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Mom’s Meat Loaf

Mom made the best meatloaf, and now I do, too. When I first met my husband, he didn't care for homemade meatloaf, but this won him over. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2/3 cup finely crushed saltines
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • Dash pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into an 8x4-in. loaf in an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar; remove 1/2 cup for sauce. Spread remaining mixture over meat loaf.
  • Bake 60-65 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved sauce.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Chicken, beef or vegetable broth can be used instead of milk.
  • For a tender loaf, use a gentle touch when mixing and shaping. Also, be sure to moisten the cracker crumbs or bread crumbs before adding them to the meat.
  • Swap ground turkey for the beef. It pairs perfectly with the earthy rubbed sage.
  • Short on time? Skip the sauce-making and use your favorite prepared barbecue sauce instead.
  • Get more meat loaf recipes here.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 slice: 366 calories, 12g fat (5g saturated fat), 135mg cholesterol, 1092mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (31g sugars, 0 fiber), 26g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • resalee
      Jun 27, 2020

      Delicious! Next time though I'll follow the advice of a previous review and add the Worcestershire sauce to the meatloaf and skip the sauce. My family only likes a little sauce on top and this recipe made way more than we needed. Instead I'll just add a little ketchup to the top before cooking. I used 2.25 pounds of ground beef instead of 1.5 pounds because that's how it was packaged and I didn't have a need to save a small amount. It still turned out fantastic. Much better than using the meatloaf seasoning packet like I've always done before.

    • Scott
      Jun 11, 2020

      I have 4 very very picky kids the oldest is 13. They pretty much all 4 live on pizza every day. No kidding! Until,!!!! I made this and made all 4 of them at least try it. Guess what? I am now making it at least once a week and all 4 of them absolutely love it so I've been doubling everything and they eat every last bit of it at least by the next evening. All 4 kids and myself would like to thank you for this wonderful meatloaf. It's a huge hit in our home. God bless.

    • Barb
      May 23, 2020

      This is very similar to my mother’s with a couple of small exceptions. She added the Worcestershire sauce to the meatloaf and then just used ketchup to top it. I don’t think I would miss the brown sugar. Delicious and thank you for sharing your version!

    • Caren
      May 4, 2020

      Never made a decent meatloaf, which family didn’t care for anyway. Found this recipe in Taste of Home’s Copycat Favorites book. BINGO! Didn’t change a thing and has now become a favorite. I am feeling ‘victorian’ !

    • Wendy
      May 4, 2020

      Very similar to my mom's meatloaf. Though we use Ritz crackers, a couple eggs and the topping is brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, worcestershire sauce. I do like the comment to wet d oi wn your "crumbs" prior to adding to the meat mix.

    • susnan
      May 3, 2020

      This is basically the recipe I’ve used for many years, minus the sage (which I only like in cornbread dressing). I like to soak the crackers in the milk until they are soft before adding to the meat. You can also add chopped bell pepper for extra flavor. The only meatloaf recipe I’ll ever use.

    • FRED
      May 3, 2020

      Instead of baking in the oven, I cooked it on my smoker. We all loved it.

    • dmichelle2
      May 3, 2020

      I've been making this recipe for years and we love it! I substitute plain bread crumbs for the saltines, but it is great either way!!

    • Ernie
      May 2, 2020

      My mom always made her meatloaf with 80/20 ground beef

    • Nonniebakes
      May 1, 2020

      Tried this recipe last year and we love it! Makes tasty sandwiches the next day too!