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Best-Ever Meat Loaf

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. It's the best meatloaf ever! —Anna Baker, Blaine, Washington
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1-1/4 hours + standing
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 slices bread, torn
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup 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


  • 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.
  • Shape into a 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-1/2-in. loaf in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 398 calories, 17g fat (9g saturated fat), 164mg cholesterol, 771mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 1g fiber), 30g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • paulapluta
    Feb 5, 2021

    This is the best I’ve ever had and is now my go to recipe.

  • homemadewithlove
    Jan 20, 2021

    I made into small mini loaves and used leftover rice instead of bread crumbs and italian seasoning.

  • Katy's mom
    Dec 9, 2020

    I use a combination of ground turkey and bulk sausage. I also use about a generous cup of seasoned stuffing mix instead of bread. Sometimes I add cheese, but usually not. We don't like sweet topping so top it with bacon slices and make a mushroom gravy instead. (I do agree that the onion and/or peppers should be precooked.) So yeah, it's pretty much a totally different recipe that has evolved from one that's very similar to the one posted here, which I always thought was good but not terrific (hence the 4 stars). My family and I prefer my "adjustments."

  • dublinlab
    Oct 15, 2020

    One word.......Amazing.....I followed the directions exactly. i did not put the sauce on top. I made a beer, mushroom gravy to to on top. The leftovers were almost even better. I will make this every time now. Janet VFE

  • Jo
    Sep 16, 2020

    Yum! My hubby keeps requesting this delicious meatloaf and I’m not complaining one bit.

  • Rick
    May 23, 2020

    WOW, this is the BEST Meatloaf ever! Made it exactly as described but with 4 slices of bread. BEST tasting meatloaf I have ever had. Going in my best recipes file.

  • bobbiharting
    Jan 12, 2020

    Really delicious and moist. Our family calls it company meatloaf it is sooo good. Instead of basil I used 1 teaspoon Italian spice and 2 teaspoons fennel seed with the mozzarella cheese. Next time I will add some garlic.

  • Roberta
    Jan 13, 2019

    This meatloaf is really good. I did add more spices though. I added garlic, sage and thyme. This is now my favorite meatloaf recipe. The texture and flavors are spot on!

  • Chelsea
    Nov 15, 2018

    My favorite meat loaf recipe of all time! I have made it a few times accidentally adding extra or omitting some ingredients but it always still taste amazing!

  • Debglass11
    Sep 27, 2018

    Good meatloaf recipe! I liked the addition of cheddar and carrots to the mix. I did add the optional sage - not quite a teaspoonful - and it added a nice warmth to the loaf. Next time, just as a personal preference, I may add a little ketchup and worcestershire to the meat mixture. I used ketchup instead of the tomato sauce, so I lessened the brown sugar to taste. Will definitely make this again!