Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (2022)

Recipe Table of Contents

4.57 from 55 votes

Make this old-fashioned meatloaf for two or a crowd—a simple classic meatloaf recipe we have used for almost 50 years. Moist and tender with excellent taste, homemade meatloaf like grandma would make will become a classic at your home, too.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (1)

Table of Contents
  • What is Meatloaf?
  • Ingredients
  • 👨‍🍳How to Make Old-Fashioned Meatloaf
  • ⏰How Long to Cook Meatloaf
  • FAQs
  • 🍽️Serving and Storage of Meatloaf
  • 📖Meatloaf Recipes
  • 🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
  • 📖Recipe
  • 💬 Comments

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (2)

Introduction

We all need everyday recipes for great comfort food and leftovers at times. It is not complicated and uses only eight common ingredients you already have at home. Just follow these easy step-by-step photos for the best meatloaf ever.

We have enjoyed this at least monthly for 40+ years. This is my wife's recipe, and the only variation is that I actually measured things to publish this. Please enjoy one of our standard recipes that have had decades of development.

My Rating

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (3)

Nothing less than a five will do. I do love our old-fashioned meatloaf recipe, and I'm very picky. This is super moist with great taste—a great recipe.

What is Meatloaf?

Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat that has been mixed with other filler. During the Great Depression, it was a way for families to stretch their budget by using inexpensive ground meat and leftover ingredients like bread or cereal. It is then formed into the shape of a loaf then baked.

When a starch like bread or grains is combined with an added liquid that forms a "panade," added to ground meat and keeps the results moist.

Ingredients

The Meat

Ground beef is the most commonly used ground meat for meatloaf. I generally use ground chuck, but other versions will work fine.

Most ground beef is about 20% fat. Lean ground beef maybe just a little dryer, but lower-fat beef is preferred if you are using a pan like a loaf pan or making cupcake meatloaves where it is hard to drain.

You can mix in some ground pork or other ground meat to make it your own. Or you can also use ground chicken or ground turkey, but the flavor will vary.

The Vegetables

For aromatics, some chopped onion is used. Also, some garlic can be added but is in most seasoning salt.

Other vegetables commonly added are celery, green bell pepper, or carrot. Whatever you add, they should be chopped small to cook thoroughly.

The Seasoning

This recipe is so easy because the seasoning salt, black pepper, and ketchup provide the spicing and taste. So the quality of those ingredients becomes essential.

For the ketchup, I only recommend Hunts or Heinz. Please do not use generic, or your taste buds will pay the price. While I claim some expertise in ketchup, the seasoning salt is up to you, but Lowery's is my choice.

The Glaze

I'm super simple here. Just a nice coat of ketchup. Many recipes fancy this up with brown sugar, mustard, or even top with bacon or barbecue sauce. I like it simple.

(Video) Classic Family Meatloaf Recipe

👨‍🍳How to Make Old-Fashioned Meatloaf

Preheat the oven to 350° and choose a baking pan that will allow the size of meatloaf you are making to be about 1 to 1 ½ inches thick and a bit of space around the loaf to allow for drainage space and an opening for lifting out the meatloaf.

Mix all ingredients except for the ketchup for the topping. Keep it a little dry but mix thoroughly. Use one egg per pound of meat.

The meatloaf is done when the final internal temperature reaches 160° for beef meatloaf. But if any poultry is used, the final internal temperature needs to reach 165° to be safe. You must use an instant-read or meat thermometer.

⏰How Long to Cook Meatloaf

For a 2 pound meatloaf in a 350° oven, baking time will be about 1 hour.

Ground beef is safe at 160°, and the egg does not change that. If you use ground poultry in the meatloaf, it must be 165° to be safe.

Size of MeatloafApproximate Baking Time at 350°
1 pound30-40 minutes
2 pounds1 to 1 ¼ hours
3 pounds1 ¼ to 1 ½+
Mini or Cupcake 20 to 30 minutes

Thicker meatloaf takes longer and thinner cook faster. But always cook to the final internal temperature, never by time alone since there are variables.

