Simple Meatloaf With Optional Topping Recipe

Simple Meatloaf
Diana Rattray
  • 95 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 80 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Ratings (93)

This delicious and simple meatloaf recipe is a great fit for Sunday dinner. Feel free to use plain ketchup to top this dish, or, if you're feeling a little adventurous, make the optional topping. For a tasty meal, serve the meatloaf with homemade mashed potatoes and peas and carrots or your favorite vegetables. 

Note: The flavor of 85 percent lean ground beef is good, but 90 percent lean would be fine, too. Baking the meatloaf in a specialty meatloaf pan or on a rack will help drain away some of the excess fat. If you don't have either, you can make a free-form loaf on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or ​9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.

What You'll Need

  • For the Optional Glaze/Topping:
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon (or similar mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • For the Meatloaf:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (plain)
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (or 1/2 cup finely minced fresh onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons burger seasoning (or 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (plus more for topping, if desired)

How to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. If using the optional topping, in a small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons ketchup, maple syrup, mustard and Worcestershire until well mixed. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, seasoning and 1/2 cup ketchup. Mix until well blended and pack into the prepared loaf pan.
  1. Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Carefully drain off any excess fat and then top the loaf with the optional topping mixture or about 4 tablespoons of ketchup. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meatloaf Tips

  • Experiment with meat mixtures in meatloaf. While beef gives excellent flavor and holds together well, adding a portion of lean ground pork will provide juiciness. Ground veal would add lightness to a loaf, and ground chicken or turkey would reduce some of the fat and calories.
  • Top the meatloaf with prepared barbecue sauce just before it's finished baking.
  • Use cracker crumbs or soft breadcrumbs in the meatloaf instead of fine dry breadcrumbs. 
  • Line the loaf pan with parchment paper or foil, like a sling. Just grab the ends of the paper or foil and lift the meatloaf out of the pan when it's done.
  • Bake the meatloaf in individual muffin cups. Use about 1/4 cup of meatloaf mixture for each muffin cup.
  • Pack the meatloaf mixture into individual oiled ramekins, and then invert them onto a rimmed baking sheet for perfectly shaped individual meatloaves.
  • Instead of breadcrumbs, use crushed cheese crackers in the meat mixture.
  • Top a meatloaf with strips of bacon before baking, or add crumbled cooked bacon to the meat mixture.

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