in the recipe. I’m guessing that if you are using a cup of store-bought breadcrumbs, there is just too much of it for this recipe.

  • Kate

    Thank you for this recipe – it’s amazing and has been a huge hit with everyone I’ve made it for. One question – my meatloaf never comes out sturdy enough to slice, it kind of falls apart. Any tips for cleaner slices? Thanks!


    • Elise

      Hi Kate, you might try thicker slices, and if those slices are too big of a serving, then cut them in half through the middle. The meatloaf will be easier to slice once it has chilled, so it slices great for leftovers. If it’s really an issue, I haven’t tried this with the meatloaf but it works with pate, and that is to wrap a brick in foil and place it on the top of the meatloaf as it cooks, so it weighs down the loaf and the air pockets get squeezed out.

  • Karen

    I’m a meatloaf lover & have been making the classic Better Homes & Gardens meatloaf (with some changes) for 30+ years. I grew tired of that so decided to try some other recipes. Yours is about the 4th I’ve tried & I have to say this is THE BEST meatloaf!!!!! It’s more labor intensive than I’m used to for making meatloaf but, if you have the time, it’s definitely worth it!!!! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe :)

    • Robert

      One suggestion for the “labor” part. Use your stand mixer with paddle to mix the meat. AND chill both the bowl and paddle before using. It mixes the meat more thououghly but doesn’t seem to make it tough.

  • K V Bunker

    I learned this basic recipe as a kid about 45 years ago, and it was as big a hit then as it is now. Over the years I’ve tried variations of all sorts, from swapping ground bison (yum!) for the beef to doing a “white meat-loaf” with ground turkey (definitely an egg added as binder) and mild sausage flecked with a sofrito of mushrooms, chopped Italian parsley, diced red and gold bell peppers mixed with mashed roast garlic and mixed with crumbled San Francisco sourdough bread … (no ketchup on top of this one, though!) The white meat-loaf variant always has people begging me for the recipe.

    • Elise

      Oh my gosh, that meatloaf sounds fabulous! Will try my hand at it. Thank you!

      • Kevin

        Wonderful! I forgot to say that I also put in diced red or golden-sweet onions…can’t leave those out!

  • Erin

    This is our go to meatloaf recipe, so thank you! Everyone in our family adores it, but I have to admit that I am sometimes not the most prepared around dinner time, and so I have had to make it in to meatballs to shorten the cooking time in order to not have screaming children come after me at dinner! They are just as great as meatloaf meatballs!

  • Susan

    If I want to cover the meatloaf with strips of bacon, how would I need to adjust cooking time or temperature?

    • C.J. Cannon

      Susan–Maybe Elise w/see this in “new” ?’s. I’m sorry I don’t know. — cjc

  • Caroline

    Thanks so much for this recipe, it’s a definite keeper!
    I made it a couple months ago, and have thought about it multiple times since so I came back here to make it again. This time though, I tripled the recipe (since I was doing all that chopping anyways) and then divided the resulting mixture into 4 loaves (6.75 pounds of meat is a lot of fun to mix by hand!).
    I cooked one meatloaf tonight, and I froze the other 3. To those asking if you can freeze it, yes you totally can. I think it’s best to freeze before baking so that the meat doesn’t dry out in the freezer. What I did was this: I prepped 3 seperate loaf pans by draping a large sheet of saran wrap inside each of them, and tucking the wrap into the corners. I packed the meat mixture into it and then wrapped the extra edges over it, and added additional sheets so that it was totally covered. Then I froze them, popped them out of the loaf pans, and put each one into a freezer bag.
    I’m going to keep one meatloaf for me, and give the others to new parents and sick friends. My instructions will be to thaw, cover in ketchup and bake for an hour at 350.
    Thanks Elise! I’m going to try your African Chicken Peanut Stew next!

    • Elise

      Hi Caroline, thank you so much for sharing how you freeze the extra meatloaf!

    • Robert

      Caroline, try using your stand mixer w/paddle. It will take a lot of the “Labor” out of mixing. Do it in batches and then just mix the whole thing by hand to make it even, or just portion out the loaves and mix that way.

      • Elise

        What a great idea, thanks for sharing Robert!

  • Elyse

    Delicious delicious delicious and super easy to make. Hubby loved it – inhaled about a third of it alone. Great!

  • Justine

    I have made this several times, only I use ground turkey and spicy italian turkey sausage (my fiance prefers not to eat beef). It comes out fantastic every time. The sausage keeps it from being dry like most turkey meatloaf.

    • Cathy

      That is exactly how I prepared it and my husband and I loved it. It was delicious

  • Beth

    Yes, this is the absolute best meatloaf recipe ever! The only thing I do differently is to skip the loaf pan. I just form a loaf and bake it on a sheet pan. The outside gets gloriously browned. Leftovers are kept all for me.

  • Victor Cusumano

    Wonderful! made this last night to rave reviews, and many thanks for the sauce recipe from Larry Holloway in the comments above. I would have never thought of nutmeg with meatloaf but it worked REALLY well.
    “A great sauce for meatloaf is to cover the top before baking with a sauce made of:
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1 tbs brown sugar
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp dried mustard”

    • steve miller

      That sauce sounds wonderful…..I’m going to try that…..

      I have always made my sauce with ketchup, corn syrup, and sugar. In equal parts. That comes from the meatloaf recipe in Better Homes and Gardens. It’s good but yours sounds better, can’t wait to try it.

  • Anne Johnson

    This was great! My son and husband were doubtful meatloaf, but the addition of the spicy sausage won everyone over. I was hesitant add the amount of salt called for the recipe, but it’s spot-on.

    Thanks for re-posting.

  • Dawn

    Made this last night with ground bison instead of beef, and it worked fantastically well. I only had sweet Italian sausage, so I added a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Very delicious, I can’t wait for the leftovers!

  • Rosemary

    I’ve mafe this meatloaf 3 different times and it is always delicious! Especially in the chilly blanket snuggling months! However, I want to try making it using the small loaf pans, so that I can freeze it for later use as a quick weeknight meal. Any tips for the freezing process? i.e. What to put it in..ziploc? Or the actual loaf pan perhaps? Thanks! Love your blog :)

  • Linda

    Elise, I haven’t made meat loaf in a couple of years and it has finally cooled off here in San Diego so I felt like comfort food. We have a friend who is going through chemotherapy :-( and food doesn’t have much taste or appeal to her. We had her over for dinner last night and she cleaned her plate! She kept commenting that it was the most she had eaten in weeks. It really was delicious…the Italian sausage really makes it. I served it with roasted red skin potatoes and green beans with toasted almonds and herbs de provence. Totally yummy. Thanks so much!


    • Elise

      Hi Linda, I’m so glad that your friend liked, and was able to eat, the meatloaf! My thoughts and prayers are with her for her recovery.

  • Elena

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It was my first meatloaf ever and it came out so delicious! My family eliminated it in just 5 minutes:). As I go gluten-free now, I used cornbread crumbs and they worked very well.

