Test Kitchen's Favorite All-Beef Meatloaf

two plates of meatloaf potatoes and broccolini
Photo: Lennart Weibull
1 meatloaf

This classic meatloaf uses coarsely ground beef for a juicer bite. It's brushed with the essential brown sugar-ketchup glaze and baked on a sheet pan, not in a loaf pan, so it has more caramelized crust for everyone.


  • 2 slices day old white bread, torn into small pieces or ½ cup plain breadcrumbs, preferably homemade

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (¾ cup)

  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped (¾ cup)

  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped (½ cup)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • ¾ cup ketchup

  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground chuck

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into pieces; pulse in a food processor to make fine crumbs (or use plain breadcrumbs) set aside.

  2. Cook the Vegetables:

    Pulse vegetables in food processor until finely chopped (or do so by hand). Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add vegetables, thyme, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1/4 cup ketchup. Remove from heat; let cool completely.

  3. Prep the Meat and Glaze

    : In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/2 cup ketchup and the brown sugar for glaze; set aside. In a large bowl, combine vegetable mixture with ground chuck, egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined.

  4. Bake and Let Cool:

    On a rimmed baking sheet, form meat mixture into a loaf that's 10 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 2 inches high, packing firmly to prevent cracking. Coat top and sides with glaze. Bake until top is caramelized and a thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165 degrees, 55 to 65 minutes. (If top is browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let cool at least 25 minutes, then serve with comforting sides, like mashed potatoes. and sauteed broccolini.

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