Home-Style Glazed Meat Loaf Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
This glazed meat loaf is perfectly moist thanks to the addition of a couple secret ingredients. The sweet-and-tangy brown sugar meat loaf glaze is the perfect finish for this easy meat loaf recipe.

Updated: Jan. 04, 2024

Most of us have a go-to meat loaf recipe, maybe one passed down from family members or inspired by a homestyle restaurant dish. This glazed meat loaf recipe is so good it may replace your current favorite. Instead of topping the meat loaf with ketchup alone, we simmer ketchup, brown sugar and Dijon mustard together. This brown sugar meat loaf glaze coats the loaf with an unforgettable sweet and tangy flavor.

The glaze isn’t the only remarkable thing about this meat loaf. We use two unique ingredients to take it to the next level. Shredded carrots add moisture to keep the meat loaf juicy and tender. Meanwhile, sharp cheddar cheese amps up the savory vibes. These simple additions create a fantastic twist on a classic comfort food dinner.

Ingredients for Glazed Meat LoafHome Style Glazed Meat Loaf Ft23 27136 St 1117 1 Ss EditTMB STUDIO

  • Brown sugar meat loaf glaze: This meat loaf is juicy and delicious, but the glaze is the real star! The combination of brown sugar, ketchup and Dijon mustard gives the loaf the perfect finishing touch.
  • Lean ground beef: We generally use 80/20 ground beef because of its higher fat content. But in this recipe, we add cheese to the mix, which adds needed fat so you can get away with using a lean ground beef.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: Cheese isn’t typical in meat loaf recipes, but it makes the loaf hearty and indulgent. (It also melts into the other ingredients to hold the loaf together!)
  • Carrots and onion: Veggies add flavor to any meat loaf, and in this recipe, carrots help keep the loaf moist as it cooks. Use a box grater or a food processor to shred the vegetables as finely as possible.
  • Eggs and milk: These are binding ingredients, which means they hold the meat loaf together as it cooks. They’re key to ensuring the loaf stays together when you slice it.
  • Crushed saltines: We love meat loaf recipes that use saltine crackers instead of bread crumbs. Saltines have a fantastic salty character, and they help the loaf retain its shape. You can sub in another crushed cracker, such as butter- or cheese-flavored crackers.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the meat loaf mixture

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the beaten eggs, milk, cheddar cheese, saltines, carrots, onion, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Crumble the beef over the mixture, and mix lightly but thoroughly.

Step 2: Bake the meat loaf

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Shape the meat loaf mixture into a loaf. Place it in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Using a baking sheet or 13×9-inch baking dish creates a rustic, hand-shaped meat loaf with crispy edges. If you use a loaf pan instead, baking times may vary. The pan will trap moisture inside, steaming the loaf instead of crisping it up.

Step 3: Prepare the meat loaf glaze

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In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, ketchup and Dijon mustard to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for three to five minutes, until heated through.

Editor’s Tip: If you love sauce, make extra to serve on the side. This meat loaf glaze also tastes incredible drizzled over rice or mashed potatoes.

Step 4: Add the glaze

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Spoon the glaze over the meat loaf. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until meat is no longer pink and a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the loaf reads 160°.

Carefully drain any excess grease from baking dish. Let the meat loaf stand for 10 minutes. Slice the loaf, and if desired, top with minced fresh parsley.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t skip the resting step! Resting allows the juices to redistribute and helps the loaf stay together so it won’t fall apart while slicing. Try using a serrated knife if you have trouble cutting the loaf without squishing it.

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Recipe Variations

  • Experiment with seasonings: This glazed meat loaf doesn’t lack flavor, but you can add herbs and spices to put your own spin on it. Try mixing dried oregano, chili powder, or a dollop of umami-rich tomato sauce into the beef mixture. Or add hot sauce or horseradish to the meat loaf glaze to give it a spicy kick.
  • Use a different protein: There are many ways to make meat loaf, so have some fun with it. Try making our glazed meat loaf with venison or ground turkey. Just make sure to cook the loaf to the safe cook temp for the meat you’re using.

How to Store Glazed Meat Loaf

Leftover meat loaf is good in the refrigerator for three to four days. Let the meat loaf cool after cooking. Cut it into individual portions, and store them in a container with a tightly fitted lid. Reheat the leftovers in the microwave until warmed through. To make leftover meat loaf sandwiches, gently fry the leftover slices in a skillet to give them a crisp edge. Layer them between thick-sliced bread and your favorite burger toppings.

For a make-ahead meat loaf, tightly wrap the cooled whole meat loaf, and store it in the fridge. To reheat, unwrap the loaf, and transfer it to an oven-safe dish. Cook it in a 350° oven until a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reads 165°, about 30 minutes.

Can you freeze glazed meat loaf?

Yes, cooked meat loaf can be frozen for up to three months. To freeze whole meat loaf, wrap the cooled meat loaf in aluminum foil. Store it in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag. To freeze the slices, wrap them individually and store in a freezer-safe bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Glazed Meat Loaf Tips

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What is the best meat for meat loaf?

The best meat for meat loaf is 80/20 ground beef because of its high fat content. The ratio of lean meat to fat in ground beef affects the meat loaf’s moisture content. However, you can mix lean ground beef with higher-fat meats like ground pork or sausage. In this glazed meat loaf recipe, we add fat by mixing in cheddar cheese. You could use other lean meats, such as ground chicken or turkey, if desired.

How can you make sure your glazed meat loaf is moist?

We ensure this glazed meat loaf recipe is moist with a couple secret ingredients: finely shredded carrots and cheddar cheese. Meat loaf made with lean ground beef can turn out dry if it doesn’t contain enough fat. Cheddar cheese adds the necessary amount. Meanwhile, carrots add moisture to the meat loaf, keeping it juicy as it cooks. Another way to ensure meat loaf is moist is to avoid overmixing the meat. Use a gentle hand when mixing and shaping the loaf to prevent a tough loaf with a dry, crumbly texture.

How can you tell when glazed meat loaf is done cooking?

Using an instant-read meat thermometer is the best way to know when glazed meat loaf is done cooking. Meat loaf is finished cooking when it reaches at least 160°.

Why did the glazed meat loaf fall apart?

Meat loaf can fall apart if you don’t rest the loaf for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Resting allows the juices to redistribute within the loaf so the contents stay together without crumbling. A loaf can also fall apart if you don’t have the right binding ingredients. This recipe uses saltine crackers, milk, eggs and cheddar cheese as binders to hold everything together.

What do you serve with glazed meat loaf?

Serve glazed meat loaf with your favorite meat loaf sides like green bean casserole, sauteed peas, honey-glazed carrots, mashed potatoes or baked rolls.

Homestyle Glazed Meat Loaf

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 12 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup crushed saltines (about 30 crackers)
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cheese, saltines, carrots, onion, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes.
  2. For glaze, in a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, ketchup and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Spoon over meat loaf.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink and a thermometer reads 160°. Drain; let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. If desired, top with minced fresh parsley.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 266 calories, 12g fat (6g saturated fat), 100mg cholesterol, 494mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 1g fiber), 20g protein.

Grated carrots and cheese add a hint of color to this down-home classic. If there are leftovers, we use them in meat loaf sandwiches the next day! —Sandy Etelamaki, Ishpeming, Michigan