A good classic meatloaf recipe should never be over-mixed, should always include a glaze, and the secret? Well, that’s in a combination of ground meat you don’t want to miss!

It seems like meatloaf is a divisive dish. You either love it or you hate it. I think it all depends on if you’ve had an amazingly awesome meatloaf like this one, or if you’ve only had mediocre meatloaf. We are making everyone into meatloaf lovers with this recipe!

A tray holding meatloaf that has four slices cut, sprinkled with parsley leaves

Does it even matter who is coming to dinner if Mom’s meatloaf is on the menu? This is our favorite classic meatloaf recipe plus every frequently asked question to help it turn out perfect every single time!

What Ingredients Do You Need for Classic Meatloaf?

Let’s start by talking about the ingredients you will need. I mentioned the combination of meat that makes the most outrageously delicious meatloaf, so here it is:

  • Meat combination:
    • Beef Chuck (ground)
    • Pork (ground)
    • Veal (ground)

It is seriously the best! But if you want to keep it simple, you can use all ground beef chuck and it will be still be delicious.

These are the other ingredients you will need:

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrot
  • Thyme
  • Eggs
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Milk
  • Ritz Crackers (or bread crumbs)
  • Fresh Parsley

A tabletop containing several dishes holding ground meat with a spoon, shredded carrots, chopped onions, garlic cloves, sea salt, pepper, dried thyme, mustard and ketchup.

Then we absolutely cannot forget about the glaze! It is my favorite part!! It is the perfect way to top this meatloaf:

  • Ketchup
  • Chili Sauce
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Salt

A bowl of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, vinegar and sugar that has been whisked together to make a glaze. The whisk is resting in the bowl.

How to Make Meatloaf:

Now that we know all the ingredients, let’s walk through each step of how to make this classic meatloaf recipe. We are going to include a photo of each step as well. Here we go!
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place a skillet on your stove top and heat the oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion, carrots, and garlic until it soft. It should take about 5 minutes then set them aside to cool.
While the veggiess are cooking, I like to whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze so that it’s ready when I need it.
Then grab a small bowl and whisk the eggs with the thyme, salt, pepper, and milk.
A large bowl containing two eggs, and spices, with milk being poured onto the bowl.
Then add in the mustard, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce and whisk everything together.
A large bowl in which eggs, spices and milk have been whisked together. A whisk remains in the bowl.

Meat Mixture

Place your meat(s) in a large bowl and add the egg mixture to it. Also add the crackers, parsley, and the onions, carrots and garlic you sauteed. Mix everything together with a fork until thoroughly combined but be sure to not overmix it. The mixture should not stick to the bowl when it is stirred.
A bowl filled with ground meat. A spoon is in the meat.
Move the meat mixture into a meatloaf pan pressing it firmly down so that it is evenly distributed throughout the pan. Brush about a quarter of the glaze all over the top of the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf into the oven and bake it until the glaze is set (about 45 minutes).
A meatloaf in a loaf pan with a red glaze being poured over the top.
When the glaze has set, pull the meatloaf out of the oven and top with another quarter of the glaze. Place it back into the oven and continue to bake it until the second coat has set and loaf is 160 degrees in the middle of the loaf (about 15 more minutes).
An uncooked meatloaf with a glaze on top, in a loaf pan.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. While it is cooling, simmer the remaining glaze over medium heat until it has thickened slightly.
A white dinner plate containing mashed potatoes, green beans, and two slices of meatloaf. A red glaze is being poured from a spoon onto the top of the meatloaf.
Now it is time to slice and serve! Slice the meatloaf and serve with the extra glaze. I like to put it in a little bowl and let people add extra if they want. This meatloaf is so dang good! I want a slice right now!

A tray with a partially sliced meatloaf. A small container of glaze sits next to the meatloaf and a plate of green beans is in the background. There are parsley leaves sprinkled around.

What to Serve with Meatloaf?

This is a classic comfort food meal, so you need to have some classic comfort food sides. We love this meatloaf with some sort of potato side dish like mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or baked potatoes. Then just for good measure, we like to have a vegetable or salad side dish too. Green beans with bacon, lemon roasted broccoli, tomato mozzarella salad, or a delicious fruit salad are a few of our favorites!

A plate containing two slices of meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. There is a small container of glaze in the background.

How Make Meatloaf Moist?

One way to make meat loaf moist is to use high fat meats. Leaner meats will be dry out quickly, so using higher fat meat will keep it nice and tender. Another important part of making a moist meatloaf is to be sure to add moisture at every step. The eggs, milk, Worcestershire, ketchup and mustard are all important. Sauteing the vegetables is also a critical step to keeping it moist.

A tray containing a partially sliced meatloaf. There are two forks next to the tray and a container of glaze in the background. Parsley leaves are scattered over all.

Why Does My Meatloaf Fall Apart?

