★★★★★

The Best Meatloaf Recipe

Our best Meatloaf recipe has a sweet and tangy bbq glaze. This Perfect Meatloaf is tender, flavorful, and better than you remember from childhood, give it a try tonight!

Whip up this family favorite and add a side of corn casserole with baked sweet potatoes (made in the Instant Pot). Don’t forget the side of Pistachio Fluff. The perfect midwest meal.

Meatloaf with glaze served on a plate with peas and sweet potato.

Why this Recipe Works

Growing up as a child of the 70’s, meatloaf was a staple on our family dinner table. I grew up eating this dinner, and to this day I still serve this classic meal to my family.

Only, now I’ve changed up the flavor. 

Or I should say, I’ve added MORE flavor. 

I’ve taken the traditional meat loaf recipe of childhood and added a tangy glaze of homemade bbq sauce. It’s so good! Especially when served with a side of au gratin potatoes!

When you hear people talk about mom’s meatloaf, this is why. Put away all your misconceptions about what makes a great meatloaf, and give this delicious dinner a try!

Favorite Beef Recipes: Swedish Meatballs | Beef Taco Skillet

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for the best meatloaf with glaze.

For a tastier meatloaf, be sure to season it properly! And follow my tips for a juicy slice of beef.

  • Ground Beef- choose an 80 or 85% beef. Don’t opt for the super lean here, has the extra fat in the beef will result in a tender slice of meatloaf!
  • Seasonings- garlic powder, minced onion, kosher salt, and pepper help flavor the beef.
  • Dairy- milk and shredded cheese help create an incredibly MOIST meatloaf that will slice perfectly.
  • Oats- I opt for quick cook oats, but classic old fashioned will work fine too (and provide a chewier texture). Do not use steel cut oats in this recipe! If desired, you can swap out the oats for breadcrumbs instead!
  • Glaze- You’ll need brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard to create the tangy glaze on top. Even my condiment hating husband loves this meatloaf glaze!

How to make The Best Meatloaf

Step by step photos showing how to make meatloaf.

STEP 1:  Start with ground beef. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

STEP 2: Combine your ground in a bowl with minced onion, garlic powder, quick cook oats, cheddar cheese, milk, eggs, kosher salt and pepper. Mix by hand or with a wooden spoon until combined.

STEP 3: Line a large baking sheet or shallow baking pan (make sure it has at least a 1″ side to collect any moisture or glaze) with aluminum foil. Shape your meat mixture into a loaf. Some people will use an actual loaf pan or bread pan, but I prefer the way it cooks on a baking sheet.

Next make your meatloaf glaze recipe.

STEP 4: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup ketchup, light brown sugar, and yellow mustard. Spoon glaze over the top of your meatloaf. 

STEP 5: Bake in a preheated oven for about 55 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Mealoaf with glaze sliced on a black serving plate.

Recipe FAQs

Can I bake my meatloaf in a loaf pan?

YES! absolutely! You may want to line the pan with foil or parchment paper for easy release. I would use a 9-inch loaf pan, and use a meat thermometer to check doneness.

How long do I cook meatloaf?

My classic meatloaf recipe will cook in a 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes. The key is to check the internal temperature, and remove from oven when it reaches 160 degrees F.

Can you freeze Meatloaf?

Yes. Wrap uncooked meatloaf in plastic wrap then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to two months. When ready to cook, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake according to recipe directions.

Why does my meatloaf fall apart?

Meatloaf can fall apart if you don’t have anything to bind it together. Don’t skip adding the egg and milk to this recipe. It helps bind the beef together and keep it from crumbling.

What to do with Leftovers

One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is a leftover meatloaf sandwich.

But, if you find you’ve really made too much, you can wrap it and freeze your leftovers. Heat in microwave for a quick lunch.

Or, break up the cooked meatloaf and put in tacos!

Sliced meatloaf with glaze on a serving plate.

Serving Suggestions

I know it’s not the holidays, but we still love making this Sweet Potato Casserole year round! It’s sweet and delicious, and goes great with this BBQ meatloaf recipe!

If you’re going to serve the perfect meatloaf you should also serve the The Best Mac and Cheese. This homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is one of the dishes my kids request on a weekly basis. I’ll change it up sometimes and serve this Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese too.

More Dinner Recipes

Yield: serves 8

Meatloaf Recipe with Glaze

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Our best Meatloaf recipe has a sweet and tangy bbq glaze. This Perfect Meatloaf is tender, flavorful, and better than you remember from childhood, give it a try tonight!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Quick Cook Oatmeal
  • 1 ½ cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ cup Milk (any kind)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • ½ cup Ketchup
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon Yellow Mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine your ground beef in a bowl with minced onion, garlic powder, quick cook oats, cheddar cheese, milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix by hand or with a wooden spoon until combined.
  3. Line a large baking sheet or shallow baking pan (make sure it has at least a 1" side to collect any moisture or glaze) with aluminum foil. Shape your meat mixture into a loaf.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup ketchup, light brown sugar, and yellow mustard. Spoon glaze over the top of your meatloaf. 
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for about 55 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!


Notes

  • Can I bake my meatloaf in a loaf pan? YES! absolutely! You may want to line the pan with foil or parchment paper for easy release. I would use a 9-inch loaf pan, and use a meat thermometer to check doneness.
  • How long do I cook meatloaf? My classic meatloaf recipe will cook in a 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes. The key is to check the internal temperature, and remove from oven when it reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Can you freeze Meatloaf? Yes. Wrap uncooked meatloaf in plastic wrap then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to two months. When ready to cook, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake according to recipe directions.
  • Why does my meatloaf fall apart? Don't skip adding the egg and milk to this recipe. It helps bind the beef together and keep it from crumbling.
  • See blog post for more tips and tricks!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 447mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 40g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Classic Meatloaf recipe with a sweet and tangy bbq glaze. This Perfect Meatloaf is tender, flavorful, and better than you remember from childhood, give it a try tonight!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on January 31, 2022

Comments & Reviews

  1. AMAZING!!! The best meatloaf recipe ever and the only meatloaf my husband will eat!
    I do add more onion. I bake this in a large casserole dish and double the glaze. Thank you Aimee!!!!

  2. I’m 80 years old and hardly ever make my meatloaf the same way. Sometimes I glaze and sometimes I don’t. When I do I have always glazed my meatloaf with catchup the last 15 minutes of baking. However  I love the tangy sweet flavor of this recipe. I wanted 30 minutes to put the glaze on as I didn’t want it to burn and it was perfect. Thank you. 

  3. We loved this meatloaf! The glaze was just incredible too. We will definitely be having this meatloaf for dinner again!

  4. How will this taste without the bbq topping?  I prefer gravy (savory) over sweetness.  It sounds delicious though. 

    1. The meatloaf itself is a great base for any or no topping. I usually only glaze half of it these days as my husband prefers NO glaze on his. Juicy and flavorful either way 🙂

  5. I grew up eating meatloaf too, and it’s still one of my favorite comfort foods. The tangy bbq sauce makes this version taste so good!!

  6. This meatloaf is so tender and full of flavor. Definitely not the meatloaf of my childhood. The bbq sauce is a wonderful addition – love it!

  7. Love the tangy top on this recipe! Have to say…I always use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs and it tastes so good!

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