  • Chris

    I bake my meatloaf on the slotted rack that comes with every oven. The grease drips into the pan below and my meatloaf doesn’t fall apart because it sat baking in that grease. The final result is still moist, just less greasy and probably fewer fat grams and calories. Now I have to try this recipe. I love Italian sausage!

  • Terry R.

    This sounds a lot like my mom’s recipe but she used to put about a teaspoon of dried basil in hers. I’m trying yours this week! I love meatloaf sandwiches with a little fresh cranberry sauce and Swiss cheese grilled in a panini press. Once you try them you will never have any other kind.

  • Lisa

    I love a good meatloaf and this recipe looks great! However, I am one of the very few who hates ketchup on or in meatloaf, so I use tomato sauce in the loaf and then serve with a brown gravy. Otherwise, this one looks to be a keeper!

  • Darlene

    Made this tonight and this recipe ROCKED! As newbie cook I need exact instructions and this will definitely be made again.

  • Kesha

    I made this for my family a month ago and making it again tonight! We loved it!! So flavorful and delicious! :)

  • Nancy @ A Joyful Cottage

    I made this last night and it was a huge hit with my husband (and me!). I served it with fresh green beans sauteed with mushrooms, baked potatoes and sliced garden tomatoes. A beautiful presentation and so yummy. Thanks!

  • David Robinson

    I’m trying this recipe for the first time. All of the vegetables came out of the garden minutes before I started. I used pasta sauce instead of ketchup and I’m cooking it in the smoker. I will glaze it at the end of the cook time so the smoke penetrates the meat. I can’t wait to dig in.

  • Gary

    Congratulations for this recipe mentioned in the New York Times on May 14, 2014. I had it and it is in fact such a delicious meatloaf. Superbly balanced with taste, texture, moisture, and the glaze was fantastic. Simply Recipes you Simply Rock.


  • Ellen Reid

    Made this today and it was outstanding. Used two pounds beef and no sausage, used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 cup oat bran and only 1 tsp salt. I made two loaves and only baked one. If I wish to enjoy the second loaf later, can it be frozen or would you recommend cooking first? Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

    • Elise

      I would recommend cooking it first, then freezing.

  • Jon

    Its been so long since I’ve had meatloaf I actually forgot some of the ingredients. It came out great, thanks to your recipe. Thanks So Much Elise!!

  • Kim

    This was delicious and I made a mistake and put the ketchup in the meatloaf mixture instead of on top. The Italian Sausage made all the difference.

  • Cathy Caruso

    Fabulous!!!!!! My husband had been telling me how much he used to love meatloaf so I searched for a recipe online and this one sounded great. I made it as directed and had some really great spicy Italian sausage that Worked great. I’ll be making this again for sure. I served it with a green, yellow and white kidney bean salad in a Dijon and red wine vinegar dressing. Yummy!!!! Thanks for the great recipe.

  • George

    Great recipe!!
    Not crazy about ketchup, so I mixed crushed tomatoes with tomato paste.
    And Stop&Shop has premixed meatloaf mix – veal, pork and beef.
    Brought it over to our friend Mary’s house… Everyone had seconds!!
    Mary sent the leftovers to another friend whose wife was away for a week. He loved it too!!

  • Juanita

    This meatloaf was the best I’ve ever had. My mother and I both simply couldn’t stop raving about it. We paired it with your recipe for Blanched Cabbage with Butter and Caraway and the classic buttermilk mashed potatoes. The entire meal was an absolute home run.

  • Christine

    I made this recipe for the first time last night and it was delicious! My husband and son love meat loaf so when they ranted and raved about it, you know it’s GOOD! I did use a food processor to make fresh bread crumbs from day old Italian bread, and then used it to mince the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. I liked that there was no sign of vegetables in the meat loaf but it had all the flavor. This is a real winner, thanks so much!

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you and your family liked it Christine!

  • Madeline

    I’ve made this recipe several times, and it always turns out delicious. I use ground beef, pork and veal, eliminate ketchup, but use 2/3 cup of Hunts tomato sauce from a small 8 oz. can. I also moisten the breadcrumbs with milk. My family loves this recipe.

  • Carolyn Birt

    This season I use this recipe and make a heart-shaped meatloaf. Before serving, I surround it with fluffy mashed potatoes that give it a lacy look. The grandkids — and their parents — look foward to it every year. It’s home.

  • Valvoly Tampetti

    If your like me and enjoy the crust try this.
    Use a muffin pan to cook individual servings.
    I top it with a thick slice of tomato and drop
    a slice of cheese on them for the last couple
    of minutes. Tastes great, nice presentation.

  • lunch_jr

    Yummy! Made last night with a few adjustments to what I had in my fridge.. leeks instead of green onion, parsnip instead of a carrot, bread crumbs from sprouted bread and bbq sauce instead of ketchup. I wish I actually had ketchup because the flavor would have made more sense, but it was still good. Next time I’ll be more adventurous and add some toasted spices to up the flavor. Very good recipe.

  • Tammy

    Hi Elise,

    Today I will be making the meatloaf for the first time. My question is, I have 2lbs of ground beef, is the sausage optional, if so, the recipe above will work for the 2lbs of meat? Also, if I choose to use sausage, how much do I need, will I have to change the measurements for what is called for.

    Thank you

    • Elise

      Hi Tammy, the sausage is not optional in this particular recipe. If you have to make a substitution, use 3/4 pound of ground pork instead of the sausage and add a pinch of fennel seeds and a half teaspoon of hot sauce to the pork. If you choose to use 2 pounds of beef instead of the 1 1/2 pounds the recipe calls for, add a pound of sausage (instead of 3/4 pound), and scale up the rest of the ingredients by 25%. Good luck!

  • Cynthia

    Excellent! Best meatloaf I’ve ever had, ever! Exact words from my husband who has had meatloaf made by his mother, wife & friends. Made changes by substituting yellow and red peppers for the carrots. Sausage really was the extra flavor than the traditional all beef meatloaf. It’s a keeper!

  • Jean

    Everything was good except next time I would use half the salt. My husband loves salty food, but the 2 tsp in this recipe was way too much for us. Even though I used mild sausage, maybe it was what had too much salt.

  • Kay

    This was the best meatloaf I have ever made! I will definitely be keeping this recipe. Yummy!

  • kelly

    i added a shredded zucchini and a bit of Parmesan cheese. also made a glaze with ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and cracked black pepper. amazing!!!

  • Lola

    I made this tonight and it was really good. I did make one change. I used turkey instead of beef. I am beef intolerant. Thanks for the recipe. :)


  • Lisa

    This recipe is amazing! So easy, and a delicious twist on a classic dish. I can barely boil water and my friends thought I made “gourmet meatloaf”. I added a dash of crushed red pepper, and substituted my favorite brand of Jamaican style worstershire sauce. Thank you for posting this!

  • Rachael

    Hi! Are you supposed to use 1 1/2 pounds of beef plus 3/4 of pork? 2.25 pounds? Or am I confusing these measurements with substituting? Thanks!

    • Elise

      The recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of beef AND 3/4 pound of pork sausage.

