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Easy Meatloaf Recipe with the BEST Glaze

Your family is going to love this quick and easy favorite meatloaf recipe with a homemade sweet and tangy glaze baked on top.

I spent 2 years cooking for a camp and retreat center, and learned this special method for making meatloaf. It turns out delicious every single time. Not only is it one of my family’s favorite meal, it was also a favorite of hundreds of guests!

Easy meatloaf recipe on a platter with the words "favorite meatloaf - quick & easy homemade recipe" above it.

Homemade Meatloaf with Smashed Potatoes

Good ol’ meatloaf and smashed potatoes. It feels a little old fashioned to me ~ like maybe I should be wearing a vintage dress and heels while I make it ~ a-la June Cleaver ~ although, truth be told, I’ve never seen an episode of Leave it to Beaver!:)

This easy meatloaf recipe is juicy and full of flavor, with the perfect tangy & sweet glaze baked right on top. It’s perfect serve with smashed potatoes (recipe is also below), baked potatoes, or mashed potatoes.

Ingredients needed for this Homemade Meatloaf recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze:

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1:

Mix all meatloaf ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Use a large spoon for mixing, and if you aren’t too squeamish, wash your hands well and mix it together well with your hands.

Step 2:

Press meatloaf mixture firmly into a loaf pan.

Meatloaf mixture pressed into a loaf pan with a large parchment paper lined pan beside it.
Form the meatloaf into its classic shape by pressing it gently into a loaf pan.

Step 3: Turn formed meatloaf onto a parchment paper lined baking pan with sides.

Rather than baking  meatloaf in a loaf pan (where the grease sits in a pool on the top ~ Yuck!), try this trick: Flip the packed meatloaf from the loaf pan  onto a large pan with sides which has been lined with parchment paper.

Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes ~ the recipe for this classic comfort food meal
Transfer the meatloaf mixture by “whacking it” firmly onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet with sides.

(“Whack it!” firmly on the bottom, til it slides out of the loaf pan.)

With this method, the grease will then run out onto the pan as it bakes. It works like a charm!

Step 4: Mix the barbecue sauce glaze ingredients together in another bowl and pour over the top of the meatloaf.

The secret weapon of this meatloaf is the sauce you pour over the top. It makes the house smell delicious as it bakes and adds so much flavor!

Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes ~ the recipe for this classic comfort food meal
Spread the brown sugar meatloaf glaze onto the meatloaf top and sides before placing it into the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until completely done (and not pink) in the center.

Homemade meatloaf with homemade barbecue sauce topping with smashed potatoes
Serve this classic comfort food meatloaf with your favorite potatoe side – like these easy baked smashed potatoes (recipe below).

Tips for making meatloaf amazing!

  • DO NOT over mix it after you put the oatmeal in. If you do, it turns very gummy. Although it never happened to me, I’ve heard horror stories.;)
  • Be careful not to pack the loaf pan too tight with the meatloaf mixture. Just gently press it into the loaf pan before you flip it onto the baking pan – or you can just form it into a loaf shape with your hands.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper (not wax paper!) or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • For easy slicing, rest the meatloaf for 5-10 minutes after baking before slicing.
  • Meatloaf typically is served with some type of potato. Baked potatoes work great. Or, the smashed potato recipe below is a great variation and also a hit!
Quick and Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Quick and Easy Meatloaf Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Your family is going to love this quick and easy favorite meatloaf recipe with homemade barbecue sauce baked on top. It's a perfect comfort food meal and a great weeknight meal idea.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Instructions

  1. Mix all meatloaf ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Use a large spoon for mixing, and if you aren’t too squeamish, wash your hands well and mix it together well with your hands.
  2. Press meatloaf mixture firmly into a loaf pan.
  3. Turn formed meatloaf onto a parchment paper lined baking pan with sides.Rather than baking  meatloaf in a loaf pan (where the grease sits in a pool on the top ~ Yuck!), try this trick: Flip the packed meatloaf from the loaf pan  onto a large pan with sides which has been lined with parchment paper.
  4. (“Whack it!” firmly on the bottom, til it slides out of the loaf pan.)
  5. With this method, the grease will then run out onto the pan as it bakes. It works like a charm!
  6. Mix the barbecue sauce ingredients together in another bowl and pour over the top of the meatloaf.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until completely done (and not pink) in the center.
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
    Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Leave a comment or share a photo on Instaram and tag @harbourbreeze

