The Best Classic Meatloaf

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In my house, when I announce that we are having Meatloaf for dinner, I am met with a hearty round of “YES!” and “YUM!!!”

How to make the Best Meatloaf that your whole family will love! A delicious homemade, classic meatloaf recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread.

Homemade meatloaf is one of those dishes that often gets mixed reviews. People seem to either love it or hate it. But might I suggest, that if you hate it because the meatloaf that you have had is dry and flavorless – give this one a try.

Not only is this meatloaf filled with wonderful flavor, but below you will also find tips for keeping your meatloaf tender and juicy. When I say my family cheers for this dish, I am not exaggerating.

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How I Make this Recipe:

How to Make Moist Meatloaf

One of the biggest complaints I have seen is that meatloaf is dry.

First of all, when you are mixing together your ingredients, do not over-mix. Over-mixing any kind of ground meat mixture, whether meatloaf or meatballs, will cause your meatloaf to become tough and dry. You want your ingredients to be just mixed.

Second, if you bake it until it is no longer pink, you are actually overcooking your meatloaf. There is an enzyme in onions that causes meat to stay pink, even when it is fully cooked. After it is exposed to the air, it will gradually become more brown.

Cooking your onions first reduces this effect a little, as well as provides more flavor to the meatloaf. But use a thermometer to check if your meatloaf is done. Trust your meat thermometer! Meatloaf is done when it reaches 160 degrees, but should be no more than 170.

Following these tips, your meatloaf will be tender, juicy, and full of flavor!

How to make the Best Meatloaf that your whole family will love! A delicious homemade, classic meatloaf recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread.

After the meatloaf is done, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

How to make the Best Meatloaf that your whole family will love! A delicious homemade, classic meatloaf recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread.

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Can I Make this with other Meats?

Yes! I have made this with all ground beef, half turkey/half beef, half beef/half bison, half beef/half caribou, and even all ground moose meat.

You decide.

Enjoy your meatloaf with some Zucchini Corn Fritters

Classic Meatloaf

Constance Smith – Cosmopolitan Cornbread
In my house, when I announce “Meatloaf for dinner!” I am met with a hearty round of “YES!” and “YUM!!!”
4.50 from 230 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Baking Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Entrées – Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 438 kcal


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 lbs ground beef, or half beef/turkey, beef/pork
  • 1 c fresh, not dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 Tb Worcestershire sauce

For the topping

  • 1/3 c ketchup
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire sauce


  • Begin pre-heating oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a skillet, sauté the diced onion in the butter until tender and beginning to get golden in color.
  • Put the ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and the sautéed onions in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and Worcestershire Sauce.
  • Pour the liquid into the larger bowl and combine it all together, mixing with your hands (they’re your best kitchen tool.)
  • Scoop the mixture out onto an edged baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
  • Shape the meat into a loaf that is about 5 inches wide and 2 inches thick.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the topping ingredients.
  • Spread the mixture over the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for about 1 hour, or until the center reads no more than 170 degrees on a meat thermometer. 160 degrees should be your target temperature.
  • Allow it to rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Enjoy!



Serving: 1cCalories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 36gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 610mgSugar: 9g

Nutritional information is auto-generated and the accuracy is not guaranteed.

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48 thoughts on “The Best Classic Meatloaf”

  1. This is my go to recipe when it comes to making meatloaf. Everyone loves it. I add a few more spices then it’s good to go. Thank you for this one.

  2. The first time I made time this I went exactly by the recipe, or so I thought, everyone RAVED about how wonderful and different it was. The second time I made it I notice I added the ingredients for the topping into the actual meatloaf. I even commented to my guest the special ingredient was brown Now my friends are making meatloaf with brown sugar. It gives it lots of extra flavor and is super moist. Who knew?!

    • Hey, sounds like something I’d do. I often forget an ingredient or two. Or go to make a recipe and discover I don’t have all the ingredients after all

  3. Made this exactly as posted. DANG! so so good. Hubs said splendid. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe. It’s a definite keeper.

  4. On your blog you say if your meatloaf is pink in the inside it still consider done and the onion is making it have a off color pink and over mixing cause the meatloaf tough, keep in mind (and I know) two things will make your meatloaf hard too.first if you slice the meatloaf and the inside is still pink then you must cook it a little longer,bake it in the oven or microwave it for a couple minutes until it is brown or heat it in a pan to get to fully brown them you’ll know if it is done it will be soft and flavorful. Second if you want your meatloaf to be soft on the outside,before you bake the meatloaf,cover the pan with a piece of aluminum foil before baking,after you had bake it for about half hour remove the foil,don’t get discouraged by the apearance of lots of water, that will be there but when you cooking the meatloaf that water will be gone and your meatloaf will be soft,moist and full of flavor and no extra cooking will be needed

  5. My family loved this meat loaf…it was super moist and tender..and the flavor was out of this world….
    Love your mixing bowls, too!!! Where did you get them???

  6. This meatloaf recipe is one of the best ever. My whole family enjoyed it. The only changes I made was to put only ketchup on the top and I didn’t add brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. I also cut the recipe in half but used a whole chopped sautéed onion. Baked an hour and was delicious.

  7. The recipe calls for 1 onion diced. How much diced onion does that translate to — 3/4 cup? 1/2 cup? 1 cup? Not all onions are the same size. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  8. I’ve tried so many meat loaf recipes and think I’ve found the keeper! It is absolutely delicious! I followed recipe except I used sugar-free ketchup in the glaze because I’m diabetic. I also like that the servings are generous! My lunch tomorrow will be a meat loaf sandwich on a low-carb wheat tortilla. Thanks for an easy-to-fix great recipe!

  9. Is there a reason it calls for fresh brumb crumbs over dried/store bought? I’ve never used fresh bread crumbs so am unsure what the benefit is.

  10. I have never had success with meatloaf; it never holds together and ends up a crumbly mess. But, this was so good! I made it for my son & daughter-in-law when we went to meet our new grandson and everyone loved it! I followed the directions to a tee and it held together and was so flavorful and moist. Thank you! This will be on my menu rotation!

  11. I’m going to make this recipe but often put bell peppers, chopped fine. I wonder if I put this in with my onions and sautee them as well. I top meatloaf with thin slices of bell pepper.
    What do you think Constance

  12. Hi Constance,
    This is, almost exactly how I’ve made my meatloaf for years. Love it! I never added oregano nor the worcestershire to the catsup and brown sugar. I will try both next time I make it. A little extra spice will be great~!~ Thank you.

  13. This recipes looks so yummy I’m making it tonight. One question, do you bake covered or uncovered?
    Thank you for sharing!!!

  14. Can you fix the print function on the recipe so that the banner doesn’t write over the ingredients.
    (Do not sell my personal information ) prints right over the amounts for the ingredients so useless.

  15. Wow I never thought of adding milk although Julia Child added milk to her hamburgers. Next time I will try it with the milk I made one today, I added barbecue sauce.


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