      • Rachael

        Ok just checking ;) I made this tonight and it needed to be cooked for much longer than one hour, almost two hours? My mom suggested I used a different sized pan than you did. Turned out amazing and really delicious. Family raved ;) Thank you!

  • Jill Kaiser

    I followed the recipe exactly but, put my meatloaf mixture in cupcake pans without the sauce for 40 minutes and then put sauce on top for last 15 minutes. Perfect leftovers too!

  • Rosemary

    can this meatloaf be baked and then frozen for later?

    • Elise

      I don’t see why not. You might want to chill it first, then slice it. It slices easier when cold. Then wrap the individual pieces in plastic wrap, and then freeze it. That way you can pull out smaller portions to defrost when you need them.

  • lyn

    hi, i love your recipe and i would like to try it but i have major problem…i don’t have oven..can i used steamer and how many minutes? thanks in advance.

    • Elise

      I have no idea how you would make this in a steamer. If anyone else does, please chime in!

  • Jennifer

    I just want to say cook this to 165F for recommended safe cooking due to this being a ground product, bacteria and sorts is through out the whole product (a steak has bacteria on the outside and it is then cooked off, that is why rare is okay). other than that, great recipe!

  • patty

    This is by far the best meatloaf recipe ever!!!!

  • Julie

    I love meatloaf so much that it’s almost a sickness. I don’t like cooked celery in it, so I add bell peppers instead and my glaze is spicy sweet:

    1 cup ketchup
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    Sriracha to taste (I use a lot)

  • Linda Slayton

    I made this last night, and although it was good, I thought it was a bit salty. I also prefer to use rolled oats–I just like the texture. I’ve been using a mix of ground beef and pork sausage for years, adding dry mustard and thyme, and, yes, everyone loves it. I liked the sofritto and will keep that idea for my meatloaf. That’s the great thing about cooking–always a new idea! Thanks.

  • Diane T

    Sofrito! After receiving a jar of home made sofrito, I struggled to figure out how to use it up before it spoiled, so I dumped it into some ground chicken and added cooked bulgur wheat for body along with an egg for binding. Amazingly good results. So happy to see the idea here too! Ground chicken seemed to result in a more firm and solid loaf than the usual beef/pork mixture, while the fluffy bulgur prevented it from being too dense.

  • Judy @Savoring Today

    There is just something about softening those onions that makes such a difference in the flavor — perfect comfort food. :)

  • Shel F.

    Ooooh! I never thought of a sofritto base! I might have to incorporate that into mine. I normally only like one meatloaf, and that is my mother’s recipe, with which a sofritto base would go well. Otherwise, I use crackers instead of bread crumbs, leave out the ketchup entirely, add Worcestershire sauce and a can of seasoned diced tomatoes. Top with either plain tomato sauce or onion gravy.

  • Sheilasu

    Hi …this is so much like the recipe I use – exceptions: I use olive oil instead of butter (it makes me sick) and I haven’t tried it with the sweet sausage – BUT I WILL! My Mom always told me that the veggies were not only good for me, but also “stretched” the meat, so that it would feed more.
    Thanks for the great memories – I LOVE meatloaf, with a side of mushroom gravy…yummmmmy!

  • Bob Y

    Looks like a great recipe – haven’t had meat loaf for years because I can’t eat beef. Can this recipe be done with all veal and the sausage? Ground lamb? What could possibly be a replacement for the ground beef? Thanks.

    • C.J. Cannon

      Hi, Bob–Any meat could be substituted, but each will have a different flavor, & a texture of its own. You should experiment with those you like & which agree with your body. Best luck! cjc

  • Barb

    Elise you could very well have saved my 42 year marriage.

    Now could I use this mixture for stuffed peppers just add a bit more sauce?

  • ron

    Basically, its a giant meatball.

  • Jack sioux city ia.

    My mother made this many years a go its grate thank u so much for posting it as i had lost it and soon as i get off this i and i will make it
    Jack sioux city ia..

  • Candy C.

    Mmmm…meatloaf, one of the ultimate comfort foods. I started adding soffritto to my meatloaf several years ago (maybe I saw it here!) and it really does make a big difference, plus you get some extra veggies in!

  • Liz

    Love meatloaf recipe. Thank you.

  • Chris

    If you want to give this an incredible twist, replace the bread crumbs with Panko and soak them in half-and-half first, you won’t believe it…!!

  • Dennis Rumme

    Growing up in the Midwest in the 50’s and 60’s bread crumbs were generally an unknown. But, oatmeal was a great substitute, and I still use it to rave reviews.

  • Kerri

    I don’t use a loaf pan. I just make a mound on a rimmed sheet pan. In fact, lately I’ve started making two small loaves instead of one big one so that it will cook faster. It’s usually done in 30 minutes or so that way.

    • Karen

      Great idea! After I did this I realized it was a little underdone, but I used a metal pan so I had to nuke it in the microwave. I’ll have to try making two smaller loaves next time.

  • Michelle

    I made this tonight and it turned out great! My husband loved it. I didn’t have any sausage on hand, but I took your advice and added a pinch of fennel seeds to the ground beef and a few dashes of hot sauce. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly as written. I couldn’t have asked for better results. Thanks Elise.

  • cc

    i helped my mum make this tonight, it’s a very good recipe.

  • Lisa

    This is delicious meatloaf. I used spicy pork sausage, but next time I will try Italian sausage, as I think that will be even better. Thanks!

  • ksmms

    This is very, very similar to the meatloaf my mother (now 89 years old) used to make. She added poultry herbs, such as sage and thyme, which to me, is essential for a good meatloaf that uses sausage. She also added a bit of dry mustard and a little bit of milk. No carrots or celery though.

    One thing she also did that I always do is to roast quartered, peeled, and buttered potatoes around the loaf, basting with the drippings. To keep it from swimming in grease, use a turkey baster to remove the excess fat but leave enough so the potatoes get good and crispy. Yum!

  • Amanda

    This is the best meatloaf that I have ever had in my 25 years. I will never pour a meatloaf flavor packet into hamburger and call it meatloaf ever again. I will make this meatloaf from now on. It is so so so soooo good!

  • anna

    This is good! I made a couple changes based on what I had available – used all beef and oats instead of bread crumbs. Split into two loaves on foil with holes poked in the foil on top of a cooling rack on top of a cooking sheet like someone had mentioned (to let the grease drain, since I was using 80/20 ground beef). Perfect! I did add some red pepper flakes since I didn’t have sausage and used dried parsley – just under 2 tablespoons – instead of fresh. It only took about 35 minutes with the mixture split into 2 loaves.

  • anna

    For those asking about freezing – this is my first time making this particular meatloaf recipe and I won’t be freezing it because I’m making it right away. That being said, I have frozen lots of other meatloaf recipes in the past with absolutely no problems. Just make sure it’s in a freezer-safe container or at least tightly sealed, otherwise it could get freezer burn just like anything else you put in the freezer.

