Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Irresistible meatloaf recipe, so tender and juicy! If flavorful comfort food always sounds like a good idea in your house the way it does in ours, then this easy meatloaf recipe is a must for your meal plan this week! It’s a traditional meatloaf recipe made with simple ingredients for that classic Italian flavor that we never seem to stop craving. Your families are going to love this one!
Serve this homemade meatloaf with cheesy scalloped potatoes for the ultimate comforting dinner!
Cooler weather is on the way, and I am BEYOND ready for some delicious comfort food! This meatloaf is definitely comfort food at its finest, and I promise after one bite of this saucy, beefy dish, you’ll never try another meatloaf recipe again. It’s packed full of flavor and also happens to be super easy to make.
It’s not every day that I claim one of my recipes as “the best ever”, but if there was one that might deserve that title, this meatloaf would have to be it! When I think of classic American comfort food, meatloaf ranks pretty high on that list. We’ve all had that bland, greasy slab of meatloaf from a sub-par diner before, but I promise you this recipe is NOTHING like that.
Ingredients Needed For This Meatloaf Recipe
My mom has been tweaking our family meatloaf recipe for a few years. After one bite, my dad said, “this is the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever had!” Here is a list of the simple ingredients used to create the BEST meatloaf recipe.
- Ground beef. You can really use any ground meat you’d like. I like to use 90% to 93% lean ground beef for this recipe. 80% lean beef tends to leave grease in the bottom of the pan, and 96% lean beef tends to dry out and get crumbly.
- Egg and saltine crackers. These ingredients help with binding the loaf.
- Sauce. Ketchup and tomato sauce give this meatloaf tons of flavor.
- Parmesan cheese. This particular meatloaf recipe has an Italian flair and parmesan cheese is the perfect addition!
- Seasonings. The combination of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, dried basil and sugar really take this meatloaf recipe to the next level!
How to Make Meatloaf
Not only is this meatloaf super tasty, but it’s also SO easy to make!
- Combine ingredients. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. The best way to really incorporate all of the ingredients together is to use your hands.
- Transfer to lined loaf pan. Once ingredients are mixed, but not over mixed. Pick up the meatloaf and place it in a loaf pan. Gently press it down to make it level.
- Cook. Pop the meatloaf into the oven and bake for 1 hour. After 1 hour, take the meatloaf out of the oven and pour the reserved 1/2 of tomato sauce over the top and spread it out evenly and bake another 15 minutes.
- Rest. After meatloaf is fully cooked and out of the oven, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan and slicing.
- Enjoy! Remove meatloaf from loaf pan to a large serving plate, slice and enjoy topped with fresh parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
How Long to Cook Meatloaf
Meatloaf will need to cook at 350°F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (depending on shape/size). The best way ensure it is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer inserted into the center should read an internal temperature of 160°F.
Make sure you let your meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before you slice it, so it doesn’t fall apart and it retains all of its juices! I like to tent it with aluminum foil so it keeps warm while it’s resting.
Tips For the Best Meatloaf
This easy meatloaf recipe is pretty much foolproof, but follow the tips below for meatloaf perfection!
- For the ground beef in this recipe, I like to use 90% to 93% lean ground beef. 80% lean beef tends to leave grease in the bottom of the pan, and 96% lean beef tends to dry out and get crumbly.
- I recommend using this meatloaf pan for easier removal of the meatloaf and less grease at the bottom of your meatloaf. I promise – it’s a game changer! If you don’t have a meatloaf pan, I suggest lining the loaf pan with foil or a very strong parchment paper.
- Do not over mix the ingredients. Overmixing will cause your meatloaf to become dense making it seem tough and not tender. As with most ground beef recipes (including hamburgers or meatballs), the beef and add-ins should be mixed just until combined.
- Make ahead option. The meat mixture can be assembled and added to the loaf pan about 24 hours before you plan to cook it.
- Leftover meatloaf, stored in an airtight container, is good in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
Can you freeze meatloaf?
Before cooking. To freeze meatloaf before cooking, place in a lined loaf pan (or form a loaf on a pan). Freeze completely and then store in a freezer-safe bag or other container. Defrost raw frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator 24 hours. Bake as directed.
After cooking. Once cooked and cooled, freeze the individual slices on a parchment-lined pan and once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. This makes it easy to grab one slice or several to reheat! Simply reheat in the microwave or in the oven.
More Favorite Italian Dinner Recipes:
If you try this easy meatloaf recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I like to use 90 to 93% lean ground beef)
- 1 egg, whisked
- 3/4 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 20 crackers)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Fresh parsley, chopped, optional for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. and prepare a 9x5" loaf pan by lining it with foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Really love this meatloaf pan for easier removal and no grease on the bottom of my meatloaf. If you use the special meatloaf pan, don't worry about the foil, just spray with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except 1/2 of the tomato sauce. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until fully incorporated.
- Add the meat mixture to a loaf pan. Pat the meat down into an even layer.
- Bake for 1 hour. Take meatloaf out of the oven and pour the reserved 1/2 of tomato sauce over the top and spread it out evenly and bake another 15 minutes.
- Allow meatloaf to cool for about 10 minutes and then cut loaf into 8 even slices.