The binders, like egg and bread crumbs that we add to meatloaf are what keep it all together. If your meatloaf falls apart, more binders need to be added the next time you make it. Meatloaf will also fall apart if it gets too dry by overcooking it.

A tray containing a partially sliced meatloaf. There are parsley leaves sprinkled around the meatloaf and a container of glaze beside the tray. There is a stack of white dinner plates with forks on them in the background.

Can Meatloaf Have A Little Pink?

It is possible to cook meatloaf to a safe temperature and for it to still be a little pink. If your meatloaf has reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit in the center, then it is perfectly safe to eat.

A white dinner plate containing two slices of meatloaf and green beans and mashed potatoes with butter in the middle and sprinkled with parsley leaves.

How Do You Know When Meatloaf Is Done?

When a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest portion of the meatloaf reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit your meatloaf is done and safe to eat.

A white dinner plate containing two slices of meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes topped with butter, and sprinkled with parsley leaves. there is a green plaid napkin beside the plate and a small container of glaze in the background.

Can Meatloaf Be Made Without Eggs?

Eggs are a key binder for meatloaf, but there are a few alternatives that can be used. You can use 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, beef broth or unsweetened applesauce.

A white dinner plate containing two slices of meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes topped with melting butter. A green plaid napkin and a container of red glaze is in the background.

Can You Freeze Meatloaf Before Baking?

Meatloaf is a great meal to freeze beforehand. Prepare the meatloaf as the instructions state including adding the glaze on the top. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours. Then pull the pan out and wrap the whole pan in plastic wrap. If you have a freezer bag that is big enough, place the whole pan in a bag and seal it.

When you are ready to eat it, place the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator so it can thaw for about 24 hours. Remove the bag and plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature. Bake it according to the instructions.

How Long Will Meatloaf Keep?

Cooked meatloaf that is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator will last for 3-4 days. If you want it to last a little longer, try freezing it wrapped in heavy foil and stored in an airtight container. It will last in the freezer for up to 2 months.

A white dinner plate containing two slices of meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes topped with butter and parsley leaves. A green plaid napkin and a container of red glaze is in the backgrounnd.

Can Meatloaf Be Cooked In A Crock Pot?

Absolutely! Follow all the instructions as listed, but rather than placing the meat mixture into a pan, place it on a large piece of foil and form it into a symmetrical loaf shape. Top the meatloaf with half of the glaze and place the meatloaf with the foil underneath it into the crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours.

You can’t go wrong with Mom’s recipe, especially this classic meatloaf recipe! Invite over some new friends and enjoy this comfort food together!

More Comfort Meals You’ll Love:

Classic Meatloaf Recipe

4.14 from 22 votes
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


A good classic meatloaf recipe should never be over-mixed, should always include a glaze and the secret? Well that's in a combination of ground meat you don't want to miss!


  • 2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Onion , chopped fine
  • 1/4 Cup Carrot, finely shredded
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, medium, minced
  • 2 Eggs, large
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, dried
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoon Ketchup
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef Chuck
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Pork
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Veal, or 2 lbs. meatloaf mix
  • 2/3 Cup Ritz Crackers, Crushed or 1/4 Cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley, Fresh, chopped


  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 Cup Chili Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt


For the Meatloaf

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion, carrots and garlic; Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil, 3/4 Cup Onion, 1/4 Cup Carrot, 3 Cloves Garlic
  • Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and milk. Add egg mixture to meat in large bowl along with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion, carrots and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl.
    2 Eggs, 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, 1 teaspoon Sea Salt, 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, 2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard, 2 teaspoon Ketchup, 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 Cup Whole Milk, 1 Pound Ground Beef Chuck, 1/2 lb. Ground Pork, 1/2 lb. Ground Veal, 2/3 Cup Ritz Crackers, 1/4 Cup Parsley
  • Turn meat mixture into meatloaf pan. Brush top with a quarter of the glaze. Bake until glaze is set, about 45 minutes. Top with another quarter of the glaze; continue to bake until second coat has set and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 15 minutes longer.
  • Cool for 10 minutes and meanwhile, simmer remaining glaze over medium heat until thickened slightly.
  • Slice meatloaf and serve with extra glaze passed separately.

For the Glaze

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small bown and whisk it together until smooth,
    1/2 Cup Ketchup, 1/2 Cup Chili Sauce, 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce, 2 1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1/4 teaspoon Salt


Left overs can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 498kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 31gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 1228mgPotassium: 744mgFiber: 2gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 1495IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 97mgIron: 3mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 + BEST Easy Beef Recipes for Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American

A tray holding meatloaf that has four slices cut, sprinkled with parsley leaves


When you try a recipe, please use the hashtag #ohsweetbasil on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured in our stories!  FOLLOW OH, SWEET BASIL ON FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER FOR ALL OF OUR LATEST CONTENT, RECIPES AND STORIES.