    I’d recommend thawing it first, but you could just put it into the oven frozen and cook it for a longer time. I used to cook meals for the Ronald McDonald house and they much preferred meals that could be frozen – lots of tuna casserole, lasagna, and meatloaf was sent their way.

  • pink

    great recipe! I tried it, it was delicious but, like what a previous poster have said, my meatloaf was swimming in oil..probably because I did not use lean beef? So disappointed with that, but maybe next time will be better..

  • Jessabelle Segundo

    L-O-V-E this meatloaf recipe! I did not pay attention to the note about cutting the salt in half. This made it a bit salty, however I still could not get enough of it! Thank you for showing me the light!! :)

  • Faith

    Tried this tonight using beef and italian sausage. I used olive oil instead of butter but still came out greasy …but good!!! Must be the sausage. I’m looking for a way to make it healthier. What if I sauteed the sausage and drain the fat before adding to the mix?

    Sounds like a good idea! ~Elise

  • audra

    I love meatloaf, but I don’t get it all that often because it seems to be a dish that takes some time to get into the oven. It would totally be worth it except that my hubby, who claims to be a “meat & potatoes” guy, doesn’t like meatloaf. Weird I know. He gobbled up two helpings of this. This was very good especially with the italian sausage. Meaty, moist, with a bit of sweet from the ketchup. I had enough leftover for another loaf and a few meatballs. Thank you for giving me meatloaf back!


  • Rufina

    Do you think the meat ratio will affect the finish product (i.e: half veal, half pork instead of beef, veal, pork)? When I made meatloaf, it tends to either crumbly or too firm.
    Thank you for your suggestion.

    I don’t really know. I always thought the meat ratio had more to do with the taste. ~Elise

  • Bernard

    This was the first recipe I’ve tried from your site and it was DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to try your other recipes… a single guy who hates cooking for himself, your website has made me excited about cooking! Thank you!

  • Maureen

    My son and husband think that meatloaf tastes best when fresh out of the oven (husband will eat meatloaf sandwiches). I’m wondering if anyone has mixed the ingredients, formed the mix into smaller meatloaves (perhaps in a muffin tin?) and then froze these unbaked? It might be a way for the son to have that fresh-baked taste he loves, but made-ahead somewhat.

    • Mary

      Maureen, I do this all the time. I use small foil loaf pans that just about serve 2 people. I cook one for dinner, and freeze the others. They are a great last-minute meal and a GREAT thing to take to a shut-in. It generally takes about an hour to bake them, but use a thermometer to be sure. I usually take a shut-in a small jar of spaghetti sauce to heat up for gravy!

  • Jim54

    I have had many meatloaves over the years and this is by far the best! Taken the fact that my taste buds are not the best, this is saying a lot.

  • Liz

    This is truly a delicious meatloaf recipe. I’ve made meatloaf many different ways, some good, some bad. This is the best, and the only one I use now. The only thing I do different is use olive oil instead of butter to saute the veggies in.

  • Erin

    Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this site for recipes? Really, tonight was another success with the meatloaf recipe above. Thank you, thank you!

  • athina

    I love this meatloaf- only had beef today, no pork or sausage-so I decided to finely chop several slices of bacon, and cooked them down with the vegetables.added some panko bread crumbs to the the fresh breadcrumbs, and it was very good. the cooked/carmelized veggies impart such great flavor.this is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had-and my girlfriend agrees!

  • Kathy

    I am going to try this recipe – would it be okay to substitute dry seasoned bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs for the fresh? Thanks!

    We only make this with freshly made breadcrumbs, but if you try it another way, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • B.J.

    I found your site a few days ago and have been perusing it ever since. I tried 2 of your recipes for guests last night. I used breakfast sausage from my freezer instead of Italian sausage and half the amount of bread crumbs, otherwise followed it exactly. Everyone really liked it and I know I will make it again but with the sausage you suggest. I know that will make it even better. It’s certainly one I’ll make for guests again.
    The other recipe was Potato Salad with Apples and Bacon. I halved the recipe but failed to half the thyme so it was a bit “earthy”. It was SO much different than traditional potato salad (I loved it)and the other 3 at my table were not so enthusiastic. One said I should not have told them I was serving “potato salad” because they expected something quite different. I will make it again though, for a different “type” of folks.
    Thank you, Elise, for your website and for sharing your many recipes, I will try more, for sure! I like the way you write in such a friendly and down to earth way, and that you share your life with your readers. I love your new home, it’s so intimate and cozy looking! Please share photos when you finish the remodel!

    Thanks BJ! I’m so glad you like the recipes. ~Elise

  • Jenn

    This meatloaf was excellent! I usually use Ina Garten’s recipe but I wanted a new one with sausage. I did cook it to an internal temp of 160 since I used pork sausage. It was moist and meaty and my family loved it.

  • Amanda

    My boyfriend’s meatloaf is the only meatloaf I will eat.He puts onion, celery, peppers, crackers,eggs and whatever other veggies might sound good that we have.Then, instead of ketchup he uses barbecue sauce and brown sugar.Mixed in and on top.And if we have any oranges he’ll squeeze it over top and bake it with orange slices on top.I don’t really care for red meat but this is delicious!It’s even good with ground chicken.

  • Kittery


    I have a soy allergy, and the thing that’s stopping me from making meatloaf these days is Worcestershire Sauce. Any suggestions for what I could use as a substitute?
    Thank you!

    Vietnamese fish sauce. Or half a mashed up anchovy. What makes Worcestershire sauce so good is the anchovy in it. You can’t taste the fish when added to dishes, it just makes them taste good. ~Elise

  • The Wonderer

    Stupid question but I’m no chef.

    Do you cook the ground beef before mixing and popping it in the oven?

    See.. told you it was a stupid question.

    Thank you!

    Good question, actually. The answer is no, we did not cook the ground beef first. The meat goes in the oven raw. ~Elise

  • Jessica

    I made this for dinner last week. I’ve made about 5 or 6 different meatloaf recipes, all which were pretty good but NOTHING like this. Thanks Elise for this recipe. This was unbelievably good, and I couldn’t follow the recipe exactly because I didn’t have all the exact ingredients. It still turned out ridiculous (in a really good way). Did I mention it was really good?
    In regards to a previous poster who said that there was too much juice at the bottom of the pan: I’ve found that putting a couple slices of bread under the loaf sucks up all the drippings so no sucking juices required.
    Thanks again Elise.

  • Ashley R.

    I made this last night and it was UH-mazing! :-) For purposes of on-handedness, I used Italian style bread crumbs – other than that I followed the recipe to a “t”. I baked it in a 9X13 stone cake pan, and there was very little grease. I served it with homemade mashed potatoes, green beans and (Southern girl staple) sweet iced tea. It was heaven! I’ll never make meatloaf another way!

  • Kathy Drew

    My son and I tried this tonight. It was our first time making meat loaf. I thought we followed the directions, although I did use a lean ground beef instead of ground chuck. The loaf came out swimming in liquid and it was soggy. Was this becuase of the type of meat we used or could there be another reason? Was I supposed to drain it during cooking like someone suggested above? Also, we felt it tasted a little too much of hot Italian sausage. We used two links of hot Italian sausage and three links of sweet along with 1.5 lbs of ground beef. I would try this again if I could figure out how to solve the liquid problem. I would probably not use the hot sausage again. Thanks!

