This meatloaf recipe with crackers is super easy to make and will easily become a family favorite. Its juicy texture and sweet & tangy topping makes it the most delicious comfort food.Jump to Recipe
Meatloaf is probably my #1 favorite comfort food. But it's gotta be done right - like my mom made it - a moist meatloaf with a ketchup/brown sugar glaze on top!
One of my coworkers years ago was from Philadelphia and he told me that he liked his meatloaf with a gravy-like topping. Whaaaat? Why would you ruin a good meatloaf with gravy when you can smear the tangy ketchup/brown sugar glaze over it instead?! I mean, I love a good gravy, but let's keep that on mashed 'taters.
If you're like me and love a good glaze on top, this is the best meatloaf recipe is for you. The meat is just right - not too soft and mushy, but not too firm. And the flavor is mild, allowing the tangy glaze to shine!
- Ground Meat - In this recipe, I use ground beef. I prefer 85% lean ground beef. (but anything 80% or over will be fine!)
- Egg - This will help hold the meatloaf together.
- Liquid - This recipe uses a combination of ketchup and milk.
- Binder - There are SO many different things people use (oats, bread crumbs, saltines, etc)! I prefer a meatloaf with saltine crackers! This gives meatloaf its classic soft texture!
- Spices - This traditional recipe uses just salt, pepper and minced onion. It gives it a little flavor, but it's not overpowering.
- Optional Add-Ins - Feel free to add ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce into the meat mixture for a bit more flavor. You can also sprinkle a little dry mustard into the glaze if you'd like.
How to Make this Easy Meatloaf Recipe
If you've never made a meatloaf from scratch, no worries. It's actually quite simple!
In a large bowl, you will combine all of the meatloaf ingredients, except for the topping ingredients. You can use a spoon to mix it, but I prefer to use my hands. I feel like that's really the only way to make sure it's really well incorporated.
Then you'll form the loaf. You can either press it into a loaf pan or shape a loaf onto a baking sheet. If you're in a hurry, you can make it even quicker by pressing it into a thin layer of a square baking pan or in a muffin tin.
Next, you'll mix the ketchup and brown sugar to make the meatloaf sauce. Spread it over the meatloaf in an even layer.
Bake the meatloaf until the center of the loaf reaches 160F. This takes about 50-60 minutes if cooked in a loaf pan, but will take significantly less time in the other pans mentioned above. Let the meatloaf sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Leftover meatloaf can be stored in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Meatloaf is a really great freezer meal option! Use a disposible foil loaf pan and make the meatloaf as the recipe instructs. However, do not bake it. Place aluminum foil overtop and place in a freezer bag in the freezer. When you're ready to enjoy it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.
If you have already cooked it and want to freeze the leftovers, that works too! Make sure the meatloaf is completely cool, then place slices in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze!
Meatloaf is just as good the next day. Enjoy as-is or make meatloaf sandwiches!
Cooking times will vary depending on the pan used and the variation in ovens. The time isn't as important as the final temperature of the meatloaf. The internal temperature needs to reach 160F on a meat thermometer in order to be food safe. I typically cook the meatloaf in a loaf pan and it takes about 50-60 minutes.
What to Serve with Meatloaf
You can serve this recipe with about anything!! Serve with green beans and sweet potato casserole.
What to Serve with Meatloaf
Complete the meal with a green salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, a side veggie and last but not least....dessert! Chocolate Cobbler would be the perfect ending to a scrumptious comfort food meal!!
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