Classic Meatloaf Recipe

I’ve eaten my grandmother’s classic meatloaf recipe for as long as I can remember, and I don’t remember not loving it.  When we first got married, Mellow Man explained that he didn’t like meatloaf.  It surprised me a bit because he loves hamburgers, and in many ways a classic meatloaf recipe is just a fancy hamburger cooked in a loaf shape.  I mean, Mellow Man likes my Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf, so I couldn’t understand his objections to a regular beef meatloaf.  So, I kept making my grandmother’s meatloaf, always serving it with my Mashed Potatoes, and he started to enjoy it.  Or at least that’s what he tells me.  He did tell me that he didn’t understand why classic meatloaf has ketchup on it, so I stopped using it on half of the meatloaf, and finally, I had a recipe that he loved!  (Personally, I think a meatloaf recipe is required to use Ketchup, but that’s just my taste buds talking!)

My Mom Made That: Classic Meatloaf Recipe


  • 2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely Chopped Sweet Onion
  • 1 1/2 Cups Soft Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Large Egg, Slightly Beaten
  • 1/8 Tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
  • Ketchup

My Mom Made That: Classic Meatloaf Recipe

The first step to making my grandmother’s classic meatloaf is to create fresh breadcrumbs with a food processor.  Fresh, soft breadcrumbs are really a requirement.  Then use the food processor to finely chop your onion.  Mix the onion, breadcrumbs and your ground beef in a medium-sized bowl, adding in the milk and slightly beaten egg.  Then add in the salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly ground nutmeg.  (Yes, you can use nutmeg that isn’t freshly ground, but it doesn’t have quite the flavor as when you grind it yourself.)  I use this traditional grater/zester with whole nutmeg (like the jar of nutmeg that the Monkey is holding.)

My Mom Made That: Classic Meatloaf Recipe

Mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together.  I use my hands because that’s how my grandmother did it.  Make sure that it’s well blended, and shape it into a loaf.  Coat the top of the meatloaf with ketchup (or only coat half of it, as I do now.)

My Mom Made That: Classic Meatloaf Recipe

You can either cook the meatloaf in an actual loaf pan, or on a broiler pan.  I’ve done it both ways, and generally I prefer a loaf pan.  I think the meatloaf comes out more tender and less dry, but that’s a personal preference.  Either way, cook the meatloaf for one hour at 350.  I usually check it at after 50 minutes by slicing into the center to make sure that it is cooked all the way through.

My Mom Made That: Classic Meatloaf Recipe

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before slicing it.  I try not to make the slices too thick because that allows me to use the leftovers to make meatloaf sandwiches.  If you haven’t tried them, meatloaf sandwiches on rye bread with Duke’s mayonnaise and lettuce are one of the best parts of a homemade meatloaf.  Yummy!

My Mom Made That: Classic Meatloaf Recipe

So how do you like your meatloaf– with or without ketchup?


  1. This looks delicious!

  2. This meatloaf looks and sounds delicious – I haven’t had meatloaf in forever!

  3. Mary Jane Seale says:

    Made it last weekend and it got rave reviews from whole family. It was nostalgic because it was just how MY mom made it, except for nutmeg. The nutmeg added a flavor and now I will never leave it out. I did add ketchup. It is also easy and will now be a regular addition to my menue.

  4. I don’t like the ketchup on top of my meatloaf, either. It’s too sweet or too salty. But I do like the tomato flavor, so I use a can of national brand paste IN my recipe. I also use 2 eggs and no milk, and oats instead of bread crumbs and a whole small onion. I like to use country style breakfast sausage for up to half the ground meat required. And cover it with thick bacon before it goes in the oven so it won’t dry out.

    • I wonder if my husband would like that! Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Bonnie B says:

      So your recipe isn’t anything like this one? I love trying all kinds of meat loaf recipes and certainly will try as many of these as I can. Thanks everyone.

  5. Elizabeth Moreno says:

    Do you have to put ketchup on top right when you start cooking I always put it on at the end maybe last 15 mins is that ok cause I always thought the ketchup would burn or somthing

  6. Sebastian HATES ketchup, so I make my meatloaf in my muffin tin so those of us who like ketchup can have it and Sebastian can have his (and his leftovers) without.


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