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Traditional Meat Loaf Recipe

Traditional Meat Loaf Recipe

Topped with a sweet sauce, this meat loaf tastes so good that you might want to double the recipe so everyone can have seconds. It also freezes well. —Gail Graham, Maple Ridge, British Columbia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing YIELD:6 servings


  • 3 slices bread
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Tear bread into 2-inch pieces; place in a blender. Cover and pulse to form coarse crumbs; transfer to a large bowl. Stir in egg, milk, cheese, onion, carrot, salt and pepper. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Transfer to a greased 9x5-in. loaf pan.
  • 2. In a small bowl, mix glaze ingredients; spread over loaf. Bake 60-75 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
    Freeze option: Bake meat loaf without glaze. Securely wrap cooled meat loaf in plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. To use, partially thaw meat loaf in refrigerator overnight. Prepare and spread glaze over top; reheat on a greased shallow baking pan in a preheated 350° oven until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 394 calories, 21g fat (10g saturated fat), 128mg cholesterol, 843mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (15g sugars, 1g fiber), 28g protein

Reviews for Traditional Meat Loaf

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Reviewed Mar. 10, 2016

"Tried many meat loaf recipes, and was always so disappointed ..... yours however deserves 10 stars ..... it's even scrumptious cold!!!"

Reviewed Mar. 4, 2016

"This is a wonderful meatloaf. I added some chopped green pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Also, I precook the veggies somewhat. For those who have commented on the grease problem, here is my solution: use very lean hamburger, 85% lean or 93%. Also, you can buy a meatloaf loaf pan that has an inner pan with a perforated bottom. Otherwise, you can place the meatloaf on a broiler pan rack set over the pan and the grease will fall to the bottom. If you do not have a broiler pan, just lay aluminum foil on a cooling rack and place the rack on a cookie sheet. Piece the foil with a meat fork before placing the meat."

Reviewed Feb. 2, 2016

"I made this meatloaf today and it was delicious! This is a keeper. I finally found a really good meatloaf that I can make again and again. I have never ate a meatloaf with cheese in it before, and it was so good. I did add some green pepper to it though."

Reviewed Oct. 29, 2015

"I have been making my meatloaf like this for years. I add some Worcestershire to the glaze. I saute my onions before adding them because we don't like crunchy onions in our meatloaf. Be sure to finely shred the carrots or pulse them in a food processor or blender. To help with the grease pooling below the loaf, just put a slice or two of bread in the pan and place the loaf on top of it before baking. This will soak up a lot of the grease. Just throw the bread out after cooking. Best meatloaf ever!"

Reviewed Aug. 5, 2015

"I've made this countless times! It really is the best! Love the glaze on top. I follow recipe as stated. My husband won't let me make meatloaf any other way. Have since passed on to my mom and sister who absolutely love it too! Can't go wrong."

Reviewed Nov. 15, 2014

"I added italian seasoning, 1 lb hamburger, 1 lb turkey and all of us like it."

Reviewed Jul. 30, 2014

"My husband likes this (made with beef), so this is the one I will continue to make. I did add some chopped bell pepper."

Reviewed Feb. 28, 2014

"I've been making this meatloaf since I first saw it. It's the only meatloaf I like to be honest. I always run the onions finely through the food processor which gives it the onion taste without getting chunks of onion and I shred my carrots well. It's just so good!"

Reviewed Nov. 11, 2013

"it was okay, if I would make it again I would shred my carrots a little thinner."

Reviewed Oct. 1, 2013

"Great recipe!"

Reviewed Sep. 23, 2013

"This is the best meatloaf recipe....moist & delicious!!!"

Reviewed Sep. 22, 2013

"I can't say that meatloaf in general has ever been a favorite of mine, but this meatloaf is amazing! Everyone that I serve it to raves about it and wants to know what makes it so different."

Reviewed Jul. 16, 2013

"This was delicious, I loved it!"

Reviewed Mar. 9, 2013

"Great recipe.... I have made this meat loaf many times."

Reviewed Jan. 31, 2013

"Tastes like my Mom's. It was delicious."

Reviewed Jan. 11, 2013

"I had a friend that wanted Meatloaf and I don't make it because mine always came out to dry for my liking. This was delicious, moist, will be making this on a regular bassis."

