Richly flavored, juicy, and perfectly fork tender, this old fashioned meatloaf is perfect for anyone craving a delicious classic meatloaf recipe that is done the way it should be. Dare I even say? This family favorite is better than your mom's meatloaf!
What is it?
An old-fashioned meatloaf relies on enhancing the rich beef flavor with simple ingredients, rather than trying to transform it into something else, like say my Cheeseburger Meatloaf. A traditional meatloaf recipe is made by adding breadcrumbs, eggs, seasonings and liquid to ground beef. The breadcrumbs soak up the liquid, making the loaf less dense, while the eggs bind the moist meatloaf together.
Classic meatloaf should be topped with a ketchup-based sauce, often brown sugar is mixed in to create a tangy glaze. It should be perfectly fork tender, but not crumble apart, and boast a rich beefy flavor. Each bite should be dripping with nostalgia, and taste like 1957.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Lean ground beef - I recommend 80/20 or 85/15 beef (ground chuck is perfect). Don't go with a fattier grind than that or the meatloaf will be greasy. Although, less traditional, other meats like ground pork or ground turkey can be substituted or combined with the beef.
- Plain breadcrumbs - Panko bread crumbs can be substituted.
- Yellow onion - A sweet onion is a good substitute.
- Beef broth - Beef stock also works well. Milk is a good substitute and a traditional choice, but beef broth fortifies the richness of the meat.
- Large egg
- Tomato paste - You can substitute ketchup.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Table salt
- Garlic powder - Fresh garlic can be used for a stronger garlic flavor.
- Ground sage
- Ground black pepper
- Brown sugar
How to make it
To make this old-fashioned meatloaf recipe, begin by crumbling the hamburger meat into a large mixing bowl and combining it with your breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, mix together the grated onion, beef broth, egg, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, sage, and black pepper. Then combine the two bowls to form your meat mixture.
Prepare your meatloaf glaze by mixing together the ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Then paint a spoonful onto the bottom of your bread pan. Add the meatloaf mixture to the bread pan (or you can free-form it on a rimmed baking sheet), and form an even loaf shape, then paint the remaining meatloaf sauce on top of the meatloaf.
Bake the meatloaf at 350 degrees for 1 hour, uncovered. Always check on your meatloaf after 45 minutes with an instant-read thermometer, as cooking time can vary. I've had meatloaf finish cooking at 50 minutes, and some at 1 hour and 15 minutes. Meatloaf is done when the internal temperature exceeds 160 degrees.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Meatloaf
Leftover meatloaf should be placed in an airtight container and kept in your refrigerator. It can be stored for up to one week, but I recommend enjoying it within five days for the best flavor. You can reheat individual servings in the microwave, but the leftover slices also make phenomenal meatloaf sandwiches when pan-fried.
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Old Fashioned Meatloaf - Classic Meatloaf Recipe
- Bread loaf pan
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- Mix ketchup, Worcestershire, and brown sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Crumble beef into a large bowl and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated onion.
- Add all remaining meatloaf ingredients to a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Once combined, pour into the bowl with meat and mix with your hands to combine all ingredients together. (see note below)
- Ladle a couple tablespoons of sauce on the bottom of a bread pan and add meatloaf, pressing to form into the shape of the pan.
- Top meatloaf with remaining sauce.
- Place meatloaf in the oven for 1 hour, or until internal temperature exceeds 160 degrees. Check for doneness after 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes, then slice and serve.
This recipe was originally published here on April 18, 2018.