The main variables for how long to cook a meatloaf are the oven temperature and the weight and thickness of the meatloaf. There can be other variables, so only some generalities can be given.

You can use a higher temperature or convection. The higher the temperature, the more the surface will cook and brown before the center reaches the final temperature. So 375° is generally acceptable and will be a bit faster and more browning. Using convection will be like adding 25° to the oven temperature.

FAQs

How big to make the loaf for meatloaf.

We always make a two-pound meatloaf for leftovers for the two of us. Make a one-pounder if you want fewer leftovers. A pound of meat will make four larger servings.

Make up a loaf 1 to 1 ½ inches thick. Cooking time will vary by thickness and weight.

Can I make cupcake meatloaves?

You can use a cupcake pan for smaller servings, and it should take 20-30 minutes depending on the tray material, size, and how full you make it.

Of course, you are cooking to a final temperature, not by time estimates.

Should I cover the meatloaf with aluminum foil to bake?

No, it is not needed. Meatloaf should be cooked uncovered. The meatloaf will still be moist.

What is a panade?

(Video) Classic MEATLOAF - How to make perfect MEALOAF Recipe

When a starch like bread or grains is combined with a liquid, it forms a panade, which is then added to ground meat and keeps the results moist.

For meatloaf, the panade is made of bread, breadcrumbs, oatmeal, or crackers soaked in milk and is usually about ¼ to ⅓ of the volume of the meatloaf. You can use other things like oats for the starch, and, of course, you can substitute for the dairy with something like beef broth.

🍽️Serving and Storage of Meatloaf

What to serve with meatloaf?

We usually place a couple of baking potatoes in the oven with the meatloaf. Add in a simple vegetable like green beans or corn.

Reheat a slice in a microwave or make a meatloaf sandwich for leftovers.

How to store meatloaf

Seal in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If you are freezing the meatloaf, I suggest cutting it into serving-size slices and wrapping well. Good in the freezer for 3-4 days.

📖Meatloaf Recipes

Paula Deen Inspired Basic Meatloaf

Baked Meatloaf Burgers

This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.

101's Best Recipes, Beef Recipes, Comfort Food Recipes

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (4)

🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions

All images and instructions are for a two-pound meatloaf—our usual amount. You can adjust the ingredient amounts in the recipe card with the serving setting—but it will not change the text instructions.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (5)

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a shallow baking dish with PAM.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (6)

Chop a medium onion.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (7)

Add all ingredients minus ¼ cup of ketchup for topping in a large bowl. Mix well, being sure not to leave any chunks of burger not mixed. I use clean hands for this. Officially, use a wooden spoon.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (8)

Move the meat mixture into the baking pan, shape, and cover the top with ¼ cup of ketchup.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (9)

Place in the preheated oven and cook to an internal temperature of 160° — about 1 to 1 ¼ hour. Remove from the pan for serving.

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (10)
(Video) Cooking 101: Meat Loaf part 1 of 3

📖Recipe

Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (12)

Old Fashioned Meatloaf

From Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan

Make this old-fashioned meatloaf for two or a crowd—a simple classic meatloaf recipe we have used for almost 50 years. Moist and tender with great taste, homemade meatloaf like grandma would make will become a classic at your home, too.

Tap to leave a Rating

4.57 from 55 votes

Print Collection

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings #/Adjust if desired 8

Ingredients

US Customary - Convert to Metric

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 egg
  • 1 onion - medium - minced
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry's Seasoning salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Glaze

  • ¼ cup ketchup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a shallow baking dish with PAM. Note: instructions and images are for 2 pounds. You can adjust the ingredients in the setting above—does not adjust the text of instructions.

    (Video) Cooking 101: Meat Loaf part 2 of 3

    Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (13)

  • Chop a medium onion for a 2-pound meatloaf.

    Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (14)

  • Add all ingredients except topping in a large bowl. Mix well, being sure not to leave any chunks of burger not mixed. I use clean hands for this. Officially, use a wooden spoon.

    Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (15)

  • Move the meat mixture into the baking pan, shape, and cover the top with ¼ cup ketchup.

    Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (16)

  • Place in the preheated oven and cook to an internal temperature of 160° — about 1 to 1 ¼ hour for a two-pound meatloaf. Remove from the pan for serving after a 10 minute rest.

    Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (17)

See the step-by-step photos in the post.Some recipes have an option to display the photos here with a switch above these instructions but the photos DO NOT print.

My Private Notes

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Old Fashioned Meatloaf from 101 Cooking for Two (18)

Recipe Notes

Pro Tips:

  1. Cheap ketchup would probably spoil this, so I always use Hunt's or Heinz.
  2. This is a very easy recipe to adjust. You need one egg per pound of meat. You can adjust the size of the recipe with the serving setting.
  3. This can be cut down to a 1 pound meatloaf and should take 35-45 minutes to bake. Or you can also use cupcake pan for smaller servings and it should take 20-30 minutes depending on the tray material, size, and how full you make it. Of course, you are cooking to a final temperature, not by time estimates.
  4. Ground beef is safe at 160° and the egg does not change that. If you use ground poultry in the meatloaf, it needs to be 165° to be safe.
  5. I like to use a 7-8 inch spatula to remove the meatloaf from the pan.
  6. Reheats well in a microwave when cut into slices but is also good cold for sandwiches.
  7. You can cut this recipe down, but we usually do about 2 pounds since the leftovers are great.
  8. Lots of handwashing, please. We have raw ground meat and eggs, so the risk of contamination is relatively high.
  9. We usually put a couple of baking potatoes in the oven with this. Cooking time is a good match.
  10. Good refrigerated for 3-4 days. Good frozen for 3-4 months. You can also make it ahead and hold it in the refrigerator for a day before cooking.
  11. Store cooked meatloaf in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for 3-4 months.

To adjust the recipe size:

You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories : 292 kcal (15%) | Carbohydrates : 15 g (5%) | Protein : 26 g (52%) | Fat : 13 g (20%) | Saturated Fat : 5 g (25%) | Cholesterol : 115 mg (38%) | Sodium : 423 mg (18%) | Potassium : 514 mg (15%) | Fiber : 1 g (4%) | Sugar : 7 g (8%) | Vitamin A : 206 IU (4%) | Vitamin C : 2 mg (2%) | Calcium : 64 mg (6%) | Iron : 3 mg (17%)

Serving size is my estimate of a normal size unless stated otherwise. The number of servings per recipe is stated above. This is home cooking, and there are many variables. All nutritional information are estimates and may vary from your actual results. To taste ingredients such as salt will be my estimate of the average used.

Course : Main Course

Cuisine : American

© 101 Cooking for Two, LLC. All content and photographs are copyright protected by us or our vendors. While we appreciate your sharing our recipes, please realize copying, pasting, or duplicating full recipes to any social media, website, or electronic/printed media is strictly prohibited and a violation of our copyrights.

Editor's Note: Originally published on February17, 2010. Updated with refreshed photos and a total rewrite of everything except the actual recipe.

FAQs

What is the cooking time for a 2 pound meatloaf? ›

A 2-pound meatloaf will reliably cook in about an hour — try not to overcook or the meat will start getting tough and crumbly. The best way to know when a meatloaf is done is by checking its internal temperature; as soon as it hits 155°F, you can pull it from the oven.

How long do you cook a 2lb meatloaf at 350? ›

The best temperature to cook the meatloaf at is 350°F and it requires about 1 hour, give or take a few minutes, depending on size and shape. 1 hour should be more than enough for a 2 pound meatloaf. Do not cut into the meatloaf right away, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes after cooking.

What temperature do you bake a meatloaf? ›

The oven temperature is typically set at 350 degrees F for making meatloaf. That's the temperature you want to be sure to use so the meatloaf cooks and doesn't dry out. Too high, and the outer crust will burn before the interior is cooked all the way, too low and you don't get that delicious crust.

