Simple Meatloaf With Optional Topping Recipe

Simple Meatloaf
Diana Rattray
  • 95 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 80 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Ratings (78)

Feel free to use plain ketchup to top this delicious, simple meatloaf recipe or make the optional topping. For a tasty meal, serve the meatloaf with homemade mashed potatoes and peas or your favorite vegetables. 

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, or 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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