Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe

This is the BEST Classic Meatloaf Recipe out there! Super moist, easy to make with basic pantry ingredients and everyone always gives it RAVE reviews!

This is the BEST Classic Meatloaf Recipe out there! Super moist, easy to make and everyone always gives it RAVE reviews!pinterestNothing says comfort food better than a good old fashioned meatloaf recipe. This meatloaf is not a complicated dish. In fact, my recipe has the most basic, simple ingredients, yet still gets 5 stars all the way!

Best Classic Meatloaf Ingredients:

  • Ground Beef – I like to use a lean ground beef, around 90 to 93% fat free.
  • Binding Ingredients – eggs and breadcrumbs.
  • Seasonings and Spices –  diced onion, garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper and my secret ingredient: BBQ sauce!

Easy Meatloaf Recipe with simple ingredients in a bowl

How To Make Meatloaf:

  • Once all your ingredients are combined, use your hands to really get in there and mix it all together. This is one of my favorite parts!
  • We are doing what is called a “Free Form” meatloaf. You’ll shape your meatloaf on top of a foil lined baking sheet. Try to get it about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.
  • Pop the meatloaf into the oven and let it cook for about 45 minutes.

Free form meatloaf recipe is such a quick and delicious weeknight dinner!

How Long Do You Cook Meatloaf Per Pound?

  • For the first pound of meatloaf I would start at 30 minutes, then increase 15 minutes per pound after that.
  • You’re looking for a final internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Notice how I say FINAL? This is because the last 10 to 15 minutes we’re going to bump up the heat to 400 degrees and add our topping. So the first round in the oven it won’t be to temp yet.
  • If you decide to cook your meatloaf in a pan, rather than free form, you’ll want to increase cooking time a bit. Just check with an instant read thermometer for 160 degrees.

The best Meatloaf Sauce for topping classic meatloaf recipe!

The Best Meatloaf Sauce Topping:

  • I love this super easy topping for my meatloaf because it’s just 3 simple ingredients and I always have them on hand.
  • Mix ketchup, mustard and brown sugar together in a bowl. After the first round of baking, spread the sauce evenly over the top of the meatloaf, then bake again until finished.
  • The sauce gives the meatloaf a nice kick of flavor on top!

This is the BEST American Meatloaf recipe! My kids ask for seconds!

Easy Meatloaf Recipe Tips & Variations:

  • If you’re not into seeing pieces of onion in your meatloaf, swap out the diced onion for 1 tsp onion powder.
  • Want to sneak in more veggies? Try adding in shredded carrots, zucchini or diced bell peppers!
  • Can I Use Ground Turkey for Meatloaf? Yes! You’ll want to make sure you cook till internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Why Did My Meatloaf Fall Apart? If your meatloaf is falling apart, chances are you don’t have enough binding ingredients or you didn’t press the loaf together tight enough.
  • How Can I Make Meatloaf Gluten Free? An easy way to make this recipe gluten free is to crush up some Rice Chex or Corn Chex in place of the breadcrumbs!

Quick and Easy Meatloaf Recipe for dinner is my family's favorite!

What To Serve With Meatloaf Dinner:

Planning to make this delicious Meatloaf Recipe for dinner? Here are some super simple side dishes that’ll make this a complete meal.

More Easy Meatloaf Recipes:

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Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe
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5 from 28 votes

Best Classic Meatloaf Recipe

This is the BEST Classic Meatloaf Recipe out there! Super moist, easy to make and everyone always gives it RAVE reviews!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 289 kcal
Author: Shawn


  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup bbq sauce

For the Topping:

  • cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick spray, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the meatloaf ingredients and mix with clean hands, until fully combined. Press the meatloaf mixture into an 8" x 4" loaf on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, then remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
  • Whisk together the topping ingredients, spread over the meatloaf and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in center.
  • Let meatloaf rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!



Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 865mg | Potassium: 539mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 4mg
Keywords: Best, Classic, Easy, Meatloaf Recipe, Simple
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!


YUM! Quick and Easy Meatloaf Recipe for dinner is my family's favorite!

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
43 Responses
    1. Shawn

      Hi Wendy! It sounds like you must have accidentally pressed the 3x button on the recipe scale. If you change that back to 1x it’ll be for your 2lb meatloaf. 🙂

  1. Michelle

    5 stars
    I made this and it’s the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. I really like that it’s a free form shape. It came out juicy and full of flavor. Putting it into regular rotation. Thumbs up from kids and adults.

  2. Eunice

    I have a question you said on the recipe to press the meat loaf into an 8×4 ” pan. But on your website you showed it not in a loaf pan but sitting on the sprayed tin foil.
    Do use a loaf pan or not and could it be made in a small cake pan? It looks delicious and I want to make it. Thanks and I hope I will get a reply.

    1. Shawn

      Hey Eunice, this is a free-form meatloaf, so you’ll shape it into a 8″x4″ loaf and bake it. If you do want to bake it in a cake pan, you’ll just want to keep an eye on the internal temperature to make sure it cooks to the proper temperature. Hope that helps!

      1. Eunice

        Thanks for the reply and when I reread the instructions I see it did say shape into a lot 8’x4′ ( no pan listed.. I think I will do it the way you have shown with it on the baking sheet. I am planning on doing it soon.

    1. Shawn

      Hi Catherine, you could make it in a loaf pan, but you’ll most likely need it to cook longer. The fat that’s rendered from the meatloaf will also not have anywhere to go, so it’ll be a little more soggy where the fat collects.

        1. Shawn

          Absolutely! I think that’s a great idea. You’ll want to reduce the cook time a bit, until the inside reaches 160 degrees F.

      1. Melissa Lajaunie

        Making this for Sunday game day lunch. This is the fourth time I’ve made it for the family and it’s a favorite. Perfect! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Crystal

    5 stars
    Wow this was delicious. I made it tonight verbatim and came out well it’s gone now and I feel sad…lol so yeah it’s was yummy and was my first time making meatloaf so and really expected to not do so good…anyway thanks made my day!

  4. Kelli

    I can’t wait to try this tonight! If I just make 1 lb of beef, would I keep the same amount of cook time? Thanks!

    1. Shawn

      Hi Kelli, You would need to reduce the amount of your first bake to 25 – 30 min. The second bake at 400 degrees would remain the same. To be on the safe side be sure to check your internal temp and make sure it cooks to 160 degrees F inside. Hope this helps!

  5. Kevin

    5 stars
    I ❤️ Meatloaf! I’ve been making a lot of different variations lately (for example, Italian Meatloaf). I googled “best classic meatloaf” and this was my first hit. This meatloaf delivered! The absolute best I’ve ever had! The BBQ sauce and zippy topping put it over the top! Thanks for sharing! This meatloaf will be in my regular recipe rotation!

  6. CTY

    Sounds tasty indeed. DH is a huge meatloaf fan (me not so much)so I think I will make this for him and squirrel some away to the freezer for another day and I will have one of my favorites (but DH not so much favorite) of breakfast for dinner. THank you for the Win?Win

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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