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This Meatloaf is here to shake up your usual meal routine with its scrumptious blend of meats and a barbecue sauce that’s simply to die for! Easy to whip up and even easier to devour, it’s a surefire hit for any day of the week.
Easiest Meatloaf Recipe
This Meatloaf recipe isn’t merely a dish; it’s a cherished tradition that’s brightened up our dining table for countless years. Bursting with a delightful mix of ground pork and beef, smothered in a rich, sweet, and smoky barbecue sauce, it’s not just a meal but a moment of familial love and warmth, every single time.
Each bite, packed with tender and flavorful meat. The delectable tanginess of the barbecue sauce, transports us back to countless cozy family dinners, sparking joy and contentment in every morsel.
To make this Meatloaf to perfection, use a meat thermometer during baking. This ensures that your meatloaf reaches the right internal temperature of 160℉ (71°C) is crucial not just for safety, but also to achieve that perfect, juicy consistency that we all love. This avoids overcooking, keeping your meatloaf moist and flavorful, while also ensuring it’s thoroughly cooked through!
- Large Onion: Adds a savory depth and sweetness to the meatloaf. Can substitute with shallots for a milder flavor.
- Breadcrumbs: Give structure and help bind the meatloaf together. If unavailable, crushed crackers or rolled oats can step in. I used Panko breadcrumbs but regular Italian breadcrumbs work as well.
- Milk: Moistens the breadcrumbs and helps keep the meatloaf tender. Swap with broth if dairy-free.
- Ground Pork And Beef: I love to use a combination of ground pork and beef because the extra fat from the pork contributes to lots of extra flavor and juiciness to the meatloaf.
- Green Bell Pepper: Infuses a fresh, slightly sweet taste into the loaf. Try red bell peppers for a sweeter touch.
- Egg: Acts as a binder to hold all the ingredients together. Use a flax egg for an eggless version.
- Barbecue Sauce: Brings a smoky and sweet element to the meat. Try a homemade sauce or ketchup as an alternative.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Offers a rich, umami flavor to enhance the meats. Soy sauce might serve in a pinch.
- Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning and bringing out the flavors of the ingredients. Adjust according to preference.
You won’t believe how straightforward making this meatloaf is, and the best part? It’s incredibly delicious! Let’s get started, shall we?
First off, fire up your oven to 350°F because we want it nice and hot for our meatloaf. While it’s heating up, grab a loaf pan and give it a good spray with some cooking spray. This ensures our meatloaf won’t stick and will slide out effortlessly once it’s all cooked up.
Mix those breadcrumbs and milk together in a big bowl, creating a soft and welcoming bed for the rest of our ingredients. This step makes sure every slice of our meatloaf is tender and juicy.
Now, let’s add that onion into the mix, whether it’s grated or chopped, it’s going to add such a nice flavor depth to our meatloaf, along with the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good mix, not too rough though, because keeping it tender is the key!
Next, we’re gonna get that meaty mixture into the loaf pan. Shape it lovingly into a classic loaf shape. Now, with that remaining BBQ sauce, paint a nice layer on top. This will bake into a glorious, sticky, sweet topping that you’re going to adore!
Pop that beauty in the oven and let it bake for a good 60 to 80 minutes. If you have an instant-read thermometer, do peek in around the hour mark and check it. When it hits 160°F in the center, it’s ready! If you don’t have a thermometer, no stress, just look for that firm top and see if the juices are running clear. Once it’s looking perfect, give it a rest for about 10 minutes before you dive in – it’ll make for easier (and juicier) slicing!
I wasn’t gonna try this because, I didn’t think the super market had ground pork. Well, they did and this is my new FAVORITE Meatloaf recipe, and it’s easy to make. Super moist and tasty. The sausage does it ! Jo is right ! Thank You !
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this meatloaf ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can mix all the ingredients and shape your meatloaf in the pan a day ahead. Just cover it with some cling film and pop it in the fridge. When you’re ready to bake, slather on that remaining BBQ sauce and put it straight into the oven, adding an extra 5-10 minutes to the baking time since it’s starting from chilled.
