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Best-Ever Meat Loaf Recipe

Best-Ever Meat Loaf Recipe

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 YIELD: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


  • 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 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-1/2-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 thermometer reads 160°, occasionally spooning remaining topping over loaf. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 398 calories, 17g fat (9g saturated fat), 164mg cholesterol, 771mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 1g fiber), 30g protein.

Reviews for Best-Ever Meat Loaf

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Rhoni347 User ID: 6294550 265958
Reviewed May. 14, 2017

"I couldn't get my meat loaf to really stay solidified, which was frustrating. I had even added an extra piece of bread since it seemed there was too much liquid that wouldn't fully absorb into the 2 slices of bread recommended in the recipe. Also, the loaf pan size recommended was too small, I couldn't add the topping on it without it leaking out over the sides - I had to put a sheet pan under it to catch the drippings. If it tasted good even with these recipe flaws, I would have just made notes for next time, but it also did not taste good - I felt the parsley and basil were too strongly flavored for this which I realize it said they were optional, but I don't feel those flavors suited the recipe. All in all, it needed more flavoring, maybe if it was cooked in a bigger loaf pan next time it would have come out better."

zookeeperk User ID: 819663 264010
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2017

"Never any leftovers!"

Brossi User ID: 8526235 261091
Reviewed Feb. 10, 2017

"This meatloaf was wonderful! My whole family loved this. Really enjoyed the topping. I used fresh herbs from my garden. This will be a favourite for us. Thanks for an awesome recipe."

Poupchik User ID: 8844307 260242
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2017

"Unbelievably delicious! Thanks so much TOH."

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!"

hjbrower User ID: 7259822 37453
Reviewed May. 12, 2013

"I love this recipe and so does my family. For 20 years I made the same recipe until I found this one and now this is the only one I make. The sauce is yummy! Love it! Thanks!!!"

JkayC User ID: 5673362 17489
Reviewed Apr. 15, 2013

"Great recipe! Everyone loves it."

Grannymoira User ID: 6861135 17482
Reviewed Apr. 3, 2013

"Excellent taste & texture- definitely a keeper."

hareball44647 User ID: 6806273 37373
Reviewed Feb. 4, 2013

"this recipe was awesome. i had 2lbs beef, so i increased to3 eggs and 4 slices of bread. as for the topping, i doubled recipe. it was perfect. awesome topping. this was an unbelievable recipe."

kshea User ID: 2698812 18919
Reviewed May. 25, 2012

"The BOMB! However, I make a sweet and sour topping: 1 can tomato sauce, l/2C sugar, l 1/2t dry mustard and l/4c vinegar."

vanillaluv User ID: 5350586 17480
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2012

"When I want meat loaf, this is the one I make."

JumpRiverGem User ID: 1462419 42679
Reviewed Apr. 16, 2011

"I have made this meatloaf many times and it is always as good as I remember it. I highly recommend it."

cassieandra23 User ID: 4610824 17634
Reviewed Apr. 3, 2011

"Everyone that has tried this recipe has loved it.. I make it often, switching up the kind of cheese used"

karenwk User ID: 2481034 43194
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2011

"I used 1/2 oatmeal & 1/2 planko bread crumbs. I also used whatever spices I liked. For the sauce I used a little ketchup and tomato sauce and djon and brown mustard instead of regular! It turned out great! I also, added cheese to the top the last 15-20 minutes!"

eye_lady User ID: 4552636 18257
Reviewed Jan. 19, 2011

"This was exellent, moist, yet the texture held together well. I used a 60/40 blend of ground beef and ground turkey, the thyme, and subbed ketchup for the tomato sauce. I have a few veggie haters, so I ran the carrots through a food proccesser to hide them. I will make this again and again...!"

sofdee User ID: 5066443 38049
Reviewed Jan. 14, 2011

"I made this recipe tonight based on the reviews and it was horrible. It was too sweet and honestly kind of funky. We ended up throwing it out."

diva.stoy User ID: 5622099 43185
Reviewed Jan. 6, 2011

"Definite keeper...Nice and moist. I used Panko breadcrumbs in place of the bread. The sauce is nice and tangy...I think I will also make it with brown gravy every now and then to change it up a bit. Sandwiches from the leftovers went fast so I think I'll double the recipe going forward. Great recipe...Thanks!"

trbauer1016 User ID: 1045523 43137
Reviewed Nov. 7, 2010

"By far the best meatload I've ever had. I also make it with ground turkey...yummy!"

scurlock User ID: 1293499 43135
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2010

"My family loves this meatloaf. I have made it using the different spices at different times and even use both cheeses in the same meatloaf. It always comes up a winner. The sauce is just the icing on the cake. Yummy!"

hildybean User ID: 1589265 42610
Reviewed Dec. 4, 2009

"Now this really IS the best meatloaf ever! I haven't used my old standby recipe since I've discovered this one! LOVE it!"

gracegiver User ID: 5242835 15873
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2009

"by far my favorite meatloaf recipe. And, of course, the best meatloaf sandwiches ever."

hannapro User ID: 4529564 18238
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2009

"Make this meat loaf and you'll never love another. I use thyme and sage, and sub ketchup for the tomato sauce making extra to dip in. YUM!!"

pelber User ID: 220373 13133
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2009

"This really is THE best ever. I always make 2 loaves at a time so that I always have some in the freezer for sandwiches!"

greeneyes06 User ID: 2973993 201877
Reviewed Aug. 11, 2009

"Very Yummy! A good variation on my usual meatloaf. Thanks!

M. Thatcher"

Allspice_Mo User ID: 760690 15871
Reviewed Apr. 15, 2009

"This sounds like it must be very good--where could I find the receipt?? Thanks


Lori N User ID: 2979927 18918
Reviewed Apr. 15, 2009

"I made this meatloaf last night for company and everyone enjoyed it, especially my husband. It's a recipe I will always make!"

dinkum User ID: 616604 17479
Reviewed Mar. 31, 2009

"This meatloaf is so moist and tasty and with the tangy Topping it is a true winner with my grandchildren. I make it often."

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