Church Mothers’ Amazing Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf is an iconic American comfort food. It sits there with hotdogs and hamburgers as essential food staples, and a traditional American dinner is never complete without one. So how do you make the perfect meatloaf and why should you make one on your own?

Meatloaf is a hearty, warm meat dish that’s easy to make yet extremely satisfying. There’s something about a slice of meatloaf and feeling like home that gives it its amazingly satisfying appeal.

If you’ve never made one yourself, then you’re in for a treat. This simple, juicy, and meaty meatloaf recipe is all you’ll need for an amazingly quick dinner at home.

What is Meatloaf?

But first, what is meatloaf exactly? Well, meatloaf is a classic American dish that’s made of ground meat combined with other ingredients such as vegetables and a binding ingredient. They are then formed into the shape of a loaf, then baked in an oven.

Meatloaf became popular during the Depression-era because it was the simplest way to extend protein and feeding more people with less meat. Leftover meat was usually used, such as beef, pork, and veal, and combined with leftover vegetables. While meatloaf has its origins as a leftover dish, it has evolved on its own as a classic, iconic, and favored food staple in many American dinners.

And the best part about making it is that there is no one method to make it. Its adaptability to include other ingredients and alternatives that suit the cook’s tastes has made it evolve into many different variations, with many homemade recipes passed on from one generation to another.

For our recipe, we won’t be using pork or veal, but instead, we will purely use lean beef. If you think using only lean beef will make our meatloaf dry, the use of milk in our recipe will make it moist and juicy.

So let’s get moving by starting with the list of ingredients.


For the Meatloaf:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine ingredients for the meatloaf. Add beef, breadcrumbs, diced onion, milk, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and mix all ingredients together in a bowl. You can use your hand to mush and mix all ingredients until they are well blended and combined.
3. Pour the meatloaf mix into a loaf pan and spread evenly to make it flat. Set aside.
4. Prepare the topping. Mix together 1/4 cup ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir to combine, then pour on top of the meatloaf, making sure the entire top of the meatloaf is covered with the graze.
5. Place the meatloaf, uncovered, in the middle of the rack in the oven, and bake for 55 minutes.
6. After 55 minutes, take the meatloaf out of the oven and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes before making the first slice.

This recipe can yield 10 servings of 164 kcal each. The prep time is about 10 minutes and the entire cooking time is about 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Tips and Tricks to a Juicy, Delicious Meatloaf

Can You Make the Meatloaf in Advance?

Yes, you can make your meatloaf in advance. You can combine the ingredients in the morning, pour the meatloaf mixture in the loaf, then cover with aluminum foil. Place it in the fridge and once it’s dinner time, bake it in the oven for 55 minutes.

If you want to prepare it a day before, you can place the meatloaf in the freezer and thaw it in the fridge the following morning so it’s ready to be baked by evening.

Can I Use a Baking Pan?

Yes, some people use a baking pan to bake their meatloaf. You can place aluminum foil on the baking sheet and shape the meat mixture into a loaf before baking. Using a loaf pan, however, will make it easier to create and maintain the loaf shape for your meatloaf.

Why Does My Meatloaf Fall Apart?

This is one of the most common problems people face when they bake a meatloaf. There are many reasons for this, but the most common mistake is not using enough breadcrumbs. Meatloaf needs a binding agent to make its shape, so that could be one reason. You can add more breadcrumbs next time you bake a meatloaf.

Another reason could be you underbaked the meatloaf. A good 55 minutes in 350 degrees Fahrenheit heat is just right to bake meatloaf perfectly.

Moreover, overbaking could also be another culprit.

And lastly, if you slice your meatloaf straight from the oven, it could fall apart. Always let it sit for at least 10 minutes before making the first slice.

What Makes a Good Meat Loaf?

The key to a good meatloaf is hands down, the meat you use. While most meatloaf recipes do use a mixture of different meats, this recipe is exclusively beef. Other recipes also call for beef with high-fat content but with high fat comes high levels of grease, and you wouldn’t want that for your meatloaf.

Always use lean meat on your meatloaf, and don’t forget to add in milk to prevent dryness and make it moist and juicy.

Meatloaf is a common staple in American dinners and if you’ve always wanted to make one but never really tried before, then this recipe is a classic and simple way to get started. It’s a basic meatloaf, so if you want to be more adventurous or experimental, you can also use other spices and meats to the recipe.

Prep time is quite quick but the baking time takes about an hour, so you have to time your oven precisely. Undercooking or overcooking has its consequences, such as the meatloaf falling apart or it’s too dry.

If you have a good one hour to prepare your dinner, then this classic meatloaf recipe is a great idea for that homey, cozy, and deliciously satisfying homecooked meal.

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