1 hr 20 mins
Meatloaf is a classic comfort food that brings together a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting your culinary journey, our easy meatloaf recipe is designed to make the cooking process enjoyable and stress-free. From the selection of the finest ingredients to the final moments of savoring each bite, our guide covers it all.
Easy Meatloaf Ingredients
- 1-1/2 pounds Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs.
- 3/4 cup ketchup, divided.
- 1/2 cup minced onion.
- 1 egg.
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic.
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
Tips for the Perfect Meatloaf
Use a mixture of ground meats for added flavor complexity.
Let the meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing to retain its juices.
Experiment with different seasonings to suit your taste preferences.
Variations and Customizations
Incorporate grated vegetables for added nutrition.
Replace the ketchup glaze with a homemade barbecue sauce for a smoky twist.
Consider using ground turkey or chicken for a lighter option.
Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions
Step 1. Prepare the Mixture
In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, finely chopped onions, minced garlic, and a touch of milk.
Crack in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Gently mix the ingredients until well incorporated.
Step 2. Shape and Place
Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place it in a baking dish.
Drizzle ketchup over the top to add a sweet and tangy glaze.
For a visual representation, here’s a simple diagram:
Step 3. Bake to Perfection
Preheat your oven to the recommended temperature.
Place the meatloaf in the oven and let it bake until the internal temperature reaches a safe level.
Serve your succulent meatloaf with a side of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and a rich gravy. This hearty meal is perfect for family gatherings, weeknight dinners, and even leftovers for sandwiches the next day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make meatloaf ahead of time?
Absolutely! Prepare the meatloaf mixture in advance, refrigerate, and bake when ready.
How do I prevent the meatloaf from becoming too dry?
Using a combination of lean and slightly fatty ground meats, along with the right amount of moisture, will help keep your meatloaf juicy.
What is the secret to juicy meatloaf?
At each stage, add moisture. Don’t forget to add wet seasonings like eggs, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, or any combination thereof. They contribute to the meat’s incredible juicy quality in addition to flavor and texture.
What is the basic meatloaf formula?
Every meatloaf recipe starts with the same ingredients: 2 pounds of ground meat and a “panade” of milk-soaked bread or crackers. This panade helps to bind the ground meat together and adds crucial moisture to the mixture along with a few eggs.
Why milk instead of water?
Milk is added to meatloaf because it soaks up the bread crumbs, which gives the dish the necessary moisture. You can try reduced-sodium beef stock, chicken stock, water, or a non-dairy milk alternative if you personally don’t want to use milk.