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Classic Meat Loaf

Not your average blue-plate special, this recipe brings three ground meats together with a sweet-and-sour glaze to form a tender and moist mealtime favorite.

  • servings: 8




  • 3 thick slices white bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 ounces ground beef chuck (90 percent lean), preferably pasture-raised
  • 12 ounces ground pork, preferably pasture-raised
  • 12 ounces ground veal, preferably milk-fed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse bread in a food processor until finely ground. (You should have about 2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs.) Transfer to a medium bowl.

      In this step:

  2. Step 2

    Pulse garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and parsley in food processor until finely chopped. Add to breadcrumbs. Add meats, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; mix together using your hands. Transfer mixture to a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan.

      In this step:

  3. Step 3

    Stir together remaining 1/2 cup ketchup and the brown sugar until smooth; brush onto meat. Set pan on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 160 degrees, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2010



Reviews (19)

  • 30 Nov, 2013

    Very good meal.
    Some notes on other Replies...
    "To salty"= The recipe calls for COARSE salt. If you are using regular salt, use a lot less.
    Celery controversy= 1 stalk of Celery is one piece. The whole Celery is called a "head", like a "head" of lettuce, so when you by a whole head of Celery, the piece you break off and eat IS called a "stalk".

  • 12 Nov, 2013

    EXCELLENT RECIPE!! Not sure why others would think it salty, unless they used table salt instead of coarse salt. It was YUMMY. Thank You Martha!

  • 18 Feb, 2013

    I have in the past made the undeniably worst meat loaf in the entire world. Now I could win the meatloaf extravaganza with this most excellent recipe, tender moist and full of flavor. The first time I made this to recipe except I cut the salt. The second time I worked the recipe with half beef/half turkey, and added a pureed can of mushrooms with no juice. Both were excellent! If it stands up to added fresh shredded spinach I will change it out in the recipe box. Thank you so much.

  • 12 Feb, 2013

    Loved this recipe! Very easy to make and tastes amazing!!! I used Garlic and Cheese bread sticks for the breadcrumbs and omitted the Veal and Pork.


  • 12 Jan, 2013


  • 12 Jan, 2013

    Enter your review...

  • 18 Jun, 2012

    Has anyone tried this in muffin tin format and if so can you recommend a cooking time? I find those easier to deal with and easy to pull out one or two for dinner for the kids at the last minute. I did try this recipe in the full format once - but just with ground beef and it was a hit with my husband and the kids!

  • 29 Oct, 2011

    The best recipe for meatloaf. I bit time consuming, but worth it!

  • 24 Sep, 2011

    We make these into square "Beef Burgers".Full flavoured and fits the bread squares to perfection.Sauced,of course!

  • 1 May, 2011

    I skipped the keptchup and the sugar an it was very good, easy to make as well.

  • 15 Feb, 2011

    Do you mean 1 teaspoon instead of 1 tablespoon of salt? It's way too salty for all of us! I will try again later without the salt and the brown sugar. I think it will taste better that way.

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  • 3 Feb, 2011

    I didnt care for this recipe at all. I dont like the sweetness that the brown sugar added to it. I will not be making this again.

  • 13 Jan, 2011

    This recipe was ok, Im really into vegetarian meatloaf lately, this is my favorite at the moment:

  • 7 Jan, 2011

    This loaf is extremely salty. I wonder if 1T of salt is a mistake / typo. Reduce salt in recipe, can always salt it at the table as needed.

  • 19 Nov, 2010

    It said A stalk meaning one rib of celery. Not one whole celery.
    I had used this recipe several times and got rave praises. It's the best recipe apart from martha's mother's recipe for meat loaf!

  • 9 Nov, 2010

    OMG!! Are you guys serious??? Does it make sense to add an entire stalk of celery to this meat loaf???

  • 26 Oct, 2010

    It's a whole bunch of celery, depending on your personal definition of "whole bunch". Celery is a very private matter, and really shouldn't be discussed here.

  • 2 Oct, 2010

    I am sure it is 1 rib of celery. (I call it a stalk) Look at the other ingredients it has 1 carrot one onion etc.

  • 28 Sep, 2010

    The recipe says "1 stalk of celery." Did it mean to say "1 rib of celery?" A "stalk" is the whole bunch of celery as harvested and is made up of "ribs."