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Momma’s Meatloaf (+Video)

Momma’s Best Meatloaf recipe is full of flavor and is moist and scrumptious! It’s simple to make and comes out perfect every time!


I think most folks at some point in their lives have had either great experiences with meatloaf or really bad ones. Maybe the meatloaf was a tad dry or maybe it tasted like a lump of beef and nothing else. Don’t worry, I am about to change your mind about any of your bad meatloaf experiences! This meatloaf recipe is not only delicious and flavorful, it is most definitely not dry!

slices, meatloaf on a plate with mashed potatoes.


What type of ground beef should I use for meatloaf?

80/20 or 85/15 are going to be your most flavorful ground beef for the recipe. You can certainly use a leaner meat but you sacrifice some flavor by having less fat.

Can I make meatloaf with ground turkey?

Yes you can. Turkey is very lean though so you obviously are not going to get anywhere near the flavor as you would with a fattier ground beef.

Why does the meatloaf mixture seem “wet”?

This is normal. It should look like that and will help this meatloaf come out super moist and tender!

Can I use bread crumbs instead of cubed bread?

Store bought bread crumbs soak up a lot of moisture in the meatloaf. I really don’t recommend using them in baked meatloaf (it’s a bit different in a slow cooker meatloaf). Sliced bread is a great filler without it soaking up all the moisture from the meatloaf. If you insist on using breadcrumbs, I would use panko breadcrumbs.

Can I make this in a loaf pan?

Yes. This can be made in a loaf pan (with about the same cooking time.) Cooking it on a sheet pan helps some of the fat spread away from the meat.

Can I make meatloaf in the instant pot?

I converted this same recipe for the Instant Pot too!

Can this be made in an air fryer?

Yes! Head over to my Air Fryer Meatloaf recipe on how to do that.

a whole cooked meatloaf shown on a metal steak serving platter.


  • ground beef (80/20 works good)
  • milk
  • egg
  • sliced bread
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • onion powder
  • salt and black pepper
  • dry ground mustard
  • garlic powder
  • ketchup
ground beef, milk, egg, sliced bread, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder salt, dry ground mustard, black pepper hot sauce, garlic powder, ketchup.


Heat oven to 350F degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (except ketchup.)

ground beef, sliced bread, seasoning and milk in a large bowl.

Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands – they work best.

meatloaf mixture combined in a glass bowl.

Spread mixture into an ungreased loaf pan or shape into a loaf on a sheet pan.

meatloaf spread into a loaf shape on a cookie sheet.

Spread ketchup on top of meatloaf.

spread ketchup on top of meatloaf before baking.

Cook for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes (or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.) 

The best meatloaf on a platter, garnished with parsley flakes.

Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

forkful, meatloaf topped with ketchup.


Originally published: August 2011
Updated & republished: December 2019

Momma's Best Meatloaf recipe

Momma’s Meatloaf (+Video)

Momma's Best Meatloaf recipe is full of flavor and is moist and scrumptious! It's simple to make and comes out perfect every time!
4.79 from 55 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 slices bread, torn up into small pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ Tablespoon onion powder (or 1/2 cup finely chopped onion)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup ketchup


  • Heat oven to 350F degrees. Combine 1 pound ground beef, 3/4 cup milk, 1 large egg, 3 slices bread, torn up into small pieces, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ Tablespoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon hot sauce and ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder in a large bowl.
  • Shape into a loaf onto a sheet pan.
  • Spread ½ cup ketchup on top of meatloaf.
  • Cook for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes (or until a meat thermometer reads 160F degrees).
  • Let stand for 5 minutes then serve.


YouTube video


  • This can be made in a loaf pan with about the same cooking time.
  • Try adding 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to the ketchup topping for a slightly smoky flavor. 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American


Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 832mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I hated meatloaf when I was a kid. It was always dry and bland. We always used breadcrumbs and I really think that was the problem. They have no flavor and dry everything out. Your recipe is the opposite, always moist and flavorful. Thanks for a great recipe that has become a staple in our house!

    1. Mom never did use Ketchup, just the sauce. That was mixed right into the bread chunks along with the eggs, etc, before the meat. Bread was torn apart rather than cut; size about the top section of the thumb.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you! This is the only recipe using chunks of bread and milk like Mom’s! There are are a couple of differences in flavoring ingredients (I think Mom used Heinz Cocktail [?] Sauce.) I hated losing her recipe and haven’t made it in years. I loved eating cold slices (on white bread with yellow mustard) the next day.

  3. 5 stars
    This the go to meatloaf recipe at my house, perfect every time! The bread makes all the difference. I am a believer!

  4. 5 stars
    Just made this for my family. My picky 10 year old had three helpings, which is a huge win. I doubled the batch using 1# of 80/20 and 1# of ground pork. I agree with others – its the bread instead of crackers or breadcrumbs. I think those make it so dry. In any case, it turned out perfect!

