Is there any better comfort food than an old fashioned meatloaf recipe? Especially a meatloaf that’s perfect in texture and flavor. Who needs a cozy blanket when you’ve got comfort food like this. This recipe uses 2 pounds of ground beef, perfect for serving that hungry family. Let’s take a look.
What Makes A Really Good Meatloaf?
We’ve all had meatloafs that are swimming in grease, meatloafs that fall apart and meatloafs that are dry. And that’s exactly why meatloaf gets such a bad rap at times.
Here’s a recipe that will guarantee a perfect texture meatloaf. A reliable simple meatloaf recipe you can be proud to serve your family.
I’m a sucker for a good meatloaf. Something happens when you mix ground beef, herbs, seasoning, bread crumbs, celery and onion. Smear that sweet and tangy glaze over the top and I’ll swat your fork away to get at a slice first.
I make old-fashioned classic meatloaf recipe just like my mom did. Just right seasoned ground beef, topped with a sweet and tangy glaze.
I’ve made this meatloaf my entire life, using no recipe. I simply learned the technique and the process to know how to know the feel of the meat to get the texture just right,
I’ve been making this recipe for over 40 years, and this time I actually took the time to write everything down as I went along, so I could share the recipe with you.
A meatloaf recipe with a just-right firm texture of tender and juicy without falling apart, great flavor and a perfectly sweet and tangy glaze. This is a 2 lb meatloaf recipe, perfect for feeding that family. That’s what makes a great meatloaf.
Note for those who need to know, this is a meatloaf recipe without milk.
Ingredients You’ll Need For Making Meatloaf
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- 2 Eggs
- Worcestershire Sauce
- To mix into 2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
- Ketchup: Your favorite mild flavored BBQ Sauce makes a good substitution here.
- Mustard: Dijon mustard adds a unique depth of flavor, but if you don’t have Dijon, use plain prepared yellow mustard. My Mom always did.
- Panko: A great substitution and one my Mom always used is crushed saltine crackers. Just place saltines in a plastic zip lock bag and press the air out of the bag. Using a rolling pin, smash the saltines into a fine crumb. You can also use a food processor. You’ll need about 1 sleeve of saltines to make 1 cup. Voila, you’ve got meatloaf with saltines.
- Ground Beef: Substitute ground turkey. Purchase a mix of dark meat and white meat. I’ve never had good luck making meatloaf with ground turkey breast or ground chicken breast. It’s just too dry.
Ingredients To Make Meatloaf Glaze
- Tabasco Sauce or your favorite hot sauce
- Dijon Mustard, or regular yellow mustard
- Brown Sugar, dark or light will work well here
Step by Step, How To Make Old-Fashioned Meatloaf
Step 1: Practice you knife skills here and chop the celery, onions and garlic as small as you can. Small pieces will mix better with the raw ground beef. Large pieces may cause the meat to separate and fall apart.
Step 2: Sautee the celery and onions in a fry pan until just tender. About 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Step 3: In a large bowl, add the ground beef, sauteed vegetables, catsup, mustard, eggs, thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper.
Step 4: Using your very clean hands, gently toss the ingredients until well blended. Hands are always the best tool for mixing meatloaf. Using a large spoon will crush everything together, creating a tighter mix, which can cause the meatloaf to be dry and too dense in texture.
Step 5: Shape the meat mixture into a loaf. I like the sheet pan meatloaf method. Simply turn the mixed ground beef onto a sheet pan that’s been coated with non-stick spray or a sheet of parchment paper. Start shaping the loaf pushing in with your hands rotating from side to side until a loaf is formed. I usually create a loaf that’s about 2 – 3 inches thick and about 11-ish inches long.
Step 6: In a small bowl, add the ingredients for the glaze and using a fork blend the glaze well. Using a brush, liberally slather the glaze on top of the uncooked loaf. You’re ready to bake. If you’d like, take a sharp knife and score the top of the meatloaf before spreading on the glaze. It’s just provides more nooks and crannies for the glaze to penetrate.
FAQ’s And Tips For Making Meatloaf
I’ve never mixed meatloaf ingredients any other way than with my hands. Don’t overwork the meat mixture. Overworking makes for a mushy combination and a touch end result. And coat our hands with a thin layer of oil. This will keep the mixture from sticking all over your fingers.