    Hmm, not sure what could be causing that. It’s not an issue we encounter. Perhaps the recipe needs the extra connective tissue and fat that one would typically find in ground chuck versus lean ground beef. ~Elise

  • Bill Shlapack

    I add red wine and tomato juice or sauce to my meat loaf mix along with some crumbled basil. Instead of ketchup, I cover mine with crushed tomatoes. I feel when using ground pork or pork sausage, internal temperature of loaf should be 160 degrees.

  • Stephanie

    The best meatloaf ever!! I didn’t add ketchup because my husband hates it and it still was amazing!! Thanks Elise! I LOVE your site!!

  • Nic

    This is what I made for dinner Friday night. I didn’t have any carrots left, so subbed a red pepper. It was a resounding success. I loved it. My guy LOVED it. It is perfectly flavored and dreamy alongside mashed potatoes.

    I even caught him making a meatloaf sandwich for breakfast this morning. =P He made one for me too! haha Much better than the yogurt and granola I was going to have.

  • Sara

    Delicious! The only time I had meatloaf prior to making this tonight was a bite or two from my husband’s plate when he has ordered it. On a whim, I decided to make it and I couldn’t be more pleased. I used a mix of beef, pork, and sweet sausage. I followed the recipe, adding some chili garlic sauce for heat. Per another reviewer’s recommendation, I put all the veggies in the food processor, which made this recipe super simple. Will definitely make again.

  • april

    This recipe is meatloaf perfection! I added diced olives to mine (as I have done in the past) and it was meatloaf-alicious!

  • Lynae

    Michelle, what about lamb? I’ve had meatloaf made with just ground lamb before and it was really delicious.

  • Richard Smith

    I made the classic meatloaf and was it good
    in fact my wife thought somone else made it and
    and wanted to thank them, you really have a geat
    meal there!

  • Celest

    Once made, can it it be frozen. How about defrozing it? Does it taste the same or it loses its flavor? Thanks a lot and congrats on your recipe. It’s great. I have tried it and I have leftovers that I’d like to freeze for future use! Hahaha…

    I haven’t tried freezing it, so don’t know what to tell you. If you do try, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Michelle

    My son is allergic to beef and I was wondering what I would replace the beef with?

    Good question. Most meatloaf recipes call for beef. If I were you I would experiment subbing out the ground beef with a combination of ground turkey and ground pork. Good luck! ~Elise

    • Julie

      I started making my meatloaf with ground turkey and it is divine. I would suggest adding turkey sausage to the mix as well, or an extra egg so it doesn’t get too dry.

  • richard singleton

    I use a pound of reg pork sausage with 2 lbs beef, 2 eggs and a few strips of bacon, or a couple of lids of smoke flavoring, it kind of gives it a outdoors taste and about anything else I want to throw in, zuccini, yellow squash. Just don’t use watery veggies like tomatoes unless you want to cook it along time because it causes it to be mushy. I always use the ketchup or bbq sause on top. Put in whatever looks good and what your family likes.

  • Beth

    Every time I make this I have to control myself or I will be up in the middle of the night finishing all the leftovers. Seriously delicious meatloaf.

  • Beth

    This was the best meatloaf I have ever made. I made it pretty much as written and it was perfect. Love the addition of the sausage as it gave it great flavor.

  • rick

    I use to cook for a recovery home and I would use a couple of dashes of kitchen boucet(unsure of the spelling)barbecue sauce and ketchup equal parts dried chopped onions and dried chopped bell peppers and sometimes would use corn flakes instead of bread crumbs some garlic and parsley. I would cook it covered for 45 min and then uncover it the last 30 min to brown it on top. Also don’t forget the worcestershire sauce and egg to set it up

  • jessika-n1

    This meatloaf is so good all my family like it. Everybody ask me for the receipe. And is better tomatoe sauce, the ketchup is more like sweet. Its delicious mmmmmm!

  • diamonddollfla

    I made this meatloaf for the first time 4/07 and forgot all about it. Went to a wedding today and my bf didn’t want to eat the food there. Instead he asked for this meatloaf! It must be good. :)

  • Ferenc

    I made the “Classic Meatloaf” exactly as described. I never made meatloaf before and don’t even remember ever trying it. However, my wife’s family is into it and they raved about the final product. They said it was the best they’ve ever had. I bought the ingredients at Whole Foods, including the bread crumbs. I suspect that the good quality ingredients contributed to the great taste. I’ve since made a second batch and added some ground cayenne peppers and about 1/3 cup of red wine with no ill effect… :-)

  • Vanessa

    I have the same problem as a poster above – my meatloaf always turns out crumbly. From looking at the pictures, it seems that maybe my ground meat isn’t ground as finely as what you’re using. Is it okay to put it all (including the meat) into the food processor together? I’ve heard that working the meat too much will give it a tough texture, and I don’t want that.

    I’ve never ground up meat in a food processor so don’t know what to tell you. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Carolyn

    HHHHMMMM, Yummy, I made it just as is . . . we loved it! I’m so happy my daughter had the chance to meet you this summer and share this website with me!

  • Jessica

    When my mom makes meatloaf, instead of using fresh bread crumbs, she usually uses StoveTop brand stuffing. It’s really good; it adds some extra flavor and leaves it nice and moist. Although I suppose any brand of stuffing will do…

  • Tom Miller

    I love meatloaf, and posted my personal recipe on my blog a while back. (I even included a link to your site in the comments!)

    I’ve been using pork sausage in mine for a while now and it just makes the meatloaf come out so much better.

    I’m looking forward to trying out your recipe some time soon.

  • KissTheChef

    Just a note to keep the crisp part crisp and the grease at bay. Take a cookie sheet, place a cookie cooling tray on it. Place a sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray on top of the cooling rack. Pierce the foil several times for drainage. Form the meat into a loose loaf shape. While cooking, the grease drains off while giving a nicely crisp edge. When done, the loaf pulls nicely off the foil if you sprayed it well with cooking spray. Great recipe, by the way. Love the sausage, but use turkey sausage for less fat. It’s usually available in both mild and spicy links….

  • Monique

    This is an amazing meat loaf recipe! I liked the flavors so much that I use the mixture (along with rice, parmesan, and italian seasonings) for making stuffed peppers. I also like to make my meat loaf with a tomato sauce mixture. I form the meat loaf and let it brown slightly in the oven. While it’s browning, I make a sauce mixture of tomato sauce, italian-style diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, italian seasonings, and some red pepper flakes. I then pour that into the pan to cook with the meat loaf.

