Try this comforting Southern meatloaf recipe that combines a succulent meat mixture with a sweet and savory glaze. It's absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious, perfect for making ahead, and will leave your family and friends licking their plates and asking for second helpings - it is that good!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Meatloaf is always a hit with family and friends! It's a classic dish that has many delicious variations, like bacon cheeseburger meatloaf, BBQ bacon-wrapped meatloaf, or Italian meatloaf.
And because meatloaf is such an easy to prepare, it's the perfect dish for home cooks and busy moms to whip up in a hurry that doesn't require a lot of effort.
And if you're looking to save time, this recipe can easily be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen for another day to have dinner ready in a snap!
Like most meatloaf recipes, the ingredients involved are common pantry ingredients, and this easy meatloaf recipe is no different.
The flavorful meat mixture of succulent ground beef, breadcrumbs, bell pepper, herbs, and spices is the perfect combination for the sticky meatloaf glaze made with ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Learn more about Southern seasonings that you must have in your pantry.
If you're looking for the best meatloaf recipe, you have found it! This classic Southern meatloaf recipe will be yours and your family's new go-to meatloaf from now on! And to make the dish even better, combine it with our creamy country-style white gravy for the perfect finish to a showstopping dinner.
🍽 Key Ingredients
For this Southern-style meatloaf recipe, you'll need quality ground beef like 80/20 or 85/15, which has the perfect fat content for a juicy and moist meatloaf.
Vegetables - Onion, garlic, and green pepper form the vegetable mixture that gives the meat mixture flavor and keeps it moist.
Ground beef - Use a beef mixture of 80/20 for the right amount of fat and lean meaty flavor.
Breadcrumbs and egg - The egg and breadcrumbs help to bind the mixture and prevent it from falling apart.
Herbs and spices - Garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper, parsley, and salt give the meatloaf flavor.
Bouillon cube - The beef bouillon adds a rich beef flavor to the meatloaf.
Worcestershire sauce - This adds a savory umami flavor to the meatloaf.
Milk - A bit of milk is added to help to keep the meatloaf moist and give it a creamy-like texture.
Ketchup - Just to give it a slight sweetness and classic meatloaf flavor.
For the glaze
Ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar - This sticky sweet and savory glaze is the perfect finishing touch to the meatloaf.
You could use cornbread crumbs or even cracker crumbs in place of the bread crumbs.
Ground turkey, ground pork, or even a mixture of ground beef and sausage would work well in this recipe.
🔪 How to make
Southern meatloaf is the best and most delicious meatloaf recipe you will try! It's easy to prepare, loaded with flavor, and has the most amazing savory, sweet glaze. This is the ultimate meatloaf recipe that your family will love!
- Mince the garlic, finely dice or grate the onion, and finely chop the green bell pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
Set a skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil.
Add the chopped onions, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant, then let the mixture cool.
Place the ground beef, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, thyme, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and beef bouillon into a medium bowl.
Add the cooled onion mixture, followed by the milk and salt. Mix lightly until everything has been thoroughly combined.
Transfer the meatloaf to a loaf pan and lightly press it down so that it’s compact and flat.
Bake it in the preheated oven on the middle rack for 40 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and mix the mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Brush the top of the meatloaf with the meatloaf glaze and pop it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
Insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the meatloaf, and if it reaches 160℉/72℃, it's cooked.
Let the Southern meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
💭 Cooking tips
No loaf pan
If you don't have a proper loaf pan, use an 8x8 inch baking pan and shape the meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape.
Make sure to use a thermometer for accuracy - the internal temperature of your meatloaf should be at least 160℉/72℃ before serving.
Use your hands
When making this Southern meatloaf recipe, it's best to use your hands for mixing the meatball ingredients. It's also important not to overwork the mixture, otherwise, it becomes dense and mushy.
📖 Recipe Variations
This Southern meatloaf recipe is perfect as it is, but you can also add other ingredients to make it even better. Try some of these creative variations.
