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Classic Meatloaf

If you usually bake meatloaf in a loaf pan, you'll be surprised to see what a nice crust it gets when it's shaped free-form and cooked on a baking sheet.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Classic Meatloaf

Photography: José Manuel Picayo Rivera

Source: Everyday Food, October 2007


  • 3 slices white sandwich bread
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place bread in food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in milk. Set aside, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine beef, pork, onion, garlic, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add bread-milk
    mixture, and mix very gently with a fork (do not overmix).

  3. Place meat mixture on prepared baking sheet, and form into a loaf about 9 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide.

  4. Bake, brushing twice with remaining 1/4 cup ketchup during baking, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes. Let meatloaf rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Reviews (51)

  • Deliverfast 18 Aug, 2013

    hi there is very nice and good webpage posted it's an informative post, i really appreciate your way of sharing this useful post, thanks keep posting. thanks Same Day Courier

  • Grgagirl 14 Aug, 2013

    Sounds great!!! This is to youhavegottabekidding - you probably smell like excrement on a plate. Don't be so rude on someone's page because you don't like something. D*** Head

  • Deliverfast 8 Aug, 2013

    hi there is very nice and very good webpage posted please keep it up many thanks for this nice article
    Same Day Courier

  • youhavegottabekidding 26 Jul, 2013

    want good food, well if you want the raw products, fine good place, if you want them ruined and used without any imagination, this is also your place.

  • youhavegottabekidding 26 Jul, 2013

    This cannot be for real, it looks like, well excrement on a plate, the ingredients...... what!! please tell me this is a wind up I would eat that, it looks and sounds revolting.

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  • MairiC 4 Jan, 2012

    there were some elements of this recipe that I liked and will incorporate next time, but overall I didn't find it particularly flavourful. It was very moist, and I liked the mix of beef and pork, but it needed more seasoning. I also liked that it was baked in a log instead of a pan, as this cuts the cooking time a good deal. The only change I made was adding a bit of brown sugar and dry mustard to the ketchup glaze. Maybe even some Italian seasoning in the mix would've helped. It didn't wow me.

  • Leapnow 15 Nov, 2011

    I would like to pass along this variation.

    I have been using rye bread in my meat loaf and it is delish. Also caramelize the onions first and I no ketchup.

  • cphipps 19 Mar, 2011

    I use 2# of ground chuck, skip the onions (because I can't eat them) half of the garlic and 1/2 tsp of sage. The rest is the same. Has been a favorite of our family for 39 yrs.

  • LaceDuhBase 1 Mar, 2011

    ONE garlic clove would have been more than enough, yikes! I couldn't even finish eating it. :(

  • gkpettit 26 Jan, 2011

    I made it last night for my crew! IT was very tasty and simple to make. It has officially replaced my previous meatloaf recipe of 24 years! Thanks, Martha!

  • blaqueberry 14 Nov, 2010

    I made this last night and my family LOVED it. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks Martha! Will make again!

  • brianspringfield 19 Oct, 2010

    Made this last night--it was easy and very tasty! Thanks to Jackattackish for the heads-up about the ketchup. Will definitely make again.

  • corkygal 11 Aug, 2010

    This is a great recipe. My family loved it. I left out the ketchup and added instead some homemade spagetti sauce to give it a little punch and the meatloaf was gone in an instant!

  • Jackattackish 12 May, 2010

    I have never made meatloaf before, but I decided to try this recipe for dinner tonight. Unfortunately I didn't read the recipe closely enough, and accidentally put the entire 1/2 cup of ketchup into the meatloaf mixture! I am watching the oven, but do not have high hopes. Word to the wise: read carefully!!

  • candy805 3 Apr, 2010

    Awesome meatloaf recipe. I would not change a thing. Grating the onion was kind of a pain, but I love the onion flavor without the crunch inside the meatloaf. My family loved it. I will make this recipe again.

  • happy2cook 23 Feb, 2010

    What a great and tasty recipe I did nothing to change it. The left over made a delicious sandwich for my husband to take to work.

  • tkimom 5 Nov, 2009

    My family loved this meatloaf. I used extra lean ground beef, whole wheat bread and red onion since that is all I had on hand. It was very tasty. My hubby wondered why I didn't make more. We have a family of 4 and there was only a serving left!. I will make this again.

  • Anonym 16 Mar, 2009

    I'd never actually had meatloaf before, but this recipe really appealed and I'm glad I made it. I used equal amounts of beef and pork, was easier than way, and four slices of bacon on top laid out lengthwise. It was rich and tasted fabulous and was enough for two meals (servings for three). I'll definitely make it again.

  • Tryingsomethingnew 7 Mar, 2009

    Kayceejo, you are so right! The addition of bacon in the middle was fantastic!

  • Moigs 27 Jan, 2009

    Super easy and tasty. Great the next day too.

  • appleMuffin 9 Jan, 2009

    Very easy recipe to make and I love it. You can always add fresh mozzerella and roasted peppers in the middle...very good too.

  • kayceejo 12 Nov, 2008

    Very good...except I substituted BBQ Sauce for Ketchup and layered Bacon on the outside...DELISH!!!

  • jong 24 Oct, 2008

    My two young daughters love it. Yummy

  • jong 24 Oct, 2008

    My two young daughters love it. Yummy

  • Love-to-cook 21 Aug, 2008

    Sorry is 1/2 cup of ketchup!!!!

  • Love-to-cook 21 Aug, 2008

    Love this alternative not as healthy but fast ...meat, 1 package onion soup,2 Tbsp of mayonnaise and 1/2 ketchup

  • Mayracooks 7 Aug, 2008

    This recipe is wonderful! I used all pork meat since most of my family do not eat beef, and it came out very light and moist!

