Mom's Meat Loaf Recipe
Mom's Meat Loaf Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Mom's Meat Loaf Recipe

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4.5 151 177
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Mom made the best meat loaf, and now I do, too. When I first met my husband, he wasn't a meat loaf guy, but this recipe won him over. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
Featured In: Mom's Best Recipes
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2/3 cup finely crushed saltines
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • Dash pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 366 calories, 12g fat (5g saturated fat), 135mg cholesterol, 1092mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (31g sugars, 0 fiber), 26g protein.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into an 8x4-in. loaf in an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar; remove 1/2 cup for sauce. Spread remaining mixture over meat loaf.
  3. Bake 60-65 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved sauce. Yield: 6 servings.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Chicken, beef or vegetable broth can be used instead of milk.
  • Tips for a tender loaf: Use a gentle touch when mixing and shaping. Also, be sure to moisten the cracker crumbs or bread crumbs before adding them to the meat.
  • Swap ground turkey for the beef. It pairs perfectly with the earthy rubbed sage.
  • Short on time? Skip the sauce-making and use your favorite prepared barbecue sauce instead.
  • Originally published as Mom's Meat Loaf in Taste of Home June/July 1997, p35

    Light-Bodied Red Wine

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

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    mzraidr User ID: 9199661 268141
    Reviewed Jun. 19, 2017

    "****20 YEARS OF PROOF****Being a working mom I was looking for a meatloaf my whole family would LOVE...I made 6 different meatloafs one day and had the family try all. Hands down this was there favorite. My kids come home and still want this over almost anything else I make. One of there favorite foods and warm family memories go with this meal. I now make this for my grandkids, and for the stubborn eaters I now put chopped or mashed veggies in. I Cover with part of sauce not real heavy, then put the rest in a bowl warm for those who like more. Try with your family and you will have a new easy family favorite!!!!!"

    Eta User ID: 9143724 264695
    Reviewed Apr. 15, 2017

    "This is a great recipe-I no longer use any other. I substitute panko for saltines and since my family doesn't love sage in beef I substitute granulated garlic."

    dig1 User ID: 6907234 264062
    Reviewed Mar. 30, 2017

    "This is a test comment."

    Florida User ID: 9119173 263900
    Reviewed Mar. 26, 2017

    "Use ground chuck and a half pound of ground pork and also panko bread crumbs, no sugar or salt. Use some diced green pepper and onion for added background flavor. Maybe a couple of bacon strips on top. Best ever. And better meatloaf sandwiches the next day. (For Diabetes person)."

    missteddybear User ID: 8940173 263683
    Reviewed Mar. 20, 2017

    "botanner, then tweek the recipe to cut down the salt."

    Margaret1234567890 User ID: 8119279 260349
    Reviewed Jan. 26, 2017

    "Absolutely yummy, this is a keeper."

    lamsden User ID: 8554497 259011
    Reviewed Jan. 1, 2017

    "I have made this many times. We love it. I cut the salt to 1/4 tsp or omit altogether. I use bread crumbs in place of crackers. I shape it to fit my crockpot, place it on aluminum foil with holes poked in it to release the fat, put it on a rack or a couple of jar covers side-by-side and cook it on low for 4-5 hours. Pour the sauce on the top of the loaf for the last 30-45 minutes. This is delicious!"

    Nonniebakes User ID: 7201627 258156
    Reviewed Dec. 14, 2016

    "This meatloaf is very good. I found after making it according to the directions that the next time it worked better for me to make half the sauce and to use only 1/2 a cup of milk. Tasty and different from most meatloaf recipes."

    teryn69 User ID: 6818421 258151
    Reviewed Dec. 14, 2016

    "The sauce I knew would be too sweet for our taste. I didn't use any of the brown sugar, and instead used less milk and a little ketchup in the meat mixture, and of course on top. I also used more spice, garlic powder, marjoram and a lot of pepper as is our preference. Almost carmelizing the onions is something I've always done, it adds a lot more flavor to the meatloaf. I've never measured the crackers, I just crumble until it looks right :-) This recipe, with my modifications, is how my mom made meatloaf, minus the onions."

    Mandy User ID: 8985454 258117
    Reviewed Dec. 14, 2016

    "Good recipe, but the sauce was a bit too sweet and tasted more like a barbecue sauce. I would cut the amount of sugar by half next time. I baked mine in muffin tins at 350 for about 30 minutes."

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