BBQ Southern-style meatloaf
Give your meatloaf a smokey BBQ flavor by using a smokey barbecue sauce in the recipe instead of ketchup.
Southern-style meatloaf with crispy onions
If you want to add some crunch to the recipe, top the meatloaf with half a cup of crunchy fried onions when smothering the glaze over it.
Cheesy Southern meatloaf
Make an indent into the meatloaf mixture in the loaf pan and fill it with half a cup of shredded cheddar cheese, then cover it with the rest of the meatloaf mixture for a delicious, melted cheese center.
🥗 What to serve with
This recipe is delicious on its own, but if you want to make it a complete meal, here are some ideas of what to serve with it.
Mac and cheese
For a real Southern-style meal, serve the meatloaf with some creamy bacon mac and cheese or white cheddar mac and cheese.
Mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes are a classic pairing that everyone loves. You could also try these easy Hasselback potatoes for something a little different.
Southern meatloaf with Southern fried cabbage with bacon is the complete Southern dinner! This side dish is also a great way to make use of leftover cabbage, and the flavor of the bacon and spices give it a wonderful flavor.
And for dessert I highly recommend pairing this southern meatloaf recipe with my sweet potato pie.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
What is the secret to moist meatloaf?
There are a few secrets to making the perfect moist meatloaf. First, make sure to use lean ground beef so that there is enough fat to keep the meatloaf moist. Second, adding wet ingredients to the mix, such as milk, like in this recipe, will also help to keep the meatloaf moist.
Can I make meatloaf ahead of time?
Yes, you can make meatloaf ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe up until the point where you would bake it. Then, cover the meatloaf and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to bake it, preheat the oven and bake it according to the recipe instructions.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
This Southern meatloaf recipe is great for storing, and leftovers taste just as good reheated over the following days.
Fridge - Transfer any leftover meatloaf to an airtight container or cover the plate of leftovers with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 3 days.
Freezer - To freeze meatloaf, place the leftovers into a freezer container and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Reheating - The best way to reheat leftover meatloaf is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius and place the meatloaf on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake the meatloaf for 20 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat meatloaf in the microwave, but it won't be as crispy.
🍳 Related recipes
If you're looking for more Southern comfort food recipes, be sure to check out our list of the best Southern comfort food recipes including our classic fried pork chops recipe.
And if you want to try some comfort foods from other states, be sure to check out our list of the best American comfort foods per state.
👪 Serving size
This Southern meatloaf recipe makes enough servings for 6 people. It is perfect for making ahead and baking when ready, and it can also be scaled to make 2 or 3 at once!
If you're looking for a delicious and hearty comfort food recipe, this Southern meatloaf is a perfect choice. The flavors of the meatballs and the sticky sweet glaze pork make it an irresistible meal that everyone will love. Give it a try tonight and you won't be disappointed! Enjoy!
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Try one of my comfort dinner recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
Southern Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 tablespoon Cooking oil
- 1 Onion - grated
- 2 teaspoons Garlic - minced
- ¼ cup Green bell pepper - finely chopped
- 1½ pound (680.39g) Ground beef
- 3 tablespoons Parsley - chopped
- ¾ cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 Egg
- 2 teaspoons Fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 1 cube Beef bouillon
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup Milk
- Salt to taste - I used about 1½ teaspoons
- ¼ teaspoon Ketchup
- ½ cup Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Brown sugar - lightly packed
- Mince the garlic, finely dice or grate the onion, and finely chop the green bell pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
- Set a skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil.
- Add the chopped onions, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant, then let the mixture cool.
- Place the ground beef, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, thyme, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and beef bouillon into a medium bowl.
- Add the cooled onion mixture, followed by the milk and salt. Mix lightly until everything has been thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the meatloaf to a loaf pan and lightly press it down so that it’s compact and flat.
- Bake it in the preheated oven on the middle rack for 40 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and mix the mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Brush the top of the meatloaf with the meatloaf glaze and pop it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the meatloaf, and if it reaches 160℉/72℃, it's cooked.
- Let the Southern meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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