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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
    Wonderful! I was a bit worried about how much liquid was in it..It came out perfect. I’ve made it twice.

  2. 5 stars
    Brandie this is just the best ever. Finally, I can leave the club of meatloaf-makers that end up with loaves that are too wet or dry or just crumble everywhere when you try to slice them. I followed your recipe exactly as written and was not disappointed. Very tasty.
    Thanks for sharing this!
    BTW, IF there are leftovers, this meatloaf is moist enough to be reheated in a lightly greased skillet and made into meatloaf sandwiches for lunch.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this meatloaf last year for Christmas and my husband loved it….I’ll be making it again this year but this time for Thanksgiving! And probably again for Christmas Eve

  4. Absolutely fantastic! Even the picky kiddos loved it. It was juicy, flavorful, and delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    My entire family loved this meatloaf, I can finally say I found a really good meatloaf recipe we all loved! I used 3 slices of regular light honey sandwich bread since I didn’t have any white bread. I also put 2 slices of bread one in front of the other under the meatloaf before I baked it. It was a hit! Enjoy!
    I’m finally done searching meatloaf recipes, yeah!

  6. 5 stars
    Sharon M. 8/30/2020

    One of the best and easiest meatloaf
    recipes I ever made! I’m reading that many people have trouble slicing the meatloaf without it falling apart. I have the answer!! A few years ago I came across a “Meatloaf Pan” as seen on TV.
    I found it in the local commercial pharmacy! (They often sell these type of items, and there’s no shipping!!! It’s the best pan ever. It includes a non-stick loaf pan, and an insert that has holes on the bottom to allow the grease from the meat to go through. After baking, lift
    the insert by both side handles and slide it right on a platter!! Slice away!!

  7. 5 stars
    I, too, grew up with dry meat loaf. I thought it bland, and could take or leave it (depending on whether or not I was starving!) Not till my 30’s or so did I taste a meat loaf I fell in love with! My best friend’s mother made the Most Delicious Meat Loaf Ever! Got her recipe, made it & my husband loved it, too! Present day, 2020, lost the recipe (my housekeeping sucks) and my friend is fighting cancer as well as her dog being sick. I just can’t bring myself to ask her to read it to me over the phone or to copy it down & send it to me. BUT, I do remember it was a mixture of beef and pork, had finely minced green pepper, grated onion and shredded carrots, then she also mixed ketchup & brown sugar, then poured that down the center of the top of the meat loaf. Your recipe is the best one out there!

  8. This is just like what my Mom made and instead of just ketchup on top she would mix ketchup and worcestershire sauce and a little bit of brown sugar the ketchup sauce was made to her liking so there was no recipe for it,it was all by taste.

  9. 5 stars
    I’m 71 and this is the very best meatloaf I have ever had!I am done with those dry sawdust breadcrumbs. This is how you do it!