Moist and delicious, smothered in our secret sauce, this meatloaf recipe tastes like home. This is our favorite recipe with ground beef!
This meatloaf recipe with crackers is the best meatloaf you’ll ever make! I like to make two pans of meatloaf at once and freeze the second or an easy dinner later.
Serve your meatloaf with dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, and for dessert pecan pie!
Meatloaf Recipe Ingredients
- Ground beef – If you want a moist meatloaf, make sure not to use a super lean beef. The more fat in the meat, the more flavorful and moist it will be.
- Onion – Onion also helps keep your meatloaf recipe moist. We like to grate the onion and mix it with the wet ingredients. If you’re unable to grate your onion, then you’ll want to saute it first in a little bit of oil or butter.
- Ritz crackers – I love the salty butteriness of ritz crackers, but in a pinch you could also use breadcrumbs, panko, or saltines.
- Eggs – Eggs work as a binder to keep the meatloaf from crumbling up.
- Garlic – Is food even worth eating if there’s no garlic? (No).
- Ketchup – Ketchup brings in that savory tomato flavor but also a touch of sweetness.
- Barbecue sauce – Barbecue sauce mixed with ketchup for the topping makes this recipe sing.
- Mustard – We use mustard for tanginess, I love what some good stone ground mustard adds to the meatloaf.
- Worcestershire sauce – Salty and tangy and delicious. It’s a perfect compliment to ground beef.
- Bouillon – Bouillon helps intensify the beefy flavor of our meatloaf. If you’re out of bouillon (like we were in the video!) just double your Worcestershire sauce.
How do you make meatloaf (Step-by-Step)
⭐ First, combine the onion, crackers, eggs, garlic, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and bullion. Mix well. Add in the ground beef and knead together until all ingredients are well combined.
⭐ Then, add meatloaf mixture to a loaf pan and bake, covered. While the meatloaf is baking, whisk together ketchup, barbecue sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
⭐ Next, remove meatloaf from oven, uncover, drain excess liquid, and baste with glaze.
⭐ Finally, return to oven until baked through, and then enjoy!
Meatloaf Recipe Variations
– Make it a spicy meatloaf by adding some pickled jalapenos to the loaf and a dollop of sriracha sauce to the glaze!
– Create an Italian meatloaf by using Italian breadcrumbs instead of ritz crackers, and topping with spaghetti sauce instead of our ketchup glaze.
– Go mini by baking your meatloaf recipe in muffin tins. Perfect for packing in lunches.
– Give it some Asian flavor by using Panko instead of ritz crackers, switch the Worcestershire sauce for soy sauce, use teriyaki sauce instead of ketchup, glaze with teriyaki sauce, and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
How do I know when my meatloaf is done
Meatloaf is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Sometimes the inside of meatloaf will still be a little bit pink. This can be due to other ingredients such as ketchup, or sulfites.
The best way to tell when your meatloaf is done is by using a meat thermometer.
Can meatloaf be frozen?
Meatloaf can be frozen. For best results when freezing meatloaf, bake it in a disposable loaf pan, or with a parchment liner. Allow the meatloaf to cool completely in the refrigerator, then wrap tightly and freeze.
Meatloaf will last several months in an upright freezer, or up to one year in a deep freezer or chest freezer. Alternatively, you can slice the meatloaf and freeze it in individual portions for easy lunch packing or quick dinners.
How to make meatloaf moist
You make meatloaf moist by using meat that isn’t too lean, adding moisture to the recipe via onions, ketchup, and egg, and by soaking your breadcrumbs or crackers in the wet ingredients before mixing them with the meat.
Also, I find meatloaf comes out much more moist when baked in a loaf dish as opposed to being baked on a baking sheet.
Why is my meatloaf crumbly
Crumbly meatloaf is general caused by one of three things, or a combination of all: not enough liquid, not enough bread, and/or the loaf wasn’t kneaded well enough.
