Thomas is an award-winning chef with 40+ years of experience. He loves to cook and share recipes.
The World's Best Meatloaf Recipe
Here is one of the most delicious recipes for meatloaf and tomato gravy that you will ever make and enjoy. Once you taste it, I think you'll agree that it truly is the best.
Meatloaf, to most Americans, is a comfort food. Most of us remember our grandmother or mom making that oh-so-special, delicious meatloaf. I know I do. Both my grandmother and my mom made delicious meatloaf that I still remember. I merged their recipes with mine and that is how I came up with this wonderful version.
No matter how you prepare this recipe, it's wonderful. I personally think it deserves the title "world's best meatloaf."
I've got a lot of information to share with you here. Here's what I want to teach you:
- How to make meatloaf
- Making a killer sauce from scratch
- Tips and tricks
- Using the right materials
- Leftover ideas
Before You Start
- Chop veggies finely. Be sure that your celery, onions, and bell peppers are chopped into very small and even pieces. You don't want any large chunks of vegetables in your loaf. I get the best results by chopping my vegetables in my food processor so that all the small pieces are the same size. You want the pieces to be as small as possible—with my food processor, they come out to be about the size of a grain of rice.
- Wet your hands. You should wet your hands when you are working with and shaping your meatloaf. If you do this, you'll find that the loaf is less likely to stick to your hands. You'll also find that cleaning your hands up afterward will be much easier.
- 2 and 1/2 pounds of ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons of half and half
- 2 teaspoons horseradish
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 cup of finely diced celery
- 1/2 of finely diced onion
- 1/2 of finely diced green pepper
- 1 and 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
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- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, half and half, an egg, and the seasonings. Spray your hands with vegetable cooking spray and get right in there, mixing your meatloaf up well.
- Now add in the rest of your ingredients and mix them up very well.
- Shape your meat mixture into a loaf and place it onto a baking pan that you have sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Be sure to smooth out the top part of the loaf with your hands. You can choose either to dome the top part or make it flat, whatever your preference is. After it's smoothed or domed, spread the ketchup over the outside.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until your meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160°F in its center at the thickest part. Allow it to cool slightly before you slice and serve.
Delicious Tomato Gravy Recipe
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 (16-ounce) can of tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, for one minute.
- Whisk in the remaining ingredients and cook for five minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Serve on the side with your meatloaf, and wait for others to be wowed and beg you for the recipe.
Tips for Your Best-Ever Meatloaf
- Pans: I like to use a loaf pan or loaf pans to cook my meatloaf in. If you like to use baking paper, take the time to find the kind that has tinfoil on one side and parchment paper on the other side. Cut pieces of this paper to fit the bottom of your pans and put the tinfoil side of the baking paper down. This will help to ensure that your cooked meatloaf will come out of the pan just perfect.
- Room-Temperature Ingredients: Let all your ingredients acclimate to room temperature before you start to mix everything up. This way, it will mix up a lot easier, and it will always go together and come out of the oven looking pretty.
- Internal Temperature: Always cook the loaf until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C). Measure the temperature at the thickest part of the meatloaf. It's best to use an instant-read meat thermometer to get the right temperature.
- Lean Version: To make a healthier rendition, start with lean beef or pork and place the loaf on a rack over a roasting pan so the excess fat can drain off as the loaf bakes. You can also replace half the ground meat with ground turkey or use an egg substitute. That is, if you feel like being healthier. I like it made just as the recipe dictates.
- Super Moist Meatloaf: Some recipes call for a 1/2 cup of milk in addition to the cream, which makes the loaf even more delicious and moist.
- Cook It the Day Before: Most people will find they can make and cook their meatloaf on the day of or the day before serving and store it in the refrigerator overnight, covered. Many claim that the flavor is enhanced this way. Try it and see what you think. I like to make it and cook it all in one day. Then I like to store the finished version overnight in the refrigerator, heating it up and serving it the next day.
- Side Ideas: This meatloaf is amazing served with homemade mashed potatoes, brown gravy, and green beans. You won't find a more delicious combination.
- Incorporate Other Meats: In case you don't know, meatloaf is any ground meat mixture that is shaped into a loaf and baked. Meatloaves can be made from beef, veal, lamb, or pork, and usually contain onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, and various seasonings. No recipe is written in stone. If a recipe has something in it you don't like, then, by all means, take it out and use something else. You never know what kind of tasty meatloaf you may end up with. Be sure to thinly slice your leftover meatloaf and try it in sandwiches (see below for instructions on this).
Yummy Add-In Ideas for Your Meatloaf
- Italian seasoning
Ideas for Leftover Meatloaf
How About a Delicious Sandwich?
Have you ever had a meatloaf sandwich? If not, you need to make one!
- Cut the leftover meatloaf into thin slices for open-faced sandwiches. Add an egg on top for an interesting touch!
- Take two pieces of toast and heat up two thin slices of your leftover meatloaf.
- Then, put brown gravy with cooked, thinly sliced sweet onions in it over the meatloaf and toast—you'll have one of the most delicious sandwiches ever.
More Leftover Meatloaf Ideas
If you get tired of the tried-and-true leftover meatloaf sandwich, here are a few unconventional ways to use your leftover meatloaf.
- Spaghetti with meat(loaf) sauce
- Shepherd's pie
- Meatloaf tacos
- Stuffed bell peppers with meatloaf, cheese, and rice
- Breakfast skillet with eggs, hash browns, and meatloaf
© 2010 Thomas Byers
Post your comments. Also, feel free to post your tips, suggestions, and questions.
Debbie Jaspring on August 22, 2020:
This is the BEST meatloaf recipe! I didn't use horseradish because I don't like it but used everything else. This is one meat loaf I will be making a lot. Thanks for the great recipe.
Mark Stacey on February 25, 2020:
Hey there. Could someone please help me with this recipe. I'm in Melbourne Australia and I have no clue whatsoever about half and half. I would like to know what it is and how i can supplement the ingredients in replacement of half and half. Cheers.
Dave from Indiana on February 19, 2020:
First time in 25 years of marriage, I made a large meatloaf
Kath on February 17, 2020:
Where is the salt...?
Nana on January 28, 2020:
Ketchup go on inside or on top of the meatloaf. Recipe confusing since it said add in remaining ingredients with no mention of ketchup set aside for top???
Sue on December 04, 2019:
The meatloaf is pretty good but the sauce is nasty
Cathy on November 30, 2019:
This was so f$@&ing delicious- I used jalepeno peppers because I had no green ones. Fat and happy!!!
Jim on July 08, 2019:
Reading the comments is hilarious. Followed directions closely but added a touch of milk. Sweet Jesus. It was good. Tomato gravy this morning with biscuits. Icing on the cake.
Cat on June 20, 2019:
I'm a little confused on the ingredients and what goes where I guess it's just ketchup on top and no ketchup in the meatloaf itself?
RaeA@icloud.com on June 08, 2019:
I stuff my meatloaf with pepperoni & cheddar cheese, cook on 350 for about one hour. I use spicy brown mustard.
Laura on June 03, 2019:
Meatloaf with sauce was awesome. Will definitely make it again. I had to bake it for 1:15 instead of the recommended 45 minutes
Pam on April 02, 2019:
Your meat loaf was awesome. I did not cook in bread pan so it does get done as you said. Will make again
PaulaDC on March 26, 2019:
No salt? I added kosher salt and will know if that was wise when it's done.
Bokki on March 07, 2019:
Bubbie ... I use Keebler crackers crushed. Everyone loves 'my' meatloaf .. I just simples chop mine .. do not use a food processor, it would try out like mush ..ewwwwwww .
Shannon on February 09, 2019:
I tweaked the recipe by adding mushrooms took out celery and added more bell pepper, then added Worcestershire and sriracha, it’s in the oven now so
Cindy on January 29, 2019:
Good recipe, I added some salt, as there was none in the recipe. I cooked it up as 3 separate free form meat loaves and used a combo of bbq sauce and ketchup on the tops at end of 1 hour and baked for an additional 15min.
Heather on January 12, 2019:
Worlds best meatloaf? Says who? That was the worst most disgusting meatloaf ever! Oh and where did you come up with 45 minutes to cook? It was raw and I had to cook it for another 1 1/2 hours after that! You claim to be a cook? I would never eat in your restaurant, you can’t even make a good meatloaf!
Hemayet hosen on October 26, 2018:
Have a nice day
Lana H on October 25, 2018:
Delicious my hubby loved it. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!
Cindy on July 24, 2018:
I’m a little confused- I mixed all the ingredients together as directed including the keptsup and eat that I was supposed to place it on outside of meatloaf.
Bea Washington, Birmingham, Al on June 17, 2018:
Turned out to be moist and tasty, for Father's day dinner.
Timbo on May 31, 2018:
To those who can't print or download. Just make a folder in Pinterest called Meatloaf, then save it to your folder. Or, before we had printers we had these things called a pen and paper. Write it down.
Bubbie on May 31, 2018:
Any substitute for the bread crumbs?
Carol on May 20, 2018:
Today I'm trying your recipe I used red pepper instead of green as that is what I had in the house. I did reduce celery an pepper amount to have added a little brown sugar to the ketchup. I didn't have cream so I used 2 Tbls. Onion dip to my mixture. Can't wait to try it. I put it together 4 hrs in advance then will bake it after gardening.
Janice on May 12, 2018:
What a fabulous recipe!! I added a bit more horseradish- Thank You
Shahnaz raza khan on March 13, 2018:
Thanks for sharing this. I made this before it's really very scrumptious loaf and easy to make no hassle . Thanks .
Elaine DiMarzio on January 31, 2018:
Why is it when we find a recipe we want to try, we can't get the recipe to print? What is the sense?
Reeta Danishlinka on January 14, 2018:
How if we mixture with potatoes and add some carrot right??
Ok we wait another kind of recipes.
Ella on November 07, 2017:
Cannot get recipe
Sharon Glover-Houvener on July 27, 2017:
This is the best meatloaf I have ever had. The sandwiches the next day are Delish!!!!! I use ground turkey for mine (93%).
Justine Kritzer on March 03, 2017:
My mother was an excellent cook. she was way ahead of her time.in the 40's she was using ingredients that cooks are using today. she could make a gourmet meal out of the simplest foods.
I tried to duplicate her meat loaf. She always used half ground pork and half ground beef. I kept looking for a recipe that called for green pepper, because I knew it was in her meatloaf and I'm sure also the horseradish, which I love. I could never find it on the internet, until today. It sounds exactly like my mother's recipe. When I would make it in the past with other recipes, it just didn't taste like what I was looking for. I can't wait to try this.
Edward Lumm on October 31, 2016:
Best meatloaf is after you form your loaf put yams around the loaf and pour the juice of yams over the loaf and cook 1hr 30 min. want be dry.
Art on October 25, 2016:
I have made this meatloaf and added only one more ingredient that my mother used, which was rice. She added just under a half cup to the mixture uncooked, and as the meatloaf cooked, the rice absorbed the grease in the meatloaf and added flavor.
Breta on September 14, 2016:
Thanks so much. The recipes are so, so, good!
Nancy Straw on August 15, 2016:
I make a very similar meatloaf and combine catsup, a little mustard and some brown sugar and about 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and spread this on top before baking it. Delish!!!
Donna on February 27, 2016:
I'm a little confused..the ketchup is listed in the middle of the ingredients, so does it go inside, or on the outside?
casey on May 02, 2015:
What is half and half??
Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on October 29, 2014:
Prepared or Dry Mustard. Either will work.
kristen on October 29, 2014:
Is it dry mustard or prepared?
Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on March 27, 2014:
I put the ketchup on the outside. And it is a wonderful meatloaf.
Sandi on March 27, 2014:
Does the katsup go on the inside and outside or just the outside? Looks great!
sjerzgirl2 from Gloucester City, New Jersey on April 07, 2013:
I haven't been here in a long time, so I was happy to see someone make reference to your hubpage on Facebook. I had to re-create my account because I had deleted the original. This meatloaf looks wonderful! I can't wait to try it.
Barbara Morelock on April 02, 2013:
The recipes are great. I don't know how I ran across this but am so happy about finding it. Thanks for all your trouble. The meatloaf is great, like Gram's use to be. Barbara aka canocat
Paradise7 from Upstate New York on July 26, 2010:
Oh, that does look good! And I do love meat loaf! Thanks.