There’s nothing much more comforting than Classic Meatloaf just like Mom’s. This meal alone can mend a broken heart, make a man fall in love with you, make the boss-man go away, and give you a hug from your Mama.
Classic meatloaf is one of the first things I learned to cook. It is probably the quintessential “comfort food” of all time. Savory ground beef, seasoned with onion, bell pepper, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, topped with a sweet and savory tomato sauce.
What Type of Beef Should I Use for Classic Meatloaf?
Ground beef is available in varying degrees of fat content. Use any grade you like, but be aware that a higher fat beef (80% or less) results in more fatty liquid in the pan. If you use a higher fat beef, place the meatloaf on a cooling rack and place the rack in a baking dish or roasting pan.
Do I Need a Loaf Pan to Make Meatloaf?
A loaf pan is not necessary to make a homemade classic meatloaf. Just throw the meatloaf mixture out on the counter and shape it into a log. Then place it on a baking dish with a rack.
You can use a loaf pan, but I find the oily residue from the meat sits in the pan right next to the meat and the ground beef loaf turns out a bit soggy.
Use a baking pan or a broiler pan with a rack; (I use a broiler pan that has slits in it; I place parment or foil over the top of the broiler pan and cut slits into the foil or parchment. This lets the juices flow into the pan.)
How to Make Classic Meatloaf
- Chop the onions and bell peppers; lightly beat two whole eggs (set aside)
- Place ground beef in large bowl; add onion, bell pepper; combine well
- Add bread crumbs, eggs and seasonings: combine well
- Place ground beef mixture onto counter; shape into a rectangle (about 1 ½ inches tall)
- Place meatloaf on prepared baking sheet
- Bake 350ºF until internal temperature reaches 160ºF
Make the sweet and tangy tomato sauce while meatloaf cooks. Once meatloaf reaches 150ºF, spoon sauce over top of meatloaf; return to oven; bake 10 more minutes,until tomato sauce has warmed and thickened, and meat thermometer ready 160ºF. Place meatloaf onto carving board; slice and serve!
Some Meatloaf Recipes have Mushrooms, Celery and a Brown Gravy. How Is This Recipe Different?
There are a million different ways to make meatloaf. This recipe is a traditional Southern, classic meatloaf with tomato sauce. The recipes that include mushrooms and brown gravy will taste a bit different, almost like Salisbury Steak. I suppose it’s really a personal preference, but I think you’ll like this version.
This recipe is based on about 2 ½ lbs. of beef. If you are making meatloaf for a crowd or making more than one meatloaf, use the general rule of one large egg per pound of beef. The other ingredients can be adjusted according to how many pounds of beef as well.
Can I Freeze Meatloaf?
It’s always nice to have a prepared meatloaf in the freezer, especially when you don’t feel like cooking! The best way to freeze a cooked, classic meatloaf is to allow it to cool after baking (do not put sauce on it), wrap the whole meatloaf in plastic wrap, then again in foil. Don’t slice it.
When ready to serve, unwrap foil and place meatloaf in fridge to thaw. Once thawed, remove plastic wrap, cover meatloaf with foil and bake t 325 or 350ºF till the center is warm. Make the tomato sauce, drizzle it on top, then place the meatloaf back in the oven for 15 minutes or so, until the sauce thickens.
I do not recommend freezing an assembled, raw meatloaf due to the uncooked eggs. Eggs don’t freeze very well and the texture and structure of the classic meatloaf changes.
Craving More? Use this same recipe to make Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs!–just add a little Mozz!
- 2½ lb. ground beef
- ¾ cup yellow onions chopped
- ¾ cup green bell peppers chopped
- 1½ cups bread crumbs seasoned or not seasoned
- 2 whole eggs
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cups ketchup
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Combine meat, onion, peppers, eggs, bread crumbs into big bowl; with clean hands, mix ingredients until combined
- Place beef mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet
- Shape meat into rectangular loaf
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until meat has reached 160° internal temperature
- Combine sauce ingredients
- After the meatloaf has baked about 45 minutes, remove meatloaf from oven and spread tomato sauce over the top;
- Return meatloaf to oven for another 10 minutes, or until sauce gets warm.
- Remove from oven; allow meatloaf to sit for a few minutes, then slice and serve