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Classic Beef Meatloaf

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If you’re looking for the BEST old-fashioned classic beef meatloaf I have you covered with this family favorite recipe. It’s packed full of flavor and topped with a lightly sweetened ketchup mixture. Trust me, you’ll love this simple meatloaf recipe!

Classic Beef Meatloaf on a serving platter with a slice cut.

If you’re looking for a delicious classic beef meatloaf recipe I have you covered!

This is my most favorite meatloaf recipe that hands down make me excited for dinner any time I make it.

It was hard to take “pretty” pictures of meatloaf but if you’re a fan of traditional vintage meals you’ll love this recipe.

This recipe highlights the simplicity of old-fashioned recipes and only uses a few simple ingredients that are very likely already in your pantry.

It uses cubed white bread (instead of the usual bread crumbs), chopped celery and onion, a few simple spices, and is topped with a lightly sweetened ketchup mixture.

You’re going to love this simple and classic recipe – trust me!

Classic Beef Meatloaf sliced into pieces for serving.

What is the best ground beef for meatloaf?

The biggest thing to remember when making meatloaf is that you need fat in order to keep the meatloaf juicy and not dry.

My personal favorite is 85/15 as it is the perfect balance of protein to fat for meatloaf. You can use 90/10 but if you don’t pay attention your meatloaf could end up dry if it’s overcooked.

You can also use 80/20 but it will give off a bit more fat.

Can I use breadcrumbs instead of cubed white bread?

Yes, but the thing I love most about this recipe is that it uses cubed white bread instead of bread crumbs.

The bread I like to use is simple sliced bread like Wonder bread. If you’re using much larger slices (think Pepperidge Farm style bread that tends to be much larger slices than traditional bread) then you’ll use 3 slices instead.

The bread soaks up the milk and egg and helps create moisture throughout the loaf and helps bind it together.

However, if you still want to substitute bread crumbs you’ll want to do 1 cup of seasoned or panko bread crumbs.

a close up slice of Classic Beef Meatloaf.

How do I store leftover meatloaf?

You’ll want to store any leftover cooled meatloaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.

Can I freeze meatloaf?


If you want to freeze cooked meatloaf simply let it cool, wrap it in plastic wrap, and store it in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat the meatloaf let it defrost in the fridge and reheat as normal.

If you want to freeze uncooked meatloaf I like to freeze it without the ketchup topping. You’ll want to wrap it in plastic wrap, store it in an airtight container, and will stay good for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat simply defrost in the fridge, and cook according to the directions below. I usually make the ketchup topping fresh since it’s one of the easier and fast aspects of this recipe.

Classic Beef Meatloaf sliced on a white serving plate.

Love this classic beef meatloaf recipe?

Why not try a few of my other classic dinnertime recipes?!

Classic Beef Meatloaf

Classic Beef Meatloaf

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

If you're looking for the BEST old-fashioned classic beef meatloaf I have you covered with this family favorite recipe. It's packed full of flavor and topped with a lightly sweetened ketchup mixture. Trust me, you'll love this simple meatloaf recipe!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 slices white bread, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light karo syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl add ground beef, cubed bread, eggs, milk, chopped onion, chopped celery, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, poultry seasoning, and black pepper.
  3. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Because the meat is cold I usually have to take a few breaks to warm my hands up while mixing. You can also use a silicone spatula BUT I think it gets better mixed by hand.
  4. Once your meat is mixed place it on the baking sheet and form into a loaf. I usually make my loaf about 6 inches wide by 12 inches long.
  5. Add to the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. While the meatloaf bakes mix together ketchup, dark brown sugar, and light Karo syrup.
  7. After an hour of baking remove the meatloaf, top with ketchup mixture, and place back into the oven.
  8. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the meatloaf is fully cooked (it should feel firm) and the ketchup mixture on the top has started to bubble.
  9. Remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes, slice, and enjoy.


  • If you don't want to use light Karo syrup in the ketchup mixture you can add more brown sugar or completely leave it out. How sweet you like your ketchup mixture can vary from person to person.
  • I like to use 85/15 or 90/10 for my meatloaf. You need some fat so the meatloaf does not dry out while baking. 80/20 makes a good meatloaf too but it will give off a bit more fat.
  • I like to line my baking sheet with foil as it's much easier to clean up. The foil will catch all the fat that comes out of the meatloaf while baking.
  • Dried poultry seasoning is typically a mix of sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, nutmeg, and black pepper.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 878Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 299mgSodium: 1333mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 70g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Classic beef meatloaf pin for pinterest.
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