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Traditional Meatloaf

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  • Prep 10 min
  • Total 1 hr 20 min
  • Servings 6
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Around here, meatloaf just tastes like home. Homemade meatloaf has been a staple in American kitchens for generations. And for good reason. It’s wholesome, it’s hearty, and in just a few steps, you’ve got plenty to go around. Using everyday ingredients that you probably already have on hand, you can create a crowd-pleasing meal that’s easy to make and easy to love.

Meatloaf is the quintessential comfort food. Something about the taste, the texture and the aroma, fills your whole kitchen with a sense of nostalgia. Let the flavors bring you back to memories of home-cooked meals past, and know that with every bite, you’re creating new moments to cherish. It’s the perfect go-to recipe for a weeknight dinner or a casual gathering—whenever you’ve got a craving for comfort.

We have streamlined this traditional meatloaf recipe so you get the best results. No hard-to-find ingredients, fussy steps or special equipment required. Just mix, bake, sauce, and serve. It’s that easy.

One thing that’s so wonderful about homemade meatloaf is its flexibility. Want to personalize the taste? Add a little extra sage or your favorite herbs to make the flavor your own. Want to make an easy meal even easier? Check out our Classic Slow-Cooker Meatloaf recipe and let your slow cooker do the work for you. Looking to step up the spice? Take a look at our Savory Meatloaf recipe that adds a whole lot more flavor with just a little extra effort.

How to Make Meatloaf

Time to dive right into this recipe. The full steps are below, but first, an overview.

The First Step Is Prep

Luckily, there’s not a lot of advanced work to do. Just beat 2 eggs and finely chop 1/4 cup of onion. Then mix that together with a pound of lean ground beef, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and a 1/2 cup each of ketchup and milk. The breadcrumbs and the eggs act as a bonding agent, keeping your meatloaf together. Stir well until the seasoning is evenly distributed, and you end up with a beautiful, uniform mixture.

Shape Up

For truly iconic, traditional meatloaf, it’s all about the ‘loaf.’ Use an ungreased 8x4-inch loaf pan and firmly pack the meatloaf mixture. A densely packed meatloaf is one that will keep its shape and that will be positively bursting with flavor.

Into the Oven

Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes. Once the meatloaf starts to set, remove it and spread your sauce over the top. Here, we’re keeping it simple and using ketchup, but if you’d like, the sauce is a great place to experiment. Read on for some tips!

Once your loaf is sauced, let it finish in the oven, so the flavors can meld and combine, and the meatloaf can come up to a safe temperature. Then it’s just a matter of being a little patient while your homemade meatloaf cools down and your kitchen fills with the unforgettable scent of home-cooked goodness.

Plating and Presentation

Let the meatloaf cool for a few minutes, then use a spatula on either side to lift the loaf out, and place it onto your serving dish. Traditionally, meatloaf is sliced the same way you’d slice a loaf of bread. When you’re plating your meatloaf, take care to keep the sauce clear of any side dishes.

Updated Jul 9, 2024
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Meatloaf Sauces

One great way to take a traditional meatloaf recipe to the next level is by experimenting with the sauce. The iconic version of meatloaf uses everyday ketchup. The slightly savory, tangy flavor complements the well-rounded taste of the meatloaf perfectly, and with how many wonderful options there are for store-bought ketchup, you can get a whole lot of flavor without a lot of effort.

But if you want to step it up, here’s a great place to start. A combination of equal parts ketchup and BBQ sauce plus a tablespoon of brown sugar is one of the most common variations. The dash of sweetness you get from the brown sugar adds a great boost to the ketchup and BBQ and gives it a texture that’s more like a glaze, infusing the recipe with complex flavors.

The sauce is such a great place for experimenting because the ketchup base is so versatile. Maybe you’d like to add some curry spice. Or, add a splash of savory Worcestershire sauce. Depending on the seasonings you add, you can make your sauce even saucier, and make your homemade meatloaf truly taste like your own.



  • 1 lb lean ground beef (at least 80%)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Progresso™ Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • 1/4 cup ketchup
Make With
Progresso Breadcrumbs


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, mix Meatloaf ingredients well. Press mixture in ungreased 8x4-inch loaf pan. Bake 40 minutes
  • 2
    Remove from oven. Spread 1/4 cup ketchup evenly over top. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160°F. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Do If My Meatloaf Is Falling Apart?

Ground beef doesn’t hold its shape all on its own. For this meatloaf recipe, it’s the mixture of eggs and breadcrumbs that binds it together. If you find your mixture not holding together, simply use more of the binding ingredients. Add an extra egg to the mixture or increase the amount of breadcrumbs you’re using. Another idea is to mix the breadcrumbs and eggs together first, and then add that resulting mixture to the ground beef.

Whatever method you try, as long as you stir it in well and the mixture has a uniform texture, it’ll still bake perfectly even if you adjusted the recipe.

How Do I Make Sure My Meatloaf will be Moist?

We designed this meatloaf recipe to deliver the classically craveable meatloaf taste and texture. But if you want to supercharge your meatloaf and make it as tender and juicy as possible, here are some ideas for how to achieve the meatloaf of your dreams.

Extra ingredients, or simple steps. In addition to contributing to the binding power of the recipe, an additional egg can add some much needed moisture to the recipe, without overpowering the taste. Or, soak the breadcrumbs in milk before adding them to the mix. This helps keep the breadcrumbs from drying out during baking and adds moisture to the meatloaf.

With ground beef, fat means flavor. This traditional meatloaf recipe calls for 80% lean ground beef. That’s because leaner varieties of ground beef have much less fat, which can contribute to the meat drying out a bit faster. Choosing ground beef with a higher fat content ensures that the meat will stay moist and plump throughout baking, for juicy, delicious meatloaf.


270 Calories, 12g Total Fat, 19g Protein, 23g Total Carbohydrate, 9g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
4 1/2g
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
1 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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