This amazing homemade Southern Meatloaf is tender, juicy, and bursting with both comforting and fresh flavors. It’s easy to throw together, and the best meatloaf you’ll ever have. Our family favorite!
Right around the time Mr. Gracious and I started dating, I found a recipe in Glamour Magazine for manloaf. This recipe was said to make men fall in love. Given that Mr. Gracious had already professed his love for meatloaf, I was convinced this recipe would win him over completely and he’d get down on one knee right there. 🤣
Unfortunately, the recipe didn’t turn out for me that first time I made it (Apparently you can’t substitute the same amount of dried ground spices for fresh spices. Who knew?!) But, thankfully I’ve won him over anyway, and now have an awesome meatloaf recipe that he and my whole family all enjoy.
This Southern Meatloaf is tender and flavorful, filled with ground beef, sauteed garlic and onion, and fresh herbs (or dried. I’ll give you the dried measurements, so you don’t end up like me! 😆).
Every bite is juicy and moist and tender. Serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans and, if you’re like me, also go ahead and slather it in ketchup.
This is one of our all-time family favorite recipes. One that’s requested and made over and over. So of course, I have to share it with you, and I hope your family gets as much joy from it as our family.
What to Cook Meatloaf in
I always cook my meatloaf in a loaf pan, like this one. You can also shape it into a loaf shape on a baking sheet. I suggest lining the whatever you use with foil or parchment paper for easier clean up.
What Can You Add to Southern Meatloaf?
This southern style recipe is fantastic. Like our all-time family favorite. So while it doesn’t need anything extra, I understand that sometimes it’s fun to mix things up. Try these add-ins and substitutes for a little extra variety.
- Barbecue sauce – Substitute some barbecue sauce instead of using ketchup. It will add a little extra sweetness to the whole dish.
- Bacon – Pre-cook, drain, and crumble the bacon before adding it to the raw meatloaf to prevent extra grease from accumulating. Alternately, you can add a few extra uncooked slices on top of the meatloaf, and drain after cooking.
- Spice – Add a little heat with some chopped jalapenos, red pepper flakes, or a few dashes of hot sauce
- Cheese – Add your favorite shredded cheese right into the raw meatloaf mixture. Or you can also place half the meatloaf mixture in the pan, a layer of cheese in the middle, and the remaining meatloaf on top for a stuffed-meatloaf type of situation.
Why Does My Meatloaf Fall Apart?
There are usually 3 main reasons for falling apart meatloaf, and there’s a fine line between a falling-apart-meatloaf and one that’s too tough.
- Skipping the binder. The breadcrumbs and the eggs are the binders in this recipe. These will make the meatloaf more tender than just the meat alone, while also binding in the extra ingredients, like the onions, etc.
- Mixing. Mixing too much (like with a hand mixer) will make a tougher meatloaf, which may not fall apart but also will feel tough and dry. Mixing too little will result in a too soft meatloaf that will crumble. So mix your meatloaf really well, but use your hands to get that happy medium.
- You didn’t let it set. That 15 minute wait after it’s done cooking may seem unimportant (and if you’re in a hurry and have prepared yourself for falling apart meatloaf, it might be). But it is absolutely important to keep your meatloaf from falling apart.
More Ground Beef Recipes You’ll Love
- Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole – a family favorite cheesy casserole with ground beef and tater tots.
- American Goulash – ground beef and noodles in a zesty tomato sauce. Easy to make in just one pot!
- Unstuffed Peppers – just like stuffed peppers but twice as easy! All in one skillet!
- Slow Cooker Meatloaf – our favorite meatloaf recipe made in the slow cooker!
- Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls – half the time but just as delicious as stuffed cabbage roll. Make this easy recipe in just one skillet.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon ground thyme)
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Saute onions and garlic until onions are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in parsley and thyme and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, eggs, bread crumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire, pepper, and cooled veggies.
- Put mixture into a lined loaf pan, and coat with extra ketchup, if desired.
- Cook for 60-75 minutes in a 350°F, until firm.
- Drain excess grease, and let your meatloaf set for 15 minutes before slicing.
- This recipe is dairy free.
- To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free breadcrumbs or finely processed oats.
- Use 80/20 or 85/15 lean ground beef. You want a little fat to keep it juicy, but not too much.
- For a sweeter version, substitute barbecue for ketchup.
- No bread crumbs? Use food processor to process fresh bread into breadcrumbs.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. Reheat in individual servings on a microwave safe dish.
- Freezer Directions: To freeze, prepare meatloaf to step 4. Then transfer raw meatloaf mixture into a freezer bag. Store for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. Then continue with the recipe starting at step 5.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in August 2014. It was republished in August 2021 with new pictures, video, and tips.
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