  • Jill

    My 12-yr old son wanted to make meatloaf. This is what I told him:

    Meatloaf is as good as your imagination. I make it according to a theme: Mexican, Italian, Greek, etc. Instead of using ketchup, use salsa, speghetti sauce, beer, red wine, etc. Instead of bread crumbs, use crackers or oatmeal (that gives it a whole different texture and taste). I just go through the fridge and cupboards and grab anything that sounds good, veggies, condiments, etc. I have started using 1 pound each burger, sausage and ground turkey. I thought if I started a restraunt I would offer “Never the Same Meatloaf” as it would be different each time I make it. HA

  • Lydia

    This was amazing. My entire family voted this the best meatloaf ever and we are all eating meatloaf sandwiches today!

  • Carol

    This is my standard recipe and I can’t recall where I first saw it. It’s delicious, keeps well, and is easy to prepare. We eat it hot, cold (sandwiches), with, without. Good standard fare (and what we called a “cottage” loaf).

  • michael bash

    My mother used oatmeal in place of bread crumbs. And of course we all know that mashed potatoes go with meatloaf … and maybe creamed corn. Heaven!

  • Purvis

    How funny! I just prepared this last night for baking this evening.. I don’t eat pork, so I used turkey italian sausage–tasted great! Unfortunately, I added all 2/3 c ketchup to the “batter” instead of only 1/3c and it ended up so moist that it was falling apart. ….still good, though! We ate it with pita bread.

  • Maureen Smith

    The recipe in the 1979 edition of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook was the one that turned me on to meatloaf. The ground mustard in the Fannie Farmer version is my secret. Mom’s was always straight ground beef, and she used rice as her “stretcher”. Me – I use half ground beef (of some kind) and half pork sausage. If you’re in a hurry, Jimmy Dean Italian Sausage or Hot Sausage will do the trick. I’ll use the Progresso Italian breadcrumbs instead of fresh (I’m lazy that way). And I never use any sauce on it – maybe I’ll have to give that a try. To the poster who wonders why her meatloaf “crumbles” – maybe weighting it (like a pate) would help? Just a thought. . .

  • ShuShoo

    I like to add a package of frozen spinach to my meatloaf, which is basically like your recipe except for that. Just prepare the spinach according to the package directions (I use the microwave), DRAIN WELL (key step!) and mix in. I can’t claim credit for this idea, but it’s been so long now that I don’t recall where it came from. Maybe The Joy of Cooking?

    Also, I’ve seen some recipes that use lamb instead of veal, if anyone out there wonders if that would work. Personally, I like the beef and pork sausage mixture best, but that’s mainly because I don’t have lamb or veal routinely on hand.

    • Tina

      Lamb is a great addition to meatloaf but I would not use it when using Italian pork sausage. My family recipe uses equal parts ground beef, lamb and pork.

  • Mitchell

    Excellent recipe–the sausage is the key–I like to use a ground chorizo I get at the local market, but Italian sausage will do as well.

    And tossing the sauteed veggies in the food processor really helps add more moisture to the loaf mix.

    Another fun addition is to place a couple of balls of fresh mozzarella cheese inside each meatloaf–then when you cut open the loaf you get a lava flow of gooey, melty molten cheese oozing out of each slice!

  • Skye

    I have been secretly watching your recipes for years now. Your recipes never fail me! I grew up in The Bay Area so your stories of California always bring a smile to my face.OOO how I miss Cali! It was actually quite funny to see this recipe today. As I was eating my meatloaf sandwich look what I found. I have one quick question – I am curious whether or not you could make this meatloaf and cook it in the crockpot? I actually made mine in crockpot and it turned out pretty moist. But it had milk and soft bread crumbs in it. Would you suggest adding something to keep it moist if I did cook it in the crockpot? Thanks again for all your wonderful recipes!

    Since crockpots tend to hold moisture in, unlike ovens where you have a lot of dry heat, I don’t think the problem will be keeping it moist. More likely the problem will be that the loaf will not get browned on top. But if that’s not an issue for you, then you should be able to make this in a crockpot. ~Elise

  • geaj

    My mom’s trick was to add 3 oz. softened cream cheese! Try it, you won’t believe how good it is!

  • Matt

    I love meatloaf but most places don’t make it well…here’s my mom’s which I absolutely love to death. I think the ammounts are about right. Never really measure.

    1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
    1 cup of chopped onion
    1 Tbsp garlic powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tsp freshly ground pepper
    1 shot of Worscestershire sauce
    1/3 cup ketchup
    1 cup italian bread crumbs
    2 large eggs

    4 potatoes
    Half stick of butter
    Splash cup of milk or cream


    1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    2: Combine meatloaf ingredients in a bowl until reasonably well combined

    3: Form into a loaf on a flat baking sheet or pan with 2 inch high sides and bake for 45min.

    4: While baking boil the potatoes until fork tender and drain

    5: Add butter and cream and mash

    6: cover meatloaf with potatoes and sprinkle with paprika

    7: Bake 15 additional minutes or so till potatoes brown a bit


  • Susan

    I always line the bottom of the pan with a couple of pieces of bread. It soaks up the fat. When you pull the meatloaf out of the pan (we like it cold) it isn’t attached to a gob of grease.

  • Chad

    I’ve been working on a meatloaf sauce, and here is what I have so far:
    1/2 cup of ketchup
    1/4 cup of dijon mustard
    2 TBS Brown Sugar
    Salt and pepper to taste

    I throw this on top of my meatloaf during the last 1/2 hour of baking. It’s a work in progress, but it’s pretty good.

  • Cindy Smith

    Make your own bread crumbs. Save all of your leftover bread and crumble it up and place in a cookie sheet. Let the crumbs sit out until they dry out (about 3 hours) Then season them to your liking and pop them into the oven at 300° for 15 minutes. Turn them once and bake for another 15 minutes. Let cool and put in plastic reclosable bag. Never buy bread crumbs again. I don’t. I freeze them in the Ziplock bag and get them out when I need them. (let them cool completely before putting them into the bag or you will have a soggy mess)

    Great ideas, thanks! What we do is take the ends or any leftover pieces of loaves of bread that get hard (happens all the time with baguettes and French or Italian loaves) and put them in a tray in a cabinet. When we need bread crumbs we take out some of these hard pieces, break them with a meat hammer into smaller chunks, and put them in the blender. Any leftover crumbs we store in the cabinet in a mason jar. ~Elise

  • Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    Really nice meatloaf recipe! I use Italian sausage in mine too. My mom used to put hard boiled eggs in the middle of the loaf. It was like having a little treasure hunt at the dinner table!

  • Stephanie

    I don’t eat beef or pork, and have never had meatloaf. Can you make this recipe with turkey or chicken sausage? Would you just cut the binding from the meat inside?

    I suggest doing a search on Food Blog Search for turkey meatloaf. You’ll find some ideas there. ~Elise

  • Kelly

    I have made this meatloaf several times, and it always receives great reviews. My boyfriend hates celery and carrots, but yet he loves my meatloaf. This meatloaf is so full of flavor, and exceptionally moist. I cannot say enough good things about this.

  • celle gore

    This is recipe s just great! Love it especially when you use it as a filling in a croissant. Delicious!