Is it best to cook meatloaf covered or uncovered? ›

Cover a single large meatloaf with a piece of aluminum foil during cooking to keep it moist, but uncover it for the last 15 minutes of baking. "Meatloaf is highly suited to being either frozen raw for cooking later or cooked and frozen to reheat." Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

How long does a 2 lb meatloaf take to cook at 375? ›

How long to cook meatloaf at 375°F? At 375°F a 1 lb meatloaf will take about 25 to 30 minutes for the meatloaf temp to reach 160°F. A 2 lb meatloaf will take about 40 to 50 minutes for the meatloaf temp to reach 160°F. A 3 lb meatloaf will take about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes for the meatloaf temp to reach 160°F.

How many minutes per pound do you cook meatloaf? ›

You will need to cook the loaf at 350°F in a conventional oven. Different sizes will require different cooking times, but a good rule of thumb is 35 to 45 minutes per pound.

Why does my meatloaf fall apart? ›

The most common reason as to why your meatloaf may fall apart is that it doesn't have enough binding agents, like eggs and breadcrumbs. These ingredients are key because they're what makes the meat mixture stick together and stay together while it cooks.

How long do you cook a meatloaf at 375 degrees? ›

How long do you cook meatloaf at 375? The meatloaf takes an estimated 20-25 minutes per additional pound at this temperature. To start, a 1-pound meatloaf takes 25-30 minutes, while a two-pound meatloaf will take 40-50 minutes. A 3-pound meatloaf requires 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

How can you tell if meatloaf is done? ›

Use An Instant-Read Thermometer. We feel that the most straightforward method of how to tell if meatloaf is done is to use and instant read meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature of the meatloaf, at the thickest part reaches 155F degrees, it can be removed from the oven, and is considered done.

How long do you cook a 2lb meatloaf at 400 degrees? ›

A two-pound meatloaf should be baked for no more than an hour at 350 degrees F; at 400 degrees F, your meatloaf should be cooked for 45-50 minutes, or until it reaches 165 degrees F as an internal temperature. After the meatloaf has been cooked, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.

How long should meatloaf rest? ›

It's strictly a matter of preference. Let your meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven; it will hold together better when slicing.

Should I drain the grease from my meatloaf? ›

If you bake your meatloaf in a loaf pan, which ensures a moist loaf, consider draining the fat 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time to develop a crisp top. This method is best served by cooking ahead, which makes slicing the meatloaf easier.

What can I put on top of meatloaf instead of ketchup? ›

More Things to Use In Place of Ketchup

However, if you don't like the taste of ketchup in your meatloaf, you can use BBQ sauce, tomato paste, or salsa. But don't limit yourself to these three options: You could also use mustard, chili sauce, or even pickle juice. Another option is to use Worcestershire sauce.

What is the best filler for meatloaf? ›

Breadcrumbs, oatmeal, cracker crumbs, crushed tortilla chips–they are all great fillers. My mom makes a great meatloaf with ground turkey, crushed tortilla chips, and southwestern seasoning. Use what's in your pantry!

How long do you cook a 1 lb meatloaf at 400? ›

Your baking time will determine the moisture texture of your meatloaf. For moist texture, you only need to cook your meatloaf for 30 to 45 minutes at 400 degrees F, which will bring you a moist meatloaf.

How long does it take to cook a 5lb meatloaf? ›

How long does it take to cook meatloaf per pound? You will need to cook the loaf at 350°F in a conventional oven. Different sizes will require different cooking times, but a good rule of thumb is 35 to 45 minutes per pound.

What temp do you cook a 1 lb meatloaf? ›

At a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit, a meatloaf weighing 1 pound will require between 35 and 45 minutes to bake.

Why is my meatloaf still red? ›

Small amounts of carbon monoxide can be emitted from inefficient burning of gas flames in gas grills or ovens. This too can combine with the myoglobin in meat, causing it to retain its pink color (though usually just on the surface) even when well cooked. Your dilemma may even rest with the meat itself.

Why do you put oatmeal in meatloaf? ›

Here, quick-cooking rolled oats are used as a filler to help keep the texture of the meatloaf light and to help retain the moisture of the meatloaf so it doesn't become dry. Quick-cooking oats are ideal because they are finer than old-fashioned rolled oats which would add too much texture to the dish.

