Easy Meatloaf Recipe

If you love meatloaf, then this recipe is for you! I’ve been making it this way for more than 20 years and have served it at family dinners, potlucks, parties, family events, and more, and it always gets rave reviews! Honestly a delicious and Easy Meatloaf Recipe, give this one a try – I bet you love it as much as I do!

Two slices of meatloaf on a pewter plate, surrounded by mashed potatoes & green beans

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Thank you for your support to help keep this site running!

This Easy Meatloaf Recipe is so good, y’all, and I just love how moist and tender and juicy it is – every time! I’ve been making it this way for more than 20 years, ever since discovering a similar recipe in Naomi Judd’s cookbook. I made a few tweaks to it (what cook doesn’t?), and it is better than ever.

There are 2 special ingredients in this recipe: 1) saltines. The saltines hold so much moisture in the meatloaf so you lock in all the juices instead of cooking it all out. 2) Breakfast sausage. Yes, that’s right – you won’t believe the flavor a bit of bulk breakfast sausage adds! This is an optional ingredient, but it really makes this meatloaf something special!

The Best Meatloaf

I’m not bragging when I say this is the best meatloaf – I mean it! I’ve tried a LOT of meatloaf recipes but always come back to this one. Why mess with a good thing?

I love that it is tender and juicy, and the sauce on top is just right. There’s extra flavor from the onion and green bell pepper, and it cooks low and slow so that all the flavors come together.

This isn’t a quick meatloaf – it’ll take some time to cook in the oven but trust me, it is so worth it! I challenge you to find a more tender and juicy meatloaf out there!

Two slices of meatloaf on a pewter plate, surrounded by mashed potatoes & green beans


  • Saltines – Coarsely crushed. You can put them in a plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin to break them up.
  • Lean ground beef – You’ll add some extra fat from the sausage.
  • Breakfast sausage – This is an optional ingredient but it adds SO much flavor.
  • Egg – Just 1 egg to help keep the meatloaf from falling apart.
  • Onion – Yellow onions are fine.
  • Green bell pepper – Diced.
  • Ketchup – Some ketchup will go INTO the meat mixture, and the rest is for the topping.
  • Worcestershire sauce 
  • Salt and pepper

How To Make The Best And Easiest Meatloaf Recipe

This is a 1-bowl meatloaf recipe that can be made either in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or in a meatloaf pan.

  1. Preheat your oven to 325-F.
  2. Mix the saltines, ground beef, breakfast sausage, diced onions, diced bell pepper, and all BUT ½ a cup of ketchup in a bowl.
  3. Put the meat mixture into a loaf pan or a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and form it into a loaf shape.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and add the remaining ketchup to the top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake an additional 60 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  • Don’t overwork the meatloaf mixture – mix it only until it is combined. Overmixing could lead to tough, packed meatloaf.
  • Add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the ketchup glaze before adding to the meatloaf for a sweeter touch or some diced jalapenos to give it a spicy kick.
  • Mix equal parts salsa and ketchup to give the glaze a Tex-Mex feel.
  • Letting the meatloaf rest before slicing is important so that all the juices stay locked inside.

What To Serve With This Easy Meatloaf Recipe

This delicious meatloaf goes with so many different side dishes, and don’t forget this amazing peach cake for dessert! Here are some of my favorite sides to go with meatloaf:

Two slices of meatloaf on a pewter plate, surrounded by mashed potatoes & green beans


Leftover meatloaf can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Heat leftover slices in the microwave or in a foil-covered baking dish at 325-F until heated through. I love to make these meatloaf grilled cheese sandwiches with my meatloaf leftovers!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cook meatloaf?

This recipe cooks for nearly 2 hours, but there’s a good reason for that. By cooking it at a lower temperature, it stays moister and more tender – and won’t dry out! Cooking meat low and slow makes the meat juicier!

How do you keep meatloaf from falling apart?

Adding 1 egg will help bind the meatloaf and keep it from falling apart. The saltines will also help by mixing with the meat and absorbing the juices, which will help to keep the meat in a loaf shape.

Can you freeze meatloaf?

Yes, you sure can! Freeze slices by wrapping them in foil or plastic wrap and then tucking them into a zipper-top bag. They’ll be fine in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Two slices of meatloaf on a pewter plate, surrounded by mashed potatoes & green beans

Easy Meatloaf Recipe


  • 2-1/2 Cups coarsely crushed saltines about 1-1/2 tubes from pacakge
  • 2 Pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 Pound breakfast sausage optional
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 Medium onions diced
  • 1 Medium green pepper, diced optional
  • 3/4 Cup ketchup
  • 1/4-1/2 Cups ketchup for the topping
  • 1/3 Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tsp black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large bowl with clean hands, mix together all the ingredients except the 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ketchup for the top of the meatloaf. Mix thoroughly but lightly, being careful to not pack the meat too much. Place in a 13x9x2 inch baking pan and shape into a loaf with your hands. You can also bake it in a meatloaf pan.  Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil. Spread the top of the meatloaf with the 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of ketchup. Bake, uncovered, another 60 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.


Tip: You can add a little brown sugar to the ketchup that you top the meatloaf with for a sweeter kick. Try adding diced jalapeños to the loaf mixture to a spicy kick. You can even mix salsa in with the ketchup to give it more of a Tex mex feel.

More Meatloaf Recipes