My meatloaf came out dry last time I made it. How can I make it moist and tender?
Ensuring a moist meatloaf means paying attention to a few details. The milk-soaked breadcrumbs are crucial, as they lend moisture to the meat. Use a mixture of ground pork and beef, as the fattier pork adds juiciness as well. Also, mix the ingredients until they are just combined – overmixing can lead to a dense, dry loaf. Baking it at the right temperature (350°F) and checking for an internal temp of 160°F ensures it’s cooked without being overdone.
What can I use instead of BBQ sauce for the glaze?
If you don’t have BBQ sauce on hand or prefer a different flavor, a simple ketchup glaze works well too! Mix ketchup with a bit of brown sugar, a dash of mustard, and a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon for a classic alternative.
I don’t eat pork. Can I still make this recipe?
Definitely! You can substitute the ground pork with more ground beef, or try a different ground meat like turkey or chicken. Just bear in mind that leaner meats might result in a slightly less juicy meatloaf, so consider adding a bit more of the milk-breadcrumb mixture to keep it moist.
- Choose Your Meat Wisely: Opt for a mix of meats for the best flavor and texture. Using part pork and part beef gives a delightful complexity to the taste while ensuring juiciness. If you’re tweaking the meat ratios or types, just watch the fat content to avoid a dry or overly greasy result.
- The Breadcrumb Trick: Soak your breadcrumbs thoroughly in the milk. This step is crucial for ensuring your meatloaf is moist and tender. If you’re out of breadcrumbs, crumbled crackers or even rolled oats can step in as an alternative binder.
- Mixing Method: When combining the ingredients, use a light hand. Overmixing can lead to a denser, firmer meatloaf. Gently mix until just combined for a tender, juicy loaf.
- Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and ensure a perfectly cooked meatloaf. It should read 160°F (71°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a knife; if the juices run clear, it’s done.
- Rest, Then Slice: Give your meatloaf a moment post-oven. Letting it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing helps the juices redistribute throughout, ensuring a moist bite every time, and making it easier to slice without falling apart.
Store leftover meatloaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Meatloaf freezes extremely well. The great thing is that you can freeze it before or after cooking. To freeze it before, place the meatloaf in a loaf pan and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, then in foil and freeze. Thaw it out in the refrigerator for about 18 hours before placing it in the oven to bake.
To freeze it after cooking, allow it to cool completely. You can either freeze it in individual slices, wrapped up tightly in plastic wrap or wrap up the whole loaf tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped up slices or loaf into a large freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To freeze individual slices, reheat them in the microwave oven. You can also place the frozen loaf on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper in the oven at 350°F until heated through.
Meat Lover? Try These Recipes!
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (such as Panko or Italian)
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 large onion (finely chopped or grated)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ medium green bell pepper ( finely chopped)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- Add the breadcrumbs and the milk to a large bowl, and stir it together. Let the breadcrumbs soak in the milk for about a minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients but only add about ¾ cup of the barbecue sauce to the meat mixture. Mix the entire meat mixture well using your hands or a spoon, but do not overmix.
- Add the meat mixture to the prepared loaf pan and shape it into a loaf. Brush with the remaining barbecue sauce over the top of the meatloaf.
- Transfer the loaf pan to the oven and bake for 60 to 80 minutes or until done. Best way to tell when a meatloaf is done is to use an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the meatloaf and when it reaches 160℉, it's done.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing into it.
- BBQ Sauce Variations: Feel free to experiment with different flavors of BBQ sauce, whether it’s tangy, spicy, or smoky – each one will add a unique twist to your meatloaf.
- Breadcrumb Alternatives: If Panko isn’t in your pantry, traditional breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, or even rolled oats can be substituted in equal measure.
- Vegetable Twist: For added nutrition and a veggie boost, consider mixing in finely chopped mushrooms or zucchini to your meat mixture.
- Resting Time: Letting the meatloaf rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing helps it retain its juices, ensuring each bite is moist and flavorful.
- Leftover Creativity: Transform leftover meatloaf into delicious sandwiches for lunch the next day or crumble it atop a salad for a protein kick!
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.