Classic American Meatloaf

It may not have the most appetizing name, but meatloaf was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Yes, it is pure Americana, but I’ve made it for plenty of my European friends and they love it. In fact, for those of you not in the know, meatloaf is just a giant baked meatball. If you’re looking for a new ground beef recipe to try out, give this classic American meatloaf a go.

The best thing about this recipe is that it can feed a large number of people, and it stores very well. So whether you are cooking for 10 or for 1, you can be sure none of this delicious meatloaf will go to waste. However if you do have leftovers you always use it to replace the stewed meat in a classic chili, or turn it into pasta sauce like in my Leftover Meatloaf Bolognese.

Classic American Meatloaf Ingredients

This dish is infinitely customizable, so if you can use my recipe as a guideline instead of the end all be all. After all, people have been making this for a century. In a large mixing bowl add 1.5 kg of ground beef. Then add:

  • 1.5 cups Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Green Onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup (I had some leftover homemade chili ketchup which I love, but regular works fine).
  • 3/4 cup Milk (you can add more if the mix feels dry)

Now for a bit of old world cooking, make sure to mix the meatloaf by had. Really work it until everything is mixed into a thick sticky blend. Some people say don’t overwork meatloaf, but I like to use a high fat content ground beef so if there are air pockets your loaf with fall apart.

Baking The Meatloaf

Line a loaf pan (like you would use for bread) with some foil and place the meatloaf mixture right down into there. Make sure to press it down in there nice and tight to prevent air pockets. Pretty simple right! Place the loaf into an oven preheated to 180 Celsius, or about 350 Fahrenheit. Let bake for 45 minutes.

While the meatloaf is baking you can start on the glaze. This is super simple so you can do it in the last 5 minutes if you like. In a bowl whisk together. a cup of ketchup, a tbsp each of sugar and apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp each of worcestershire sauce and garlic powder, 1 tsp of paprika, a tsp of freshly cracked black pepper, and salt to taste.

After the meatloaf has baked for 45 minutes pull it out and spread the glaze generously over the top. The meat should have pulled away from the edges a bit so if the glaze drizzles down the sides that’s not a problem at all. The extra glaze will mix with the rendered juices at the bottom and create an amazing sauce for your base. Place the meatloaf back into the oven and crank the heat up to 200 Celsius or 400 F for another 15-20 minutes.

After the time has ended pull the meatloaf from the oven and let sit on the counter for at least 10 minutes. Just like with a steak you don’t want to cut into the loaf too soon or it will release too much jus and we just can’t have that now.

Classic American Meatloaf

When you are ready to serve, pop the meatloaf from the baking dish and set it on a cutting board. Use a large knife to cut out slices just as if you were cutting a piece of bread. The thickness is up to you, but I like extra thick slices. Serve atop some cheddar and green onion mashed potatoes, or whatever other starch you prefer! Don’t forget to drizzle with the jus leftover in the pan.

Classic American Meatloaf

This recipe for a classic American meatloaf is not only super easy, but packed with flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American, North American
Servings 6 people
Calories 236 kcal


  • Loaf Pan
  • Bowl


Classic American Meatloaf

  • 1.5 cups Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Yellow Onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp Green Onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup I had some leftover homemade chili ketchup which I love, but regular works fine.
  • 3/4 cup Milk you can add more if the mix feels dry

Meatloaf Glaze

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
  • Salt to taste


  • In a large bowl add all the meatloaf ingredients and mix thoroughly with your hands. Mix until the contents are homogenized and the meat is sticky-tacky.
  • Line a loaf pan with foil and press the meat mixture into the pan. Pack it somewhat tightly so there aren't pockets of air throughout the meat. Air will cause the finished meatloaf to crumble after it is done being cooked.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 185 Celsius for 45 minutes. Near the end of baking time you can prepare the glaze.
  • In a bowl whisk together the glaze ingredients.
  • After the meatloaf has been baking for 45 minutes, pull out the pan and brush the glaze over the meat. The meatloaf should have pulled away from the edges so some of the glaze will drip down the sides. This is okay. Just keep spreading on more glaze until you've used it all.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 200 Celsius and bake the meatloaf for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the loaf pan from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove the meatloaf and slice to your desired thickness. Serve atop some mashed potatoes or creamy celeriac and drizzle with the savory jus left in the loaf pan.


Meatloaf holds great for a few days after you cook it. Just reheat in the microwave for a minute or two and enjoy. If you would like to freeze it you can do that also. The meatloaf will hold for months cooked in the freezer. To prepare just remove from the freezer, let thaw back in the loaf pan, and bake for 10 minutes at 200 before cutting and serving. 
Keyword American Meatloaf, Meatloaf
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