Traditional Meat Loaf Recipe
Traditional Meat Loaf Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Traditional Meat Loaf Recipe

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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
MAKES:6 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
MAKES: 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

Nutritional Facts

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


  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.
Originally published as Traditional Meat Loaf in Taste of Home June/July 2006, p18

Light-Bodied Red Wine

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

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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."

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