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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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 7-1/2-in. x 3-1/2-in. x 2-1/2-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 meat 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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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"

GoVikes28 User ID: 7368436 17492
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2014

"My family loved this recipe and my husband usually isn't a meatloaf fan!"

Vancil User ID: 7513491 15935
Reviewed Feb. 8, 2014

"BEST meatloaf we've ever had"

milo13 User ID: 4314092 17636
Reviewed Nov. 19, 2013

"This really was the best meatloaf I ever made. My husband agreed."

Jingleboy User ID: 5379206 13166
Reviewed Oct. 15, 2013

"I have made this meat-loaf so many times, always make 2, one for us and one to give or freeze. I pass on the 'optional seasonings' and substitute ketchup and use swiss cheese, Glad it's still on the web-site, because I wore out the original copy. This is soooo good, and all men love meat loaf. Well, all men I know. I've been to your cooking school, highly recommended!"

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