Reviewed Sep. 19, 2012

"The taste of this meat loaf was outstanding! However, because of personal preferences and picky eaters in my household, I will do a few things differently next time I make this. I would either add onion powder or puree the onions first next time... that was the biggest complaint of my 2-year-old & 4-year-old. I would also chop the bread a lot finer as well. I will make it again with the carrots, but they did give it a little funny look to the meat, which my kids were quick to point out! But because they added moisture and nutrition, I'll keep them as is in the recipe. The sauce was amazing, I didn't change a thing, but next time I would like to double the sauce and just shape the meat into a loaf instead of baking in a 9x5 pan. Am I the only one who ended up with a huge grease puddle surrounding the meat that looked extremely unappetizing? (And I used 93% lean ground beef). I lifted the loaf out, but some of the juice had come over the top and ruined some of the glaze. I think if I baked it in a larger pan, at least the juices would stay at the bottom... and I could cover more of the meat with the glaze that way. Overall a tasty keeper, just with a few modifications next time due to personal preference."

Reviewed Aug. 15, 2012

"Very flavorful and tasty meatloaf. This was my first successful meatloaf, after three attempts. A little moist, but nothing a few more bread crumbs couldn't cure. Also, perhaps a little heavy on the carrots..."

Reviewed Aug. 2, 2012

"Everyone loves this recipe at my house and several adult friends always want to eat at our house when they find out I am making this recipe!"

Reviewed Apr. 4, 2012

"It was very tasty and fast to make."

Reviewed Dec. 9, 2011

"Absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious! Especially enjoyed the topping, very tasty...unlike other meatloaf recipes that only call for ketchup or bbq sauce."

Reviewed Oct. 24, 2011

"Such wonderful meatloaf...compared with my grandma's recipe and she said she loved the sauce on top!"

Reviewed Oct. 12, 2011

"This was my first time trying and making meat loaf and I really liked it a lot, I would make it again."

Reviewed Sep. 29, 2011

"My kids love this. I substitute Onion powder for the onion so that they can't tell theres onion in it and there are no leftovers. I will have to make 2 at a time as they get older!"

Reviewed Apr. 2, 2011

"This is the best meatloaf I have ever had. My husband says that until he tried this , he was not a fan of meatloaf. Very Good!"

Reviewed Jan. 22, 2011

"Delicious my 3 boys loved it. Only thing I changed was no carrot and no brown sugar but did everything else as written. Thank you so much!!!!"

Reviewed Nov. 7, 2010

"This is the first meatloaf recipe I have made that tasted outstanding! I too put the rosemary potatoes in with it. Yum!"

Reviewed Oct. 19, 2010

"will make it with bbq sauce and ketchup."

Reviewed Aug. 27, 2010

"Absolutely delicious! my husband even ate it, and loved it, without adding ketchup!"

Reviewed Aug. 5, 2010

"I took this meatloaf to a friend who was recovering from surgery. She, her husband, and her son loved it! I'm going to make it today for my husband."

Reviewed Jun. 2, 2010

"Sooooooo good. Best meatloaf I ever made."

Reviewed May. 10, 2010

"My husband and I like meatloaf,but we did not like the topping or carrots in the meatloaf"

Reviewed May. 6, 2010

"Best I've ever made! Thanks!"

Reviewed Apr. 12, 2010

"I cooked the meat loaf tonight for dinner. It was very good. I did prepare it like one of the other reviewers by adding potatoes and carrots on the side of the cooking dish. I was suprised it tasted so good. My husband is not a meat loaf fan but he did like this recipe. I will make this my recipe from now on."

Reviewed Feb. 23, 2010

"I'm not a meatloaf fan, but I made this to take to an elderly homebound couple this week. I saved half for my husband who loved it and told me it was the best meatloaf he'd ever eaten! I even enjoyed it. Rather than the loaf pan, I shaped it in a loaf and placed it a baking dish surrounded with sliced Yukon gold potatoes, baby carrots and sliced onions (tossed with a couple tablespoons EVOO and salt and pepper). I didn't have cheddar cheese on hand, so I used pepper jack. I also used about 1/2 cup bread crumbs instead of the 3 slices of bread. Excellent!"

Reviewed Feb. 18, 2010

"I made this recipe tonight for my family which consists of myself, husband and 2 boys that are 4 and 9. Everyone loved it and it will be our new meatloaf recipe!"

Reviewed Jan. 28, 2010

"Great taste. I have never used carrots in a meatloaf before, but they added a pleasing texture. The sauce on top of this meatloaf is great. It really brings everthing together."

Reviewed Jan. 24, 2010

"I've been searching for a really good traditional meatloaf and this is it! Didn't hae any carrots so omitted that ingredient. But it was still fabulous - best ever!"

Reviewed Jan. 7, 2009

"This meatloaf recipe was absolutely delicious! Moist, tasty and easy to make! My husband said it is a definite keeper!"

Reviewed Aug. 8, 2008

"This is my favorite meatloaf recipe! It's perfectly moist and tastes great. I love the addition of the grated carrot - it just does something to the flavor and texture. Perfect! Wouldn't change a thing!"

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Wine Pairings

Light-Bodied Red Wine

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