  • SassyV 2 Jul, 2008

    Excellent recipe... the bread and milk makes the meatloaf stay really moist!

  • Alexie 25 May, 2008

    This was so tasty! My family really loves it. I sometimes add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese to the mixture before baking and it tastes yummy....

  • SandyFry 25 May, 2008

    This is the BEST meatloaf, you won't believe how great it tastes!

  • relishthis 12 May, 2008

    The crew working this week at the gas plant operators camp in the bush of Northern Alberta (50 miles from the nearest town) were overwhelming in their approval and appreciation of this recipe at supper tonite. I will certainly be making it on a regular basis for them. They LOVED it!

  • krisx2 16 Apr, 2008


  • babygurlserina 5 Feb, 2008

    Well l love Meatloaf but oddly enough Ive never tried it this way we use tomatoe saurce, crackers, corn, onion, garlic and egg and a little bit of milk but I will have to try this way!!!

  • domesticgoddess30 20 Jan, 2008

    First time ever making meatloaf, can you believe that? Anyhow, it turned out very well. If you are using prepared bread crumbs what is the equivalent to 3 slices of bread? Also, I minced the onions. I was surprised at how garlicky it turned out but nonetheless I was quite proud of it. It was very tasty and FILLING! I loved basting it with the ketchup and the whole free form idea!

  • mhcody2 20 Jan, 2008

    I use half bulk Italian sausage and half ground round and subsitute oatmeal for white bread, saves a step and is a little healthier. Also great with Heinz chili sauce in place of ketchup for better flavor.

  • rosamunde 11 Jan, 2008

    One of my family's favorite meals is meatloaf, mashed potatoes, carrots and string bean casserole, so I tried this recipe -- a little disappointing. I prefer the consistency of minced onion rather than grated and think one small clove of garlic is enough.

  • TexasNantz 4 Jan, 2008

    This was okay...I prefer Martha's mother's recipe. It's called "Mrs. Kostyra's Meatloaf". You can find it on Martha's site. I don't make the topping with it, however; I make a brown gravy and serve with mashed potatoes and brown gravy.

  • NancyNfromNaperville 3 Jan, 2008

    I've NEVER cared for meatloaf, but decided to give this one a try, And I love it! I followed the recipe exactly and was very happy with the result. It's very cold here today (minus 7!!) so this will be the perfect supper for this evening -- comfort food!

  • djbekk 10 Dec, 2007

    I never had an official meatloaf recipie so I decided to try this one. My family really loved it, which was great news because they were never big meatloaf fans. I cooked it "freestyle" rather than the pan I always used and like that much better. This is a keeper.

  • blaukehlchen 7 Dec, 2007

    Prepared Classic Meatloaf Wednesday. I added two large carrots and a zucchini, in addition to the half onion, all shredded in the food processor since I hauled it out to crumb the white bread. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. Contrary to other opinions, I am less taken with this meatloafn n n n n n prep was a messy pain, baking was much longer than recommended, and clean up was greasy mess even with the use of parchment to line the baking sheet. In n n n n n d recommend using aluminum foil as also suggested in recipe if you attempt.
    I didnn n n n n n t care for the taste, but two male friends both deemed it good enough to polish off the remaining loaf with sides of mashed potatoes and fresh string beans.
    The most positive thing I can say is the dish plates beautifully: mashed potatoes as bottom layer, one large slice ketchup topside up in potatoes with another slice halved and placed on either side of standing piece, and green beans encircling meat and potatoes.

  • Copenhagenmama 29 Nov, 2007

    I made this basic recipe for dinner tonight with a few fabulous additions: Sauteed finely chopped (in food processor) mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic. Added this to the bread, which I actually subsituted half of with oatmeal. Added a bit of garlic salt, thyme and oregano (dried). MIxed all this with the meat. Instead of ketchup I made BBQ sauce (ketchup with a bit of vinegar and brown sugar). The vegetables really added to the flavour and nutritional content of the meatloaf..

  • teatuma 23 Nov, 2007

    thanks for the additions to the recipes, i am in the uk and it is not something that is widely eaten over here, i dont know why as it is fantastic, my husband pulled his nose up at the idea but loved it once it was cooked!

  • Bgurl 18 Nov, 2007

    This is a fabulous reciepe. I have altered it a bit including equal parts of ground beef, ground pork and ground venison. Also adding to the top of the meatloaf lots of sauteed onions. My family loves it this way, as the onions carmalize giving a sweet taste.

  • billskim 16 Nov, 2007

    I can't wait to try this recipe. My husband and I LOVE meatloaf!!!! thanks.

  • ninadelsol 11 Nov, 2007

    My nephews love meatloaf and always ask me to make it. To get them to eat more veggies though I like to grate carrots, zucchinni, and potatoes into the meatloaf. I makes it a little heartier and my nephews love it. With this recipe I recommend 2 medium sized potatoes, 1 large zucchinni, and 3 carrots.

  • sspoor 5 Nov, 2007

    Great basic meatloaf recipe--I've made w/ beef and pork (as in the recipe) and also just w/ beef. Great either way. Grating, rather than dicing, the onions is a really smart tip. They seem to melt right in--all of the flavor and none of the texture of semi-cooked onions that plague most meatloaf recipes.

  • sspoor 5 Nov, 2007

    Great basic meatloaf recipe--I've made w/ beef and pork (as in the recipe) and also just w/ beef. Great either way. Grating, rather than dicing, the onions is a really smart tip. They seem to melt right in--all of the flavor and none of the texture of semi-cooked onions that plague most meatloaf recipes.

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