Classic Meatloaf Recipe

Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors

Introduction

This classic meatloaf recipe is the best meatloaf as it's a hit with everyone around the dinner table. With its crispy browned edges and moist, tender inside, this dish is sure to please! Let's get cooking!

Watch this video for Alton Brown's take on how to make meatloaf!

What is meatloaf?

Meatloaf is a dish that consists of ground beef, salt, pepper and onion mixed with eggs. Sometimes bread crumbs are added to the mixture as well. The ingredients are usually all combined together in one sheet pan or baking sheet before being baked for about an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius). This results in a solid loaf-shaped piece of meat that is the ultimate comfort food.

The flavor of beef meatloaf may be enhanced with different types of sauces and spices, or cheese can also be added to the mixture. Some varieties include adding some vegetables such as bell peppers and carrots for additional nutrition and flavor.

This dish has been around for centuries. It was first mentioned in the 1300's by a cook to King Edward II who requested it as an occasional treat. That means meatloaf is at least 600 years old! A Dutch recipe from 1684 called "Leesvleesch" (lean bread) describes a process that resembles what we now know as meatloaf.

In the 18th century, cooks were adding mashed potatoes to improve flavor and nutrition of the dish. This became a more popular way to make it in America when faced with food shortages during World War II. In 1979, Kraft Foods introduced their own version of "Liverwurst" which was ground beef, salt, milk and onion. They added mashed potatoes to the mixture as well, which became known as "Kraft Meat Loaf".

It is also common for people in America to add extra ketchup or brown sugar to their wonderful recipe before cooking them. These additions are more popular on Southern style dishes because they bring out a smokier flavor.

Keep reading below for the best meatloaf recipe - whether this is your first time making it or the next time is the thousandth time, this recipe is sure to delight!

How to make a classic meatloaf recipe?

Ingredients

Meatloaf

  • Ground beef (or ground turkey for a lean meat), about two pounds
  • Bread crumbs - about half a cup
  • Egg - one egg, beaten with a fork
  • Onion (optional) - two tablespoons of chopped onion or shallot
  • Garlic - a teaspoon of chopped garlic (can use garlic powder, about a teaspoon, if no garlic is on hand)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste - about a quarter to half a teaspoon of each

Meatloaf Glaze

  • Parsley, thyme, basil, oregano (fresh preferred but dried can be used) - one teaspoon of each
  • Tomato paste, or canned tomato sauce - 1/4 of a cup
  • Ketchup - 1/4 of a cup
  • Worcestershire sauce - one tablespoon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix ground beef, garlic, onions, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment until well combined - about five minutes on low speed - to make the meatloaf mixture.
  3. Place the meat mixture into an oiled loaf pan (or two smaller pans).
  4. In a separate small bowl combine parsley, thyme, basil, oregano with tomato paste or canned sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce then add to the top of the ground beef mixture in the loaf pan for the perfect loaf shape.
  5. Bake for about an hour, until a thermometer inserted into the center reads an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  6. Let cool and then remove from pan to slice with a knife.
  7. Serve hot with side dishes as desired.
  8. Enjoy!

Tips for making meatloaf

  • Substitute ground turkey for the beef for a leaner dish.
  • Combine various nuts with breadcrumbs to get more texture. Nuts such as walnuts have added omega-fatty acids.
  • Add some shredded vegetables; (onion, carrot) to get a boost of flavor and nutrients. You can also add more tomatoes or tomato sauce for extra moisture and sweetness.
  • Use whole wheat breadcrumbs instead of white ones to make it healthier.
  • Cook covered in a 350°F oven for about an hour or until done (make sure it is cooked through).
  • Turn off heat under pan; let stand 15 minutes before slicing. If any liquid remains, drain from meatloaf into a saucepan on stovetop
  • Substitute soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce and / or BBQ sauce for ketchup for an added tangy glaze.
  • Cover with aluminum foil before baking to retain more moisture.
  • Cover with plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator.

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Tips for serving

  • Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans (or other vegetables of your choice).
  • Add ketchup on top of slices of meatloaf as a condiment.
  • Serve with au gratin potatoes and broccoli (or other vegetables).
  • Add gravy to the mashed potatoes for extra flavor; add parsley or thyme leaves too, if you like.
  • Place between two buns / slices of bread for a meatloaf sandwich.

Final thoughts on meatloaf

Hope you enjoyed this article on meatloaf!

Looking for more on Meatloaf and other similar content? Try these:

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Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors