Classic meatloaf done right is one of those ultimate comfort foods that always hits the spot. And this recipe has one or two secret tricks that truly make it the best meatloaf ever! Moist, tender, loaded with flavor, plus the perfect texture and a caramelized, smoky glaze, this is traditional southern meatloaf!
The Engineer claims that meatloaf is one of those fantastically delicious meals that doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Serve it up with side dishes like fluffy Horseradish Mashed Potatoes or Ultimate Pepper Jack Macaroni & Cheese for a knockout Sunday family dinner or make-ahead weeknight supper. The leftovers the next day are a practically a delicacy. You know what I’m talking about- that magical meatloaf sandwich!
But what makes it so good? Yep, it’s that gorgeously tangy glaze. But, it’s also those savory onions, bell peppers and a sprinkle of garlic. And there’s no doubt it’s all about really good beef. But a truly delicious meatloaf recipe? It all starts with a really good sear.
Related Recipe: Whiskey Peach BBQ Meatballs
Best Meatloaf & Glaze Ingredients
- ground beef (85/15 or 90/10 lean to fat ratio)
- yellow onion, finely diced
- green bell pepper, finely diced
- flour – I use flour instead of bread crumbs. It’s easy, always on hand, accomplishes the same goal as breadcrumbs, creates an even texture and is easily substituted with a nut flour for those on low carb diets.
- canned milk (evaporated milk)
- Worcestershire sauce
- salt, pepper, garlic powder
- tomato sauce
- BBQ Sauce – You can use your favorite grocery store brand or make your own with this recipe!
How to Make This Classic Meatloaf
Mix. Mix together all the ingredients for the meatloaf (except the flour and milk) just enough to evenly distribute the ingredients throughout the ground beef. Add in flour and milk, being careful not to overmix.
Sear in Moisture & Flavor. Form approximately a 9×5 loaf with the beef mixture. Add enough cooking oil to cover the bottom of a skillet or dutch oven 1/8-1/4 of an inch deep. Heat oil and carefully add loaf using a spatula or tongs. Sear loaf on both sides and remove skillet with loaf in it from the stove top.
Make the Glaze. Whisk together all the ingredients for meatloaf glaze. Pour them right over the top of the loaf while it is still in the skillet with any renderings or oil still in the bottom. The glaze will thicken and reduce as it cooks. This thick, red glaze is always everyone’s favorite part!
Bake. Place skillet in oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Halfway through baking, spoon extra glaze from the skillet over the loaf. When baking time is finished, remove your meatloaf from the oven to let it rest before moving it to a platter or slicing to serve.
FAQs About Making the Best Meatloaf
Why do you add milk to meatloaf? Milk adds additional moisture and fat to the recipe which is important in creating a flavorful, tender meatloaf.
Should I cover my meatloaf when baking it? Don’t cover it! The direct heat is necessary to caramelize and thicken those glaze ingredients.
Why does my meatloaf fall apart? Meatloaf can fall apart if it hasn’t rested properly before slicing or if there are not enough fats (too lean of beef or no milk) or too little binding agents, like eggs and flour, in the recipe.
Making Meatloaf Ahead of Time + Freezing
Meatloaf is a perfect recipe for making ahead of time or for doubling to make one for now and freeze one for later!
To Make It Ahead of Time. Simply assemble the loaf as directed. Then, wrap unseared loaf in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days before searing, glazing and baking.
To Freeze. Freezing follows the same process! Simply heavily wrap unseared loaf and store in a freezer-safe zip proof bag in your freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and pick up with instructions from there!
Other Classic Comfort Recipes You’ll Love
- Classic Family Pot Roast
- Classic Chicken Pot Pie
- Easy One Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Southern Chicken & Dumplings
- Easy Southern Salmon Patties
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW!
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- 2 pounds ground beef, 85/15 or 90/10 lean to fat ratio
- 2 large eggs
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup canned milk (evaporated milk)
- cooking oil
- 15 ounce tomato sauce
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- splash of Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Mix together all ingredients for the meatloaf except the flour and milk. Mix just enough to evenly distribute the ingredients throughout the ground beef. Add in flour and milk, being careful not to overmix.
- Form a loaf with the beef mixture. Add enough cooking oil to cover the bottom of a skillet or dutch oven 1/8-1/4 of an inch deep. Heat oil and add loaf. Sear on both sides and remove skillet from heat.
- Whisk together ingredients for meatloaf glaze. Pour over top of meatloaf with any renderings or oil still in the bottom of the skillet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 – 50 minutes or until meatloaf reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Halfway through baking, spoon extra sauce from skillet over the loaf. When baking time is finished, remove from oven. Let rest for 10 minutes before moving to a platter or slicing to serve.