  5. 5 stars
    Sounds good. John likes it with half ground beef and half sausage. Mom always used crushed saltines. I add about half a diced green bell pepper. The egg is the binder that holds it together. I use two. A little milk added to the egg Letting the loaf rest a few minutes makes it easier to slice. Also I’ve added peeled quartered potatoes in for about the last half hour. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. BEST. MEATLOAF. EVER. Honestly, it was seriously amazing and moist. Your bread trick is amazing. I had some stale brioche bread and just put that in there. I’ve always used breadcrumbs. Not anymore!!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve been making meatloaf the same way for 30 years. I think I got it off the back of a stuffing box. My family didn’t hate it but they didn’t love it either. That all changed tonight. I made it exactly to your recipe. So delicious and they all had seconds and even thirds! Ha!

  8. A picky eater here. Those of you grating onion to slip into the meatloaf, if you serve it to a TRULY picky eater, they’ll shove it right back at you. My taste sense for onion is so strong that it can tell if a sandwich maker has handled onion before they made my sandwich … the taste transfers to my bun/bread. Now, I always ask sandwich makers to change their gloves before they make my sandwich. Believe me, I’d know if there is ANY kind of onion (ground, powdered, green, etc.) in anything served to me. So, don’t think you’ll always get away with grating onion, or otherwise “hiding” it in food!

    This recipe sounds scrumptious, so I’ll probably divide it into two smaller loaves and make one without onion for myself, and add onion to the other for the other people.

    1. Hi Bev,
      I also am a raw onion hater! To solve the problem with the meatloaf, I simply put my onion and green peppers in a frying pan with some butter and olive oil and cook them til they are soft! Onions cooked this way are great!

  9. Just came across your site and this wonderful recipe through Pinterest. Looks and sounds delicious. I live alone and thinking about making this in muffin tins, as a whole pound of meat is way too much for one person

  10. That is a great tip MathewsLisaJ! Will have to try that out! Thanks for giving me some of your wisdom, those picky eaters will drive you nuts!

  11. Just a tip from a mom with kids all grown now, use a cheap spaghetti sauce in place of ketchup in the meatloaf. It adds great flavor. Also, I always added brown sugar and a little mustard to the spaghetti sauce for the top of the meatloaf. By the way, for the person who suggested grating the onions…brilliant! I wish I had thought of doing that. Oh, the problems that would have solved with my picky kids!

  12. 5 stars
    Don’t change a thing about this recipe! Everybody wants to tell everybody else how they make their meatloaf. Don’t listen! This recipe is perfection and I would’t change a darn thing! Thank you Brandie!

  13. IF you double the recipe, you will need to add to two separate loaf pans. Just cook them side by side. Hope this helps.

  14. I make my meatloaf in a cake pan and put cut up potatoes, carrots and onions around it. Veggies baked in meatloaf drippings are to die for.

    My meatloaves are never the same twice, like my vegetable soup. I just go through the fridge and start throwing stuff in. Examples: Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, bbq sauce, A-1, onion powder or diced onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, black olives, garlic powder.

    I'm going to try adding milk next time

  15. Your meatloaf looks great. I also have a picky son who doesn't like onions in his meatloaf. But I grate my onion into the meatloaf and still get that wonderful addition of flavor without having to pick out pieces of onion! You can't even see it! He doesn't even know its in there!!

  16. My recipe is a little different. I use crushed Sunshine cheezit crackers instead of bread and I make several mini loaves and pop in the oven so everybody can have their crunchy ends.

  17. My husband and I love a meat loaf every couple of months. I started mixing mine in a large shallow bowl and make a rough form then slide it into my hot, lightly greased 12" cast iron skillet and finish forming it so ends touch the edge of skillet (meat is narrow and long like the shape of loaf pan). it comes out so yummy!

  18. 5 stars
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I think we’ve been making meatloaf all wrong with using breadcrumbs and not a lot of flavor. The Worcestershire is a brilliant addition! I will echo what others are saying – you gotta make it Brandie’s way. I see other people here saying how they make it but I’m telling you – don’t listen! This is the only one!

  19. Sitting here at 2am cause I can't sleep looking for something for dinner tonight when I came across this, Do you have to use the ground mustard? I have everything else to make but not that. Don't want to have to go to Wally World today, Thanks

  20. I made this meatloaf for dinner last night and it was delicious. I cooked the loaf on a sheet pan as suggested (traditionally, I use a loaf pan) and it turned out great! So much more crunchy crust!

  21. Jen -thank you so much for that comment! You made my day!! It really means so much to me to hear that your enjoying the recipes. I hope you find lots more that you love!