  • Kelly

    I absolutely LOVE this meatloaf recipe, as do my friends and family. This is comfort food at its finest, and it is great leftover.

  • Comfortcook

    I found this recipe this afternoon and made it for dinner. I didn’t have any carrots, but had a sweet red bell pepper (go figure) and used it instead. The recipe turned out very good and my husband loved it. I make my regular meatloaf with a few more herbs, so I missed more of an herb thing going on, but this is definately going to become part of “the rotation.” Can’t wait for the sandwiches! Thank You for taking the time to post this for all of us!!

  • geaj

    My mom always added a 3 oz softened cream cheese to her meatloaf. I have given her recipe out to friends and they swear by it now!

    • Terri

      Can you share your Mom’s recipe with me? A long time ago, I made my own meatloaf but had added a cream cheese filling and had bacon on top as well. I remember seeing a picture of the cream cheese center on a recipe and incorporating that into my own recipe. Apparently I had made it one evening that my daughter and her then boyfriend had joined us for dinner years ago. I just found out that he still says to his (now) wife (my daughter),”I wish that this was Terri’s Meatloaf”. I want to make it again, but can’t find the cream cheese addition recipe! Please help!

  • Karen P

    This is THE BEST recipe for meatloaf and I’ve tried a lot. Thank you so much! What a flavorful dish.

  • georgec

    Would there be any problem with prepping everything this the night before, putting it in the refrigerator, and then popping in the oven the next day?

    Sounds like a great way to go about it to me. ~Elise

  • Sarah T.

    This was incredible- I work at a supportive housing building and do cooking classes. Four tenants and I made it and the directions were easy to follow, it was fun, and the results were mouthwateringly delicious. We doubled the recipe, which perfectly filled three loaf pans. Thank you!

  • Toni

    First time meatloaf maker! … I made this last night and everyone loved it. The sausage is really the key ingredient. My boyfriend said it was “the best meatloaf [he’s] ever had.” And I agree! I also used Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, and I’ve heard that mashed-up-croutons are another great version to use with meatloaf. Two thumbs up!

  • Melissa L.

    What am I doing wrong? This meatloaf has *amazing* taste. I’ve made it 3-4 different times. The problem I am having is getting the meatloaf to cut into a slice and not fall apart into chunks. I let it cool for 10-15 min. but it still does it. I make sure the veggies are chopped fine (I use a food processor to ensure it). To me, I guess it’s not that big of a deal, but DH is insistent that it should be cut into a firm slice. Any advice, anyone?

    Cut thicker slices? That’s what we do. Once it has been refrigerated (we always have leftovers) the loaf slices up quite thin. We then either make sandwiches with the slices or heat them in the microwave for lunch. You could also experiment with putting a weight (wrapped in foil) on the loaf while cooking. That’s how pate gets made so that it is firm. ~Elise

    • Chef Bill

      Add extra eggs to help bind the meat. Also, many cooks will say to not over mix the meat because it will make it too firm. Meatloaf should be firm, so extra eggs, and maybe an extra 5-10 minutes cooking time as well.
      I am a chef and had the same problem because I add fresh chopped spinach and minced mushrooms to make sure the meat is moist. Also, using a leaner cut of meat such as round or sirloin will reduce the shrinkage from fat rendering off during the cooking process and help it stay together.

  • Michael

    Hello, when I was younger I used to go to the Unites States twice a year, and loved it. My favourite foods were Meat Loaf and Sloppy Joes (can’t find a recipe for Sloppy Joes). I am about to try this recipe as I have tried over 50 already and find them not ‘beefy’ enough. I am from Jaen, Andalucia, Spain and am confused by the ingredient ‘ketchup’. We have lots of tomato products in Spain, Frito etc. but not ketchup. I have found a product called ‘Heinz Tomato Ketchup’ – would this be OK? Thank you.

    Note from Elise: Heinz tomato ketchup is perfect.

  • Tracy

    I tried this recipe last night and it was a WINNER! OMG! So delicious…thank you.

  • Jenny

    Looks great! I’ve always made my meatloaf half beef half hot sausage. Using chili sauce instead of ketchup is pretty good as well.

  • vanessa

    Elise, your website has brought much joy to my family. I am finding *favorites* of your recipes, such as this one for meatloaf. I am 12 weeks pregnant and a little under the weather. The solution? Your meatloaf recipe. Who knew?!

  • wendi

    Make it quicker with use of a food processor…

    the fresh bread crumbs are so easy to crumble in the food processor.

    and use it for the carrots and celery too, they get to be a nice fine chop that looks attractive in the meatloaf without being too obvious.

  • Michael

    Its been a long time sine I’ve made meatloaf, but this recipe is wonderfully easy. I added red pimientos for color and a little brown spicy mustard for a light tangy taste.

  • PamC.

    The sauce I put on meatloaf is ketchup, maple syrup and dry mustard. It’s a great combo and really makes the meal!

  • AL

    I had never made meatloaf before and I was looking so a simple but good recipe, and instead i found a very simple and deliciouse one. Everyone loved it, even teenagers who were use to school meatload where hesitant at first but know they are meatloaf lovers. I did substitue BBQ sauce for the ketchup and went with mild italian sausage. Thanks for posting it and i will defenetly add it to my collection. AL

  • Susan

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I had already bought the ground pork and beef so didn’t use the sausage you recommended but I will next time. I think sauteeing the veggies makes a huge difference – it was so moist and tasty!!! What a great recipe…..way better than the one I’ve been using and easy too. Thanks again,

    • Steven Short

      Sautéing them also helps hold it together better. I substituted Panko crumbs for the fresh and let them set for a few minutes with the moist ingredients before adding to the rest.

  • Penny

    Oatmeal! There used to be a great recipie on the Quaker Oatmeal box. I actually called Quaker and they gave me the recipe.

    1 – 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
    3/4 Cup oatmeal
    1/4 Cup chopped onions
    salt & pepper
    1 C tomatoe juice (I use V-8)
    1 egg

    Loaf pan, 350 for an hour or so. I top it with chili sauce. Yum.

    Also good with a can of green chili or two.

    • Pat Timkew

      I have made my meatloaf for years with oatmeal’
      2 lbs of ground beef or a mixture of of ground pork and beef
      1 whole chopped onion
      1 1/2 cups oatmeal
      1 egg
      2 large squirts of ketchup
      2 Tbsp. green pickle relish
      Mix all items together (should not be too wet)
      Place in 2 loaf pans
      Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. I mix together brown sugar,mustard and ketchup and divide over tops of each loaf.
      Put back in oven for additional 15 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Freezes well but mine never seems to make it to the freezer. **Great for sandwiches. yum

  • Dee

    This was Grrreat! My sis is one of the best cooks next to grandma from southern to show off meals and now thinks I’m one in the making after making this. I used some Ragu, mmm mmm! Thank you!

  • Norma

    This meatloaf is delicious! I’ve tasted others but this is the best!

