Best-Ever Meat Loaf Recipe
Best-Ever Meat Loaf Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Best-Ever Meat Loaf Recipe

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4.5 36 54
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The combination of onion, carrots, parsley and cheese—plus the tomato-mustard topping—makes this meat loaf really colorful. The recipe lends itself easily to being doubled or halved to suit the number you're cooking for, and it freezes well, too. —Anna Baker, Blaine, Washington
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1-1/4 hours + standing
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1-1/4 hours + standing
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 slices bread, torn
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar or part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, thyme or sage, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 398 calories, 17g fat (9g saturated fat), 164mg cholesterol, 771mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 1g fiber), 30g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and bread; let stand until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the onion, carrot, cheese and seasonings. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
  2. Shape into a 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-1/2-in. loaf in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes.
  3. Combine the topping ingredients; spoon half of the mixture over meat loaf. Bake 30 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink and a thermometer reads 160°, occasionally spooning remaining topping over loaf. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Best-Ever Meat Loaf in Reminisce Extra February 1993, p47

Light-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir.

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Rhoni347 User ID: 6294550 265958
Reviewed May. 14, 2017

"I couldn't get my meat loaf to really stay solidified, which was frustrating. I had even added an extra piece of bread since it seemed there was too much liquid that wouldn't fully absorb into the 2 slices of bread recommended in the recipe. Also, the loaf pan size recommended was too small, I couldn't add the topping on it without it leaking out over the sides - I had to put a sheet pan under it to catch the drippings. If it tasted good even with these recipe flaws, I would have just made notes for next time, but it also did not taste good - I felt the parsley and basil were too strongly flavored for this which I realize it said they were optional, but I don't feel those flavors suited the recipe. All in all, it needed more flavoring, maybe if it was cooked in a bigger loaf pan next time it would have come out better."

zookeeperk User ID: 819663 264010
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2017

"Never any leftovers!"

Brossi User ID: 8526235 261091
Reviewed Feb. 10, 2017

"This meatloaf was wonderful! My whole family loved this. Really enjoyed the topping. I used fresh herbs from my garden. This will be a favourite for us. Thanks for an awesome recipe."

Poupchik User ID: 8844307 260242
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2017

"Unbelievably delicious! Thanks so much TOH."

WonkyGirl User ID: 8252934 255272
Reviewed Oct. 11, 2016

"Tip: Always cook onions in a little butter before mixing into meatloaf. I substituted red bell pepper for carrots and softened the pepper with onions. Used panko bread crumbs in place of torn bread. Very subtle changes, the meatloaf is top-rated, very very good ! :-)"

climbergirl User ID: 6556579 248640
Reviewed May. 25, 2016

"This was pretty good. I'll make it again with some modifications. Mainly, my husband and I both thought the sauce was way too sweet. Next time, I'll cut it by at least half. I also added a couple cloves of garlic."

Yarmel008 User ID: 3595329 246629
Reviewed Apr. 5, 2016

"The title of this recipe doesn't lie it is the Best-Ever Meatloaf! This has become one of our family favorites!"

redmm97 User ID: 7278824 242713
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2016

"Add a couple cloves of fresh garlic!!"

Rivkel User ID: 7467768 218740
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2015

"Very flavorful. Mt onions and carrots were not soft at the end, so next time I may cook them first and then add to the meat loaf to bake. This was delicious meatloaf. My boys and husband liked it which counts for everything."

lmmanda User ID: 1101093 17683
Reviewed Apr. 7, 2014

"This is my extra picky son's favorite meatloaf. I always use ketchup in the topping instead of tomato sauce"

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