How to Make Meatloaf From Scratch (Just Like Mom Use to Make)

Hearty meatloaf with a homemade meatloaf sauce is a comforting, classic American meal. While meatloaf may seem like a complicated endeavor, it is actually quite easy! All you need to do is mix all of the ingredients together, form a loaf, and bake. From start-to-finish, the recipe only takes an hour and makes plenty of food to generously feed 4 to 6 people. Once you have experience preparing a classic meatloaf, you can get creative by adding various vegetables, spices, and/or sauces to change up the flavor.

How to make classic meatloaf
How to make classic meatloaf (Image: Julia Mueller)

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pounds ground beef (see tip)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (or gluten-free breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Meatloaf sauce


    • You can use any type of ground beef with any fat content. 80/20 beef turns out very rich and delicious.

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Step 1: Gather your Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the meatloaf sauce and refrigerate until ready to use. Lightly oil a large casserole dish, and get out all of the ingredients for the meatloaf.

Prepare to make meatloaf!
Prepare to make meatloaf! (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

Add all of the ingredients for the meatloaf to a stand mixer (Note: you can also mix the ingredients by hand if you don't have an electric mixer).

Add ingredients to a mixer
Add ingredients to a mixer (Image: Julia Mueller)

Mix the ingredients together using the paddle attachment, just until combined (careful to not over-beat the meat mixture).

Mix just until combined
Mix just until combined (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 3: Form a Loaf

Use your hands to form a loaf out of the meat. Place the loaf in the center of a large casserole dish.

(Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 4: Top with Sauce

Spread about 3 tablespoons of sauce over the meatloaf.

Add sauce and spread
Add sauce and spread (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 5: Bake the Meatloaf

Place the meatloaf on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove meatloaf from the oven and spread additional sauce on top if desired. Allow meat to rest 15 minutes to allow the juices to distribute throughout the meat.

Add more sauce and allow meat to sit
Add more sauce and allow meat to sit (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 6: Cut and Serve

Use a sharp knife to cut thick slices of meatloaf garnish with fresh parsley and serve!

cut and serve
cut and serve (Image: Julia Mueller)

Don't Forget the Sauce!

Homemade -- and with only 4 ingredients!

(Image: Julia Mueller)
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