    For more easy ground beef recipes that are classic, nostalgic comfort food dinner ideas, you may want to check out:

    • Individual Hamburger Steak in Oven are super quick & easy to make and are similar to individual meatloaf!
    • Make Ahead Lasagna is one of our favorite freeze ahead meals (and you don’t have to cook the noodles first!
    • Crock Pot Baked Beans has both ground beef and bacon in it, so is delicious served as a main dish with buns & butter!

    What should I serve with this easy meatloaf recipe?

    Typically, meatloaf is served with some kind of potato recipe. Side dish recipes like smashed potatoes (recipe below), baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or recipe potato salad are all great options.

    Here’s how to make Smashed Potatoes:

    1.Wash baby potatoes and place in large saucepan covered with water.

    Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes ~ the recipe for this classic comfort food meal

    2. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Be careful that you don’t overcook them, though, or they will fall apart.

    3. Drain cooked potatoes, and place on baking dish.

    Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes ~ the recipe for this classic comfort food meal

    3. Smash each one with a potato masher.

    4.Brush each one with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper and any other spices of choice. (I used Epicure’s Oven Roast spice this time.)

    Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes ~ the recipe for this classic comfort food meal

    5.Place in a 400 degree oven & bake until they are lightly browned and slightly crispy. (About 10 minutes).

    When making smashed potatoes to go with meatloaf, I bake the meatloaf first. Once I take it out of the oven, I increase the oven’s temperature and bake the smashed potatoes.

    Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes ~ the recipe for this classic comfort food meal

    Meatloaf slices cut easier if it rests a few minutes before slicing, so baking the potatoes while it’s resting works well.

    Umm…umm..Good!

    Smashed Potatoes

    Smashed Potatoes

    Yield: 8
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes

    Baby potatoes boiled and baked to perfection with spices to make a crispy & tasty side dish -perfect for meatloaf, steak, and any other meal that pairs well with potatoes.

    Ingredients

    • 16 baby potatoes
    • olive oil
    • spices of choice (like italian seasoning, chili powder, or rosemary)

    Instructions

    1. Scrub baby potatoes under running water until clean.
    2. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Sprinkle in salt. Boil until fork tender - about 10-15 minutes depending on size of potatoes.
    3. Drain potatoes and pour out onto a flat surface (like a large cutting board). Using a potatoe masher, smash each potatoe. It's ok if they look messy. The messier the better!
    4. Brush each one with olive oil and sprinkle with spices of your choice. Some favorite options are Italian seasoning, chili powder, rosemary, or sage,
    5. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until crispy and brown around the edges

    Did you make this recipe?

    Leave a comment or share a photo on Instaram and tag @harbourbreeze

    For more ground beef recipes  you may want to check out:

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    30 Comments

    1. yum!!! Totally making this! I have not tried oatmeal in meatloaf and sounds awesome! Also, I LOVE the smashed potatoes idea! 😀 Thanks!!!

    2. I love a good meatloaf. I am going g to try your tip of baking on a sheet rather that boiling it in its own grease. Thanks for the recipe

    3. Hi Rita Joy, This looks delicious! I copied both recipes. You didn’t have a Print Ready version for the Smashed Potatoes. As I was copying it, I noticed you had two step number 3s and two step number 4s! You might like to edit that. Thanks for sharing!

    4. The name says it all… almost! Not only is this meatloaf quick and easy, but it’s also scrumptious! I’ve never been a big meatloaf fan, but this recipe changed that with the first bite. A hit with our whole family!

    5. I followed the recipe and first off, it’s nearly impossible to smack the loaf out of the pan; and secondly it lacked any flavour other than the top sauce. It was super bland and definitely needs additional seasoning outside of just salt and pepper. It’s a decent basic recipe but it’s not amazing. We won’t make it again.

      1. Hi Tara,
        If you try baking meatloaf outside a loaf pan in the future, you can try packing the meat less loosely, or just form the meat into a loaf with your hands. If the meat is packed so tightly into the pan that it’s hard to turn out, it may take much longer to bake and be more dry as well.