With your hands. You can shape a meatloaf using a loaf pan or casserole dish. I actually prefer making sheet pan meatloaf without a loaf pan. Simply dump the meatloaf mix onto a greased or parchment lined sheet pan. Using your hands start gently pressing the meat together until a loaf is formed. Press down or push together cracks in the loaf for a smooth meatloaf that will stay together. Using the sheet pan method, with the loaf fully exposed to heat, the end result is an ever so slight crusty effect on the loaf because it’s directly exposed to heat. A loaf pan, with its high sides will produce more of a steamed product. And the meatloaf will look more like a loaf of bread.
Don’t go too lean on the beef. Meatloaf needs a little fat content to help with that moist texture and flavor. 15% fat is a good ratio. I’ve never been successful making meatloaf out of lean chicken or turkey. 20% can be too greasy.
Do you cover meatloaf with foil when baking? No. Cook the meatloaf uncovered. If you cover the meatloaf, you’ll get more of a steamed end result. An uncovered meatloaf, especially if making sheet-pan meatloaf will result in stickier glaze and the meat will garner a “crust” leaving the inside tender and delightfully perfect in texture.
That all depends on the thickness of the shaped loaf. To be safe, use a digital read thermometer and cook the meatloaf until it registers a 160 degree temperature in the center of the loaf. That usually takes around 50 minutes.
Always consistently small dice your vegetables and cook them before mixing with the raw meat. This is one step towards a meatloaf that doesn’t fall apart after it’s cooked. Also, a fine consistency of the bread crumb mixture is very important. Once everything is mixed together, take a small piece of the meatball mix and roll it in the palm of your hands like you’re forming a meatball. If the mixture readily forms a meatball, you’re good to form your meatloaf into a loaf.
Glaze, glaze, glaze. Yes! A meatloaf wouldn’t be the same without it. What you see in the recipe below is an old-fashioned meatloaf glaze of catsup and mustard. Make it yours, get creative with ingredients, but never cook a meatloaf without it. It’s all about that complimentary sweet/savory flavoring for the end result.
As with most meat recipes, meatloaf likes to rest before serving. A 10 minute rest tented with foil, will yield a more sliceable product. Trying to slice the meatloaf when it’s just out of the oven, will cause the slices to crumble and fall apart. Also, the ratio of binding (bread crumbs and egg) is more than likely not correct.
Ever thought about dividing that large classic meatloaf into smaller individual meatloaf servings? Great idea. Use a 1-cup measuring cup to scoop out the meatloaf mix. Form into balls, then smash down slightly so they stay in place on the roasting pan. Glaze and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of one of the loaves reads 165 degrees.
Simple Classic Old Fashioned Meatloaf Recipe
I hope you give this traditional old fashioned meatloaf with panko a try. And if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating.
And I hope you find these step by step instructions helpful.
And if you’re looking for more beef recipes for dinner, take a look at my Beef Category. You’ll find lots of great dinner ideas, including the most popular on my site for Crockpot Cola BBQ Beef Brisket. It’s another great recipe for feeding that hungry family.
Simple Classic Old Fashioned Meatloaf Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 2 stalks celery cleaned and diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 2 pounds ground beef 15% fat
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup catsup
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs or crushed saltine crackers
- For the Meatloaf Glaze:
- 1/4 cup catsup
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard heaping
- 3 shakes Tabasco sauce
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
- Heat fry pan over medium high heat. Add oil until hot. Add onion and celery and cook until tender. About 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl add the ground beef, salt, pepper, onion, celery, garlic mixture, catsup, mustard, Worcestershire, thyme, eggs and panko. With your hands blend mixture until well mixed.
- In a small bowl, combine the catsup, mustard, Tabasco and brown sugar to make the glaze. Stir well until blended.
- Form the mixture into a loaf using either a loaf pan, sheet pan or oven safe casserole. Smear the loaf with the glaze mixture. Bake 50 minutes or until thermometer reaches 160 degrees.
Old Fashioned Meatloaf …It’s what’s for Dinner.