  • beyonduplication

    My favorite meatloaf:

    1 lb lean ground beef
    1/2 lb ground pork
    1 can original Rotel (undrained)
    1 egg
    1 onion, diced
    about 1/2 a sleeve (or until texture is right) of Saltine crackers
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Mix all ingredients, except cheddar, together in a bowl with your hands.
    Form into a loaf in a baking pan. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Top with cheese and return to oven about 5 minutes to melt cheese. Let it rest a few minutes before slicing.

  • Larry Holloway

    A great sauce for meatloaf is to cover the top before baking with a sauce made of:
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1 tbs brown sugar
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp dried mustard

    • Ronata Stapel

      This is the topping my mom used for me while growing up. A great sauce.

  • Tammy

    Wicked. Good.
    I added a bit of diced bell pepper just cause I had it, and I did a barbecue + ketchup topping, but otherwise followed your recipe. Mine took about an hour and 20 minutes to cook all the way thru, but it was worth the wait. Most moist and tasty meatloaf I’ve ever made. THANKS!! Time for meatloaf sandwiches…. :)

  • Holly

    Wow! What a great recipe. Absolutely delicious!! This one is a keeper, thanks for sharing.

  • mike

    I also use chili sauce on the top of my meat loaf, then I lay 3-4 strips of bacon across the top to keep it from drying out and adding excellent flavor.

  • diamonddollfla

    Thank you for helping out a total novice at cooking. This makes my fifth dish I have ever made and it was gooooood. I had more trouble trying to figure out what a scallion was supposed to look like in the store than making the whole meal.

  • Jim

    I just made this meatloaf and it’s a delicious recipe with a lot of flavor! I really like your idea for cooking the onion and other veggies on the stove, before they go into the mix, so they don’t end up tasting raw in the finished meatloaf. Thank you for introducing us to using Italian sausage in meatloaf. That adds a lot of flavor.

  • Anonymous

    This was by far the best meat loaf I have ever had. My wife wanted a recipe for meat loaf with tomato sauce and I found this one. I just can’t say enough good about the recipe.

  • Tracy

    Awesome recipe. Best thing about meatloaf is the room to creative. I “empty the fridge” sometimes — last time I added maranara sauce, garlic chunks, and a little shredded parmesan that had dried out (but not gone bad). Different taste, but it really worked. A-1, a little barbeque sauce, black strap molasass, a touch of cayenne, a small spoonfull of grape jelly, all add to the flavor — just don’t do too much of any one thing. Straight tomato paste on the roof, sprinkled with chives is the only best topping for me.

  • RD

    I’ve always like meatloaf. Especially
    meatloaf sandwiches. This reminded me
    of a recipe my Mom used to make where she
    mixed in a can of Campbell’s Vegetarian
    Vegetable soup.

    Made this for the family the other weekend. It was pretty good. Next time I might substitute
    chili sauce for the ketchup. Wasn’t sure
    what was meant by “spicy ground pork
    sausage” so used some hot and mild Ital.
    sausages we had in the freezer. Think I put too
    much ketchup on the top as it never go crusty,
    even after baking for an hour.


  • Ethan

    I tried testing a wheat-free version of this using 1 cup of puffed rice instead of the bread crumbs, worked well.

  • victoria

    I had my dad make this meatloaf for dinner, and it was delicous. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. Thanks so much for posting this recipe, thank you.

    This meatloaf rocks!

  • Jessica

    Mmm, sounds like something I’ll try! My classic (and I’ve never found one I like more) is:
    2lb lean ground beef
    1 tube ritz crackers, crushed
    1 egg
    1 small onion, diced
    1 grated carrot
    Minced fresh parsley
    Salt, pepper to taste
    Heinz Chili Sauce
    A few dashes of worshteshire sauce

    Mush the meat, crackers, egg, onion, carrot, parsley, salt, pepper, worshtesire sauce and 1/2 a bottle of chili sauce together until mixed. Form in to a loaf on a baking sheet. Spread chili sauce on top of loaf as you would ice the top of a cake. Bake for an hour. Yummilicious!


  • Elizabeth in Lawrenceville GA

    I’ve used Watkins Meat Magic in meatloaf instead of soy sauce. Again, it’s a beefy flavor with no “soy” taste. It has less salt than soy sauce, also. There are nearly as many meatloaf recipes as there are people who make it! We use 1/3 ground chuck, 1/3 ground veal and 1/3 sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings) in ours. Actual amounts of each depends on the size meatloaf we are making. My DH does like bacon on his, but to reduce the fat, I pre-cook the bacon about 1/2 – 2/3 done before laying it on top of the meatloaf (on top of the ketsup topping). Meatloaf sandwiches are a joy forever – with a little pickle relish, mustard, mayo and a cold glass of milk! Yummm! Another thing, he now likes his meatloaf made in large-size muffin tins. Easy to freeze the extra.
    So glad you posted this!

  • Doug Barber

    I’ve had good luck incorporating 1-2 TBSP soy sauce in meatloaf, and slightly reducing the salt accordingly. It seems to me to enhance the “beefy” flavor of the loaf, without imparting any soy sauce flavor of its own. I got the idea from the use of soy sauce in an excellent “au jus” recipe for roast beef drippings.

  • beckiwithani

    This sounds like a great recipe.

    When I make meatloaf, I don’t use a loaf pan – I form it into a little mound and bake it on a cookie sheet. That way I get a lot more crispy surface area on top (the best part!)

    I’ve also discovered an alternative to ketchup. Plain old Progresso chunky tomato soup has huge bits of tomatoes and is actually quite good. I heat it up and use it as a tomato “gravy” to top the loaf with. My husband loves canned soup as “comfort food,” so we always have it lying around.

    • Richard L Walker

      Yup – my mom used Campbells tomato soup. Way back in the 50s that was easier to find than ketchup and the results were terrific.

      • Shelley Pierce

        Back in the day, my great-grandmother would shape her meatloaf into a small mound in the center of a Pyrex pie dish and surround it with Franco American spaghetti. Similar concept to the ketchup or tomato soup, and it was a comfort food for my mother and I for many years.

  • Marie

    Just finished dinner. I followed this recipe to the letter and it was absolutely divine! My husband and my daughter loved it!

  • Bernadette

    I also have found that everyone loves this meatloaf. I add one red pepper to the mixture as well. And I actually put all the vegetables in the food processor before cooking. The glaze I use is a mixture of ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Yummy!

  • Hye Chong

    This recipe for meatloaf is the best! The spicy ground pork sausage adds a little something to it. My fiance loves it and requests it quite often. He brags about how good it is. Thanks! I give it an A++++++!!! Try it, you’ll be happy you did.

  • anthony

    I had to reclaim meatloaf from boarding school memories where it was grey paste specked with peas and carrot. Meatloaf is good food I’ve since found.
    A cup of cream, bay leaves on top and cooking the baking pan in a tray of water helps further erase childhood terrors.

    • Spruce

      Try adding chopped cilantro to your meatloaf, it really gives it a good kick. I also like to add jalapeno to mine, but only in small amounts, so I don’t kill those that can’t handle the heat.

      • C.J. Cannon

        And bless you for that last…cjc, chile-wimp :-)