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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.

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Meatloaf on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

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!

Meatloaf Ingredients including saltine crackers

Ingredients Needed

  • 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 1/2 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.
Meatloaf on a cutting board

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. 

Uncooked meatloaf in a pan

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.

Pouring glaze over the uncooked loaf of meat.

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.

Glazed and ready to bake

FAQ’s

How Should I store Leftover Meatloaf?

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.

Can I Freeze Meatloaf?

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! 

What should I do with Leftover Meatloaf?

Meatloaf is just as good the next day.  Enjoy as-is or make meatloaf sandwiches!

How Long to Bake a Meatloaf?

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.

Plate with two slices of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans.

What to Serve with Meatloaf

You can serve this recipe with about anything!!  Serve with green beans and sweet potato casserole.  

Or add a side of homemade dinner rolls and brown sugar glazed carrots.  

Or serve with a Balsamic Vinaigrette topped salad and Loaded Mashed Potatoes.   And don’t forget dessert!!  Chocolate Cobbler would be the perfect ending to a scrumptious comfort food meal!!

Fork with a bite of meat on it

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!!

Fun Variations

Mexican Meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf

Zucchini Meatballs

Connect with Dance Around the Kitchen!

Follow us on PinterestInstagram and Facebook so you never miss a recipe!! And as always, thank you for following along with my blog, making my recipes, liking and sharing on social media and any other way you support Dance Around the Kitchen!  -Kelsey

5 from 7 votes

Meatloaf

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
6
This meatloaf recipe is easy to make and will easily become a family favorite. Its got a juicy texture and a sweet & tangy topping – yum!

Equipment

  • One Loaf Pan

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 15 saltine crackers crushed
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder

Topping

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed saltines, ketchup, egg, milk, salt, pepper and minced onion.
  • Press into a loaf pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients.
  • Pour glaze over the meatloaf and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the center of the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
  • Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.6g | Protein: 15.3g | Fat: 16.8g | Saturated Fat: 6.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7.2g | Trans Fat: 0.9g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 43.5mg | Iron: 2.2mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great, classic meatloaf!!!! I was craving one and found your recipe. My only substitute was Italian style bread crumbs in place of the saltines.

    1. I’m so glad you liked it!! It’s a family favorite here, too! 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      Try plain Panko bread crumbs…That’s what I use!
      Keep everything else the same…You’re right. This is a classic keeper!

  2. This is basically my mom’s recipe, it great. Only exceptions are instead of milk she uses V8 and instead of crackers she uses oatmeal. Same effect but the oatmeal is a smidge healthier than the crackers.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried many different meatloaf receipt’s. This is my favorite and easiest to make. Simple and not a lot of ingredients.

    1. Thanks for the review, Susan!!! I appreciate it so much! 🙂 -Kelsey

  4. Tammy Negrete says:

    5 stars
    Yum yum yum! Esp on a cold winter night! 😋

  5. 5 stars
    Just like my mom’s. Easy & great.

  6. Tommy Lancour says:

    5 stars
    This is exactly my Mothers recipe for seven kids. Dont change a thing!