What can I use to hold meatloaf together? ›

There can be many reasons why your meatloaf falls apart. The most common reason is that your meatloaf doesn't have enough binding agents. To help your meatloaf stay together add things in like eggs and bread crumbs because they are key ingredients that bind meat stick together.

What kind of ground beef is best for meatloaf? ›

Regular ground beef (70% to 77% lean)

Ideal for meatloaf and meatballs, ground chuck holds its shape during cooking. The cooked meat should be moist, juicy and slightly firm.

How many eggs are in a lb of meatloaf? ›

With the average meat loaf recipe requiring about 2 lbs. of ground meat, you'll usually have 2 to 3 (lightly beaten) eggs included. That makes the egg to ground beef ratio 1 to 1½ eggs per pound of meat in the recipe. This will also depend on the type of meat you're using.

What is meatloaf glaze made of? ›

Meatloaf Sauce:

Ketchup combined with brown sugar, garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper and vinegar creates an irresistible sauce. Once baked, the glaze caramelizes and is SO GOOD!

Can you put oatmeal in meatloaf? ›

Ingredients You Need to Make Meatloaf With Oatmeal

Rolled Oats: I use old-fashioned oats, but regular rolled oats would also work. Lean Ground Beef: I recommend 15% lean, not extra-lean or your meatloaf may be dry.

How long does it take to cook a 4 lb meatloaf at 375 degrees? ›

Instructions Preheat oven to 375 convection. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and transfer to baking dish. Like all meatloaf, do not over mix. Mix topping and spread over meatloaf then bake for approx 1 hour.

How do you tell if your meatloaf is done without a thermometer? ›

If you don't have a thermometer, then you might wish to try using a metal fork. Meatloaf is usually done cooking if a metal fork can be poked into the center without much resistance. You could check the condition of the meatloaf using your fingers as well. Just be careful not to burn yourself.

Can you overcook a meatloaf? ›

If you cook your meatloaf too long, it will become dry. But it needs to reach a safe temperature for food safety, so you don't want "rare" meatloaf.

Why is my meatloaf mushy? ›

Stale bread is an essential ingredient in meatloaf, as it works to bind the meat together. But blending in dry bread will take away some of the moisture from the meat. Follow this tip: For a more moist meatloaf, soak the bread in milk until it becomes thick and mushy before blending the mixture together.

How long does meatloaf take to cook at 400? ›

A two-pound meatloaf should be baked for no more than an hour at 350 degrees F; at 400 degrees F, your meatloaf should be cooked for 45-50 minutes, or until it reaches 165 degrees F as an internal temperature. After the meatloaf has been cooked, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.

How do you know when meatloaf is done without thermometer? ›

If you don't have a thermometer, then you might wish to try using a metal fork. Meatloaf is usually done cooking if a metal fork can be poked into the center without much resistance. You could check the condition of the meatloaf using your fingers as well. Just be careful not to burn yourself.

How do you tell if a meatloaf is done? ›

Use An Instant-Read Thermometer. We feel that the most straightforward method of how to tell if meatloaf is done is to use and instant read meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature of the meatloaf, at the thickest part reaches 155F degrees, it can be removed from the oven, and is considered done.

How long does it take to cook a 1 pound meatloaf at 375? ›

How long do you cook meatloaf at 375? The meatloaf takes an estimated 20-25 minutes per additional pound at this temperature. To start, a 1-pound meatloaf takes 25-30 minutes, while a two-pound meatloaf will take 40-50 minutes. A 3-pound meatloaf requires 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Videos

1. Cooking 101:Meat Loaf part 3 of 3
(James Walsh)
2. How To Be A Housewife - Meatloaf 101
(The Tipsy Housewife)
3. 101 Cooking Easy Recipes - E101
(101CookingEasy)
4. Cook With Me/ Classic Meatloaf/ Bonndocks Coooking 101/ Southern Farm and Kitchen
(Southern Farm and Kitchen)
5. Meatloaf 101
(Urban Homesteading Channel)
6. Classic Meatloaf
(Food Wishes)

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