An easy meatloaf recipe doesn’t take much time and is packed with flavor. Topped with a sweet glaze for the family to love!
You sit down at the table for dinner. Fresh dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and here comes the main dish. But, where is the silverware you can’t eat with your hands?
Meatloaf as a main dish is as classic as turkey or prime rib. Dishes like this can be intimidating but trust me I will show you how to make an easy meatloaf recipe.
When it comes to cooking I am a believer in flavors of Whole Foods. No refined sugar which means no ketchup or brown sugar but I will show you how to build a delicious meatloaf glaze with natural honey and tomatoes.
It’ll be the best you’ve had, trust me!
But first let’s run down some steps so keep reading and we will get this recipe started.
How To Make An Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Mark off these ingredients first
- Ground beef (sub with turkey or some stores sell a meatloaf blend of beef, veal & pork)
- Fresh herbs (thyme, basil & parsley)
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Worcestershire sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato Paste
- Crushed tomatoes
- Salt & black pepper
Helpful Tips & Mistakes To Avoid
- Cook vegetables first in a frying pan. Some people like to add raw veggies into the meatloaf but giving them a little sauté before brings out the flavors. Especially in the onion and garlic.
- Fresh herbs are best but you can use dried.
- If you have a pan with a rack use it. This will keep the fat from the meatloaf from pooling at the bottom.
- I like the flavor of buttermilk in this recipe but the dairy can easily be swapped out for milk, half & half and so on. The fat content in the milk will help with moisture.
My secret to an easy meatloaf recipe
- First prep everything. Chop and mince the herbs, chop the sun-dried tomatoes, dice the onion, grate the carrots and mince the garlic. When you take time to prepare everything moves faster when creating the recipe.
- In a pan on medium high heat add in about 1 tablespoon of oil. Then, toss in the onion, carrots and garlic. Stir and cook them until the onions are translucent and everything has become fragrant. Remove it from the heat and sat the the side about 10 minutes.
- Now, in a large bowl add in ground beef, cooked veggies, freshly chopped herbs and sun-dried tomatoes. Give a mix. Next pour in buttermilk, worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs and an egg. Season with salt and pepper then give a really good mix of everything.
- At this point you want to cover the bowl and allow the flavor to mix together about 20 minutes. In that time you will make the glaze.
- In the same pan used to cook the veggies give it a little wipe with a paper towel. Place the pan on medium heat and add a little oil. Then, add in tomato paste and cook the paste a little in the pan, about 30 seconds. Next, pour in crushed tomatoes and honey. Give everything a mix and let the honey melt into the sauce. Lastly, pour in balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce. Season with salt to taste but be careful the glaze will be hot.
- Uncover the mixing bowl with the meatloaf. On a baking sheet shape the meatloaf. If you have a wire rack you can easily pick it up with the help of a spatula. With a brush, brush the glaze all around the meatloaf. You can also save some for after the meatloaf comes from the oven.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about an hour or until the meatloaf reaches and internal temp of your choice. I am a medium kinda guy so 140-150ºF is great for me.
- An easy meatloaf recipe should be this simple to make. Let the ingredients do their job. Once done cooking you can brush with a little more glaze and let it rest about 15-20 minutes before serving. Cut into slices and enjoy.
It’s simple, storing leftovers this way
With an easy meatloaf recipe like this one it’s even easier to store leftovers. Store in a sealed container or aluminum foil in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days is just fine. Meatloaf freezes extremely well and can be store in a freezer safe bag or vacuumed sealed which is my preferred method.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long to cook meatloaf?
This isn’t a one answer question because it depends on a few factors but I will break them down:
- Your oven, this was an easy meatloaf recipe for me because it took one hour on the dot. In my oven that gave me an internal temperature of 145ºF which was perfect for me. This will vary depending on if your oven runs hot or cooler but a meat thermometer is your best friend here.
- What type of meat you use. Some people like turkey, some like the classic mix of beef, pork and veal. When you start using different meats you have to understand the recommended done temp per the FDA* on when it’s safe to eat.
- How to you like your beef. If you’re making an all beef meatloaf you can cook it however you’d like. I’ve seen some people cook to medium rare all the way to well done. This will vary from person to person and family to family.
What is the secret to moist meatloaf?
Most people don’t know but when something is juicy you are referring to the fat content. An easy meatloaf recipe needs to be juicy and it shouldn’t be hard to make tit juicy. This is one reason people do half pork with a lean ground beef. The fat from the pork helps carry the beef through the cook. To add, the milk and the egg serve as moisture as well. This is why whole buttermilk is used in this meatloaf recipe. In a situation where you are using super lean ground beef, chicken or turkey you will have a drier meatloaf.
Should meatloaf be baked covered or uncovered?
Do not cover the meatloaf if using this recipe while baking. The only situation I could see it being useful is in a turkey or chicken meatloaf recipe to save some moisture. In this recipe there is more than enough.
How do you stop a meatloaf from falling apart?
What binds the meatloaf together are the eggs and panko. I’d also argue the milk plays a part as well. The leaner the meat the more eggs and breadcrumbs you will need.
Is it better to cook a meatloaf at 350 or 375?
If you’re using a mix of pork and beef then 375ºF is fine. But, the leaner something is the less heat you want to give it. If you’re cooking a lean meatloaf at 375ºF the inside may remain moist but it will create a dry nutshell that couldn’t withstand that heat for the time required for it to reach the center.
What to serve with meatloaf?
- Mashed Potatoes
- Brussel Sprouts
- Mac & cheese
- Parmesan Potatoes
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
- 2 pound 85/15 ground beef (optional: sub 1lb with ground pork)
- 4 clove minced garlic
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato, chopped
- 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil for cooking
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup peeled, crushed tomatoes (available in can)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil for cooking
- Prepare all ingredients before starting. Chop the veggies and herbs as directed above.
- In a pan on medium high heat a 1 TB of oil then toss in onions, garlic and carrots for about 5 minutes while mixing them around. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and ingredients are fragrant.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool
- In a large mixing bowl add in ground meat, cooked veggies, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, herbs and sun-dried tomato. Mix.
- Then toss in breadcrumbs, egg and pour in buttermilk. Give the meatloaf a good mix until everything looks evenly combined.
- Cover and allow to sit for about 15-20 minutes for flavors to work together if you have the time. While waiting make the glaze below.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Once glaze is made form the meatloaf on a sheet pan. You do not have to put it in a loaf pan unless you want to. The binder is strong enough where the meatloaf will not come apart.
- Cover the meatloaf with the glaze then place in the oven for an hour or the meatloaf reaches your desired temp.
- With leftover glaze brush the meatloaf one more time. Allow it to cool a bit before serving.
- You can use the same pan used for the veggies, simply wipe it clean.
- On medium heat add 1 TB of oil to the pan then the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste alone for about 30 seconds spreading it around the pan the best you can.
- Then pour in crushed tomatoes and honey. The pan only needs to be hot enough to melt the honey into the glaze. Once honey is melted remove from heat.
- Then add in worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Lastly, salt to taste.