If your meatloaf was dense and crumbly, it likely needed more liquid. If it was loose and crumbly, it likely needed more bread (for binding), and to be better mixed (to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated with one another).
For more liquid, try adding milk (will add moisture but not flavor) or ketchup (will add some tomato flavor and sweetness) in tablespoon increments until you reach desired consistency.
For more bread, add additional crushed crackers or breadcrumbs in 1/4 cup increments until you reach your desired consistency.
Why is my meatloaf dry
If your meatloaf is dry, you need to add more liquid before baking. Try adding milk (will add moisture but not flavor) or ketchup (will add some tomato flavor and sweetness) in tablespoon increments until you reach desired consistency.
The loaf before baking should be wet, but not runny, and just moldable enough to hold its form.
What to serve with this Meatloaf Recipe
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
More like this Meatloaf Recipe
Meatloaf Recipe Making Tools
- Loaf pan – This is a 10×5 loaf pan, which is what I recommend for this meatloaf recipe. Don’t use a smaller one like I did because you run the risk of making a massive mess in your oven!
- Pyrex mixing bowls – These glass bowls are big and gorgeous and perfect for mixing everything from ginger cookies, to pizza dough!
- Garlic press – Need fresh minced or sliced garlic, but don’t want to peel or chop your garlic? This garlic press is the bessssssst. We’ve had ours for as long as I can remember (maybe a wedding present?), and I use it several times a week!
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How to Make our Meatloaf Recipe
- 2.25 pounds ground beef not lean
- 1 cup grated onion
- 1 ½ cups crushed ritz crackers
- 2 eggs whisked
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 bouillon cube crumbled
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- In a large bowl combine onion, crackers, eggs, garlic, ketchup, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and bouillon. Mix well.
- Add ground beef and knead together until fully incorporated. If mixture is too wet, knead in additional crushed crackers.
- Press into a 10x5 loaf pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
- While meatloaf is baking, whisk together ingredients for glaze.
- After 60 minutes, uncover and drain off any pooling liquid. Baste top with glaze. Return to oven uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, until the center of your loaf reaches 160 degrees.
Why does my meatloaf fall apart?
A meatloaf may fall apart for several reasons, including: not kneading the meat enough, not enough salt, not enough fat, or the meatloaf did not rest long enough after it was taken out of the oven.
Should I cover my meatloaf in the oven?
You should cover your meatloaf with foil while baking.
How can you tell when meatloaf is done?
Meatloaf is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit when measured with a meat thermometer.
Carol M Miller says
I usually serve baked potatoes with my meatloaf. It’s good any time, fresh from the oven or as sandwiches. I don’t like toppings on my meatloaf.
Robert McDowell says
I Just made a meatloaf mashed potatoes and gravy with crack green beans. WhooHaa!!!
Stephanie Weeks says
I love my meatloaf with a glaze and served with mashed potatoes and gravy. Meatloaf is good on the first day and gets better as leftovers.
Love left over meatloaf! We enjoy meatloaf sandwiches, they are the best. I will slightly warm the entire sandwich in the microwave to take the chill off before eating.
My husband just asked me last night to make meatloaf. Ha! Great timing! I plan on making it with some mashed potatoes and brown mushroom gravy and green beans.
Cheryl A Mattos says
I always serve meatloaf with some type of potato dish (baked, mashed, scalloped) and a green vegetable. I always glaze it and for sandwiches it’s always better the next day(s)
Jennifer Daul says
This might be one of the worst meatloaf recipes I’ve ever tried. It took close to 2 1/2 hours to reach 160 degrees (usually I bake meatloaf at 450), it would not stay together and I’ve never had that happen before, it’s rather bland – needs more spice. This is definitely NOT a keeper.
April Woods says
Hi Jennifer – I’m so sorry you didn’t love our recipe. It’s a favorite at our house! Reading your issues, it sounds like your oven may need temperature calibration. It should not take 2.5 hours to cook through, and 350F is a pretty standard temp for baking meatloaf. All the best, April
Just made a meatloaf mashed potatoes and its very delicious