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Southern Meatloaf Recipe

This Southern Meatloaf recipe is a classic recipe that is juicy and full of flavor. Made with seasoned ground beef and topped with a delicious glaze, this is a recipe you’ll want to make again and again. 

meatloaf on plate with mashed potatoes and gravy on side

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Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Meatloaf is the ideal comfort food in many American households. Originating in Germany, it has been adapted to fit the Southern palate by adding binders, such as eggs, breadcrumbs, and lots of delicious seasoning. A delightful sweet glazed with a sweet glaze on top, making it the perfect sweet and savory combo. 

One of the things I love about southern meatloaf is that it’s so easy to make and budget-friendly. You don’t need fancy ingredients or equipment, and it comes together quickly. Plus, it’s a great way to use ground beef if you have some in your freezer. Southern meatloaf is the way to go if you’re looking for a delicious, hearty meal that everyone will love.

How to make Southern Meatloaf

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil paper. 

Ingredients Needed

Gather all your ingredients. You will need the following:

southern meatloaf ingredients on wood board
  • Saltine crackers – You will need about 20 of these crackers, and you will need to crush them, which will make about 1 cup. You could also use Ritz crackers or breadcrumbs. 
  • Seasonings – onion, green bell pepper, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper- help flavor this meatloaf. A good soul food meatloaf has tons of flavor. 
  • Wet ingredients – egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce – These wet ingredients will keep your meatloaf moist. 
  • Glaze ingredients – ketchup and brown sugar and added when the meatloaf is almost done. This sweet, flavorful combo pairs well with the well-seasoned meatloaf. 

Make the meatloaf

Place the crackers in a large mixing bowl and use your hands and crush them into small pieces. Pour the beef broth over the crackers. Set aside for about 5 minutes, allowing the crackers to absorb the broth. 

Add the diced onion, bell pepper, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and beef to the bowl. Use clean or gloved hands and stir the mixture until thoroughly combined. Be careful not to overmix the mixture. Mixing the beef mixture too much can lead to a tough meatloaf. 

I prefer to cook my meatloaf on a sheet pan, so any excess beef drains off. Place the meat mixture onto the sheet pan and form an oval loaf. You can also use a loaf baking dish. 

Bake meatloaf in preheated oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll need the inside of the meatloaf to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When there are about 15 minutes left on the meatloaf, combine ketchup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Brush this mixture over the meatloaf and allow the meatloaf to finish baking. 

Once the meatloaf is done baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley if desired. Then slice the meatloaf and serve. 

southern meatloaf on cutting board

How do I make sure my meatloaf stays moist?

There are a few key things to keep in mind if you want your meatloaf to be moist and delicious:

  1. Make sure to add plenty of moisture-rich ingredients such as chopped onions and ketchup.
  2. Avoid using lean ground beef, as it will tend to dry out during cooking. Instead, ground beef with higher fat content, such as 80/20. The higher fat content will help to keep the meatloaf moist and flavorful.
  3. Be sure not to overcook the meatloaf.

Check the meatloaf with an instant-read thermometer. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How do I keep my meatloaf from falling apart?

Juicy meatloaf is known to fall apart thanks to its high-fat content and moisture. To avoid this, allow the meatloaf to cool before slicing. Also, carefully cut the slices and plate them. 

Should I bake my meatloaf in a loaf pan?

Both methods work fine. I prefer to form meatloaf into a loaf so that the fat drains off into the sheet pan while cooking. Cooking meatloaf in a loaf pan can result in an excellent rectangular-shaped meatloaf. However, the meatloaf will cook in the fat and may result in soggy meatloaf. 

How do I know if my meatloaf is seasoned enough?

The best way to check if the meat of meatloaf is seasoned is to break off a small piece and cook it on the stove in a little oil. Once that piece is cooked, taste it.  If it needs more salt or seasoning, add a little at a time.

Can you substitute ground turkey for meatloaf?

Absolutely! Ground turkey is leaner than beef, so you will need more moisture to get a similar texture. 

Best sides for meatloaf

Looking for more meatloaf recipes? Check these out:

If you have tried this Sothern meatloaf recipe, or any other recipe on our site, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! 

meatloaf on plate with mashed potatoes and gravy on side
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5 from 3 votes

Southern Meatloaf Recipe

This Southern Meatloaf recipe is a classic recipe that is juicy and full of flavor. Made with seasoned ground beef and topped with a delicious glaze, this is a recipe you’ll want to make again and again.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 390kcal

Ingredients

  • 20 saltine crackers crushed…about 1 cup
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • ½ green bell pepper diced
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 lbs ground beef

For the Glaze

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with foil paper and set it aside.
  • Place the crackers in a large bowl and use your hands and crush them into small pieces. Pour the beef broth over the crackers. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diced onion, bell pepper, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and beef to the bowl. Use clean or gloved hands and stir the mixture until thoroughly combined. Be careful not to overmix the mixture. Mixing the beef mixture too much can lead to a tough meatloaf.
  • Place the meat mixture onto the sheet pan and form an oval loaf.
  • Bake meatloaf in preheated oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll need the inside of the meatloaf to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When there are about 15 minutes left on the meatloaf, create the glaze by combining ketchup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Brush this mixture over the meatloaf and allow the meatloaf to finish baking.
  • Once the meatloaf is done baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Then slice the meatloaf and serve.

Notes

  • Check the meatloaf with an instant-read thermometer. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Ground beef can be subbed with ground turkey, pork, or a combination. 

Nutrition

Calories: 390kcal
Recipe Rating




Brian Johnson

Saturday 30th of July 2022

I have to start eating healthier foods and getting healthier habits