        If you prefer spicier meatloaf, add in extra spices of your choice. Onion powder, dry mustard, garlic powder, & paprika are some other options you might want to try in addition to the salt and pepper.

        Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Kathy, Thank you for the awesome question! This meatloaf recipe goes crazy over on facebook, and one of the most frequently asked questions is “can bread crumbs be substituted for oatmeal in meatloaf”?

        I’ve never tried it myself, so I did some research. Yes, breadcrumbs can be substituted for oatmeal in meatloaf. You’ll just want to add a little less breadcrumbs than oatmeal. I would try a little more than 3/4 cup breadcrumbs to replace the 1 cup of oatmeal.

        Hope that helps. Enjoy your meatloaf!

          1. Hi Pam, Thank you so much for your clarification question asking “Do you use oats or oatmeal for this meatloaf recipe?”

            You question made me do a little digging, and I found myself asking “is oats and oatmeal the same?”

            This is the answer I found from a site called greatist:
            “Technically, oats refers to the whole grains themselves, and oatmeal to the porridge-like dish often made from them, and/or to the processed form of the whole grains—but now, the terms are often used interchangeably”

            So, to answer your question, I use oats. I hope that helps!

        1. You can also use bread tear it in small pieces then mix some of the milk with the bread and mix with the hamburger. Also add a little little green pepper cut up real fine , and even some red pepper.My mom made ours this way added lots of flavor .

    6. May I suggest placing the Meatloaf on a cooling rack over the pan lined with foil? This way the fats drain away from the Meatloaf.
      Smashed Potatoes are great!

      1. Hi Jane,
        What a fabulous meatloaf baking tip! Grease pooling in the loaf pan is one of my least favorite things about traditional meatloaf baking methods. Your idea of turning the loaf out onto an aluminum foil lined cooling rack in a baking sheet is genious!! What a great solution to that greasy problem! Thanks so much for sharing.

    7. I have never been a fan of meatloaf, but I found this to be quite good. I used italian panko bread crumbs instead of oatmeal. I will make this again.

      1. Hi Cathy, Oh, I’m so glad you found this meatloaf recipe to be quite good – even though you aren’t a fan of meatloaf. Good for you for trying it!!

        I love to hear you substituted italian panko bread crumbs for the oatmeal, as I have many questions asking if bread crumbs can be substitued for the oats. Did you use the same amount of bread crumbs as the recipe called for oats (1 cup)?

        Thank you so much for providing your feedback for this recipe. I appreciate it so much!

    8. This meatloaf is absolutely DELICIOUS…thank-you for sharing the recipe. On a side note….is it possible to make the font darker when using the print option? The recipe is SO light that when i print it, i can barely read it. Thanks again…we have loved all your dishes!

      1. Hi Maureen, I’m so very glad you enjoyed this meatloaf recipe!
        Thank you, also, for your feedback about the light font in the print option. I’ll have to investigate to see if I change that. I’m curious – Is everything you are printing too light? Or just this recipe? Perhaps your ink in the printer is running low? Just a thought. But, thanks again for the feedback. I appreciate it so much.

    9. No, our printer is fine….it’s just certain recipe sites have this lighter ‘grey’ font rather than the standard black and I can’t find a way to change it in my printer…and i thought maybe others were having similar issues. Thank-you for taking the time to respond, i appreciate it. (shared the meatloaf with my elderly neighbor….she LOVED it!)

    10. I was also wondering whether to use old fashioned or quick oats in this meatloaf recipe or does it make any difference. Thank you.

    11. There used to be a meatloaf pan set available, consisting of one which had small holes for drainage and fit inside the other. You can make your own by buying two inexpensive pans, making a number of holes in one using a hammer and a nail. Place the meatloaf in the pan with holes and then inside the other and bake. If you think there is not enough room for drainage, just put a small wad of foil in each corner of the bottom pan.
      Easy Peasey!

    12. I made this with ground venison and we liked it. Just felt like it needed so kind of seasoning, but will experiment because I will definitely make it again. We also had the smashed potatoes. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

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